UK lockdown must last until June to avoid worst of coronavirus, health chief says

29 March 2020, 10:33 | Updated: 29 March 2020, 17:27

Brits may need to remain under quarantine for three months or longer
Brits may need to remain under quarantine for three months or longer. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The UK must remain under quarantine until June to stand any chance at avoiding the worst effects of coronavirus, a senior health chief has warned.

So far in the UK, more than 17,000 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19, with 1,019 of those who tested positive sadly dying.

Senior government sources have said the peak of the outbreak in the UK could come within the next three weeks, peaking in April with an estimated 5,700 deaths.

But the leading epidemiology adviser to the government, Professor Neil Ferguson has said the lockdown will need to remain in place until the summer to give the country the best chance of controlling it.

He 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."

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Proffessor
Professor Neil Ferguson is the leading epidemiology adviser to the government. Picture: PA

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the country on lockdown for three weeks, urging people to remain in their homes unless they need to buy food or have some exercise.

The aim is to "flatten the curve" of the pandemic in the UK, to give the NHS the best chance to deal with the influx of patients and save their lives.

Mr Johnson has written to the 30 million households in the UK warning "things will get worse before they get better", and urging people to remain inside.

He is currently in self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, will stress the need to stay indoors to support the NHS by slowing the spread.

Boris Johnson is currently in self-isolation after testing positive for the virus
Boris Johnson is currently in self-isolation after testing positive for the virus. Picture: PA

At an anticipated cost of £5.8 million, the letters will land on 30 million doorsteps along with a leaflet spelling out the Government's advice following much public confusion.

It comes amid allegations the government's advice to citizens has been confusing, and the letter will be accompanied by leaflets explained the rules on leaving the house.

A clear explanation of the symptoms will also be included as will guidance on hand washing.

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