Brits have been urged to be reasonable and responsible as the government continues to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak as it begins to peak.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he believed covid-19 could be under control by the summer – but only if people follow the social distancing measures already set out.
If not, he warned that more draconian measures could be rolled out in a bid to flatten the curve and reduce the pressure on NHS resources.
“We can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks, and I am absolutely confident we can send coronavirus packing – but only if we all take the steps we have outlined,” he said.
He urged people to be “disciplined” adding that slowing the spread “depends on collective, resolute action” .
In particular he said it was “vital” that Londoners follow social distancing advice, suggesting there was “some evidence that in some parts of the capital it is patchy”. In that case, Johnson said “nothing is ruled out”.
Asked about instances where retailers have been pushing prices up for in-demand products, the PM urged retailers to be “reasonable” and not to engage in profiteering.
“We have good supply chains, there are no reasons for the shops to be emptying,” he said, adding a plea to consumers. “Of course everyone understands why people are buying stuff, but please be reasonable in your shopping. Be considerate and thoughtful.”
Asked if the government will go further to support businesses and employees, the Prime Minister said: “This time we are going to really make sure we look after the people who suffer from the economic consequences of what we are asking them to do – we will be looking after the people first.”
He added: “We will stick by businesses and we hope businesses stick by their employees… We want businesses to bounce back.”
But challenged on the 12 week timescale, Johnson appeared to row back.
“I cannot tell you that by June we will be on the downward slope, of course not,” he said. “We don’t know how long this thing will go on for, but we do know this thing will be finite”.
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