Culture media

Statement from the Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on Coronavirus (COVID-19): June 17, 2020

Coronavirus press conference (June 17, 2020)

Hello and welcome to today’s Downing Street press briefing. I would like to start with the daily update of the latest data on the coronavirus.

The first slide shows test-confirmed cases:

  • 7,121,976 coronavirus tests have now been performed or released in the UK. This includes 140,359 tests performed or published yesterday.
  • 299,251 people have tested positive, an increase of 1,115 cases since yesterday.

The second slide shows the latest hospital data:

  • 387 people were admitted to hospital with coronavirus in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on June 14, up from 435 a week earlier and a peak of 3,432 on April 1.
  • 379 coronavirus patients are currently in mechanical ventilation beds in the UK, up from 494 a week ago and a peak of 3,301 on April 12.

The third slide shows what is happening in hospitals across the country:

  • There are now 5,308 people in hospital with coronavirus in the UK, down 13% from 6,123 a week ago and down from the peak of 20,698 on April 12.
  • As you will see from the charts, although there are some variations, most countries and regions in the UK broadly follow a similar pattern.

The fourth slide shows the daily numbers of those who unfortunately lost their lives after testing positive for coronavirus:

  • Across all settings, the total number of deaths now stands at 42,153. This is unfortunately an increase of 184 deaths since yesterday.
  • When you measure that on a 7-day moving average, the daily death toll currently stands at 146, down from a peak of 943 on April 14.

As you will see from these slides, we are making significant progress and today marks another milestone.

In just under an hour, the best league in the world will be up and running again after a 100-day break.

All but five countries will broadcast tonight’s matches, underlining football’s global reach and the soft power of British sport. The Premier League is back and the world will be watching.

Of course, it will be very different from what we are used to. But there is no doubt that this is a highly symbolic moment.

An important step in our cautious return to normalcy, players back to work and a boost for our football-loving nation.

We have worked very hard with football authorities, police and medical experts to achieve this. But we also need the fans to play their part.

So please take care of your fellow fans and your communities by watching from home. To keep home advantage, home support.

The remaining 92 Premier League games will be shown live on TV, and I’m delighted that I and others have managed to work hard to get a third of them on free-to-air channels.

Friday will be the first in the clear, with Norwich v Southampton. Then a big day on Saturday, which will be the first-ever Premier League game on the BBC, followed by the free-to-play Merseyside Derby on Sunday.

And there will be extended highlights of all the free games to stream. So you won’t miss any goals.

Our sports men and women have set incredible examples during this pandemic, using their profiles to support worthy causes across the UK.

The England men’s and women’s cricket teams have donated half a million pounds to charitable causes.

Rugby League’s Cheshire West Bank Bears delivered food and parcels to the elderly.

And of course, England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford made the front pages and back pages for the best of reasons – highlighting the struggles facing many families during this difficult time, but it adds up of course to the fantastic job he did. help feed millions of children through the charity FareShare.

The past three months have demonstrated the immense power of sport. It brings us together through benevolence and common humanity.

I was struck by this last week when I teamed up with His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge and some of Britain’s biggest sports stars on mental health awareness.

We discussed the need to bring about a generational shift in perceptions and develop tools for good mental health – whether you’re a sports star at the top of your game, a rookie junior, or a fan going through a tough time. As we get the sport back, I really think this is a great opportunity for all of us to be a lot more open to talking about mental health.

Sports recovery has never been just about elite sports. I know countless people are looking forward to getting back to their gyms and rec centers, five-a-side leagues, and all of their other normal fitness activities.

We are working closely with the sector to get grassroots and community sport back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so, aiming for early July at the earliest. And as we continue our efforts to get children back to school, I want to focus on the role sport can play in improving the physical and even mental health of young people.

Today is an important moment in our recovery. The return of elite sport has provided a model to follow. One based on a close partnership with government, sport and doctors to bring him back safely.

It’s a model we’re applying to other much-loved and much-missed sectors of our economy – especially the performing arts.

I know they face huge challenges, especially given the impact of social distancing on live venues, and I’m looking closely at how we can meet those challenges.

Over the past few weeks and months I have spoken long and hard with people across the cultural sector in the UK to find a way to solve these problems – from some of our most creative directors and producers to those who run our greatest museums, theaters and music venues.

An important part of this is getting performance back into gear. We have made a lot of progress through both the Cultural Renewal Task Force and the Entertainment and Events Task Force that is part of it. However, it is clear that we need greater flexibility to overcome some of the very specific and practical obstacles to the return of live performance.

That’s why, over the next week, we’ll be bringing experts together in a targeted way – bringing together some of our leading theatre, choir and orchestral performers with medical experts and advisors.

The idea is that they will work together in detail to develop that roadmap that is so necessary to play it safe, with a particular focus on piloting innovative ideas that can enable live performance.

I know how essential our theatres, concert halls and performing arts are to our broader cultural ecosystem.

Culture is our business card. He is respected around the world, and I am committed to working with them and across government to support him and preserve his position as a global leader.

Today’s return to live football is an important step. But I hope this is just one more step towards normality, which will be followed by many more in the months to come.

Thanks.