Up to 10,000 people in the UK may already be infected with coronavirus, the government’s chief scientific adviser has said.
Sir Patrick Vallance gave the assesment as Boris Johnson moved Britain into the ‘delay phase’ of tackling coronavirus after health experts found it could no longer be contained.
Speaking at a press conference following the emergency Cobra meeting, the PM said the disease ‘continues and will continue to spread’ and called it the ‘worst public health crisis in a generation’.
Those with a high temperature or cough should stay at home for seven days, he said.
Sir Patrick said the UK was already likely to have between 5,000 and 10,000 coronavirus cases and is currently ‘about four weeks or so behind Italy.
He said: ‘There are currently 590 cases that have been identified in the UK and there are more than 20 patients in intensive care units. If you calculate what that really means in terms of the total number, it is much more likely that we have between 5,000 and 10,000 people infected at the moment.
He also said that up-to 80% of Brits could get the virus over the coming months!