As the number of coronavirus cases is increasing in the United Kingdom, a senior minister reportedly said that officials are not considering lifting the lockdown, which was enacted almost four weeks ago. While speaking to an international media outlet, Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, said that the outbreak is ‘deeply worrying’ as the death toll has now surpassed 15,000. Gove reportedly said that facts and advice are clear at the moment that the country ‘should not be thinking’ of the lifting of the restrictions yet.
With more than 114,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, Gove said that the evidence suggests that the rate of infection and the death rate is flattening and the authorities believe that the country is not yet on a downward trajectory. He further described the situation in the UK as ‘grotesque’. Gove also pointed out that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken all the major decisions and has thrown his ‘heart and soul’ into fighting the virus.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, UK government announced that its currently social distancing will remain in place for at least another three weeks, going up to May 7. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “Any change to our social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus. Your efforts are paying off. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. To lift measures now would undo the progress we've made to date and, as a result, would require an even longer period of the more restrictive social distancing measures”.
The government also announced a ‘Vaccine Taskforce’ in a bid to ‘drive forward, expedite and co-ordinate’ efforts to research and then produce a coronavirus vaccine. According to the official UK government website, the taskforce will be led by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.
The authorities will be supporting efforts to rapidly develop a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible by providing industry and research institutions with the resources and support needed. They will be reviewing regulations and scaling up manufacturing so that when the vaccine becomes available, it can be produced quickly and in mass quantities.