UK 'past peak' of coronavirus outbreak – but expert issues dire warning on lockdown end

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Director of the Wellcome Trust Sir Jeremy Farrar told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday he believes Britain is now past the peak of the first coronavirus wave. His optimistic message comes as questions abound over when the Government will lift social distancing measures currently in place in the UK. Sir Jeremy however warned against easing restrictions prematurely as it could mean the epidemic returns with a vengeance.

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According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, Britain has a confirmed total of 121,172 cases of COVID-19, with a total of 16,060 people dying from the disease.

But Government aide Sir Jeremy has advised the UK is now past the peak of the first wave of deadly virus as the number of deaths is beginning to stabilise.

Speaking to Sky News he said: “The number of people dying in this country and actually in many countries around the world is now either stabilising or starting to come down.

“That is good news. We’re probably just past the peak in many parts of this country as is true in many parts of the world.

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Government aide Sir Jeremy has advised the UK is now past the peak of the first wave of deadly virus (Image: SKY)

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Director of the Wellcome Trust Sir Jeremy Farrar spoke to Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday (Image: SKY)

“And we will come off that peak and the numbers will reduce but that has only happened because of the public’s respect for and following of the advice around the social distancing and the lockdowns.”

Sir Jeremy went on to warn of the dangers of lifting social distancing measures too soon as many people in the community remain at risk of infection.

In a stark reminder of the ongoing risk to public health, the leading scientist issued a grave word of caution, predicting the virus could return very quickly if the lockdown ended too soon.

He said: “If we were to release those lockdowns too soon whilst the infection rates are still high and there are still people in the community who’ve got infected then the epidemic would come back again.

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“It would come back very quickly it would rebound within a few weeks or a couple of months and so it’s critical.

“It is that that has driven the change in numbers.

“These things don’t happen by chance.

“They happen because of what we’re all doing and the public deserves great thanks and respect for that. It has made a huge difference.”

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Sir Jeremy refused to give a concrete date on when restrictions should be lifted in the UK, saying “it really depends on the data”.

The UK currently has the 6th-highest number of COVID-19 infections in the world.

There are more than 2.3 million cases of the killer virus worldwide, with the US the most affected having more than 740,000 cases.

Spain and Italy have also been severely impacted by the disease, having 195,944 and 178,972 cases respectively at the time of writing.


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