Boris Johnson placed the country under curfew on March 23, almost four weeks ago, as he introduced extreme measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 contagion. The lockdown has had a profound social and economic impact, as businesses were forced to shut their doors and workers were laid off in their thousands. Although the Government is almost certain to extend the quarantine period for at least another three weeks on Thursday, Chris Whitty offered glimmers of hope that the end to the lockdown might not be too far away.
Professor Whitty said at the daily Downing Street press conference that the epidemic appeared to be reaching a peak and that experts were starting to believe that the infection rate was starting to “flatten out”.
He added that the next ten days would help to provide crucial evidence to support those claims.
The Chief Medical Officer told reporters: “The more understanding we have of where that (the peak) is, which will happen over the next ten days, the more easy it is to judge how we can go into the next phase in a way that is properly evidence-based.”
Mr Whitty cautioned that the number of deaths was still likely to go up, as many new deaths were under-reported due the Easter holiday period.
He explained: “After a long four day weekend there may well be a bounce up tomorrow.
“I think it is very important we don’t get to the point where we say, look at the numbers of deaths that means we have passed the peak.
“But we do all think that this has flattened out.
“Sadly we do think that high numbers of deaths will continue, certainly for a short while on from where we are at the moment.
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According to the SUN, the document has been seen by ministers, and calls for the High Street to be reopened.
The reports said that coffee shops, estate agents and restaurants should be the first to get the all clear to open their doors to customers again.
Meanwhile, Denmark became the first country in Europe to reopen its schools, as nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools welcomed children back to classes on Wednesday.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel held a meeting with the heads of Germany’s 16 federal states to examine the scientific evidence and ponder the question of when to release the country from its curfew.
Afterwards, the Chancellor announced that teaching at schools across the country would start again from May 4.
Initially this would be for students in their final years of primary or secondary school.