UK must expect 6 mnths lockdown to prevent second outbreak: Health chief

Topics Britain PM | Britain | Coronavirus

File photo of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson | Photo: AP/PTI
Another six months in lockdown should be expected in order to prevent a second outbreak of the coronavirus in the UK, warned the country's deputy chief medical officer.

Jenny Harries revealed that some, but not all, draconian measures currently in place could be imposed until September, the said in a report on Thursday.

The lockdown has forced people to revise their lifestyles in a major way.

While speaking to the BBC, Harries said that the government did not want people to have to this for an unnecessarily long period of time.

But, she added: "We don't want to lift those measures (too soon) and find that we have a sudden upsurge and our efforts will have been wasted.

"Overall we are looking at a scenario of over a six-month period but not necessarily with a lock down of this level going on throughout that time.

"We are likely able to raise some of the measures as we go forward and keep in a very controlled pattern."

Harries suggested that the number of patients currently being infected speeding up could start to plateau as the spread of it is slowed by people staying at home, the reported.

In the past week alone, 6,903 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK. The week before saw 2,710.

Meanwhile, Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London said that the British capital was "going to be very difficult in the next two to three weeks".

"All I would say is, with the lockdown now in place, those numbers are going to start to plateau. The challenge we have is there's a lag.

"The people being admitted to hospital right now were infected a week, two weeks, even sometimes three weeks ago, so without doubt the next one (or) two weeks are going to be very difficult," he added.

On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus but would continue to discharge his duties from self-isolation.

He becomes the second high-profile British leader to test positive for coronavirus in recent days after Prince Charles, the heir to the the throne.

Some ministers in the Johnson government and MPs have also tested positive for COVID-19, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock whose announcement came shortly after the Prime Minister's.

The UK has so far reported 14,751 confirmed coronavirus cases with 761 deaths.

Trump speaks with UK PM Johnson, wishes him speedy recovery

US President Donald Trump on Friday spoke with the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson after the British leader tested positive for the deadly novel coronavirus and wished him speedy recovery.

Johnson in a video message on Friday said that he has tested positive for coronavirus after experiencing "mild symptoms", becoming the first world leader to announce the infection.

In the message posted on Twitter, the 55-year-old Johnson said he will continue to lead the UK government's response to the deadly virus, which has claimed several lives in the country.

Fitch downgrades UK debt to AA-, outlook negative

Fitch Ratings on Friday downgraded Britain's debt a notch and lowered the outlook to negative, citing the "significant weakening" of public finances and damage to the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

"The coronavirus outbreak has inflicted an unprecedented shock on financial markets and economic activity, with policymakers struggling to avert a longer-lasting downturn," Fitch said in a statement.

In addition, lingering uncertainty over Brexit and the "uncertainty around the future trade relationship with the EU could constrain the strength of the post-crisis economic recovery.

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