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Coronavirus: Boris Johnson to launch Covid-19 alert system

Image copyright PA Media Image caption Boris Johnson is expected to announce the alert system when he addresses the country on Sunday A Covid-19 alert system is set to be launched by the government in England to track the virus, the prime minister is expected to announce on Sunday.The system will rank the threat level…

Boris Johnson

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PA Media

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Boris Johnson is expected to announce the alert system when he addresses the country on Sunday

A Covid-19 alert system is set to be launched by the government in England to track the virus, the prime minister is expected to announce on Sunday.

The system will rank the threat level from coronavirus on a scale of one to five and be adjusted according to data.

Boris Johnson is due to give a televised address updating the nation on the progress of lockdown measures.

He is not expected to provide dates for when the restrictions – first announced on 23 March – might change.

The new system will apply to England only but the government is working with the devolved administrations as they develop their own.

It is understood the system – with alerts ranging from green (level one) to red (level five) – will be similar to the one used to keep the public informed about the terror threat level.

Mr Johnson is expected to say England is currently at stage four but moving towards stage three.

The warning tool – to be administered by a new “joint biosecurity centre” – will also reflect the virus threat in different parts of the country, meaning the threat level in one city could differ quite widely from another.

This could inform the local alteration of restrictions in England.

A meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee involving the cabinet, devolved nations and the Mayor of London will be held before his televised address on Sunday evening, with the plans to be put before Parliament on Monday.

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Media caption“Public transport cannot go back to where it left off” – Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

On Saturday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned the government would proceed with “extreme caution” when lifting lockdown measures.

Speaking at the daily coronavirus press conference he said the move beyond Covid-19 would not be “a single leap to freedom” as he pledged £250m to improve cycling and walking infrastructure across England in the coming weeks.

Mr Shapps also refused to confirm if 14-day quarantines would be introduced for people arriving in the UK, saying he would wait for Mr Johnson to address the nation on Sunday.

Another 346 UK coronavirus deaths were recorded on Saturday, taking the total to 31,587.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed 50,000 coronavirus test samples were to the US earlier this week after problems in UK laboratories.

A spokesperson said expanding Britain’s virus testing network had involved setting up an “entirely new” lab network to process tests, adding “contingencies” – such as sending swabs abroad – were in place for when “problems arise”.

It comes as the government failed to hit the 100,000 daily testing target for the seventh day running. There were 96,878 tests delivered in the 24 hours up to 09:00 BST on Friday.

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