THE NHS England boss today warned we must lockdown to save lives and beat coronavirus.
He urged Brits to not be "complacent" as the country now has 17,089 positive cases and 1,019 deaths from the killer virus.
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Talking to the nation this afternoon, Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, said: "If we can keep deaths below 20,000 we will have done very well in this epidemic.
"If we do reduce the levels to below the level which we thought, that won't be because we are somehow lucky, it won't be because the virus is somehow acting differently in this country.
"It will be because the British public complied with the advise given.
"We can beat this virus, we can reduce the number of deaths but only if we do what we are asked.
"Now is the time to really hone down on what we are asked to do.
"Every one of us has a part to play and we know that can work.
"To everyone watching – you have the chance to save the life."
He added he was confident the NHS would have capacity to deal with the rising number of patients, but said we should not be "complacent".
Today thousands of Brits flocked to parks and beaches, despite warnings that stricter lockdown rules could come into force.
It comes as the UK's coronavirus death toll surges daily, with the worrying figures expected to peak around Easter.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries said cases will rise for “two to three weeks” then fall if Brits respect the lockdown.
She said: “If people have cut down their social interactions, we would start to see a change in the graph."
“The peak will be pushed forward but the height will be lower and we can manage NHS hospital care safely.”
But government advisers have suggested "greater enforcement" of social distancing policies could be needed if the numbers continue to rise.
The stricter measures would involve "anything that can be done to push it (down) further" and prevent people catching the disease.
It could mean mirroring the measures taken by countries like Spain and Italy, where outdoor exercise is banned and fines of up to €3,000 (£2,690) are given to anyone in breach of the rules.
BRITAIN BUCKLES DOWN
Brits are shaming their neighbours for ignoring strict government rules by phoning the cops.
Cops have said the 101 line has become inundated after officers were given special powers to impose Boris Johnson’s string of drastic measures.
Anyone who flouts the new crackdown will face fines of up to £1,000 or even arrest.
And the Army is transforming London's ExCel centre into an enormous makeshift hospital to fight coronavirus.
Together with the NHS, the Ministry of Defence is rapidly creating the 4,000 bed-capacity NHS Nightingale in the heart of the capital.
London is the worst hit with the virus so far, with hospitals already struggling to cope with the influx of patients.
To tackle the killer virus the huge building – usually used for exhibitions, conferences and sporting events – is becoming another hospital – with ventilators and oxygen.
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Yesterday we reported how frontline Heathrow immigration officer and his daughter tragically died from coronavirus 24 hours apart.
Terminal 3 worker Sudhir Sharma, 61, passed away on Wednesday and pharmacist Pooja, 33, the following day.
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