UK life may not be normal for six months or longer: official

By: AFP      Published: 09:22 PM, 29 Mar, 2020
UK life may not be normal for six months or longer: official
An estate agent's sold sign is seen in a residential road in Hartley Wintney on March 28, 2020, as the UK housing market has almost ground to a halt after people were advised to stay at home to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.–AFP

Britain’s deputy chief medical officer warned Sunday that life may not return to normal for six months or more, as the country battles the coronavirus outbreak.

Jenny Harries said it would take two or three weeks to assess the impact of the current rules for people to stay at home wherever possible to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“If we are successful, we will have squashed the top of that (infection) curve, which is brilliant,” she told the government’s daily press conference.

“But we must not then suddenly revert to our normal way of living—that would be quite dangerous. If we stop then, all of our efforts would be wasted and we could potentially see a second peak.”

She said measures to contain the virus would be reviewed every three weeks, “probably over the next six months” or even longer—but stressed that did not necessarily mean a full lockdown for that long.

“Gradually we will be able to hopefully adjust some of the social distancing measures and gradually get us all back to normal,” Harries said.

Britain has been on lockdown for a week, with non-essential shops and services closed and people told to stay home except for daily exercise or to get groceries.

The measure was introduced in the face of a rapid spread of the virus. New figures on Sunday revealed that 1,228 people with coronavirus have now died in Britain—up 209 on the previous 24 hours