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Act like it’s war-time, says UK PM Boris Johnson on coronavirus

Scaling up efforts to deal with the coronavirus crisis, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday said “we must act like a war-time government”, while his chief scientific advisor Patrick Vallance told MPs that less than 20,000 deaths in the UK would, while “horrible”, be a “good outcome”.

Vallance said it was “reasonable” to assume there were as many as 55,000 cases already in the country, which is nearing an Italy-like peak in the next three to four weeks.

As chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a 330 billion pounds package to deal with the economic impact, Johnson said: “I stress although the measures are extreme we may well have to go further and faster. And we must act like any war-time government and do anything it takes to support our economy.”

“Yes, this enemy can be deadly. But it is also beatable. But we know how to beat it”, he added. Both Johnson and Sunak said the government would do “whatever it takes” to overcome the crisis in the coming months.

So far, the UK’s official figure is 1,950 people who tested positive and 56 dead. The measures such as social isolation and closure of public places described as ‘draconian’ by Johnson on Monday would need to be in place at least for “months”, Vallance said.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of the National Health Service also told MPs of plans to postpone routine surgery, to prepare for “the likely influx of more coronavirus patients”.

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