July 13, 2024

Earn Money

Business Life

We Can Turn the Tide of Virus Within 12 Weeks

(Bloomberg) —

Boris Johnson insisted the U.K. can “turn the tide” against the coronavirus by June, in a deliberately upbeat take on the fight against the pandemic.

After days of chaos in the markets and dramatic interventions from the Bank of England, the British prime minister insisted he was optimistic that collective action and scientific breakthroughs will win the battle with the virus.

“We can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks, and I’m absolutely confident that we can send coronavirus packing in this country,” he told reporters in London on Thursday. “But only if we take the steps that we have outlined.”

With the economic fallout from the virus spreading, Johnson promised a new raft of measures to protect businesses and workers will be announced Friday. That would add to the 350 billion pounds ($404 billion) Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has already pledged and follows the Bank of England’s decision on Thursday to cut interest rates to a record low and restart quantitative easing.

Figures released Thursday showed the number of cases of the virus in the U.K. have increased by more than 600. The death toll has increased to 144, more than doubling over the past two days.

The prime minister predicted a new testing regime could be a game changer in the battle against the virus, with as many as 250,000 tests conducted each day. He said scientists are working on a new antibody test, to assess who has already had the disease, alongside the traditional testing already in operation.

In other developments:

The government published legislation giving ministers emergency powers for two years to close ports, isolate individuals, and ban public eventsQueen Elizabeth II urged people to adapt their lifestyles and work together to protect the most vulnerableThe U.K. relaxed competition law to allow supermarkets to share data on stock levels and pool their staff amid shortages of food on the shelves

Johnson appeared to distance himself from the scientists flanking him, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance, as he implied the strategy they had helped draw up had been ineffective.

The virus “does not seem yet to be responding to our interventions,” Johnson told reporters. But, “I can see how to do it in the next 12 weeks.”

The premier suggested that if the public heeds government advice to work from home, stay away from social situations, and wash their hands, authorities may not have to take more draconian steps to restrict movement. But he didn’t rule it out.

Going Further

“We do want to see people following the advice that we have given in the capital,” Johnson said. “We may have to consider going further.”

Officials have suggested in recent days that stronger measures such as closing shops and bars and limiting transport might be needed soon in the capital. But Johnson pushed back, saying “there is no prospect of us wanting to stop public transport in London, or stop the Tube or stop the buses.”

To succeed, the U.K. needs to follow a “combination of ruthless, determined, collective action and scientific progress,” he said. “If we do this together, we will save many many thousands of lives.”

(Updates with death toll starting in fifth paragraph.)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Source Article