The Department of Health has announced that a fifth person has died on Monday afternoon in the UK from coronavirus.
Boris Johnson said at the press conference Britain is making “extensive preparations” to move to the “delay” phase.
The prime minister said, “the more we can delay the peak of the spread to the summer, the better the NHS will be able to manage.”
Johnson added, “We’re preparing various actions to slow the spread of this disease in order to reduce the strain it places on the NHS.
“The best thing we can all do is wash our hands for 20 seconds with soap and water.”
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said on Monday afternoon at a press conference at Number 10 Downing Street that people will soon be told to self-isolate if they have a mild fever.
Professor Whitty added, “What we’re moving now to is a phase when we will ask general members of the public to do different things than they would normally do.
“Anything you do, you have to be able to sustain.
“Because anything you do, you have to be able to do them for a period of time and there’s a risk if we go too early, people will understandably get fatigued and then it will be difficult to sustain this over time, so getting the timing right is absolutely critical to making this work.”
Public Health England (PHE) will trace close contacts of anyone diagnosed with coronavirus in the current “containment” phase and they will be advised to self-isolate.
Earlier today it was reported a fourth person in her 70s had died from coronavirus, the patient had underlying health conditions. It is thought the woman had caught the deadly virus in Britain.
Professor Whitty said: “I am very sorry to report that a fourth patient in England who tested positive for COVID-19 has sadly died.
“I offer my sincere condolences to their family and friends and ask that their privacy is respected.
“The patient, who was being treated at the Royal Wolverhampton Hospital, was in their 70s and had underlying health conditions. It appears the virus was acquired in the UK and full contact tracing has begun.”
The government announced on Monday, they will not move to the “delay” phase and “social distancing” measure will not be introduced “yet.”
A Number 10 spokesman said the government accepts coronavirus “is going to spread in a significant way.”