Bring back daily conference?

It might be time to bring back regular coronavirus updates

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Should the government go back to daily press conferences?

By Joe Harker

The government is facing calls to restore the daily coronavirus briefings in which ministers and scientific experts explained the current situation in regards to the pandemic.

Scrapped in late June as the restrictions of lockdown were due to be lifted and rolled back, there are now people suggesting they should be reinstated.

Should daily press conferences be restored, or is it alright if they do them when it's necessary instead of going out every day?

The Claim:

When they scrapped the daily conferences, Downing Street said they would still do some for important announcement, but the government has been slated for poor communication during the pandemic.

The announcement of the local lockdown last week was made after 9pm and the changes were due to come into effect at midnight, people essentially had three hours notice and the government had to have a press conference the next day to explain the details.

Ideally the details would be announced before the lockdown comes into action, and with a little more advance warning than being announced during the night.

Even an announcement being made a few hours sooner with the details being made clear before they are imposed would be a better communications strategy.

It's not great for the government to say "hey, over four million people are back on lockdown in less than three hours time", nor is it helpful for people to learn what the rules are after they've been imposed.

The Counter Claim:

Boris Johnson has been told his government needs to be communicating more with the public, as the mixed messaging from the government has confused many.

If a second wave is coming then clarity of communication will be crucial. This is a chance for the government to have a second chance at getting their communications right.

When people aren't sure what the rules are, which is a rather common occurrence when ministers keep changing their minds or insisting restrictions are clear before they've even defined them, they look to the highest authority for the final word.

While it perhaps might be better if the government did conferences only when the situation requires they are missing the right moment to make announcements and provide detail. If they can't pick the right days then they will have to do it every day.

A second wave might be coming, people need to know clearly what the situation is and what the rules are. Confusion helps nobody, least of all the government.

The Facts:

Daily press conferences ended on June 23, after which ministers and experts have still made several appearances at their podiums.

Some health experts have seemingly disappeared from the briefings after appearing unwilling to toe the government's line.

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Boris Johnson told to resume daily coronavirus press conferences to keep ‘confused’ public informed

Boris Johnson is facing calls to resume daily press conferences to keep the public informed about coronavirus after new evidence showed as many as a third do not know the main symptoms of the disease.

Newly released minutes from a meeting of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) revealed concern that as few as 65 per cent of people are aware that a persistent cough and fever can be telltale signs of Covid-19 infection.

The government’s “test, trace and isolate” strategy to bear down on coronavirus relies heavily on the public coming forward for testing if they display any indications of infection, which may not be debilitating enough for them to seek medical treatment or even take to their beds.

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