AGENCIES, London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is back at Chequers, recovering from a bad case of coronavirus which led to him being briefly placed in intensive care. While Johnson is on the road to recovery, the country’s coronavirus toll isn’t so good.
The UK-wide death toll in hospitals mounted to 16,060 (day rise of 596), and 120,067 cases (day rise of 5,850). Reports from care homes and charity organisations say thousands have died outside hospitals that are not reflected in the daily hospital figures.
Given these figures, the UK government on Sunday insisted it is not yet safe to ease the lockdown, despite intense criticism for allegedly not responding quickly enough in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, which may have led to thousands of deaths.
Michael Gove, senior cabinet minister, rejected several reports in the Sunday press alleging that Johnson did not attend five emergency meetings related to the pandemic, and that ministers were slow in responding adequately despite scientific evidence of its seriousness.
There have been demands that as in other countries, the UK should ease some restrictions as part of an ‘exit plan’, but Gove said the government was taking “a deliberately cautious and measured approach guided by the science”.
He said: “When we have the information, when we have the data that allows us confidently to relax those restrictions we will do so, but that data, that information, is not yet in place,” adding that there is no certainty when a vaccine for the virus would be available.
Jeremy Farrar, who is a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies told said that the UK may be past the peak of the ‘first wave’ of the virus, but cautioned against easing the lockdown.