Great Britain

UK coronavirus restrictions could last six months, warns deputy chief medical officer

THE UK's coronavirus restrictions could last for six months, the deputy chief medical officer has warned.

Dr Jenny Harries refused to rule out extending the lockdown, and suggested the restrictions would depend on the peak of the virus.

 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Speaking at today's press conference, the medical expert explained the restrictions would be guided by the infection rate.

She said: "If we are successful we will have squashed the top of that curve which is brilliant but we must not then suddenly revert to our normal way living that would be quite dangerous.

"If we stop then all of our efforts would be wasted and we could then see a second peak. So over time –probably over the next six months we will have a three week review.

"But three to six months to see ideally and lots of uncertainty in that then to see at which point we can get back to normal. It is plausible that it could further than that.

"We may see measures of lockdown going forward over the next six months, that would not be an implausible outcome."

Dr Harries explained there would be a review of the lockdown in three weeks, a review of the curve in two to three momths, then one of the social distancing measures in up to half a year.

It comes as the UK coronavirus death toll rose to 1,228 after 209 more deaths were announced today.

There are currently 19,522 in Britain who have tested positive for Covid-19.

Yesterday the head of NHS England warned Britain would have done "very well" if there are less than 20,000 coronavirus deaths.

Stephen Powis urged Brits not to be "complacent" and said we must lock down to save lives and beat the killer disease.

The NHS England medical director said: "If we can keep deaths below 20,000 we will have done very well in this epidemic.

"If we do reduce the levels to below the level which we thought, that won't be because we are somehow lucky, it won't be because the virus is somehow acting differently in this country.

"It will be because the British public complied with the advice given."

This week, the Prime Minister will send a letter to all British households,  warning the situation will "get worse before it gets better".

Boris, who is self isolating after testing positive for covid-19 wrote: “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.”

He also warns that further lockdown measures could be enforced if needed, writing: "We will not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do.”

Michael Gove stifled a cough while live on The Andrew Marr Show after coronavirus swept through the heart of Government

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