NHS diabetes chief warns of piling on 'life changing' lockdown pounds

NHS diabetes chief warns of the danger of piling on ‘life changing’ lockdown pounds as he fears many Britons have gained weight while stuck indoors

  • Professor Jonathan Valabhji has warned of negative health effects of lockdown
  • He warned that adults were burning fewer calories with fewer daily activities
  • But added that the pandemic was an opportunity to make changes in behavior 
  • Study found that people with diabetes are twice as likely to die from coronavirus
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Britons have probably piled on the pounds while stuck indoors, the country’s top obesity and diabetes doctor warned yesterday.

Jonathan Valabhji said adults were burning fewer calories because they were not travelling to work or carrying out other daily activities.

He said the pandemic should however serve as a ‘life-changing’ trigger for changes in behaviour – especially as studies have indicated that coronavirus is more deadly for the obese.

Professor Valabhji’s research showed this week that patients with Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity, were twice as likely to die than otherwise healthy individuals. His study of 24,000 patients found that nearly a third of those who died had diabetes, and that being morbidly obese further increased the risk of death.

Pictured: NHS diabetes chief, Professor Jonathan Valabhji

Professor Valabhji, who is national clinical director for diabetes and obesity at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: ‘A lot of people have spent a lot of time sitting indoors and there is a risk people have gained weight.

‘We won’t know that [for certain] until we see people start emerging from social distancing and we start putting people on scales.

‘For someone like myself, it’s a concern, it’s a worry for me.

‘You can see the risk that people might have gained weight sitting at home limited in what exercise they can do, not going about their daily activities and going to work. Am I worried that people have gained weight during this time? Yes, it’s not unreasonable to suppose that if people are stuck indoors they may have gained weight.’

Professor Valabhji, a consultant diabetes specialist at St Mary’s Hospital in central London, said coronavirus was an opportunity to start a healthier life.

‘One would hope that simple public health messages would land and land a little more strongly. If this is an ideal time to land a public health message – which I do believe it is – it would be eating healthily, eating a little less if you’re in the obese range and losing weight. Exercise is all part of that especially at a time when we’re no longer limited to one piece of exercise a day.’

The professor said that although adults could not change the other major risk factors for coronavirus – age and ethnicity – they could influence obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

‘The important thing about weight loss is that it has to be sustainable – incorporating habits that will last,’ he added.

‘Slowly and gradually incorporating habits that one can maintain is important. If people are in the obese range, then eating a little bit less, eating more healthily and exercising a bit more are intuitive ways to go forward.’

Earlier this month NHS figures showed that 26 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women are obese, which is defined as having a Body Mass Index of more than 30. Around 4.8million Britons have diabetes – the majority Type 2 – and rates have doubled in 20 years in line with rising obesity.

These levels are significantly higher than many other Western countries, prompting speculation that they may partly explain why the UK’s coronavirus death rates are the worst in Europe. Professor Valabhji said: ‘Diabetes is an independent risk factor for passing away with Covid… whether that is contributing to higher death rates in this country compared with others, I don’t think I can answer that and similarly with obesity.’

Other health experts are concerned that adults and children have been snacking more since the lockdown and ordering more takeaways. Caroline Cerny of the Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of 44 medical colleges, charities and campaign groups, said: ‘Several surveys have shown that we are all snacking more during lockdown and it’s likely that this will lead to weight gain.

‘This isn’t helped by food companies continuing to aggressively market their unhealthy foods to us to ensure they stay centre stage in our minds while we are a captive audience.’

Earlier this month the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, ordered health officials to trawl through the records of thousands of pandemic victims to determine whether obesity, ethnicity and gender raise the risk of death from coronavirus.

The review was commissioned after researchers at the University of Liverpool warned that obesity increased the risk of dying from the virus by 37 per cent. 


Diabetes puts people at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 because it makes the immune system weaker, scientists say.

The illness, which affects more than four million people in the UK, is caused by abnormal levels of sugar in the blood. For most people this takes the form of Type 2 diabetes, in which there is too much sugar in the blood.

This, researchers, say, thickens the blood and reduces its ability to carry substances around the body at speed.

Dr Hajira Dambha-Miller, a GP and specialist in diabetes, said a patient’s blood becomes ‘like treacle’ as a result of high sugar levels.

‘Physically, it’s harder for the immune system to get to the virus,’ she said. ‘The virus bugs do a lot of damage before the immune system even realises it’s there.’

Therefore, when someone is infected with the coronavirus, it may take longer for their body to respond and fight it off, and the response may be less effective when it does begin.

Their illness doesn’t make a diabetic person any more likely to catch the virus itself – that is indiscriminate – just less likely to be able to recover quickly.

Dr Dambha-Miller added: ‘When the body does kick in, it won’t work as it should do. The immune cells are damaged because they’ve been saturated in sugar for years and don’t work the way they should.’  

The American Diabetes Association says it’s not clear if COVID-19 will pose a difference in risk between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

But the risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 is likely to be lower if diabetes is well-managed no matter whether it is type 1 or type 2.

The Association explains that people who have diabetes often have other health problems, such as obesity, heart disease or high blood pressure, which in turn contribute more to their risk of dying with COVID-19.

The ADA said: ‘Having heart disease or other complications in addition to diabetes could worsen the chance of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, like other viral infections, because your body’s ability to fight off an infection is compromised.

‘Viral infections can also increase inflammation, or internal swelling, in people with diabetes. This is also caused by above-target blood sugars, and both could contribute to more severe complications.’ 

People of black African or Caribbean, or south Asian, backgrounds are more likely to develop diabetes and have also been found to be at more risk of dying if they catch the coronavirus.

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Everton transfer chief Marcel Brands chasing £12million AZ star Teun Koopmeiners – The Sun

EVERTON transfer chief Marcel Brands is teeing up Dutch star Teun Koopmeiners for a swoop.

The AZ Alkmaar midfield dynamo and captain is fancied by Goodison’s director of football and he is available for around £12million.

Koopmeiners, 22, already has vast experience in Dutch football and is a regular for the Under-21 national side.

The all-action star is a team-mate of Southampton flop Jordy Clasie — but Brands thinks he could make a more successful move.

Koopmeiners, who has also been linked with AC Milan, only has a couple of years left on his contract.

Everton want fresh legs and will ideally move out a couple of high-earning players from past regimes.

Midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Gylfi Sigurdsson will need to be replaced in the long-term as boss Carlo Ancelotti brings in his own choices.

And Everton could already be willing to sell star striker Moise Kean after his dreadful first season in England.

Inter Milan are ready to offer £25m to end Kean’s Goodison Park nightmare, twelve months after his move to the Premier League.

The Italian striker has only scored once in 26 appearances since his arrival from Juventus.

The 20-year-old still has another four years on his contract but has struggled to adapt to life in the English top-flight.

And Inter are said to be keeping tabs on him as they prepare to replace star man Lautaro Martinez this summer.

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Police chief slams national guidance on driving for exercise

Police chief slams national guidance on driving for exercise and says people should not get in the car for fitness or dog walking while on lockdown

  • Shaun Sawyer, chief constable in Devon and Cornwall, criticised the advice
  • He said it was ‘poor’ and would lead to people travelling into his policing area
  • It comes as hundreds head out to bask in Britons 20C plus weather today

A police chief has slammed national guidance on driving for exercise as some of the ‘poorest’ he has seen and called on people not to get in the car for fitness.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has told Britons driving to the countryside for a walk or to exercise the dog is reasonable ‘where far more time is spent walking than driving’.

But Shaun Sawyer, the chief constable of the force covering largely rural Devon and Cornwall, criticised their guidance, which was issued to police forces in the UK.

It comes as hundreds head to beaches to bask in 20C weather, apparently unconcerned about the £60 fine.

The guidance for police forces was described as ‘poor’ by the police chief for Devon and Cornwall. Pictured is a police officer checking a car in Aysgarth, North Yorkshire

Police tell revellers not to sunbathe on Brighton seafront yesterday. A chief constable fears that police guidance will lead to people travelling to rural areas

Shaun Sawyer, chief constable of Devon and Cornwall police, criticised the guidance

Speaking from his HQ in Exeter, he said: ‘The National Police Chiefs’ guidance, which I think is some of the poorest guidance I have seen for a long time sadly, would allow people from outside the force (area) access to come in.

‘(That’s) the very thing that our communities don’t want.’

He said people should not drive to go exercising, dog walking or surfing.

Hundreds of people have headed for the great outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. Many were seen playing in the sand and sunbathing in Paignton, Devon, while police in Plymouth, Devon, said the town was full of people wandering around enjoying ice creams.

Coastguards have also criticised the public after they had to be scrambled several times to rescue people stuck on rocks off the coast of Falmouth, Cornwall.

Britain appeared to get back to work today as car use rose 10 per cent, and traffic jams were seen on the A40 for the first time since lockdown began. 

The uptick in movement has prompted fears thousands could head to Britain’s beaches at the weekend when temperatures are also expected to hit more than 20C.

Regarding exercise, the NPCC has also told Britons it is ‘reasonable’ to stop for a rest or to eat lunch while on a walk and exercise more than one a day providing ‘repeated exercise on the same day can be considered a “reasonable excuse” for leaving home’.

They said it would not be acceptable to drive for a long period for brief exercise or to go for a short walk to a bench and then remain seated for a long period of time.

The guidance has been a subject of controversy among rural forces and countryside action groups since it was published on April 16.

The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) condemned the document the day after it was published, warning it presents a ‘real risk’ of more people travelling to rural towns and villages.

Julia Mulligan, the police and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire and NRCN chairwoman, said the guidelines ‘go completely against’ government advice.

‘The main message from the government and scientists is that to tackle coronavirus we need to stay home,’ she said.

‘These new guidelines go completely against that and are hugely unhelpful in the efforts we are making in rural Britain to stop people travelling to our communities and spreading this virus.

‘Saying individuals and families can travel long distances into the countryside has alarmed many for whom that is their home – it has the potential to strain services in already struggling communities, stretches police resources and even adds strain to the NHS which is working so hard to keep us all safe.’

Two officers speak to  man and a woman as they relax on a park bench in Edinburgh

A police officer speaks to a pair as they sunbathe on the grass near St Philip’s Cathedral

A sudden rise in cases around Anglesey in North Wales, due to people heading to their caravans there ahead of lockdown, helped to prompt orders for Britons not to head to their second homes in order to contain the virus.

As many as 138,078 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK. There have been 18,738 deaths.

Responding to the NRCN’s criticism, the NPCC said: ‘While there is nothing in the legislation that prevents people from driving to exercise, police forces and the Government have rightly continued to advise the public not to travel long distances in the car to exercise.

‘Therefore forces who have advised this are not out of step with the CPS guidance.

‘Officers should continue to use discretion and judgment in deciding what is and what isn’t ‘necessary’ and ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances being mindful of the purpose of the regulations – to prevent transmission of infection.’

MailOnline has contacted the NPCC for further comment. 

What do police say is ‘reasonable behaviour’ during the lockdown? 


  • Buying several days’ worth of food, including luxury items and alcohol.
  • Buying a small amount of a staple item or necessity (eg, a newspaper, pet food, a loaf of bread or pint of milk).
  • Collecting surplus basic food items from a friend
  • Buying tools and supplies to repair a fence panel damaged in recent bad weather  


  • Including: going for a run or cycle or practicing yoga. Walking in the countryside or in cities. Attending an allotment. 
  • Driving to countryside and walking (where far more time is spent walking than driving).
  • Stopping to rest or to eat lunch while on a long walk.
  • Exercising more than once per day – the only relevant consideration is whether repeated exercise on the same day can be considered a ‘reasonable excuse’ for leaving home. 


  • A key worker or other essential worker travelling to work where it is not reasonably possible to work from home.
  • A non-key worker or non-essential key worker travelling to work where it is not reasonably possible to work from home.
  • A person delivering food packages to vulnerable people.


  • Taking an animal for treatment.
  • Moving to a friend’s address for several days to allow a ‘cooling-off’ following arguments at home.
  • Providing support to vulnerable people.

What do police say is banned during the coronavirus lockdown? 


Buying paint and brushes, simply to  redecorate a kitchen


Driving for a prolonged period with only brief exercise.

A short walk to a park bench, when the person remains seated for a much longer period.


A person who can work from home choosing to work in a local park

A person knocking on doors offering to do cash-in-hand work.


Visiting a vet’s surgery in person to renew a prescription (where this could be done over the phone).

Visiting a friend in their address or meeting in public to socialise.

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M15 chief says agency's work is more important during coronavirus

MI5’s work is even more vital to nation during coronavirus crisis says outgoing chief as he admits spy agency could lose out to NHS for taxpayer cash in future

  • Sir Andrew Parker, 58, says the agency is under threat from funding cuts
  • He says the coronavirus crisis could force the government into ‘tough decisions’ 
  • The veteran Director General will be replaced by Ken McCallum this month 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

M15 could have its funding could be cut in favour of more money being given to pandemic planning despite the agency’s work being more important than ever. 

The agency’s outgoing Director General Sir Andrew Parker said the coronavirus crisis could force ministers to ‘adjust the dials’ on public spending. 

The 58-year-old insisted that MI5 was able to continue its work during the lockdown, adding that potential threats to the country were also subject to the restrictions.

The death toll from coronavirus dwarfs that from terrorist attacks since 2001 and he acknowledged that could lead to a shift in the Government’s thinking in future.

M15’s outgoing Director General Sir Andrew Parker says the government may reduce the amount of funding given to intelligence agencies in favour of more being given to the NHS

‘I don’t envy elected politicians who have to make those priority decisions about where you place the relative priorities – and therefore taxpayers’ money – between different sorts of risk, between the possibility of a pandemic versus these national security threats versus road safety,’ Sir Andrew told the BBC.

‘Those are really tough decisions.

‘There is no doubt at all that having lived through the worst pandemic in a century, the Government is bound to think differently about how to configure against that risk and adjust the dials accordingly across public spending, I’m sure.

‘But all of those decisions are yet to be taken.’

Sir Andrew said MI5’s work was vital now to prevent terror attacks or other incidents which would add to the burden on the emergency services.

Sir Andrew says MI5 is more important than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, helping to deal with the crisis by releasing their own medical staff back into the NHS

‘At this time – maybe even more than normally – it is vital that the nation’s national security machinery is working so that the national emergency we are in now isn’t further complicated or compounded by other events,’ he said.

‘You’ll understand if I don’t go into exactly the ways in which we are working – what shape we are in. 

‘But MI5 is at work in a whole variety of ways flexibly operating to do our job.

‘Like many organisations around the country, MI5 is contributing to the effort to deal with the crisis on a few other fronts as well.

‘We have released back into the NHS qualified medical staff that we have.’

Ken McCallum will become the youngest ever Director General of M15 this month, but his official age remains a state secret

MI5 had also given security advice on the design and construction of the Nightingale field hospitals.

Sir Andrew said there was a ‘different shape’ to the threats faced by MI5 during the lockdown.

He said: ‘Some of the people that we are most concerned about as potential sources of threat in this country are, of course, themselves under the lockdown arrangements and so movements are restricted.

‘That makes a difference to behaviour but it does not eradicate the threat. There is plenty of work that we are doing to stay on top of things.’

Sir Andrew, who retires this month having been in charge of MI5 since 2013, will be replaced by service veteran Ken McCallum.

MI5 gave security advice on the design and construction of the Nightingale field hospitals, including the Manchester Central hospital (above)

The outgoing security chief said one of the main changes since he first joined the service in 1983 had been the shift in the diversity of the people it employs, particularly the ending of a ban on recruiting gay people.

‘I can’t remember, other than specialist linguists we employed, seeing many non-white faces around the organisation back then,’ he said.

‘In particular, the one that sits sharply in contrast today is that if you were gay back then, you could not be employed here.

‘That was for some historical reason from years, decades, before about vulnerability to blackmail that were completely outdated.’

‘That must have caused all sorts of hurt to people and that has to be a matter of regret and shame for all of us.’

The number of coronavirus death reduced to 450 today, the lowest since April 6 and just more than half of the amount of people who died two days ago

Sir Andrew’s replacement Ken McCallum will be the youngest ever director general when he takes over the top job at MI5 next month.

He has spent almost a quarter of a century working for the security service and is understood to be well-liked by colleagues, approachable, trusted and incisive.

In 2018, Mr McCallum took charge of the agency’s response to the attempted assassination of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in a nerve agent attack in Salisbury. 

He will take over the job this month when Sir Andrew retires. 

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NYC hospitals chief eyes bonuses for hero nurses, doctors

New York City’s public hospitals chief wants to provide bonuses to front-line “hero” medical workers who are risking their own health to save the lives of patients suffering from the coronavirus.

“We’re trying to figure out how to give people bonuses for their hard work,” Dr. Mitchell Katz, president/CEO of Health + Hospitals, which oversees the city’s 11 public hospitals, said in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association posted Monday.

“These [doctors and nurses] are heroes. They’re saving people’s lives,” Katz said.

He said many of the medical staffers have almost exclusively focused on providing oxygen to serious ill COVID-19 patients to keep them alive.

“They’re tired. They’re traumatized from the number of deaths they’ve seen,” Katz said.

Talk of bonuses comes amid a fiscal crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Mayor de Blasio is recommending cuts to his spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

But the city hospital system should be in line for federal funds under the $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus plan. Of that total, at least $100 billion is earmarked for hospitals and other medical facilities nationwide.

Asked to elaborate, a spokesman for Katz said, “NYC Health + Hospitals’ front-line employees are heroes and deserve recognition for their hard work serving New Yorkers in need. We are looking at all our options, financial and non-financial, to recognize our heroes.

Mayor de Blasio’s office had no immediate comment on whether he was considering giving hospital workers bonuses.

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WHO chief accused of failing to record three cholera epidemics

World Health Organisation chief accused of failing to record three cholera epidemics in home country

  • Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus allegedly involved in Ethiopian cover-ups 
  • Also accused of failing to record a cholera outbreak in Sudan in the same year 
  • Allegations against health chiefs relate to outbreaks in the countries in 2017  

The World Health Organisation’s chief has been accused of failing to record three cholera epidemics in his home country.  

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, 55, is alleged to have been ‘complicit’ in failing to record or even identify outbreaks in Ethiopia back when he was a health minister. 

He strongly denies the claims, branding them a smear campaign as Donald Trump slammed the WHO’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and accused the organisation of being ‘very China-centric’.  

Dr Tedros says that the accusations are part of mud-slinging during the run-up to him being elected as director general of the WHO, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (pictured), 55, is alleged to have been ‘complicit’ in failing to record or even identify outbreaks in Ethiopia back when he was a health minister

In May 2017, he was accused of refusing to record the epidemics in 2006, 2009 and 2011. 

At the time, he was Ethiopia’s health minister and went on to become foreign minister in 2012, a position he held until 2016.

Professor Larry Gostin told the New York Times in 2017: ‘Dr Tedros is a compassionate and highly competent public health official. But he had a duty to speak truth to power and to honestly identify and report verified cholera outbreaks over an extended period.’

Prof Gostin allegedly told the paper he feared the WHO might ‘might lose its legitimacy’ if it was run by somebody who covered up epidemics. 

Donald Trump slammed the WHO’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and accused the organisation of being ‘very China-centric’

Dr Tedros is also accused of being ‘complicit’ in a failure to record a cholera outbreak in Sudan in the same year.

In September that year, US doctors wrote an open letter to Dr Tedros, saying: ‘Your silence about what is clearly a massive cholera epidemic in Sudan daily becomes more reprehensible. Your failure to transport stool samples from victims in Sudan to Geneva for official confirmation of cholera makes you fully complicit in the terrible suffering and dying that continues to spread, out of control, with daily new reports confirming that this is indeed a cholera epidemic.

‘The inevitable history that will be written of this epidemic will surely cast you in an unforgiving light.’

The outbreaks were classed as ‘acute watery diarrhea’ and it was alleged that by avoiding the term ‘cholera’, Dr Tedros was protecting tourism.

The WHO insisted that the naming of the disease made no difference to its response.

At the time, Dr Tedros denied the accusation that he’d covered up the pandemic. He said he was the victim of a smear to stop him getting the top health job in the world. 

But the New York Times also ran complaints alleging that Ethiopian officials weren’t telling the truth about the outbreaks.   

Professor Gostin declined to comment when contacted by the The Telegraph last week and said the interview ‘was a long time ago’.

Professor Gostin also told the British Medical Journal that the New York Times report of the allegations he had made was not accurate. 

He also praised the health chief’s track record in Ethiopia, citing reforms to the country’s health care.

But he voiced concerns about appointment based on the county’s ‘dismal’ human rights abuse record and said the government had not fully and honestly reported several outbreaks of cholera which may have slowed the response of the international community.  



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Who is Ruth May? Chief Nursing Officer for England – The Sun

RUTH May is the Chief Nursing Officer for England, representing the NHS' frontline heroes during the coronavirus crisis.

Mrs May is advising the UK Government during the pandemic – but what does she do and how does she contribute to the battle against COVID-19?

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Who is Ruth May?

Ruth May is the Chief Nursing Officer for England and a national director at NHS England and NHS Improvement.

She began her career in a variety of nursing roles before becoming a theatre sister at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey.

The chief nurse is also the current NHS director responsible for infection prevention and control.

Mrs May was appointed Executive Director of Nursing at NHS Improvement in April 2016, and Director of Nursing at Monitor, the regulatory body of the healthcare sector.

What has she said about the coronavirus pandemic?

The Chief Nursing Office for England has described the coronavirus crisis as "the greatest challenge in health and social care in at least a generation".

Speaking to reporters on April 11, May begged the UK public to respect social distancing measures over the East bank Holiday weekend, in order to protect her staff.

During Friday's Downing Street press briefing she said: "I was only on the way here, going over Westminster Bridge, seeing a whole hoard of cyclists coming together.

"It is enormously frustrating.

"The reason that is frustrating is because there's also still occasions where my colleagues are getting abuse from their neighbours for driving off to work.

"Our nurses, our healthcare staff, need to be able to get to work, it's right and proper they do, but my ask of everybody, please stay at home, save lives and protect my staff."

On April 3, she paid tribute to medics who had died after contracting coronavirus.

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Wearing her uniform in support, she said: "I worry there is going to be more."

On April 1, she made a nationwide call for former nurses and midwives to return to the NHS to help support the fight against coronavirus.

What's her role during UK coronavirus crisis?

May has a high-profile role as England's chief nurse during the coronavirus pandemic.

Her job is to represent the nursing sector and to also advise Government on latest NHS statistics, and figures.

She also reports the effects of social distancing is having on the COVID-19 outbreak, including transport usage, and hospital admissions.

She is featured regularly in daily coronavirus press briefings broadcast from Downing Street during the COVID-19 crisis, where she often reports statistics.


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Health chief warns Britons might need to say on lockdown until June

Lockdown until JUNE: Senior health chief warns entire population of Britain could need to stay home for nearly three months to avoid worst effects of coronavirus

  • Britain’s coronavirus death toll hit 1,019 yesterday in worst day country faced yet
  • Some senior government figures suggested that coronavirus could peak in April
  • But Professor Neil Ferguson said Britons will need to stay indoors for 3 months
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Britain should stay in total lockdown until June to properly prevent the full extent of the deadly coronavirus, a senior health chief warned. 

Britain’s coronavirus death toll rocketed by 260 to 1,019 yesterday in the worst day the country faced yet. A total of 17,089 people tested positive for the bug.

The Prime Minister will today warn Britons that: ‘Things will get worse before they get better’.

Britain should stay in total lockdown until June to properly prevent the full extent of the deadly coronavirus, a senior health adviser warned. Pictured: People walk through Battersea Park for their permitted one outdoor exercise per day

Professor Neil Ferguson said Britons will need to stay indoors for a full three months

Some senior government figures have suggested that coronavirus could peak in April with approximately 5,700 deaths.

But Professor Neil Ferguson said Britons will need to stay indoors for a full three months.

The leading epidemiology adviser to the government told The Sunday Times: ‘We’re going to have to keep these measures [the full lockdown] in place, in my view, for a significant period of time – probably until the end of May, maybe even early June. May is optimistic.’

His stark warning comes as Boris Johnson writes to every household in the UK to urge the public to obey the lockdown and stay home during the ‘national emergency’.

The Prime Minister, who is self-isolating after testing positive for the bug, will stress the need to stay indoors to support the NHS by slowing the spread. 

Britain’s coronavirus death toll rocketed by 260 to 1,019 yesterday in the worst day the country faced yet. A total of 17,089 people tested positive for the bug. Pictured: People in Hyde Park London yesterday


At an anticipated cost of £5.8 million, the letters will land on 30 million doorsteps along with a leaflet spelling out the Government’s advice following much public confusion. 

The letters and leaflets are the latest in a public information campaign from No 10 to convince people to stay at home, wash their hands and shield the most vulnerable from the disease.

‘We know things will get worse before they get better,’ the PM’s letter will read.

Boris Johnson is writing to every household in the UK to urge the public to obey the lockdown and stay home during the coronavirus ‘national emergency’

The letters and leaflets are the latest in a public information campaign from No 10 to convince people to stay at home, wash their hands and shield the most vulnerable from the disease

‘But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal.

‘It has been truly inspirational to see our doctors, nurses and other carers rise magnificently to the needs of the hour.

‘Thousands of retired doctors and nurses are returning to the NHS – and hundreds of thousands of citizens are volunteering to help the most vulnerable.

A police van drives past people taking their daily exercise allowance in Hyde Park in London on today, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown

‘That is why, at this moment of national emergency, I urge you, please, to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.’

Amid allegations of confusing messages on the lockdown, the leaflet will outline the Government’s rules on leaving the house and advice on shielding vulnerable people.

A clear explanation of the symptoms will also be included as well guidance on hand washing. 

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