Jane Imrie

COVID-19 government update Thursday March 19: "Ruthless determined collective action and scientific progress" will save lives

Today’s government press conference saw Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterate previous advice, as well as hinting at medical and scientific progress being made to develop a vaccine.

Mr Johnson opened by saying that he “can see the impact this happening on the UK economy and on businesses. It’s vital that we in government stand behind them.”

He stressed: “I’m conscious that as the days have gone by, people want to know how long they can be expected to keep this up.”

“We can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks. We can send coronavirus packing, but only if we take the steps.”

The Prime Minister discussed the scientific work currently underway to develop the medicine needed to deal with the outbreak: “This crisis is so difficult as the enemy is invisible. Remove the cloak of invisibility, see who is carrying it, who has had it and is getting over it.”

“The scientific progress that we are making will come into play. We are rapidly becoming better at understanding the medicines that may treat and cure [coronavirus].”

He confirmed that a British COVID-19 patient has been put into a randomised medical trial today, as well as saying that the government is currently negotiating to purchase an antibody test that will be able to detect if people have already unknowingly had the virus.

Mr Johnson added: In the meantime, it is absolutely vital that we follow the advice that we have been hearing over the last few days. Follow that advice scrupulously…Work from home, wash your hands.“

[We need] ruthless determined collective action and scientific progress. If we do this together, we will save many many thousands of lives.“

He concluded by addressing UK businesses directly saying “stand by your employees, stand by your workers, because we will stand by you”, and confirmed that more measures to support businesses would be announced in the coming days.

Access free online guidance for North East businesses in the Growth Hub North East's COVID-19 toolkit →

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