During his first public speech in nearly a month the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has said the country is, for the first time, ‘past the peak’.
The PM announced the UK would be entering lockdown measures 38 days ago, Monday March 26, and now has said the country is past the peak of COVID-19, while stressing for people to continue with lockdown measures.
He said: “We are past the peak. We are past the peak and on the downward slope. And we have so many reasons to be hopeful for the long term.”
The PM added next week the government will reveal plans for lifting the lockdown, adding this crisis is as though ‘we have been going through some huge Alpine tunnel’ and ‘we can now see the sunlight and the pasture ahead of us’.
He continued to mention the thousands who have lost loved ones during this period, saying: “We grieve for them and with them – but, as we grieve, we are strengthened in our resolve to defeat this virus to get this whole country back to health, back on its feet.”
Today is was confirmed the number of people who have died from Coronavirus has risen by 674 in the past 24 hours – this is in all settings – bringing the total number at the time of the press conference to 26,711.
The PM went on to say the government had carried out 81,611 tests yesterday – which is still a distance from the 100,000 daily test target, by the end of April, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, set in place.
This was Boris Johnson’s first press conference about COVID-19 after suffering from the disease himself and even spending three days in intensive care.
Due to this he praised the NHS and said at ‘no stage has our NHS been overwhelmed’.
He said: “No patient went without a ventilator; no patient was deprived of intensive care; we have five of the seven projected Nightingale wards.
“It is thanks to that massive collective effort to shield the NHS that we avoided an uncontrollable and catastrophic epidemic where the reasonable worst-case scenario was 500,000 deaths.”
Along with recovering from COVID-19 and returning the work, Downing Street also confirmed Boris and his fiancée Carrie Symonds, welcomed the birth of their first child – a baby boy.