Boris Johnson has warned that coronavirus cases in the UK could double every five days if drastic action is not taken – as he set out new measures for the country to follow. The UK is set to follow many countries across the continent with new measures – including avoiding pubs, bars, and restaurants. But, a report by Imperial College’s COVID-19 Response Team, could explain why the Prime Minister has quickly changed strategy for Britain. The report, which is thought to have informed the government’s decision today, suggested Britain was on course for intensive care demand to be eight times bed capacity – and could have led to 250,000 deaths.
Sky News science correspondent, Thomas Moore, explained to viewers: “They’re talking about how they have changed their minds in the last few days based on what is happening in Italy.
“They also say demand here early in the outbreak is proving to be twice as high on the hospitals as they had been anticipated with patients being admitted to intensive care and a high proportion of those is dying.
“So they have re-done the maths, they are looking again at what is likely to happen here in the UK.
“They’re predicting that they might reduce the peak critical care demand by two thirds and half the number of deaths.
“But even with this optimal mitigation scenario, you’re still looking at eight-fold higher peak demand in critical care beds – over and above the available average capacity in the UK.
“They’re talking that even in the most favourable scenario there would be in the order of 250,000 deaths in the UK based on that strategy.
“What they’re saying is the only possible solution is epidemic suppression as the only viable strategy at this time.
“In effect, stop the virus circulating, that would have to go on until a vaccine was developed in 12 to 18 months time.
“The social and economic policies efforts to reach that goal would be profound. It’s hard to underestimate the significance of this document.”
Non-essential travel should also be stopped.
He also stressed the importance of over-70s self-isolating by the weekend to ward against the virus.
Mr Johnson says that while “fit and active healthy 70-year-olds may find this excessive” the measures the Government have put in place are “overwhelmingly” worthwhile.
He added: “Over the last few days, I’ve been comparing notes and talking to leaders around the world. The UK is leading a global campaign to fight back against this disease.”