Coronavirus: Downing Street announces daily news conferences to update public on fight against outbreak

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, alongside chief medical officer for England Chris Whitty, left, and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Valla Credit: Simon Dawson/PA

Daily news conferences are going to be held to update the public on the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister or one of his "senior ministers" will hold the televised briefing from Monday. It comes after Mr Johnson received criticism over an apparent lack of transparency in the fight against Covid-19.

On Sunday the UK's coronavirus death toll rose to 35, with 1,372 confirmed cases.

The first of the daily briefings will come after the Mr Johnson chairs a Cobra committee meeting, expected to focus on plans to shield elderly and vulnerable citizens, household isolation and mass gatherings.

The UK death toll from coronavirus rose to 25 on Sunday. Credit: PA Graphics

Announcing the plan, No 10 said the briefing would also include a revolving cast of medical and scientific experts.

A spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister and this Government are committed to keeping the public informed every step of the way about what we’re doing to fight the spread of coronavirus, when we’re doing it and why we’re doing it,"

"At all times, we will be led by the science to bring forward the right responses at the right time to this global pandemic."

Mr Johnson had earlier come under fire for ministers and advisers allegedly briefing selected journalists over plans to tackle the crisis.

A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past Buckingham Palace Credit: Rick Findler/PA

Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested a decision could be made in Monday's Cobra meeting over whether to ban mass gatherings in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

Mr Hancock also said other severe measures could include police being handed powers to arrest people who are infected but who are not self-isolating.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to the Mologic Laboratory in the Bedford technology Park in Bedfordshire. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, on Monday morning the Mr Johnson will ask British manufacturers - including the Unipart Group - to support the production of essential medical equipment for the NHS.

He will also speak with all the G7 leaders including US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss a co-ordinated global response to the pandemic.

It comes as the World Health Organisation warned that Europe has overtaken China as the new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.

While travel between the US and Europe - including the UK and Ireland - was suspended by the Trump administration in a bid to limit the spread of Covid-19.