UK coronavirus lockdown ‘making a difference’ in fight against Covid-19, chief scientist says

It has been a week since Boris Johnson instructed the British public to “stay at home” and already the lockdown measures are starting to take effect, England’s chief scientific advisor has said.

Sir Patrick Vallance told Monday’s coronavirus news briefing that social distancing measures are already “making a difference” and that community transmission of Covid-19 is thought to be decreasing.

The NHS is seeing around 1,000 additional patients admitted to hospital each day – a daily rise which Sir Patrick described as “stable”.

Some 9,000 Covid-19 patients are currently being treated in hospitals in England, up from around 6,200 on Friday.

NHS Chief Sir Simon Stevens says there are up to 9,000 patients with coronavirus in hospital

Addressing reporters in Downing Street, he said of the admission rate: “That shows that it’s going up not in an increasing amount but in a constant amount which may suggest that we’re already beginning to see some effect.”

“I do expect that number to continue. I expect people coming every day to be about that, it may go up a little bit.

“And in two or three weeks you would expect that to stabilise and to start to go down a bit.”

His comments came shortly after the confirmed UK coronavirus death toll hit 1,408 – up 180 from 1,228 on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, the head of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said around one in four NHS doctors are off work sick or in isolation.

Public Health England (PHE) also announced that almost 11,000 coronavirus tests a day can now be carried out.

This week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will release figures on deaths linked to Covid-19 in the wider community, such as care homes.

The ONS will look at deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions.

These figures are likely to offer detail on how many community deaths involve coronavirus, rather than just looking at deaths in hospitals.

Sir Patrick said these ONS figures would provide “extra numbers” but they would not be “large.”


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