Europe

Lockdown until June: Will the lockdown end in May or June?

Coronavirus is continuing to spread across the globe, and to delay the peak of the virus in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed the entire country on lockdown. With warm weather this weekend, Mr Johnson warned Britons to abide by the guidelines.

Now Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London has warned the coronavirus infection rate will remain high for “weeks and weeks” if people flout the social distancing rules this weekend.

Professor Ferguson said while the epidemic was expected to plateau in the next week to 10 days, people’s behaviour was critical to determining what happens next.

Asked what would happen if people flout the social distancing rules this weekend, Professor Ferguson told BBC Radio 4: “That moves us to a slightly more pessimistic scenario.

“We still think things will plateau but we’ll be at quite high levels of infection for weeks and weeks rather than seeing quite a rapid decline as the type seen in China.”

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But when will the lockdown end? Will the lockdown end in May or June?

When Mr Johnson announced the lockdown, he said it would initially be in place for three weeks, with a review at the end of that period.

This would take the UK to April 13, and today, Professor Ferguson – a Government adviser – has said the lockdown rules are unlikely to lift before the end of May.

This would mean pubs, restaurants and nearly all shops would remain closed, but for exactly how long is still unknown. 

Professor Ferguson said: “We want to move to a situation where at least by the end of May we’re able to substitute some less intensive measures, more based on technology and testing, for the complete lockdown we have now.”

A pandemic modeller advising the Government has warned the lockdown measures are merely a “placeholder” and Britain had “painted itself into a corner” with no clear exit strategy from the COVID-19 crisis.

Professor Graham Medley told The Times: “This disease is so nasty that we had to suppress it completely.

“Then we’ve kind of painted ourselves into a corner, because then the question will be, what do we do now?

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“We will have done three weeks of this lockdown, so there’s a big decision coming up on April 13.

“In broad terms are we going to continue to harm children to protect vulnerable people, or not?”

Prof Medley added: “If we carry on with lockdown, it buys us more time, we can get more thought put into it, but it doesn’t resolve anything, it’s a placeholder.”

Worldwide cases of coronavirus have grown to more than one million, with more than 60,000 deaths.

Across the UK, there are 38,168 cases of coronavirus as of Saturday afternoon.

In total 3,605 people have died, and among those are NHS workers.

On Friday, England’s chief nursing officer, Ruth May, urged people to think of two nurses who died after contracting coronavirus and “stay home for them”.

Areema Nasreen and Aimee O’Rourke, both mothers of three children, died alongside two healthcare assistants, it was announced on Friday.

Ms May, speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, said: “This weekend is going to be very warm and it will be very tempting to go out and enjoy those summer rays.

“But please, I ask you to remember Aimee and Areema.

“Please stay at home for them.”

She added: “I worry that there’s going to be more and I want to honour them today and recognise their service.”

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