UK announces another 315 coronavirus deaths bringing total fatalities to 28,446

UK announces another 315 coronavirus deaths bringing total fatalities to 28,446 as new hotspot map reveals swathes of Britain outside major cities that have had ZERO deaths – as expert argues isolated areas should be released from lockdown sooner

Advertisement

Britain has announced 315 new coronavirus deaths today, bringing total fatalities to 28,446 and putting the country on course to become the hardest hit in Europe.

The UK‘s toll is now only 264 behind Italy – the continent‘s original epicentre – which it will likely overtake tomorrow to suffer the second highest fatalities in the world after the United States.

Michael Gove revealed at the daily Downing Street press conference that the overall number of cases has climbed to 186,599 following an extra 4,339 positive tests.

The cabinet office minister said 76,496 tests had been performed yesterday, dipping below the 100,000 daily target set by the government.  

Although figures are typically lower on Sundays and Mondays because of a weekend reporting lag, the 315 fatalities reported by the Department of Health across all care settings marks the fewest daily deaths recorded in over a month.

NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis, who also spoke at the Number 10 briefing, said the latest figures underscored the ‘good news‘ that Britain is past the peak of the outbreak.

He also said the rate of infection, known as the R number, was at 0.7 which means the spread of the disease is slowly waning.  

Mr Gove further fleshed out the government‘s bare-bones exit strategy and confirmed ministers will adopt a ‘whack-a-mole‘ approach to loosening restrictions.   

Certain regions such as London and the Midlands have suffered the brunt of the pandemic while larges swathes of the country have escaped relatively unscathed.

The capital, which has consistently reported the highest amount of coronavirus patients in hospital, today fell below the number reported by the North West for the first time.

A new interactive map lays bare the coronavirus postcode lottery and reveals sprawling areas in Wales, the South West and East England which have recorded zero deaths.

The map, from Office for National Statistics data, shows outside of London, twenty-four towns in Cornwall have not incurred any Covid-19 deaths, with the county suffering just 14 deaths per 100,000 people.

One expert told MailOnline the data lends weight to a growing chorus of voices urging the government to ease curbs in areas with the least infections first. 

The UK has announced 315 new coronavirus deaths today, bringing total fatalities to 28,446 and putting the country on course to become the hardest hit in Europe

A new interactive map lays bare the coronavirus postcode lottery and reveals sprawling areas in Wales, the South West and East England which have recorded zero deaths

Boris Johnson reveals doctors prepared to announce his DEATH 

has revealed that doctors prepared to announce his death in case he lost his  battle, admitting he was ‘a lucky man‘.

The Prime Minister, 55, confirmed he was ‘not in particularly brilliant shape‘ while battling the disease at St Thomas‘ Hospital in central  last month. 

As his chances of survival balanced on a knife-edge, he said he was given ‘litres and litres‘ of oxygen as medics fought to keep him alive in intensive care. 

In his first interview since recovering from Covid-19 – and the birth of his son Wilfred – the PM recalled his frustration that he could not seem to shake the virus.  

But Mr Johnson described how the sobering experience allowed him to see the ‘fantastic‘ care offered by the NHS, his voice cracking as he reflected on the rollercoaster past few weeks.

‘I realised it was getting pretty serious‘, he told the Sun on Sunday.

‘And I remember saying to myself, ‘‘How am I going to get out of this?‘‘‘ 

He added: ‘To be honest, the doctors had all sorts of plans for what to do if things went badly wrong.

‘I was not in particularly brilliant shape because the oxygen levels in my blood kept going down.

‘But it was thanks to some wonderful, wonderful nursing that I made it. They really did it and they made a huge difference.‘ 

As Britain mourned more deaths in its health emergency:

Before Mr Gove announced the Department of Health‘s UK total, the public health bodies from the four nations revealed their individual death tallies which totalled 358.

The difference in totals reflects varying data gathering methods and time-frames.  

England suffered the lion‘s share of today‘s reported deaths with 327 patients, aged between 46 and 101, passing away in NHS hospitals. 

A further 12 died in Scotland, 14 in Wales and five in Northern Ireland, bringing each nation‘s total toll to 1,571, 983 and 381, respectively. 

Today‘s death figures for England also shows the gulf in deaths between the regions, with the Midlands reporting 69 fatalities and the South West 19.

The interactive ONS map shows the bulk of virus deaths are in densely populated cities and their transport routes to one another, while, towns furthest away from cities appear to be avoiding the worst of the crisis. 

In the East of England, at least 23 local authorities have not recorded any coronavirus deaths in Suffolk, and 21 in Norfolk.

There are nine towns and villages where residents are yet to fall victim to the disease in the Welsh county of Conwy, seven in Pembrokeshire, five in Gwynedd and five in Ceredigion.

In the New Forest national park in Hampshire there have been no recorded deaths in the Milford and Lymington south area, while in neighbouring Dorset, places such as Bovington, Wool and Lulworth have no recorded Covid-19 deaths.

 The capital, which has consistently reported the highest amount of coronavirus patients in hospital, today fell below the number reported by the North West for the first time

The 315 fatalities reported by the Department of Health is the fewest daily deaths recorded in over a month

Michael Gove revealed the total number of cases jumped to 186,599 following an extra 4,339 positive tests

The cabinet office minister said 76,496 tests had been performed yesterday, dipping below the 100,000 daily target set by the government

There have been growing calls for lockdown to be eased on rural communities that have not been impacted by the pandemic. 

Michael Gove last week there was some ‘scientific justification‘ for trialling the easing of lockdown measures in island communities, such as the Outer Hebrides – although this has sparked a backlash from locals furious at suggestions they be used as the nation‘s guinea pigs.

Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine, University of East Anglia told MailOnline there is an argument for relaxing the lockdown in more rural areas that have been less impacted by the pandemic.

He said: ‘There are a number of factors that impact R0 (the average number of people an individual can expect to infect) and one of those is population density.

‘In the countryside you may only see five people a day, but in London if you could spend time with several hundreds of people a day such as seeing them on the underground. A lot of the variation is due to the fact R0 is greater in an area of higher population density.‘

Professor Hunter added: ‘There is something to be said about areas of the countryside not having as intense a lockdown. From that perspective there are technically a number of areas where the spread is not very high, and have not been impacted as severely as the main urban centres. But the problem with that is you see people in rural areas on Facebook having a good time, and you will probably feel quite annoyed.‘

Of those reported today to have lost their lives, 56 died on May 2, 125 died on May 1 and 43 died on April 30. 

The reporting lag also meant 95 of the new deaths took place between April 1 and April 29. The remaining eight deaths occurred in March, with the earliest new death taking place on March 28. 

Minister for the cabinet office Michael Gove fronts the government‘s daily coronavirus press briefing from Number 10

This afternoon‘s figures, which and are typically lower at weekends, puts Britain‘s toll just 264 behind Italy which was the original epicentre of the continent‘s outbreak

Mobility trackers show the number in people in public places is steadily creeping up

The number of people being treated for coronavirus in hospitals is falling as is the number of patients in critical care beds

Former chief scientific adviser sets up rival to Sage in wake of secrecy row

A former chief scientific adviser has assembled a rival team of experts to the government‘s Sage panel after the group became engulfed in a secrecy row. 

Sir David King‘s group will run parallel to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies which has been guiding ‘s crisis response.  

It will broadcast its ‘robust, unbiased‘ advice on YouTube which will likely underscore splits among the country‘s top scientific minds.

Sir David‘s transparency mission comes amid mounting concerns over the secrecy of Sage, whose membership is classified and advice is not immediately published.

A simmering row over the group‘s covertness reached fever pitch last month when it emerged top Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings had attended its meetings. 

Sir Patrick Vallance, who chairs the group and is a podium regular at the daily Number 10 briefings, moved to calm the storm by agreeing to reveal Sage‘s membership list ‘shortly‘.

But Sir David‘s new team could prove a fresh blow to the government panel if its advice runs contrary to the Prime Minister‘s current battle plan. 

Sir David told the : ‘I am not at all critical of the scientists who are putting advice before the government… but because there is no transparency the government can say they are following scientific advice but we don‘t know that they are.‘ 

Mr Gove praised the stoicism of the public in mostly adhering to strict rules in place for the past five weeks.

But speaking at tonight‘s press conference he warned that areas that see a relapse in coronavirus cases when the lockdown slowly begins to be eased face a return to the current lockdown.

He spoke after revealing that the number of tests carried out yesterday fell to just short of 76,500, 48 hours after reaching 122,000 – blaming the weekend for the steep fall.

Mr Gove said it was important to speak to firms and trade unions ‘in order to make sure people understand the guidance about working safely‘.

But he added: ‘It is also important that we make clear that any approach we take is staged … a phases approach is one which allows us to monitor the impact that those changes are having on public health and if necessary, in a specific and localised way, that means that we can pause or even reintroduce those restrictions that might be required in order to deal with localised outbreaks of the disease.‘

The Prime Minister will this week reveal his ‘whack-a-mole‘ strategy to ease the lockdown and put the UK economy back into gear.

He is expected to reveal his roadmap of proposals to very carefully and slowly lift the restriction in place since late March, but come down hard on any secondary hotspots that emerge.

The first easing of restrictions is not expected to come into force until June, and will be accompanied by the stricter enforcement of breaches of the remaining rules, with fines rising from the current £60 to more than £3,000 for repeat offenders. 

It will include a massive PR blitz urging people who cannot work from home to go in where they can safely, and urging key workers to send their children back to school to free them up for vital tasks.

Public transport will also increase, but will strict social distancing measures at stations and attempts to stagger working hours to reduce the rush hour.

Senior citizens could also lose their free travel during peak times to lower surge numbers further, the Sunday Times reported.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned that Britain will not return to ‘business as usual‘ this month.

He told Sky‘s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: ‘I don‘t think we should expect us to go from this situation that we have at the moment of social distancing back to where we were in February – that‘s clearly not going to happen and I don‘t think anyone imagines that for one moment.‘ 

Ministers are concerned that the public have gone beyond the letter of the law introduced when the pandemic began to sweep the nation, according to the Sunday Times.

A senior Whitehall source told the paper: ‘What you are going to see this week is a restatement of what we thought would happen right at the beginning when we first issued the lockdown. 

‘But it‘s going to be repackaged as a slow opening up of the economy. Please will construction sites reopen, please will you go to work if you can without hurting people, please if you are a key worker will you send your children to school. 

‘We‘ve gone round the houses to get back to where we started.‘  

New polls today reveal how reluctant Britons are to return to normal while hundreds of people are still dying every day. 

People queue outside a B&Q store in Greenwich as the DIY giant opens all their stores ahead of an expected easing of the lockdown restrictions in the coming week

‘Discriminatory‘ lockdown should be eased for the healthy elderly, say senior doctors

Senior doctors have warned Boris Johnson the lockdown should be eased for over-70s that are considered healthy, due to the damage keeping them inside is doing to their mental health.

Both the Royal College of GPs and the British Medical Association (BMA) weighed in to say that age alone should not be the determining factor when the government establishes who can return to their daily lives as the lockdown is eased, potentially in the coming weeks and months.

Around 1.8 million people classed as ‘clinically vulnerable‘ were told to stay indoors for 12 weeks when the lockdown began as they were considered to be the most at-risk people in the UK from Covid-19.

Some ministers have even suggested that such groups could have to stay at home until a vaccine has been developed, which could well take a year or more.

Those in the ‘clinically vulnerable‘ category include anyone ‘aged 70 or older regardless of medical condition‘, as well as anyone who is younger than 70 with a ‘underlying health condition‘.

According to The Times, the doctor‘s union said that while it agreed that the most vulnerable people in society must be protected, measures should be determined on individual risk with a system that applies to all ages, and not just ‘an arbitrary age of 60 or 70.‘

Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, warned of the harm a prolonged lockdown would do to the ‘physical and mental‘ of those over the age of 70, and that their age is not the best way to determine ‘who should self-isolate and to what extent during the next stage of lockdown‘.

The BMA said said in a statement: ‘A blanket ban on any section of the population being prohibited from lockdown easing would be discriminatory and unacceptable.‘

More than four in five Britons are against lockdown restrictions being eased for schools, pubs and restaurants this week, according to a poll by Opinium for the Observer. 

Just 17 per cent thought the time was right to consider re-opening schools, with smaller proportions of people thinking conditions had been met to allow cinemas, sporting stadia and nightclubs to open their doors. 

There was also opposition to the reopening of restaurants and pubs – with only 11 per cent agreeing Britain is at a place to reopen eateries and 9 per cent supporting a return to pubs.

Britons more strongly opposed a return to stadium events and nightclubs, with 7 per cent saying conditions have been met for both to resume, compared to 84 per cent who did not.

In the Sunday Times, a YouGov poll found that just 25 per cent of adults would feel safe returning to work and oppose reopening schools by 48 per cent to 28 per cent.

And 59 per cent of people polled by the Sunday Express said they would not feel comfortable going out and do not plan to resume a normal life next month.    

Ministers will aim to tread a fine line between kickstarting economic activity and keeping ‘R‘, the reproduction rate of the virus, below 1.   

The death toll has edged closer to that of Italy, which now stands at 28,710 and is the highest in Europe, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

The Government‘s main priority is getting the economy going again, amid dire statistics about commercial activity and hundreds of billions of pounds flowing out of the treasury to prop up firms and pay the wages of furloughed workers.

It comes as a leading business group urges the Government to be ‘bold‘ and not shy away from sustaining high levels of public spending.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) laid out a series of moves for a phased end to the current lockdown in a letter to the PM.

Steps should include safely reopening public spaces, schools and public transport, as well as workplaces and commercial spaces, said the letter. 

Moves should be made to minimise job losses and business failures, putting the UK economy on a ‘high-growth, high-wage and low unemployment trajectory‘ as soon as possible. 

 The plans due to be laid out this week are reported to focus on those who work outside, including construction workers, because of science suggesting the virus is harder to catch outdoors. 

 Public transport is likely to return to normal levels and non-food retailers, factories, and warehouses will be encouraged to open.

Work on this has already started: people yesterday flocked to newly reopened DIY stores and rubbish tips.

Orderly queues formed at branches of Homebase, which opened 164 stores, as well as B&Q and Wickes. Costa Coffee drive-throughs were also busy. 

Offices are expected to instruct most of their staff to continue working from home.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps this morning told Sky‘s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘It‘s no secret that of course we want the kids to go back to school but I‘d be over-egging it to say there‘s a date in place, there‘s a plan in place‘

But for those who cannot there will be strict rules for office spaces

They include mandatory floor markings to keep staff two metres apart, staggered start times and breaks, limits on how many people can get in lifts and regular deep cleaning, according to the Sunday Express. 

And in a blow to everyone desperate to celebrate the release of the lockdown with a  cold pint in their local, pubs and restaurants are likely to remain closed for weeks or even months longer.

This is because the bring people into close proximity to each other in difficult to control ways. 

But the phased reopening will be accompanied by harder action against those who break social distancing rules. 

Primary schools could re-open on June 1, with students from Years 10 and 12 becoming the first in a wave of secondary pupils flocking to classes.

Boris Johnson is hoping to put teachers on three weeks‘ notice to re-open primary schools in England to all pupils as soon as next month.

Whitehall sources have claimed the earliest possible return of primary schoolchildren is intended to help parents to return to work.

It will also prevent damage being done to ‘early years development‘ about which Gavin Williamson has warned, according to The Sunday Telegraph. 

Officials are understood to be contemplating limiting the size of classes temporarily, while the question of when to re-open nurseries is an open one.

Pupils from Years 10 and 12 would then head to school, provided ministers were satisfied the transmission rate did not cause a ‘second peak‘.

The move is being considered as data show that younger children are potentially less likely to transmit Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The discussions also come after Mr Williams told the education select committee this week that schools would not reopen opening during the summer holidays as a way of helping pupils who have missed out on education to catch up.

The education secretary also suggested a phased return to schools, saying it was ‘not realistic or practical‘ for all school children to return in one day.

He said scientists were looking at other countries for best practice and that a special team of the Scientific Group for Emergencies (SAGE) had been set up to focus solely on schools reopening.

Mr Shapps told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘It‘s no secret that of course we want the kids to go back to school but I‘d be over-egging it to say there‘s a date in place, there‘s a plan in place.‘ 

A large ‘thank you‘ rainbow on display in Herrington Country Park in Sunderland to show the city‘s appreciation for all NHS

British Airways planes parked on the runway at Bournemouth Airport in Dorset this week

But Ofsted chief inspector of schools Amanda Spielman told the same programme: ‘If you look at the interests of children … it‘s very clear that their interests are served, in the vast majority of cases, by being back at school as soon as possible.‘

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has said schools in Wales could reopen at the beginning of next month.

Asked for an indication about when pupils could return, Mr Drakeford told the ‘s Andew Marr Show: ‘Our advice from the trade unions and from the local education authorities is that you will need three weeks as a minimum from the point that we decide to do that, to when schools can reopen, so we are talking about the beginning of June.‘

He said some groups could return earlier than others, using the examples of year-six children who are due to move up to secondary school, and Welsh medium pupils who may not have had opportunities to use the language at home during lockdown.

But Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Education Union, the largest teachers‘ trade union for England and Wales, says talks about a June re-opening are ‘very premature‘. 

He told MailOnline: ‘While we all want to see a return to some sort of normality the National Education Union believes it‘s really premature to talk about a June return date.

‘Instead the government should be providing evidence about how this can be safe, how many more fatalities would we expect to see amongst school staff and parents and how these can be prevented or minimised.‘

He added: ‘If the government proceeds in this sort of way it is will fail to get the confidence of heads, staff and parents.‘ 

Public transport could return to approaching normal levels of service but with measures in place to limit numbers.

Scenes of packed Tube trans during the lockdown shocked the nation and Mr Shapps this morning said that it was unlikely that would be allowed.

He indicated that the staggered start times enforced in offices could be used to help reduce peak demand on trains and buses. 

‘The crushes would be completely at odds with social distancing,‘ he told Sky.

‘Of course i‘m very concerned about people being able to wash their hands – it‘s still far and away the most important advice….

‘We can help with that by trying to have hand sanitiser , one-way systems, spacing on platforms and at bus stops and that sort of this clearly marked out.

‘There are a lot of different measures that can be taken, of which easing into this is clearly going to be one of the most important things of all.‘

But he refused to confirm the idea reported last week that commuters could face temperature checks at stations before  being allowed on to services. 

Ministers are preparing to lift restrictions on outdoor activities such as picnics as the first stage in relaxing the lockdown rules.

A Costa Coffee drive-thru at Cameron Toll in Edinburgh which has re-opened for take away only and less payments

Britons will be allowed to exercise several times each day and drive to the countryside for walks and picnics in the first stage of relaxing lockdown 

Ministers are preparing to lift restrictions on outdoor activities such as picnics as the first stage in relaxing the lockdown rules.

The Mail on Sunday understands the plans – likely to be introduced later this month if infection rates continue to fall – will mean people can exercise several times each day and drive to the countryside and other outdoor spaces for walks and picnics.

However, they will only be allowed to do so with members of their household and must stay at least two metres (6ft 6in) away from other groups.

The change, which will end the sight of police officers moving on solitary sunbathers in parks, follows new scientific advice to ministers that the risk of transmitting the disease outside is substantially lower than indoors.

But people will still be barred from areas such as playgrounds and beaches where crowds congregate and the two-metre rule becomes harder to observe.

The softening of restrictions will be accompanied by the stricter enforcement of breaches of the remaining rules, with fines rising from the current £60 to more than £3,000 for repeat offenders.

Boris Johnson‘s review of the lockdown on Thursday is not expected to lead to any more substantial changes until next month when public transport is likely to return to normal levels and non-food retailers, factories, warehouses and more construction sites will be encouraged to open.

Offices are expected to instruct most of their staff to continue working from home, while pubs and restaurants are likely to remain closed for weeks or even months longer.

The Mail on Sunday understands the plans – likely to be introduced later this month if coronavirus infection rates continue to fall – will mean people can exercise several times each day and drive to the countryside and other outdoor spaces for walks and picnics.

However, they will only be allowed to do so with members of their household and must stay at least two metres (6ft 6in) away from other groups.

The change, which will end the sight of police officers moving on solitary sunbathers in parks, follows new scientific advice to ministers that the risk of transmitting the disease outside is substantially lower than indoors.

 But people will still be barred from areas such as playgrounds and beaches where crowds congregate and the two-metre rule becomes harder to observe. 

Trials of an NHS coronavirus tracing smartphone app are to start in the Isle of Wight this week, before being rolled out nationwide.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said around 50 to 60 per cent of people will need to use the software for it to be effective as he described it as the ‘best possible way to help the NHS‘.

The NHSX app is part of the Government‘s test, track and trace strategy and will be central to its efforts in slowing the spread of coronavirus.

tracing has been used extensively in South Korea, Hong Kong and Germany, where outbreaks have been contained more quickly.

Mr Shapps stressed the app would be completely confidential but called it a ‘fantastic way‘ to ensure the country can ‘keep a lid‘ on coronavirus and prevent a second wave.

‘The idea is that we will encourage as many people to take this up as possible,‘ he said.

‘This is going to be a huge national effort and we need for this to work 50-60 per cent of people to be using this app.

‘Not everybody has a smartphone, and I appreciate that for various reasons not everybody will download it but it will be the best possible way to help the NHS.‘

Mr Shapps said he did not know how many of the 18,000 tracers the Government is seeking have been hired yet – with plans for them to be in place by mid-May.

He told Sky: ‘It‘s not an issue because the app isn‘t going to be available for some time yet, a few weeks yet, but when it is there we will have the people in place.‘

Labour‘s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said that testing and tracing will be ‘so important‘ in easing the lockdown in the weeks and months ahead.

Speaking on Sky‘s Sophy Ridge programme, he said: ‘We‘ve been asking for the ramping up of testing so clearly I‘m pleased that testing has been ramped up.

‘I think there‘s always been a difference between the number of tests actually carried out and the overall statistics, indeed the number of people tested is a different figure.

‘But of course I‘m pleased that testing has been ramped up. But that in itself is not a strategy.

‘Firstly, the testing has to be increased further, I mean the original target we were talking about a quarter of a million tests a day some time ago, but it has to be linked to tracing as well and it‘s that testing and tracing that is going to be so important now in terms of easing the measures of the lockdown in the weeks and months ahead.‘

Mr Shapps said he was ‘actively looking at‘ quarantining people travelling to the UK from abroad to keep coronavirus infection rates under control.

New restrictions would make the UK one of the last countries to introduce them, with the country very much an outlier in recent weeks by not halting inbound flights or insisting arrivals are checked.

People arriving are advised to self-isolate but there is no enforced testing. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel is  believed to be among those who have demanded tougher rules for foreign visitors and the remaining Brits still abroad who make it home.

Appearing on the ‘s Andrew Marr show Mr Shapps said: ‘I think it is important that as we are seeing the numbers decrease and the R rate we hope decrease… that we do ensure that the sacrifices in a sense – social distancing – that we are asking the British people to make are matched by anybody who comes to this country.

‘I am actively looking at these issues right now so that when we have infection rates within the country under control we are not importing.‘

 

Coronaphobia UK is rife: Two new polls find just one in four Britons would feel safe at work and more than half are opposed to schools reopening

Just one in four Britons would feel safe at work amid the coronavirus crisis and more than half are opposed to schools reopening in the next few weeks, new polls have found.  

Data published by found only 17 per cent of Britons believed conditions had been met to considering reopening schools on May 8, with 67 per cent of those polled believing the opposite.  

There was also opposition to the reopening of restaurants and pubs – with only 11 per cent agreeing Britain is at a place to reopen eateries and 9 per cent supporting a return to pubs.

Britons more strongly opposed a return to stadium events and nightclubs, with 7 per cent saying conditions have been met for both to resume, compared to 84 per cent who did not.

The data, collected between Wednesday and Friday last week, came as a YouGov poll found only one in four adults would feel safe returning to work amid the current state of coronavirus.

The second poll, carried out on behalf of , also noted 47 per cent of Britons opposed the reopening of schools in the next few weeks, compared to 28 per cent who did not.

A third survey, undertaken by Redfield and Wilton Strategies and published by the , found 56 per cent of those polled approved of how the Government had handled the crisis.

An poll of 1,500 people by the researchers found 54 per cent of Britons would not feel comfortable returning to work, with only 13 per cent agreeing they would feel safe travelling to London on May 7.  

A majority 88 per cent of Britons added they would not feel safe attending a sporting event, compared to 12 per cent who would. 

Psychologist Professor Dame Til Wykes of King‘s College London told the  that ‘it is likely that most people will feel anxious‘ as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

She said: ‘We have been given strict behavioural advice for more than five weeks, and when that is removed people will feel pressured, and individuals who had pre-existing anxiety, particularly about their health, will be worst hit. It will take quite a lot of psychological treatment to get over this.

‘Different groups will be more affected than others, in particular the elderly and also parents, who will worry about their children bringing home the virus from schools.‘

Boris Johnson said on Friday that Britain is ‘past the peak‘ of coronavirus – which has killed 28,131 in the UK amid 183,500 confirmed cases.

Heading his first Downing Street briefing since falling ill, the Prime Minister said the UK is now on the ‘downward slope‘ and praised Britons for having avoided an ‘uncontrollable and catastrophic‘ epidemic.

But Mr Johnson dashed hopes of an imminent loosening, after making clear that a new flare-up of the deadly disease would be worse than the current crippling impact on the economy.

He claimed that efforts to bolster the NHS had avoided a ‘reasonable worst-case scenario‘ of 500,000 deaths if no action to combat the pandemic had been taken, likening it to digging a tunnel under an alpine mountain.

But in the strongest hint yet that restrictions will run into June and beyond, he added: ‘It is vital that we do not now lose control and run slap into a second and even bigger mountain.‘

The premier said a ‘huge amount of work‘ was going into an ‘exit strategy‘ with the first draft to be published next week. While it will offer a ‘road map, a menu of options‘ for how the curbs could be eased in future, he cautioned that it would not give any timings as they would depend on the science.

He gave a strong hint that it will involve advising people to wear face coverings in some circumstances, saying they ‘will be useful‘ as the situation evolves.

Mr Johnson also said he was ‘not going to pretend‘ the government had not made any mistakes in the handling of the crisis, pointing to PPE supplies. He admitted they were learning lessons every day. 

The Opinium poll found only 47 per cent of people approved of how the Government had responded to the coronavirus crisis.

Three in five Britons also disapproved of how the Government had handled access to PPE for NHS staff and essential workers, with only 16 per cent praising their response.

An overwhelming 79 per cent of Britons said they have been following strict lockdown rules since they were introduced by Mr Johnson on March 23.

However, 23 per cent admitted to heading to the shops for non-essentials and 21 per cent said they have left the house more than once per day for exercise. 

Advertisement

Related posts

Spain records its lowest daily coronavirus deaths in six weeks with 164 fatalities

  • October 20, 2020
  • UK

Spaniards are out in force on second day of lifted lockdown while churches reopen tomorrow but with confessions at a distance and…

Read More

Ministers were ‘fully aware‘ China had covered up the true scale of coronavirus, MI6 source claims

  • October 20, 2020
  • UK

UK ministers were ‘fully aware‘ China had covered up the true scale of coronavirus but still waited months to impose lockdown, MI6…

Read More

Antibody tests to tell millions if they had coronavirus will be rolled out within two weeks

  • October 20, 2020
  • UK

‘100 per cent accurate‘ antibody tests to tell millions of Britons if they have ALREADY had coronavirus ‘will be available in TWO…

Read More

Join The Discussion

Search

Compare listings

Compare