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It could be six months or more before UK returns to normal - key points from Downing Street press conference

It could be six months or more before UK returns to normal - key points from Downing Street press conference

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries provided Sunday's update on the UK's response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus from Downing Street.

Mr Jenrick updated the public on the total number of cases and deaths so far in the UK, speaking at Downing Street's daily Coronavirus press conference. As of 9am on Sunday, 19,522 people have tested positive for the virus in the UK. Of those, 1,228 have sadly died. Speaking on Sunday, Mr Jenrick said;

"The virus is indiscriminate - it doesn't matter who you are, where you are or how old you are. We each have a part to play by staying at home, protecting the NHS and helping to save lives. We all have a duty to one another"

Mr Jenrick said during the digital press conference that all parts of the country "are now on an emergency footing". He described how the government is establishing strategic centres across the country to coordinate the response to the virus pandemic. Mr Jenrick said;

"We are establishing strategic co-ordination centres across the whole country. Each centre is led by gold commanders. We're bringing together senior members of the emergency services - the police, the fire service, the ambulance service - with local authorities and the NHS to lead communities through this challenging period."

He added that 170 million masks, 42.8 million gloves, 13.7 million aprons, 182,000 gowns and almost 10 million items of cleaning equipment have recently been delivered to NHS trusts and healthcare settings. In a message for NHS workers, Mr Jenrick said: "We will not stop until we have got you the equipment that you need".

According to Mr Jenrick, the government has written to one million people who are most at risk from the virus, advising them to self-isolate for 12 weeks, and he reminded these people that the NHS can provide support for them during these difficult times. Mr Jenrick said packages including essential foods have already started being delivered to the vulnerable.

Answering questions from the media, deputy chief medical officer Dr Harries said the government was aiming for a 'moving target' in ending the pandemic. She said;

"The PM said he would review in three weeks. It would be foolish of us to start something one day and assume it's going to have an impact the next.

"Those measures have been in place solidly for a week or two. We need a couple of weeks to see that through."

She added that it could be six months or longer before the county gets fully back to normal from the pandemic. She said that she did not mean that the country would necessarily be under full lockdown for six months, but that interventions would have to be gradually lifted and reviewed regularly.

Mr Jenrick reminded Britons that "the more we comply, the more we will be able to protect the NHS" and the faster the UK may be able to return to some normality.

 
Photo Credit: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street under licence (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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