The government has issued updates on the condition of Boris Johnson, when lockdown measures might be eased and when we might see the rate of deaths in the UK begin to slow.
It was made clear that lockdown measures are not done yet and that the government will continue with social distancing for the time being.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, speaking at the Downing Street daily briefing, said: “Can I start with an update on the Prime Minister – he’s still in intensive care but he continues to make positive steps forward and he’s in good spirits.”
Mr Raab said 243,421 people have been tested for the virus, 65,077 have tested positive, and the number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms now stands at 16,784.
“And of those who have contracted the virus, 7,978 have sadly died and our thoughts and our prayers are with their family and friends,” Mr Raab said.
On the lockdown measures, Mr Raab said “we’re not done yet” before adding data is being gathered on the impact of social-distancing.
He said: “While the early signs suggest that they are having the impact we need to see, it’s too early to say that conclusively.
“Sage will meet next week to discuss the latest evidence and we will keep the measures we’ve put in place under review.”
Mr Raab added: “We don’t expect to be able to say more on this until the end of next week.
“The measures will have to stay in place until we’ve got the evidence that clearly shows we’ve moved beyond the peak.
“It’s been almost three weeks and we’re starting to see the impact of the sacrifices we’ve all made.
“But 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 said it is important to continue with the measures in place.
He said: “The measures that everybody has taken, the difficult things that we’ve all had to do, are making a difference, they’re making a big difference.
“We know that the social distancing is working and we know that people are doing what they’re supposed to do and we need to keep doing that.
“And the reason we need to keep doing that is because it stops the transmission of the virus in the community and we know that that is already happening.”
He added: “The message is clear which is the social distancing we’re doing is breaking transmission, it’s stopping the hospital admissions, beginning to see that flattening off, still unbelievably busy but beginning to see that flatten off, it’s preventing more people going into intensive care and it will prevent deaths.”
Sir Patrick, responding to a question about death projections, said: “In general I’d expect the deaths to continue to keep going up for about two weeks after the intensive care picture improves and so we’re not there yet in terms of knowing exactly when that will be, but that’s the sort of time frame I’d expect.”
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, asked about the speed of infection, said: “At the time when I was first talking about this the doubling time – how fast we were doubling in terms of numbers, particularly in intensive care – was about three days, it varied a bit.
“This has got steadily longer in time over the last two weeks thanks to what people have done.”
He added: “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.”
Sir Patrick, addressing the spread of the virus in the community, said: “This is not doubling. In the community you’d expect this now to be shrinking for all the reasons I’ve said and the evidence suggests that’s what’s happening in terms of the transmission in community.”
Mr Raab, pressed about when the UK will publish the principles which will guide the Government’s strategy in lifting the lockdown, said: “We’ll make the right decisions at the right moments and we’ll be guided by the science.”