Boris Johnson Signals UK Lockdown to Last Until June to Avoid 'Second Wave'
Prime minister urges Britons to 'keep going' with coronavirus lockdown measures
Boris Johnson has signaled that the UK's lockdown measures will be extended until June to avoid a "second wave" of the coronavirus.
The prime minister urged Britons to "keep going" Thursday evening as he addressed the nation for the first time since recovering from COVID-19.
After chairing his cabinet Thursday morning, Johnson said on Twitter that he "understands the impatience" of people who want to end the draconian restrictions that are crippling the economy.
The prime minister has dashed the hopes of those expecting the lockdown to be lifted anytime soon, however.
The PM made it clear that a new flare-up of the deadly Chinese virus would be worse.
"I must ask you to keep going in the way that you have kept going so far, so we can protect our NHS and save lives," he said.
The reiteration of the tough lockdown message Mr. Johnson delivered on the steps of Downing Street earlier this week comes as he puts the 'R' number - the reproduction rate of the virus - at the heart of the battle, according to The Daily Mail.
Johnson is adamant that no action will be taken that lets it rise above one, which would mean the outbreak was growing again.
Government sources have indicated he will also defy calls to prematurely spell out an "exit strategy."
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon jumped the gun at a briefing in Edinburgh this week.
Sturgeon says she believes it would be "too early" when the formal review happens next week to lift restrictions "in any meaningful way."
She also voiced alarm that people were already starting to flout the social distancing rules - revealing traffic was up 10 percent in the past week in some parts of Scotland.
Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan delivered an even bleaker assessment.
The far-left mayor warns there will be "no return to life as it was" and suggests it will be a long time before bars and restaurants can reopen.
Downing Street said it was clear Britons were going to need to adjust their lives for "a long period of time."
Despite the hard-line in public, frantic work has been going on behind the scenes to develop an "exit plan."
Island communities with controllable transport links are set to be used to trial ways of loosening restrictions while ramping up community testing.
The Isle of Wight will be among the first pilot sites.
Meanwhile, the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine took another leap forward this week.
On Thursday, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca agreed to mass-produce a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University scientists.
Human trials of the experimental jab - called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 - started last week and the first results are expected in mid-June.
If proven to protect against the deadly virus, the deal will allow the UK to access the vaccine "as early as possible," the university said today.
Details of the agreement - described by Health Secretary Matt Hancock as "hugely welcome news" - are set to be finalized in the coming weeks.
Both partners said today that the venture was not-for-profit and only the costs of production and distribution would be covered.