Boris Johnson tells Brits coronavirus will ‘get worse before it gets better’ as he launches £5.8m letter blitz
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently self-isolating after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
Things will “get worse before they get better” as Britain battles to contain the coronavirus crisis, Boris Johnson will say in a new letter sent to every household in the country.
The Prime Minister will hold out the prospect of a tougher nationwide lockdown if the crisis deepens in a new £5.8m letter and leafleting campaign expected to land on 30 million doormats across the country from next week.
And he will pay tribute to NHS staff who have risen "magnificently to the needs of the hour".
In the message the Prime Minister will say: "From the start, we have sought to put in the right measures at the right time."
But he will add: "We will not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do.
"It's important for me to level with you - we know things will get worse before they get better. 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."
The message comes after Mr Johnson himself was forced to self-isolate after testing positive for coronavirus, with two other members of the Cabinet - Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack - also stepping back from public contact in line with health advice.
Mr Hancock has tested positive for the virus, while Mr Jack, who has not been tested, has been showing symptoms.
Downing Street said: "The Prime Minister is continuing to lead the Government's response to coronavirus as he self isolates after testing positive for the virus."
The number of people to have died with the coronavirus in he UK has now topped 1,000, with government figures published on Saturday showing a further 260 deaths in a single day.
More than 17,000 people have now tested positive for the virus in the UK, as the country faces tough curbs on its movement to try to ease the impact on the health service.
In his letter, Mr Johnson heaps praise on "fantastic" NHS and care staff who are "working flat out to beat the virus" across the four nations of the UK.
And he will add: "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.
"That is why, at this moment of national emergency, I urge you, please, to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives."
Number 10 said the letter would be sent alongside a leaflet spelling out the Government's latest advice to combat the coronavirus, including "clear explanations" of symptoms, hand-washing guidance, rules on leaving the house and steps that should be taken to protect vulnerable people.
FRESH BUSINESS HELP
The public information blitz comes after Business Secretary Alok Sharma unveiled a raft of new measures aimed at shoring up firms who have been affected by the shutdown of parts of the economy in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Amid warnings that the UK is on course for a steep recession, Mr Sharma promised an overhaul of the UK's insolvency system to give struggling firms "extra time and space to weather the storm" while they restructure.
"The changes to the insolvency regime will include new rules to make sure companies undergoing restructuring can continue to get hold of supplies and raw materials, and there will be a temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions for company directors to remove the threat of personal liability during the pandemic," he said.
Companies will meanwhile be allowed to postpone annual general meetings - currently required by law - or hold them remotely to avoid going against public health advice, while Mr Sharma vowed to scrap "administrative barriers" to make it easier for companies able to make ingredients for hand sanitisers to get their goods to market "in a matter of days".
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe