By Ned Simons
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It is “too soon to tell” whether the coronavirus lockdown has been successful in reducing the spread of the illness but there are positive signs, the deputy chief scientific adviser has said.
Angela McLean told the Downing Street press conference on Monday that efforts by the public to stay at home “are working”.
She said the growth in the number of coronavirus cases in hospitals is “not as bad as it would have been if we had not made these efforts”.
New figures show 5,373 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Sunday. This is up by 439 from 4,934 the day before.
Boris Johnson ordered a nationwide lockdown on March 23, closing pubs, and. restaurants as well as ordering people to stay at home and not gather in large groups.
McLean warned while there were positive signs, it was “too soon” to see the effects of the the measures imposed by the prime minister.
“It is working but the big question is, is the virus spread slowing down enough to make hospital admissions stabilise and then even fall?”
She added the hospital admissions data by region had risen “very steadily” until April 1 and then showed a “more complicated behaviour, starting, we hope, to slow down”.
“We’re all watching these numbers very, very carefully and we’re very much hoping what’s going to happen next is they will at least stop rising,” she said.
Professor Chris Whitty, in his first public appearance since recovering from coronavirus symptoms himself, said it “would be a mistake” to start talking about the next phase of the pandemic.
“The key thing is to get to the point where we are confident we have reached the peak,” the chief medical adviser said.
Johnson is still in hospital suffering from coronavirus and Dominic Raab, who led today’s press conference, said the prime minister was “in good spirits”
“He is still in hospital under observation. He is being given regular updates on developments and he continues to lead the government,” the foreign secretary said.
And he urged the public to maintain “discipline” and stay at home to ensure the virus did not spread more aggressively.