By Joe Middleton and Ryan Fahey and Isabella Nikolic and Jemma Carr and Jack Newman For Mailonline – March 29, 2020
Britain must stay in total lockdown until June to properly prevent the full extent of the deadly coronavirus and social distancing could last for months, a senior health chief has warned.
The country’s coronavirus death toll rocketed by 260 to 1,019 yesterday in the worst day the country faced yet. A total of 17,089 people tested positive for the bug.
The Prime Minister, who is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, said on Saturday ‘things will get worse before they get better’ as he stressed the need to stay indoors to support the NHS by slowing the spread.
Senior government figures have been more optimistic and have suggested that coronavirus could peak in April with approximately 5,700 deaths. But Professor Neil Ferguson said Britons will need to stay indoors for a full three months.
The leading epidemiology adviser to the government 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.’
Professor Ferguson added that even if the lockdown is lifted, people will still need to abide by social distancing measures for months to come.
It came as Michael Gove today declined to be drawn on how long the tough measures restricting people’s lives would be in place for, and that ministers would not hesitate to enforce tougher rules if necessary.
‘There are different projections as to how long the lockdown might last,’ he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, when asked about one key expert’s prediction of June.
‘But it’s not the case that the length of the lockdown is something that is absolutely fixed.
‘It depends on all of our behaviour. If we follow the guidelines, we can deal more effectively with the spread of the disease.’