23 March 2021

Downing Street the setting for 145th briefing on anniversary of first lockdown

23 March 2021

Exactly one year on from the announcement of the UK’s first lockdown, Downing Street is the setting for the 145th coronavirus press briefing.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is leading his 47th press conference of the pandemic.

The first was held on March 16 2020 a week before the UK went into full lockdown.

On that day the PM was flanked by England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

As the anniversary of the first lockdown is marked on Tuesday, the same trio are appearing at the briefing.

Prof Whitty is making his 38th appearance, and Sir Patrick his 35th.

Of the Cabinet, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has led the most briefings after Mr Johnson, with 39 appearances to date.

At the bottom of the table, having led just four briefings each are Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, Environment Secretary George Eustice and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is the only female to have led a briefing, having done so on five occasions.

Experts have frequently appeared alongside politicians to give information on the scientific and medical situation at the time.

They include Professor Stephen Powis, the national medical director for the NHS in England (31 appearances), deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries (24) and fellow deputy chief medical officer for England Professor Jonathan Van-Tam (21).

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