September 21, 2020

Coronavirus: Things will get worse before getting better, PM warns

The prime minister has warned that the coronavirus crisis will get worse before it gets better, in a letter being sent to every UK household.

Boris Johnson, who is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, says stricter restrictions could be put in place if necessary.

Britons will also get a leaflet detailing government rules on leaving the house and health information.

It follows criticism over the clarity of government advice to date.

The number of people who have died with coronavirus in the UK has now reached 1,019, with a further 260 deaths announced on Saturday.

There are now 17,089 confirmed cases in the UK.

In the letter being sent to 30 million households at an anticipated cost of £5.8m, Mr Johnson writes: “From the start, we have sought to put in the right measures at the right time.

“We will not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do.”

Tough measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus, including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people and the closure of shops selling non-essential goods, were introduced last week.

In his letter, Mr Johnson describes the pandemic as a “moment of national emergency”, and reiterates the government guidance to stay at home to avoid putting pressure on the NHS, so that lives can be saved.

The prime minister acknowledges the restrictions will have a financial impact on families.

However, writing after ministers unveiled billions of pounds of help for workers and business, he says: “The government will do whatever it takes to help you make ends meet and put food on the table.”

Mr Johnson also praises the work of doctors, nurses and other carers as well as well as the hundreds of thousands of people who have volunteered to help the most vulnerable.

The leaflet sent alongside the letter includes guidance on handwashing, an explanation of coronavirus symptoms, the government rules on leaving the house and advice on shielding vulnerable people.

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