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Number of coronavirus cases may be ‘moving in the right direction’ says chief scientific officer

PUBLISHED: 18:33 07 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:48 08 April 2020

Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus. Photo: Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street/PA Wire

Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus. Photo: Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street/PA Wire

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific officer, has said the number of coronavirus cases “could be moving in the right direction.”

But at the daily government press conference today (Tuesday April, 7), Sir Patrick added improvement would not be clear “for a week or so.”

It come as a record number, 786, of people died in UK hospitals in the past 24 hours including five in Norfolk.

Speaking from Downing Street, Sir Patrick said: “It’s possible that we’re beginning to see the beginning of change in terms of the curve flattening a little bit. We won’t know that for sure for a week or so.

“There hasn’t been the accelerated take-off and again it’s possible that we’re beginning to see the start of a change where we might see numbers flattening off.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during a media briefing in Downing Street, London. Photo: Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street/PA Wire .Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during a media briefing in Downing Street, London. Photo: Pippa Fowles/Crown Copyright/10 Downing Street/PA Wire .

However, Sir Patrick outlined the importance of adhering to government regulations to ensure ‘this does go in the right direction.’

Concerns have been raised over the number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in hospitals but Sir Patrick said there should not be an overall increase in demand above the number of beds currently available.

He added: “There are always times in every winter when ICU beds top out in individual hospitals, and that may happen and I can’t guarantee it won’t.

“What we can say, though, is that the numbers as we look at them now look as though we should come in about right, there shouldn’t be an overall increase above the number of beds available.

A dummy COVID-19 swab is handled inside a sealed sterile tube during a demonstration by lab technicians who are carrying out diagnostic tests for coronavirus. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA WireA dummy COVID-19 swab is handled inside a sealed sterile tube during a demonstration by lab technicians who are carrying out diagnostic tests for coronavirus. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

“The NHS, I think, has done an amazing job in terms of increasing the capacity of ICU and so things seem to be tracking in the right direction, but I don’t think I can say more than that.”

Meanwhile, Dominic Raab said the government’s commitment to reach 100,000 coronavirus tests per day by the end of the month ‘still stands’.

The foreign secretary and first secretary of state also hinted at an extended lockdown and said the worst thing the country could do was “take its foot off the peddle” in terms of the strict social distancing measures.

He added: “In terms of the review, we are not at that stage yet. We will take any decision when the time is right, based on the facts and the scientific and medical advice.”


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