Britons gearing up for six month lockdown after being warned of possible extension

Britons are gearing up for a six month lockdown after being warned of a possible extension to the length of time people are expected to remain at home.

Monday, 30th March 2020, 6:53 am
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 6:53 am

Deputy chief medical officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, said the nation will not be in ‘complete lockdown’ for half a year but said social distancing measures will be lifted gradually.

Her warning at yesterday’s coronavirus press conference came as the NHS announced the first confirmed death of a frontline hospital worker with Covid-19.

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Britons have been warned that the coronavirus lockdown could last six months

Dr Harries said the three-week reviews on the measures to slow the disease's spread are likely to continue for six months and their success would be judged on slowing its rate.

A sudden lifting, she said, could see the nation's sacrifices ‘wasted’ with another spike in deaths, which had reached 1,228 yesterday.

“We need to keep that lid on and then gradually we will be able to hopefully adjust some of the social distancing measures and gradually get us all back to normal,” she said.

“Three weeks for review, two or three months to see if we've really squashed it, but three to six months, ideally, but lots of uncertainty in that but then to see at which point we can actually get back to normal and it is plausible it could go further than that.”

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the emergency footing was now raised in all parts of the country.

He said ‘we simply cannot and should not’ ask health workers to go to the frontline without adequate protective equipment, as he announced the nation was put on an ‘emergency footing’ in an ‘unprecedented step in peace time’.

“This means that we are establishing strategic coordination centres across the whole country,” he added.

Each would be led by gold commanders and have members of the armed forces embedded in them, he explained.

Moments before the briefing, the NHS announced the death of 55-year-old consultant Amged El-Hawrani amid concerns staff do not have sufficient personal protective equipment.

The ear, nose and throat surgeon at Queen's Hospital Burton died on Saturday.

It was understood he had not been in contact with patients in recent weeks.