A top scientific advisor on the coronavirus pandemic has warned Brits NOT to flout social distancing rules this weekend.
Professor Neil Ferguson cautioned there will be new coronavirus infections for weeks if people relax during the lockdown.
His words came as forecasters predicted warm temperatures of up to 20C on Saturday, April 4, and Sunday, April 5.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Professor Ferguson said he expects the coronavirus cases to plateau in the next seven to 10 days.
But he also made it clear that was dependent on people sticking to advice and behaving appropriately.
He told listeners: “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.”
We’ll be at quite high levels of infection for weeks and weeks.
However, the Imperial College London academic also seemed to indicate the lockdown could be over by the end of May.
But that would again only happen if the coronavirus spread lets up and testing is stepped up.
Get coronavirus cases down
He said: “The critical thing first is to get case numbers down.”
Professor Ferguson also said he was “hopeful” it may be move to a different regime in “a few weeks’ time”.
He also emphasised we would not be seeing a return to “normal life”, however.
Professor Ferguson continued: “We want to move to a situation where at least by the end of May that we’re able to substitute some less intensive measures.
“More based on technology and testing, for the complete lockdown we have now.”
Intensive testing needed
He added moves are underway to look at ‘substituting’ the current “very intense social distancing”.
And that would need more “intensive testing, very rapid access to testing, contact tracing of contracts”.
“But in order to substitute that regime for what we’re doing now, we need to get case numbers down,” he said.
People are only supposed to leave home for ‘essential’ reasons such as food shopping, medical reasons or exercising once a day.
Figures from the Department of Health on Friday confirmed the UK coronavirus death toll had risen by 684 to 3,605.
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