CORONAVIRUS lockdown limbo could last for weeks as pressure grows on the government to a reveal an exit strategy.
Ministers are reluctant to lift the strict measures despite experts claiming that Brits “cannot hide away forever”.
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Dominic Raab – filling in for Boris Johnson – warned yesterday it was still too early for social distancing to be lifted.
And epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, said “definitive” proof of whether the nationwide-lockdown has worked will take “several more weeks”.
He explained: “It is only when we see the case numbers come down and how quickly transmissions have been reduced we can really conclude anything about what happens next, when these measures can be relaxed”.
It is only when we see the case numbers come down and how quickly transmissions have been reduced we can really conclude anything about what happens next.
Prof Neil Ferguson
It is believed that less than 10 per cent of the population has had the virus and Mr Raab said that discussing a route out of lockdown would be a “distraction”.
Scientists are still struggling to identify how restrictions could be eased without causing more harm to the public, the Times reports.
But Rupert Shute, the deputy scientific adviser at the Home Office, warned yesterday that 80 per cent of the population will eventually get Covid-19.
‘CAN’T HIDE AWAY FOREVER’
He added said that while staying at home was important “we also have to keep functioning our lives”.
Mr Shute told the BBC: “You are no more at risk at the workplace than you would be in your home or at the supermarket. It is about minimising it.
“We are working on the assessment that 80 per cent of us, if we haven’t already, will get the virus. We cannot hide away from it for ever.”
He made the comments during a conference call with officials at the Passport Office – but a transcript was then handed to the BBC
The government has announced it was launching a publicity drive over the bank holiday weekend to get the public to follow the lockdown guidelines over East weekend.
Concerning figures show the number of hospital patients in the UK who had died after testing positive for Covid-19 had risen to 7,978 as of 5pm on Wednesday – an increase of 881 on the previous day.
At the daily No 10 press conference, Mr Raab acknowledged that it was hard for to stay indoors over Easter, but he urged them to show restraint amid signs the measures were having an impact.
It’s still too early to lift the measures that we put in place. We must stick to the plan and we must continue to be guided by the science.
He said: “The deaths are still rising and we haven’t yet reached the peak of the virus. So it’s still too early to lift the measures that we put in place.
“We must stick to the plan and we must continue to be guided by the science.”
Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, said measures were “breaking transmission” of the disease with signs of a “flattening off” in the numbers of new cases and hospital admissions.
However, he warned the numbers of deaths would continue to rise for a “few weeks” and that it was too soon to relax social-distancing.
“It is incredibly important that we continue to do what we are doing,” he said.
The chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said that while the numbers admitted to intensive care had been doubling every three days, that had now slowed.
“This is really now becoming not quite flat, but the doubling time is now six or more days in almost everywhere in the country and extending in time,” he said.
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