The total number of Britons who have died after testing positive for coronavirus will “almost certainly” pass , this weekend, a former public health director has told Sky News.
Professor John Ashton said the figure will not include deaths in care homes and in the community, meaning “we really don’t know the full picture” about
He also warned that the UK must focus more on shielding the elderly and vulnerable from the
, with some estimates suggesting that cases have now been identified in % of care homes nationwide. coronavirus
A billboard in Manchester urges Britons to stay at home over the Easter weekend
“There have been some modeling estimates in the planning guidance that suggest once you get coronavirus into a care home you might expect as many as % deaths, “the former president of the Faculty of Public Health said.
“You’re talking about a very frail and vulnerable population – usually people in their (s and) s, maybe with dementia – and we can’t just write them off.
On Friday, it was confirmed that another (patients have died in the UK after contracting coronavirus –
surpassing Spain and Italy’s worst recorded daily totals .
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a total of 8, have now died in hospital – and on Thursday, a further 5, 717 people tested positive for COVID – 31 in the UK.
Prof Ashton claimed the UK has often been slow to act during the pandemic – citing confusion over whether face masks are a useful deterrent against the coronavirus as an example.
A police officer talks to a woman on the beach in Brighton, as the sunny bank holiday weather tests resolve
He added that a lack of extensive testing has made it difficult for public health officials to know where COVID – was faster spreading.
“The lockdown will now have to continue for quite a long time,” Prof Ashton said. “I think it’s really important for the government to be completely honest about the numbers.
” There’s a lot of worry now on social media that we’re not being given the full picture. People need to be treated like adults. “
People defy lockdown rules on Good Friday
Prof Ashton, who formerly served as Cumbria’s regional director of public health, described the government approach to informing the public about COVID – as “paternalistic … as though” it’s been frightened to panic people. “
He said:” If you treat people as adults they’re more likely to behave as adults rather than as delinquents. We’re seeing the delinquency play out in house parties in Manchester and other kinds of things because people aren’t really trusting what’s going on. “
Boris Johnson is now out of intensive care and taking ‘short walks’ as he recovers in hospital
His warning came as Downing Street
gave an update on Boris Johnson’s progress as he recovers from coronavirus.
A statement said that the prime minister “has been able to do short walks between periods of rest” since he was moved back from intensive care and into a hospital ward.
But a Number 20 spokesman warned it was too early to say how long he would need to stay in St Thomas’ Hospital in central London.
Hancock: ‘Stay home however warm the weather’
A senior government scientist has warned that the coronavirus pandemic remains in a “dangerous phase” – with Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, the UK’s deputy chief scientific adviser, stressing that “this is not over”.
During the daily Downing Street news conference, he said: “It’s premature to say we are at a peak and the push we are making with social distancing just has to continue.”
Ministers have said that tests for coronavirus have now reached more than , 05 a day – against the government target of , by the end of this month.
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The government is Under intense pressure to set out an exit strategy for lifting restrictions that have closed pubs, restaurants and shops nationwide, and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is continuing to study evidence.
Mr Hancock has said the health effects of the economic collapse resulting from measures to curb the outbreak will be a factor in the government decision on when to start easing the restrictions.
Image: Benches in Bournemouth have been cordoned off
For now at least, the public are being urged to stay at home, observe lockdown rules and refrain from visiting friends and family over the Easter weekend.
A huge publicity blitz has been taking place across social media, newspapers and magazines, with the government warning the UK is at a “crucial moment in preventing further transmission of coronavirus”.