Britain must stay in total lockdown until June to properly prevent the full extent of the deadly coronavirus and social distancing could last for months, a senior health chief has warned.
The country’s coronavirus death toll rocketed by 260 to 1,019 yesterday in the worst day the country faced yet. A total of 17,089 people tested positive.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, said on Saturday ‘things will get worse before they get better’ as he stressed the need to stay indoors to support the NHS by slowing the spread.
Senior government figures have been more optimistic and have suggested that coronavirus could peak in April with approximately 5,700 deaths. But Professor Neil Ferguson said Britons will need to stay indoors for a full three months.
The leading epidemiology adviser to the government told The Sunday Times: ‘We’re going to have to keep these measures [the full lockdown] in place, in my view, for a significant period of time – probably until the end of May, maybe even early June. May is optimistic.’
Professor Ferguson added that even if the lockdown is lifted, people will still need to abide by social distancing measures for months to come.
To try and ensure the effectiveness of the lockdown, the Government is spending approximately £5.8 million on letters that will land on 30 million doorsteps along with a leaflet spelling out the Government’s advice following much public confusion.
However, there has been a slight improvement in the daily rate of new cases. A further 2,510 patients were diagnosed with the virus today, a drop of 411 from the 2,921 new patients diagnosed yesterday.
It is unclear whether this drop in new cases is as a result of social distancing measures or because fewer people are being tested for the virus.
The deadly virus is continuing to spread across the country at an exponential rate – it took just 13 days for the number of deaths to go from one to more than 100.
And it has only taken a further 10 days for the total to go from 100 to more than 1,000.
Overall, the number of confirmed cases in the UK is 17,089. But just one week ago, the total paled in comparison at 5,018.