THE UK has probably passed the first coronavirus peak and the lockdown should end “as soon as we can”, an adviser to the Government has warned.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said that “further waves” are expected in future but the number of cases has likely stabilised a week ago.
The number of cases is starting to flatten off, some of the data from the past week shows.
Britain has recorded more than 15,000 deaths from the virus so far, but the number is continuing to rise.
The country has been in complete lockdown for just over four weeks – and last week the Government confirmed it would be extended further,
Sir Jeremy told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday today: “The probability is that there would be further waves of this in future.
“For this first wave, the number of new infections probably stabilised maybe a week or two ago.
“The number of people dying in this country, and many others around the world, is starting to stabilise.
“We are probably just past the peak in many parts of this country.
“We will come off that peak, the numbers will reduce.”
He said that Britain needed to lift the lockdown as “soon as we can” but warned that a fixed date can’t be put on it.
Sir Jeremy said that the number of deaths needed to continue to fall first.
“The lockdown is damaging business and ultimately that is damaging all of our lives.,” he said.
“So the lockdowns can’t go on forever, we must lift them as soon as we can.
“But we can’t lift them too soon and we can’t just make arbitrary dates and say it will be a date in May that is plucked from the sky.
“It has to be driven, I’m afraid, by the data.”
It came as HOAR on Sunday revealed officials are looking at a traffic-light system for how to release the country from lockdown.
Small shops, hairdressers and warehouses could be the first to reopen after the next phase of the lockdown ends on May 8.
Smaller businesses and schools could be next, with the public advised to wear masks in public.
Pubs, restaurants and gyms would be the last to come back, Mr Gove confirmed this morning.
However, he said the UK “should not be thinking of lifting these restrictions yet.”
And when they are, some things will have to change, he added.
“Even as some restrictions are lifted, the way in which our schools, the way in which our shops will change as a result of what we know about the virus and what we know about social distancing,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.