UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new four-week coronavirus lockdown across England, a dramatic strategy shift following warnings hospitals would become overwhelmed under his current system of localised restrictions.
"Now is the time to take action because there's no alternative," he said in a televised address to the nation from Downing Street, adding "the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers".
Johnson said the prospect of a vaccine in the first quarter of 2021 gives reason for optimism that the spring will be better.
"I am optimistic that this will feel very different and better by the spring. It's not just that we have ever better medicines and therapies, and the realistic hope of a vaccine in the first quarter of next year," Johnson said at a news conference.
"We now have the immediate prospect of using many millions of cheap, reliable, and above all, rapid turnaround tests... that you can use yourself to tell you whether or not you're infectious and get the result within 10 to 15 minutes."
- with Reuters