UK May Not 'Return To Normal' For 6 Months Or Longer, Government Warns

29 March 2020, 17:43 | Updated: 29 March 2020, 18:16

Dr Jenny Harries warns it'll be a while before we're back to normal
Dr Jenny Harries warns it'll be a while before we're back to normal. Picture: Getty Images

It is likely to be at least six months before the UK "returns to normal" following the coronavirus pandemic, one of the country's top doctors has warned in the government's daily press conference.

It's going to be a while before coronavirus restrictions are relaxed and the country can return to normal.

Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, has warned that it may be six months or longer before the current social distancing measures can be fully lifted, in order to avoid putting the NHS under too much strain.

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Speaking at the government's daily press conference, Dr Harries says that the coming weeks will be crucial to see whether the lockdown measures are working as there's a two to three-week delay in seeing the impact in the figures.

"The PM said he would review in three weeks. It would be foolish of us to start something one day and assume it's going to have an impact the next.

"Those measures have been in place solidly for a week or two. We need a couple of weeks to see that through."

However, Dr Harries warned that even if the measures have been successful in 'squashing the curve' "we cannot go back to our way of living, that would be quite dangerous."

Dr Harries was appearing alongside the Housing and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick at the Downing Street briefing, in the next building along from where the Prime Minister himself is self-isolating.

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson was the first world leader to confirm that he had tested positive for COVID-19.


In the press conference, Mr Jenrick announced that "strategic coordination centres across the whole country" where being established to help the NHS and local authorities cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Jenrick promised that some of the "finest military planners in the world" from the country's Armed Forces would help to lead the coordination centres, working alongside senior members of the emergency services.

The government has delivered 170 million masks, 42.8 million pairs of gloves, 32 million aprons, 182,000 gowns and 2.3 million pairs of eye protectors to 58,000 NHS trusts and centres to "ensure this service has the right equipment," Mr Jenrick confirmed.

He added that 50,000 emergency parcels will have been dispatched to vulnerable people in quarantine by the end of the coming week.

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