Boris Johnson said he is confident Britain can ‘turn the tide’ on coronavirus within 12 weeks as he pleaded for people to obey the advice on social isolation and to steer clear of bars and restaurants.
He added the UK was ready to buy hundreds of thousands of kits for an antibody test, to determine who had contracted coronavirus and therefore had a level of immunity.
The PM said that “we are getting better at understanding the medicines that may treat and cure it (the virus) and today we have put the first British corona patient into a randomised trial for drugs that may treat the disease”.
UK scientists are expected to start trials for the first vaccine within a month.
Johnson added that while the country is getting better at testing, the situation is complex “because the enemy is invisible” and the solution is to remove the “cloak of invisibility and to identify the virus”.
A complete lockdown in London looks inevitable as the UK death toll hit 137 this afternoon.
Contingency plans are expected to be put in place for police to guard shops and helicopters to airdrop food, though not at this stage.