Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he tide can be turned in the coronavirus fight within the next 12 weeks as he updated the public on the timetable for restrictions.
“I’m conscious as the days have gone by people will want to know how long we’re expecting them to keep it up,” he told his daily press conference in No 10.
“I think, looking at it all, that we can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks and I’m absolutely confident that we can send coronavirus packing in this country.
“But only if we all take the steps that we’ve outlined, that is vital, that’s how we’re going to reduce the peak and once we’ve achieved that and I think that we will, if we take the steps I’ve said, then the scientific progress that we’ve been making will really start coming into play.”
‘Huge efforts’ made by the public
Mr Johnson thanked the public for the ‘huge efforts’ they have taken in complying with the advice for the battle against Covid-19.
“We’re asking students to put their education on hold, we’re asking people not to socialise in the normal way and already we can see the impact this is having on the UK economy and on business, on great, great companies,” he said.
“So it’s vital that we in Government stand behind them when what we are asking everyone to do is so crucial for saving literally thousands of lives by fighting this virus.”
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UK vaccine trials to start within a month
Mr Johnson said: “UK experts, scientists, expect to start trials for the first vaccine within a month. And above all we’re getting better at testing.”
He added: “To give you an idea of what is coming down the track, we’re in negotiations today to buy a so-called antibody test, as simple as a pregnancy test which can tell whether you have had the disease and it’s early days, but if it works as its proponents claim, then we will buy literally hundreds of thousands of these kits as soon as practicable.
“Because obviously it has the potential to be a total gamechanger.”
Mr Johnson said: “By the same token we’re massively increasing the testing to see whether you have it now and ramping up daily testing from 5,000 a day, to 10,000 to 25,000 and then up at 250,000.”
‘Stand by your employees, because we will stand by you’
Mr Johnson added: “That knowledge of where the virus is will make a huge difference to our management of the disease and our ability to reduce disruption and economic difficulty.”
He said: “It’s by this combination of ruthless, determined, collective action and scientific progress that we’re already seeing that we will succeed.
“And I know how difficult it may be or it may seem right now, but if we do this together, we will save as I say many, many thousands of lives.”
Mr Johnson said: “I say to business, stand by your employees, stand by your workers, because we will stand by you.”