Social distancing could be 'in place for a year' to curb coronavirus

20 March 2020, 15:28

Scientists agreed the measures would need to be in place for the majority of a year
Scientists agreed the measures would need to be in place for the majority of a year. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Social distancing measures will need to be in place for "most of a year" to be effective in the fight against Covid-19, a group of scientists advising the government have said.

The Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling made the comments in a report on Monday, just a day after Boris Johnson said the UK could "turn the tide" on the virus in 12 weeks.

In the report, the scientists agreed that a policy could be introduced to alternate between periods of "less strict" measures during "at least most of a year" - but that six months of this would be spent under "stricter" measures.

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"It was agreed that a policy of alternating between periods of more and less strict social distancing measures could plausibly be effective at keeping the number of critical care cases within capacity," the report said.

"These would need to be in place for at least most of a year. Under such a policy, at least half of the year would be spent under the stricter social distancing measures."

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The report also added that it would take several weeks of such measures in place to see the impact on intensive care units.

Later on Friday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to reveal more emergency measures to protect those who have recently found themselves out of work.

He will announce the measures alongside Mr Johnson in a press conference at Downing Street.