Boris Johnson has told the nation he is “absolutely confident that we can send coronavirus packing in this country” and the tide can be turned within the next 12 weeks.
The Prime Minister urged members of the public to heed the advice to keep up social distancing and stay at home if ill or if somebody in their household is ill as he said: “I know it’s tough, I know it’s difficult… but please, please follow the advice.”
He thanked everyone for the “huge efforts that the country is making” and urged businesses to stand by their employees, with further announcements due from Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Friday.
But he stressed that “nothing is ruled out”, suggesting tougher restrictions on movement could be introduced if people failed to comply with advice.
“I’m conscious as the days have gone by that people will want to know how long we’re expecting them to keep it up,” he told reporters at his daily press conference in Downing Street.
“I think, looking at it all, that we can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks and I’m absolutely confident that we can send coronavirus packing in this country.
“But only if we all take the steps that we’ve outlined, that is vital, that’s how we’re going to reduce the peak and once we’ve achieved that and I think that we will, if we take the steps I’ve said, then the scientific progress that we’ve been making will really start coming into play.”
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) March 19, 2020
It comes as the Queen issued a message to the nation which says the UK is “entering a period of great concern and uncertainty”, adding that “our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one”.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Italy rose to 3,405, overtaking the total number of deaths so far registered in China.