Coronavirus will be with us for the 'foreseeable future' warns PM

Coronavirus will be with us for the ‘foreseeable future’ warns Boris Johnson as he sets out plans for ‘long-haul’ fight against the pandemic, with a warning that ‘we may never find a vaccine’

  • In his roadmap he said the only long-term hope was a medical breakthrough
  • Work is already underway around the globe on a vaccine and other treatments 
  • But he warned: ‘A mass vaccine or treatment may be more than a year away’
  • And added: ‘Indeed, in a worst-case scenario, we may never find a vaccine’
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

People’s lives will be affected for the ‘foreseeable future’ by coronavirus, Boris Johnson warned today as he admitted that a vaccine against the deadly pathogen may never be found.

In his 50-page roadmap for the nation to ease its way out of lockdown he said the only long-term hope to get the country back to something resembling normality was a medical breakthrough against Covid-19.

Work is already underway around the globe on a vaccine and other treatments designed to slash the death rate of a pandemic which has claimed more than 30,000 lives in the UK alone. 

In a stark forward to the plan, published this afternoon, Mr Johnson told the public:  ‘It is clear that the only feasible long-term solution lies with a vaccine or drug-based treatment …  but while we hope for a breakthrough, hope is not a plan. 

‘A mass vaccine or treatment may be more than a year away. Indeed, in a worst-case scenario, we may never find a vaccine. 

People’s lives will be affected for the ‘foreseeable future’ by coronavirus, Boris Johnson warned today as he admitted that a vaccine against the deadly pathogen may never be found

In his 50-page roadmap for the nation to ease its way out of lockdown he said the only long-term hope to get the country back to something resembling normality was a medical breakthrough against Covid-19

‘So our plan must countenance a situation where we are in this, together, for the long haul, even while doing all we can to avoid that outcome.’

Last month scientists at Oxford University said they were one step closer to developing a vaccine.

They said promising results were seen after six rhesus macaque monkeys were injected with a single dose of the university’s new treatmnt.

This means that a new vaccine trial involving more than 6,000 participants will be started by the end of May in an effort to show the vaccine is safe and effective.

With emergency approval, ‘a few million’ doses could be available as early as September, if the inoculation works, reported The New York Times.

Mr Johnson released the guide as he attempted to wrestle back control of the lockdown amid rising confusion and vows from leaders of the UK nations to ignore his plans.  

Dominic Raab contradicted his call for millions of workers to return to duties immediately in the middle of rush hour, insisting the government is not urging workers to return until Wednesday.

The comment, when many will have already been on their way by road or public transport, came as it emerged that health and safety guidance for businesses will not be issued until tomorrow – 24 hours before the back to work edict now comes into force.

Mr Raab spread more confusion by suggesting that people can meet two relatives such as parents in parks while maintaining social distancing, sending Downing Street scrambling to say that is not in fact the case.

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon demanded that Mr Johnson stop telling Scots what to do, saying she would ban the new ‘stay alert’ public information campaign from being aired north of the border because the ‘vague’ words could put lives at risk.

She also said businesses must remain closed and Scots did not have ‘a licence to meet up at the park’, after Mr Johnson said it was OK to go and ‘sit in the sun’ in local green spaces.

People appeared to have taken Mr Johnson’s advice this morning, with the roads, Tube and buses already busier than normal.

Mr Johnson conceded that the lockdown was proving tricky to keep to, saying:  ‘I know the current arrangements do not provide an enduring solution – the price is too heavy, to our national way of life, to our society, to our economy, indeed to our long-term public health. 

‘And while it has been vital to arrest the spread of the virus, we know it has taken a heavy toll on society – in particular to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged – and has brought loneliness and fear to many.

‘We’ve asked you to protect those you love by separating yourself from them; but we know this has been tough, and that we must avoid this separation from turning into loneliness.

‘So this plan seeks to return life to as close to normal as possible, for as many people as possible, as fast and fairly as possible, in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.’     

Boris FINALLY reveals his full lockdown exit plan: Government issue new rules to dodge the virus, sport without and crowds mixing in ‘bubbles’ with family and friends from NEXT MONTH alongside advice to wear masks

People could start mixing in ‘bubbles’ with family and friends from the beginning of next month – at the same time as TV sports make a comeback.

The details emerged in the government’s 50-page ‘road map’ finally published this afternoon – after a shambolic 12 hours since Boris Johnson’s address to the nation.

The blueprint stressed that the five tests have not yet been met, and so major loosening of the draconian curbs is not possible. 

In a grim foreword, the PM said ‘we must acknowledge that life will be different, at least for the foreseeable future’. Mr Johnson warned that a vaccine was the main long-term way out of the crisis, but the plan cautioned that ‘it is possible a safe and effective vaccine will not be developed for a long time (or even ever), 

But the document said ‘smarter’ social distancing measures are being introduced to try and nudge the country back to some sort of normality. In the future restrictions will be targeted ‘more precisely’, recognising that ‘not everybody’s or every group’s risk is the same’. 

In a grim foreword, Boris Johnson (pictured this morning) said ‘we must acknowledge that life will be different, at least for the foreseeable future’

The M25 in Kent was far busier than usual this morning after the Prime Minister said those who can’t work from home should go to work today

The guidelines say those who can should continue to work from home ‘for the foreseeable future’, and pointed to full health and safety guidelines due to be published tomorrow. 

From Wednesday all workers are being urged to return to duties in sectors such as food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories. 

‘The only exceptions to this are those workplaces such as hospitality and non-essential retail which during this first step the Government is requiring to remain closed,’ the document said. 

The plan said schools cannot yet fully reopen, but said more key workers should be encouraged to send their children. ‘There is a large societal benefit from vulnerable children, or the children of critical workers, attending school: local authorities and schools should therefore urge more children who would benefit from attending in person to do so,’ it said. 

Face coverings are being advised for people on public transport and in enclosed spaces – something that happened in Scotland a fortnight ago. 

The document also corrected another blunder overnight, stating clearly that people are able to play outdoor sports such as tennis or golf with one other person from another household. 

From next month, primary schools will start to get back up and running for reception, year 1 and year 6. But classes will be kept small, and the majority of secondaries are set to stay closed until September.

Parents will not face fines for refusing to send their children. 

At this point the government will also look at ‘permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact’. 

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