Great Britain

UK government's two top scientific advisors hold press conference - live

The UK government's chief medical officer is to warn that we are at a "critical point" in the coronavirus pandemic and "heading in the wrong direction".

Professor Chris Whitty will give a briefing at 11am alongside the UK government's chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance as the number of cases of the virus continues to grow across the UK.

There is also expected to be Welsh Government briefing on its response to coronavirus at 12.30pm in Cathays Park.

In Wales, the infection rate has grown to 27.2 cases for every 100,000 people in the last week, according to , with hotspots in Caerphilly, Merthyr, RCT, Newport, Blaenau Gwent and Bridgend.

In England, the figure is only marginally higher at 33.1 cases for every 100,000, for the seven days up to Thursday, September 17 according to the UK government's data. However the hotspot in Greater Manchester is seeing far greater levels of infection with 187 cases for every 100k people in Bolton.

At his briefing on Friday, Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford did not directly answer questions about whether he would consider a two-week lockdown here in October - as is understood to have been recommended by the UK's core scientific advisory body the Sage committee chaired by Sir Patrick.

Nor did Mr Drakeford directly answer whether he would consider bringing in nationwide restrictions in Wales on pubs and social clubs to limit opening hours, as is happening in RCT.

The First Minister said only that the power to limit opening hours was one of the options contained in the Welsh Government's plan for local lockdowns - and he criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson for not engaging with the leaders of the devolved governments at such a critical point in the pandemic.

The UK government's chief medical officer Prof Whitty believes the country is facing a "very challenging winter period" and that there could be 200-300 deaths a day in the UK by the end of next month unless action is taken now.

It is expected he will share data about how the pandemic has developed in France and Spain at the briefing at 11am.

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