THE UK coronavirus lockdown must last until June, the government's leading epidemiology adviser has warned.
It comes after the UK's death toll for the deadly bug surged to 1,019 last night - the biggest 24 hour jump the nation has seen so far.
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And yesterday, Boris Johnson said the situation "would get worse before it gets better".
Speaking in an interview, Professor Neil Ferguson said the entire population could be required to stay at home for nearly three months.
He said: “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.”
He told The Times that when the lockdown was finally lifted, people would probably still be asked to enforce some forms of social distancing for months more.
It could mean schools and universities stay shut until the autumn, with people told to continue working from home.
'WHATEVER IT TAKES'
Yesterday, a letter written by the Prime Minister pledged to help Britain beat the virus pandemic.
His letter, to be sent this week, says the Government will do “whatever it takes to help you make ends meet”.
But Boris also warns the government will not hesitate to go further if the scientific and medical evidence points to the need for tougher controls on people’s movement.
His letter states: “It’s important for me to level with you — we know things will get worse before they get better.
“But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal.”
Mr Johnson announced earlier this week that he will run the country from his Downing Street flat after testing positive for coronavirus.
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The PM will remain in isolation alone for seven days under Public Health guidelines, while is pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds isolates separately.
A source added: “The PM believes he owes it to every one of us to explain directly why these tough measures are required. He is also keen to thank them for their efforts.
“It’s important to let people know how serious this pandemic is but also to give everyone a little hope that it won’t be forever and they will get all the support they need.”
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