LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will not be able to ease stringent public isolation measures until the end of May, a senior government adviser said on Saturday, noting that the spread of the Coronavirus should slow first and extensive testing be carried out.
Neil Ferguson, professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, said work was under way to determine how to introduce less restrictive rules in time.
“We want to move to a situation where we can, by the end of May at least, be able to replace the current total general isolation procedures with other measures that are lighter and more dependent on technology and testing,” he told the BBC.
The British government imposed sweeping bans, closed bars and restaurants, and almost all stores. It also banned gatherings and ordered people to stay in their homes except in cases of extreme necessity.
On Friday, the number of deaths in Britain due to the global epidemic has risen to 3,605 out of 38,168 people who have been diagnosed with the highly contagious respiratory disease known as Covid-19.
Graham Medley, another senior government adviser in the field of epidemiology, told The Times on Saturday he feared that the strategy, which Britain had chosen to deal with the epidemic, would harm the economic and psychological state of much of the population.