Health minister: "UK has not reached COVID-19 peak so lockdown will stay"

Health minister: "UK has not reached COVID-19 peak so lockdown will stay"
# 11 April 2020 13:49 (UTC +04:00)

Britain has not yet reached the COVID-19 peak which would allow for an easing of tight restrictions of movement, health minister Matt Hancock said on Saturday, APA reports citing Reuters.

The death toll in British hospitals has reached almost 9,000, with 980 more deaths reported on Friday, a figure which exceeded the deadliest day so far in Italy, the country worst hit by the virus.

Among those who have been infected is Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is recovering in hospital after spending three nights in intensive care. His office said he was improving and was back on his feet although his recovery was still at an early stage.

Britain imposed a lockdown three weeks ago in a bid to curb the spread of the virus and the government has come under increasing pressure to detail how long the strict measures on movements would last, with people forced to stay at home and many businesses unable to operate.

Ministers have said Britain needed to pass the peak of the outbreak before changes could be made, and Hancock said although the number of hospital admissions had started to flatten out, there was not enough evidence yet to have confidence they were past the worst.

“Our judgment is we’re not there yet. We haven’t seen a flattening enough to be able to say that we’ve reached the peak,” he told BBC radio.

Some scientists have suggested the peak might still be some weeks off but Hancock said “nobody knows” when it would be.

“There’s all sorts of suggestions. Their job is to make their best estimate and advise us and we have a whole load of different pieces of advice from different scientists,” he said.