Thursday 26 March 2020 1:23 AM UTC
LONDON Marcg 26: Pressure on the NHS due to the coronavirus outbreak will peak in the next two to three weeks, one of the top scientists advising government has predicted.
Professor Neil Ferguson, who is himself recovering from the disease, said if Boris Johnson’s lockdown is effective then demand for intensive care units beds could be “within capacity” and may start to decline.
But Imperial College London’s top epidemiologist, who sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) committee advising ministers, cautioned his prediction was based on Brits strictly following the rules.
He also said the UK could “easily” see a second summer wave of the virus unless ministers ramped up testing and tracing from April.
Ferguson, who gave evidence to the Commons’ science and technology committee via video link on Wednesday, warned that while Covid-19 has spread throughout the UK, there were “hotspots”, notably in Derby and Nottingham, where people “seeding” the virus had arrived from abroad.
Ferguson said there was uncertainty but “if the current measures work as we would expect them then we will see intensive care demand peak in approximately two to three weeks and then decline thereafter”.
He also predicted that the stress on the NHS would be “within capacity” if people in the UK followed the strict measures.
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