DOWNING St has insisted that Boris Johnson's communications with his top team of ministers is secure after the first Cabinet meeting was conducted online.

Senior ministers dialled in to the meeting instead of sitting around the famous table in Downing Street as part of social distancing measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Downing Street would not be drawn on the software involved but previous examples of videoconferencing in No 10 appeared to show Zoom being used.

Concerns have been raised about the apparent use of Zoom after the use of the software by Ministry of Defence staff was suspended last week while "security implications" were investigated.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "I don't think we have named the particular video conferencing tool that we have been using, but as you would imagine we ensured that it was done in a secure way."

He stressed Downing Street was "following all necessary security procedures" and added: "I am happy to say with confidence we were satisfied it was secure."

Apart from Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, and a small number of officials, all participants in the meeting logged on remotely.

Mr Johnson and Matt Hancock, the UK Health Secretary, are both self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus.

Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, is also self-isolating after developing mild symptoms as is Professor Chris Whitty, England's Chief Medical Officer.

At the Cabinet meeting, Mr Johnson said "the situation is going to get worse before it gets better,” adding: “But it will get better."

Updates on the Government's coronavirus response were given by videoconference by Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Officer.

The Downing Street spokesman said: "The PM said the rising death toll in recent days showed the vital importance of the public continuing to stick to the social distancing guidance which has been put in place by the Government, based on scientific and medical advice.

"The message to the public is: stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.”