Sir Patrick Vallance, the governments chief scientific advisor has warned the UK “may have up to 55,000 coronavirus cases already.”
Appearing before the health select committee, Sir Patrick was asked, whether the expected death rate was one fatality for every 1,000 cases, which would mean that there is “potentially 55,000 cases?”
Asked if that felt right, Sir Patrick said, “We’ve tried to get a handle on that in Sage [the scientific advisory group for emergencies] and if you put all the modelling information together, that’s a reasonable ballpark way of looking at it.
“It’s not more accurate than that.”
Sir Patrick told the Health Select Committee the “social distancing measures that have now been introduced should reduce the peak of the spread by around 50%.”
He added, “Seasonal flu tends to lead to 8k excess deaths, so if we can get [the number of deaths from coronavirus] down to 20,000 and below, that’s a good outcome of where we would hope to get to with this outbreak.”
The number of deaths will be announced later on Tuesday.
A new document published by the Covid-19 team at London’s Imperial College, warns the current public health threat is the “most serious” respiratory virus since the Spanish Flu in 1918.
The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab has warned Britons on Tuesday, to “avoid all non-essential foreign travel for 30 days,” as the coronavirus pandemic grows.
He said, “UK travellers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lockdowns in various countries.”
The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson told reporters at a press conference in Downing Street on Monday that “now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact and to stop all non-essential travel”
As part of a range of stringent new measures, Johnson has now urged people to work from home and avoid pubs, clubs and theatres.