The government is to hold daily televised press conferences to update the public on the fight against coronavirus, Downing Street has said.

From Monday, Boris Johnson or a senior minister will address the media to ensure people are informed about how to protect themselves.

It follows criticism of No 10 for an apparent lack of transparency over its plans to stem the spread of the virus.

A total of 35 people have died in the UK after contracting Covid-19.

It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that every Briton over the age of 70 will be told “within the coming weeks” to stay at home for an extended period to protect themselves.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the government is “committed” to keeping the public informed about what it is doing to fight the spread of the virus, and will always be led by science to “bring forward the right responses at the right time”.

Mr Johnson will host the press conference on Monday, alongside Prof Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical adviser, and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

The PM or a senior minister will host each briefing, and answer media questions, while supported by a range of medical and scientific experts, No 10 said.

His speech to the media is set to happen after he chairs an emergency Cobra meeting on Monday afternoon, when further decisions could be made on actions to stop the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The meeting will discuss the “next steps” on government plans to shield the elderly and vulnerable people from the virus, and whether mass gatherings should be banned.

In a phone call on Monday, Mr Johnson will encourage leaders of the G7 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – to back the World Health Organization response, and provide funding and expertise to speed up the development of a vaccine.

Earlier, Mr Hancock told the BBC that leading British manufacturers are being asked to help produce vital medical equipment, such as ventilators, to help with an expected surge in demand.

Hotels could also be converted into makeshift hospitals, while the government has begun negotiating with private healthcare providers to obtain thousands of extra beds in private hospitals.

Mr Hancock said details of emergency legislation giving the government more powers to deal with the outbreak will be shared on Tuesday.

The number of confirmed UK cases of the virus has reached 1,372, with 40,279 people tested, according to the latest Department of Health figures.

Almost all of the latest cases were in England, but 34 new cases were announced in Wales, 32 in Scotland and 11 in Northern Ireland.

People self-isolating with mild symptoms of the virus are no longer being tested.

The government says tests will primarily be given:

In other key updates:

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