Warning for economy
Lockdown may last until June, say top scientists
Boris Johnson is writing to every household
Britain may be forced to stay in total lockdown until June to tackle the deadly coronavirus, according to senior government advisers.
In a stark warning of continued paralysis of sections of the economy, the chief medical officer for Scotland has warned that the restrictions on people’s movements could last for 13 weeks.
Catherine Calderwood said anything shorter risked the virus coming back.
She said the experience of other countries showed that strict measures were needed.
Her comments follow a message from Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, who said it may be necessary for people to stay at home for three months.
We’re going to have to keep these measures in place, in my view, for a significant period of time– Prof Neil Ferguson
The latest advice comes as the Prime Minister writes to every household stating that things will get worse before they get better.
Britain’s coronavirus death toll rocketed by 260 to 1,019 yesterday in the worst day the country faced yet. A total of 17,089 people tested positive for the bug.
According to Professor Ferguson, even after the lockdown comes to an end, it is likely the government will still implement a number of social distancing measures.
“We’re going to have to keep these measures in place, in my view, for a significant period of time – probably until the end of May, maybe even early June. May is optimistic,” he said.
In a letter to every home in the country, the Prime Minister, who is self-isolating after testing positive for the bug, will stress the need to stay indoors to support the NHS by slowing the spread.
The letters, posted at an anticipated cost of £5.8 million, will land on 30 million doorsteps along with a leaflet spelling out the Government’s advice following much public confusion.
The letters and leaflets are the latest in a public information campaign from No 10 to convince people to stay at home, wash their hands and shield the most vulnerable from the disease.
“‘We know things will get worse before they get better,” the Prime Minister says.
Amid allegations of mixed messages on the lockdown, the leaflet will outline the Government’s rules on leaving the house and advice on shielding vulnerable people.
Businesses doing well
While the prospect of a lengthy lockdown will spread alarm among businesses already struggling to survive, there are some which have enjoyed an uplift in demand.
Aside from supermarkets, which say there has been a £1 billion rise in food sales, companies such as Amazon, Evans Cycles and Dixons Carphone have been beneficiaries of the lockdown.
Sales of office and gym equipment, bicycles, books, computer games, gardening and DIY products are among those which have seen sales rise as people revert to home working, avoid public transport or just look for something to do..