Prime Minister Boris Johnson has posted letters to 30 million households across the UK, cautioning people: “We know things will get worse before they get better”, as he continued to isolate himself in Downing Street after testing positive for coronavirus.
Alongside the letter, residents will receive a leaflet outlining official advice, with clear explanations of symptoms, hand washing guidance, rules on leaving the house, self-isolating with symptoms and shielding vulnerable people. The UK death toll has reached 1,019.
“The Prime Minister is continuing to lead the Government’s response to coronavirus as he self isolates after testing positive for the virus”, a spokesperson said. Health secretary Matt Hancock and Scotland secretary Alister Jack are among senior figures afflicted by the virus.
Johnson says in the letter that the more Britons follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal. But health officials have not ruled out further restrictions during the ongoing three-week lockdown that may last until September.
Johnson says: “It has been truly inspirational to see our doctors, nurses and other carers rise magnificently to the needs of the hour. Thousands of retired doctors and nurses are returning to the NHS – and hundreds of thousands of citizens are volunteering to help the most vulnerable.
“That is why, at this moment of national emergency, I urge you, please, to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt called on Sunday for mass testing on the lines of that conducted in South Korea and Germany, so that the lockdown period could be shortened. His call was supported by former prime minister Tony Blair.
Hunt wrote in The Sunday Telegraph that mass testing gave authorities greater clarity in identifying and containing potential outbreaks: “Where you find it, you can isolate and contain it. And where you don’t, vital services continue to function”.
“With mass testing, accompanied by rigorous tracing of every person a Covid-19 patient has been in touch with, you can break the chain of transmission”.