Coronavirus cases in Britain doubling every three to four days – and will take WEEKS to see result of lockdown
CORONAVIRUS cases in Britain are doubling every three to four days, Michael Gove warned this evening.
The Cabinet minister updated the nation that the disease is continuing to spread rapidly through the population – and reminded everyone of the need to take lockdown rules seriously.
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The UK's coronavirus death toll rose by 181 to 759 today in the biggest 24-hour jump so far.
14,579 are currently infected in Britain.
Mr Gove told the daily Downing Street briefing: "The best scientific advice now is that the rate has been doubling every few days.
"These figures are a powerful reminder of the need for all of us to act.
"We need to slow the spread of the virus."
More work was being done to get the NHS ready for the coming influx of cases in hospitals, he said.
"This is a united national effort and the spirit of selflessness shown by so many is truly inspiring," he added.
More than 113,000 people have now been tested for the disease since the outbreak began.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries revealed that it would likely take weeks for the nation to see the impact of the lockdown, announced on Monday.
The cases and deaths are likely to spiral for days to come.
She said this evening: "We don't expect to see a significant change in our numbers for two or three weeks.
"We need to stick with social distancing."
Officials are monitoring the data daily but haven't shared any with the public on whether the lockdown is making a difference.
This evening NHS chief Simon Stevens told the nation that frontline NHS workers would finally get tested for the deadly bug from this weekend.
33,000 beds are to be made available for coronavirus patients across the NHS, he added.
And he revealed that two more emergency hospitals are on the cards – in Birmingham and Manchester – on top of the London Excel centre which will open next week as NHS Nightingale.
I have developed minor symptoms of the coronavirus, a temperature and a persistent cough and on the advice of the chief medical officer I have taken a test. That has come out positive
It comes just hours after Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock BOTH tested positive for coronavirus today – and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whity has symptoms too.
The PM, 55, was tested after experiencing mild symptoms of a cough and fever yesterday afternoon and will remain in self-isolation in his No11 flat for at least seven days.
He's believed to be the first world leader to get the virus, and found out his diagnosis late last night.
And the Health Secretary, 41, announced just hours later that he has it too.
This afternoon Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said he has been suffering symptoms too and would self-isolate as a precaution.
It's not clear if he's being tested too.
Both will be working in their homes for the time being.
Mr Hancock first developed symptoms on Wednesday after addressing the nation at a press conference on Tuesday alongside Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jenny Davies, and National Medical Director at NHS England Stephen Powis.
The PM won't be doing any of the daily press conferences while he is currently ill.
He will have to self-isolate for at least 14 days from his girlfriend and fiance, Carrie Symonds, 32, who is currently pregnant – and in the more "vulnerable" category.
Last night she posted a snap of herself and pet dog Dilyn, online saying she was currently self-isolating.
It's understood she left No11 a couple of days ago – and is thought to be in the couple's Camberwell flat.
Telegraph commentator Camilla Tominey, a friend of Carrie's, told ITV's This Morning: "She's in Camberwell with Dilyn the dog so she will not have any contact with the prime minister over the last few days".
A Downing Street spokesperson confirmed the news, saying: “After experiencing mild symptoms yesterday, the Prime Minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty.
“The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff and the result of the test was positive.
“In keeping with the guidance, the Prime Minister is self-isolating in Downing Street."
At the moment the PM will continue to work, but it may mean that Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, will have to take over duties if the PM becomes more ill.
As the First Secretary of State he is the second most senior person in Government and technically the PM's deputy.
Just yesterday Boris took part in a G20 call with other leaders around the world to coordinate the international response.
No10 staff will have to stay 2m from the PM at all times – and will have to drop his meals outside his door.
The news comes just weeks after Boris said that he was continuing to shake hands with everyone, despite the risk of the virus spreading.
This morning a string of politicians – including Jeremy Corbyn – sent their best wishes to the PM and hoped he had a speedy recovery.
The Labour boss said: "I wish the Prime Minister a speedy recovery and hope his family are safe and healthy.
"Coronavirus can and does affect anyone. Everyone be safe. Our own health depends on everybody else."
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