UK hints at stricter lockdown measures to come

The UK government has warned that the national foreclosure may continue beyond the initial three-week period and further restrictions may be imposed to ensure that health services can cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Boris Johnson’s government is preparing to speed up the number of deaths and diagnoses in the coming days. In the UK, 1,228 people died from the virus – an increase of 209 in one day – and 19,522 tested positive.

Michael Gove, Cabinet Minister, said on Sunday that the peak of the epidemic was “not a fixed point, a date in the newspaper like Easter,” according to reports that the government believed that the week beginning 13 April would be the UK peak of the epidemic. He said the behavior would affect the length of the strict conditions for social distancing.

“There are different projections for the length of the lockdown, but it is not the case that the length of the lockdown is something that is absolutely fixed,” he told Sky News. “It depends on all of our behavior. If we follow the guidelines, we will be able to fight the spread of the disease more effectively. “

The national lockdown, which prevents Britons from leaving their homes except for essential purchases and a daily exercise period, was announced by Boris Johnson on Monday and is being enforced by police. All non-essential travel has been prohibited and only key employees are encouraged to use public transportation.

Gove, who plays a central role in the government’s preparations for the coronavirus crisis, acknowledged that “everyone is making a sacrifice” but told the BBC that the country should “prepare for a meaningful period when these measures will still be in place. “

While some senior Johnson government officials are keen to facilitate the foreclosure as soon as possible, scientific experts have warned that removing it too quickly could cause a second wave of coronavirus cases later this summer that could overwhelm the National Health Service.

Neil Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College London who worked closely with Downing Street on modeling and managing the coronavirus epidemic, suggested that full locking restrictions should remain in place for up to three months .

“We are going to have to keep these measures in place, in my opinion, for a significant period of time – probably until the end of May, perhaps even early June. May is optimistic,” he told the Sunday Times. .

Johnson also left open the possibility of further restrictions. The Prime Minister wrote to every household this weekend to warn that “things will get worse before they get better” with the crisis.

He suggested that tougher measures may need to be introduced to help the NHS cope. “We will not hesitate to go further if that is what scientific and medical advice tells us to do.”

While Gove praised the British for following the foreclosure measures planned for last week, he urged citizens to use “common sense” over the duration of their exercise. “For most people, a walk of up to an hour, a 30-minute run, or a bike ride between them depending on their level of fitness is appropriate.”

Michael Gove: “It’s not the case that the duration of a lock is something that is absolutely fixed” © Pippa Fowles / 10 Downing Street

He also apologized to a company that had offered to help provide ventilation parts to the NHS and received no response. “I am very sorry if this company says it has not received a response, I will investigate as soon as I speak no more,” he told BBC Andrew Marr.

“If this company wants to contact me directly, we will investigate, as there have been cases where people hoped to be able to help, but in fact the material they produce does not meet NHS specifications, this is not is not what is necessary to save lives, but we have followed every lead that has been presented to us. “

The government has been criticized in recent days for missing opportunities to acquire more medical ventilators through equipment suppliers. The Financial Times interviewed four companies who complained that offers to provide some of the additional machinery needed to save the lives of people with acute breathing difficulties were not accepted in time.

In a statement posted on the Cabinet Office website on Saturday afternoon, the government rejected allegations that it did not accept offers to supply fans and said it had responded to all companies that had makes offers of help.

He said: “Many distributors offer us plans for future supply from abroad, but unfortunately many of them simply have not stood up to due diligence, where the safety of our citizens is d of paramount importance.

“However, the government has managed in recent days to buy directly from factories. In fact, this week we took delivery from a manufacturer in an EU member state. Of course, we have purchased from agents where this is not possible. ”

Gove said the NHS now has 8,000 fans, of which another 8,000 are expected to come from the UK and abroad. He also pointed out that another 10,000 could be supplied under an agreement with several British companies, including Dyson. Ministers estimate that approximately 30,000 fans will be required.

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