This is when today's emergency Cobra meeting will take place to discuss lockdown measures

Thursday, 9th April 2020, 10:59 am
Updated Thursday, 9th April 2020, 11:14 am

The UK government is to hold an emergency Cobra meeting today to review lockdown measures.

First secretary of state Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will chair the meeting with key ministers and scientific advisers joining.

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Those present will look at evidence from scientists on lockdown measures and the impact they’ve had on stemming the spread of coronavirus.

According to the BBC a formal decision on lockdown measures is not expected immediately after the meeting.

What time is today’s Cobra meeting?

Speaking at Wednesday’s daily press briefing Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed that a Cobra meeting would take place on Thursday.

The Chancellor did not specify a time specific time.

The previous meeting on March 23, which determined that Britain would enter an effective lockdown, took place at 5pm. The meeting before that took place at roughly 11am on March 12.

Who will be in attendance?

The Cobra meeting will take place virtually and it is expected that the four key members of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “war cabinet” will be present. They are Dominic Raab, Rishi Sunak, Matt Hancock and Michael Gove.

They will likely be joined by a host of scientific and medical experts, likely including chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries.

Will the lockdown be lifted?

It’s not looking likely.

On Wednesday Welsh First Minister Marcus Drakeford said that lockdown would carry on beyond the Easter weekend in Wales.

Drakeford said: "We will not throw away the gains we have made, and the lives we can save, by abandoning our efforts just as they begin to bear fruit."

The rest of the UK will likely follow suit, especially in the wake of its record death toll of 938 on Wednesday.

Government advisers have also been signalling for some time that the lockdown will likely carry on beyond the initial three week period. On March 29 deputy medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said that it would take “two to three months” to understand whether the lockdown has been effective in flattening the curve of the coronavirus pandemic.

Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist from Imperial College London and adviser to the government has previously stated that measures may be in place until early June.

What is COBRA and when are meetings called?

The name stands for “Cabinet Office Briefing Room A” and refers to the emergency council which is formed when a crisis arises which will call for various different departments to work in tandem.

They meet in the Cabinet Office's briefing rooms (usually room A), hence the name.

The idea is to convene all the relevant parties at once to make rapid, effective action possible. In America, the Situation Room provides roughly the same function.

Having originally been formed in response to the miner's strike in 1972, past COBRA meetings have also been called to deal with issues like the fire-fighters' strike, terrorist attacks across Europe and the US, and the Novichok poisoning case.