Boris Johnson says coronavirus tide could turn in 12 weeks if public heed advice

Boris Johnson has told the nation he is "absolutely confident that we can send coronavirus packing in this country" and the tide can be turned within the next 12 weeks.

The Prime Minister urged members of the public to heed the advice to keep up social distancing and stay at home if ill or if somebody in their household is ill as he said: "I know it's tough, I know it's difficult... but please, please follow the advice."

He thanked everyone for the "huge efforts that the country is making" and urged businesses to stand by their employees, with further announcements due from Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Friday.

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Coronavirus impacts Britain
SALTBURN BY THE SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 30: A man dances with his daughter as residents of Coral Street in Saltburn come out of their homes at 6pm each evening to take part in Sing at Six as the UK adjusts to life under the Coronavirus pandemic on March 30, 2020 in Saltburn By The Sea, United Kingdom. Residents have being coming to their doorsteps and gardens to sing and dance along with each other every evening since the lockdown began as they try and maintain the morale of the street. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to at least 199 countries, claiming over 36,000 lives and infecting more than 752,000 people. There have now been 22,141 diagnosed cases in the UK and 1,408 deaths. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
SALTBURN BY THE SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 30: Residents of Coral Street in Saltburn come out of their homes at 6pm each evening to take part in Sing at Six as the UK adjusts to life under the Coronavirus pandemic on March 30, 2020 in Saltburn By The Sea, United Kingdom. Residents have being coming to their doorsteps and gardens to sing and dance along with each other every evening since the lockdown began as they try and maintain the morale of the street. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to at least 199 countries, claiming over 36,000 lives and infecting more than 752,000 people. There have now been 22,141 diagnosed cases in the UK and 1,408 deaths. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
A sign outside the closed-down Prince of Wales pub reads "Thanks to the NHS and all our Key Workers", in Fleet, south west of London, on March 30, 2020, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. - Life in locked-down Britain may not return to normal for six months or longer as it battles the coronavirus outbreak, a top health official warned on Sunday, as the death toll reached passed 1,200. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
EALING, ENGLAND - MARCH 30: A volunteer from Ealing Soup Kitchen prepares food parcels for clients on March 30, 2020 in Ealing, England. Like many other countries around the world, the United Kingdom is now on lockdown with the public being told to remain indoors and only leave their homes for groceries, healthcare or essential work. Those with no fixed address are facing a crisis as donations dry up and healthcare becomes a priority. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 30: A woman with an unknown condition is helped from an ambulance at the St Thomas' Hospital on March 30, 2020 in London, England. Hospitals across London are facing a surge in demand for critical care due to The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 30: Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus on March 30, 2020 in London, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
A paramedic wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) exits an ambulance outside St Thomas' Hospital in Westminster, London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
EMBARGOED TO 1530 MONDAY 30 MARCH Soldiers and private contractors help to prepare the ExCel centre, London, which is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
A refuse collector in Liverpool wears a facemask as he continues to do his job as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday March 30, 2020. A total of 1,228 patients are reported to have died after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
People maintain social distancing as they queue outside a post office in Wolverhampton city centre as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
British Airways and EasyJet planes are seen parked at Gatwick Airport in Crawley, West Sussex, after EasyJet announced it has grounded its entire fleet of 344 aircraft due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A motorist wearing a face mask drives through the streets of Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
A cyclist makes his way up a quiet Saint Vincent Street in Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, - MARCH 29: A man wearing a mask walks past Covid-19 themed graffiti in Birmingham city centre during the nationwide lockdownon March 29, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, - MARCH 29: Police officers patrol a deserted Corporation Street in Birmingham city centre during the nationwide lockdown on March 29, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Even on a normal Sunday the streets are usually busy with shoppers. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, - MARCH 29: Aircraft sit idle as they are parked up at Birmingham Airport during the nationwide lockdown on March 29, 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: British nationals arrive at a closed London Gatwick North Terminal after they were repatriated on Easy Jet, flight EZY 9662 from Alicante on March 29, 2020 in London, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 30,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
LULWORTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: A 'Go Home' is seen on the outskirts of Lulworth village on March 28, 2020 in Lulworth, United Kingdom. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 25,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: General views of British Airways planes grounded at Bournemouth Airport on March 28, 2020 in Bournemouth, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 25,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
A medical staff member wearing closes and a face mask, tests an NHS worker for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 at a drive-in facility set up in the carpark of Chessington World of Adventures in Chessington, Greater London on March 28, 2020. - Britain on March 24 said it will open a 4,000-bed field hospital at a London exhibition centre to treat coronavirus cases in the latest measure to tackle the outbreak after the government ordered a nationwide lockdown. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 27: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "10 DOWNING STREET / ANDREW PARSONS / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Workers are seen at newly built Nightingale Hospital London for Covid-19 at the Excel in London, United Kingdom on March 27, 2020. The Military and contractors build the Nightingale Hospital in London for Covid-19 patients. (Photo by Andrew Parsons / 10 Downing Street / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A sign at the gates of Battersea Park in London, giving information on social distancing in the park, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
SURBITON, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: Chalk writing on a pavement on March 28, 2020 in Surbiton, England The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 25,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)
A sign in Holland Park, London, urging people to stay indoors, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)
A member of the military at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: Brighton beach is almost deserted on March 28, 2020 in Brighton, England. Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
The Wembley arch in London is lit up in the colours of the Italian flag as a gesture of solidarity from the England Football Team. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)
A member of the media wearing a protective face mask walks in front of Number 11 Downing Street, where Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is self-isolating in his flat above, in central London, March 27, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that he is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
A very quiet London St Pancras International railway station as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Piccadilly Circus, London, as lockdown remains in place across the UK to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
A couple walk through a near-deserted Arndale Centre in Manchester, north-west England, on March 27, 2020. - Manchester United will refund supporters if they have to play their remaining home games of the season behind closed doors or if they are scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Police stop motorists as they travel on Park Street, Bristol, where random checks on essential travel are taking place as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
An information board displays a message asking people to "stay home" in Manchester, north-west England, on March 27, 2020. - Manchester United will refund supporters if they have to play their remaining home games of the season behind closed doors or if they are scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A worker puts up a notice advising against non-essential travel, at a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus.
The Men's toilet facilities at the Strensham Services on the M5 Motorway in Worcestershire where alternate urinals are out of use to maintain social distancing as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Workers from the Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) cleaning high contact public areas around Park Street and College Green, Bristol, using hot water with disinfectant and a high pressure hose, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. The cleaning opertaion is concentrating on surfaces that have a high level of public contact.
Members of the public wearing masks queue to enter shops in Melton Mowbray as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man wearing a protective face mask and clothing in Westminster, London after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A liquid oxygen tank is lifted by a crane at the ExCel centre, in east London, which is being made into a temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale hospital - comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 beds, to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Tape marks out 2 metre sections on the floor to implement social distancing measures at a Tesco store in Peterborough, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A lady with her children enjoy the beach in Broadstairs, Kent, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A London Ambulance service vehicle waits on a ramp at the ExCel centre, in east London, which is being made into a temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale hospital - comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 beds, to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25: Construction workers wear masks and maintain social distancing as they continue working near Battersea Power Station on March 25, 2020 in London, England. British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced strict lockdown measures urging people to stay at home and only leave the house for basic food shopping, exercise once a day and essential travel to and from work. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 18,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
4-year-old Lara Young from Wimbledon, one of many children across the UK who has created and placed a rainbow picture in her window in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Photo credit should read: Katie Collins/EMPICS
A sign directing the way to get to a Priority Assessment Pod the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: London’s flagship London Store Nike Town on Oxford Street showing the new Nike play Inside, Play for the world campaign. Nike’s COVID-19 community response has committied over $15 million to response efforts and Nike’s co-founder Phil Knight and wife Penny, executive chairman of the board Mark Parker and wife Kathy, and the brand’s current president CEO John Donahoe and wife Eileen have personally pledged to donating a combined $10 million towards the efforts. British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced strict lockdown measures urging people to stay at home and only leave the house for basic food shopping, exercise once a day and essential travel to and from work. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more.
Passengers ride a Jubilee Line Underground train at rush hour through central London after Sean O'Callaghan, Assistant Chief Constable at British Transport Police, said only those making essential journeys for work should be using the Tube and rail network.
A quiet London Bridge station, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A sign for commuters to keep their distance, at Canary Wharf underground station, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A deserted Piccadilly Circus in London, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Empty streets in Skegness the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A couple hug on the steps on The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in London the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Simon Cotterill, Head Teacher of Manor Park School and Nursery in Knutsford Cheshire, sits in an empty classroom, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The shops of Liverpool One are deserted, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 24, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
People wearing face masks look at a mobile phone in Leicester, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A view of Lakeside Retail Park in Thurrock, Essex, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A couple wearing protevtive equipment walk by the Bullring in Birmingham, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in East Grinstead
A pedestrian walks past an advertisement for 'Panicky in the UK' displayed on a phone box in the Soho district after they closed because of the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain, March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
The sun rises behind the London Eye wheel, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
General view as a person walks over the Millennium Bridge, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain March 22, 2020. Ian Vogler/Pool via REUTERS
A Primark store in Nottingham after the company announced yesterday that they will be closing all UK stores to help limit the spread of coronavirus.
Commuters walk past a coronavirus notice on London Bridge, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A London Underground notice at Westminster tube station, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Henry Oliver (10) takes part in a youtube P.E. class run by Joe Wicks at their home in East Grinstead, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in East Grinstead, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Adam Oliver
Staff wears masks as they process orders at the Shikara Indian Restaurant in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, where they have closed the restaurant to sit-down customers and started doing takeaway meals and deliveries as part of the UK's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Zak carries carveries from the Sneyd Arms to be delivered to people on Mother's Day in Keele, Newcastle-under-Lyme as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Newcastle-under-Lyme, Britain March 22, 2020 REUTERS/Carl Recine
Picnic tables at a tea stall at British Camp in the Malvern Hills are covered in tape as tourist boards across the UK have urged people to respect Government advice on social distancing and unnecessary travel as many continue to go on pre-planned holidays.
General view as teacher Wendy Couldridge teaches her own children Noah (9) and Milly (7) from home as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Hertford, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge
Alice and Joseph Wilkinson take part in a youtube P.E. class at their home in Manchester, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Manchester, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble
General view of the city as people take a walk on Primrose Hill as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 20: A lone commuter sits onboard a bus as it passes a near-empty Trafalgar Square on March 20, 2020 in London, England. Coronavirus (Covid-19) has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting more than 250,000 people. There have now been 3,269 diagnosed cases in the UK and 144 deaths. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Customers stock up on toilet roll at Costco as the Chancellor is to unveil an emergency package aimed at protecting workers' jobs and wages as they face hardship in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
People wearing protective face mask wait for a bus in front of the St. Paul's Cathedral, as the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases grow around the world, in London
Coronavirus UK LIVE: Schools to close across country as Chancellor unveils fresh emergency package for worst-hit workers
Shoppers queue to enter a Tesco supermarket in West London
Reception class teacher Inez Horn poses for a photograph with five-year-old Ava Marshall, as she shows her how to use a laptop for online studying at Oakwood Infant school in Hartley Wintney, on March 20, 2020, as schools get set to close at the end of the day. - British schools close indefinitely on Friday as part of tougher government measures to stem the coronavirus pandemic, following similar shutdowns in Europe and across the world. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had resisted the move, fearing its impact on the workforce, but changed course as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened across Britain. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM MARCH 20, 2020 - Coronavirus: people queueing outside Savers store in Wood Green- PHOTOGRAPH BY Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Matthew Chattle/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Empty carriages are seen at a near-deserted tube station as Londoners heed a call to stay home due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, in London on March 20, 2020. - Britain's Prime Minister said Thursday that Britain could "turn the tide" on coronavirus within 12 weeks -- but only if people heed advice to avoid social contact. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 20: A man walks across a quiet Oxford Circus on March 20, 2020 in London, England. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting more than 250,000 people. There have now been 3,269 diagnosed cases in the UK and 144 deaths. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 20: A man stands on an empty platform at Tower Hill underground station during what would usually be a very busy period for commuters on March 20, 2020 in London, England. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting more than 250,000 people. There have now been 3,269 diagnosed cases in the UK and 144 deaths. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
A passenger waits on the platform at Westminster tube station in London, as NHS England announced that the coronavirus death toll had reached 137 in the UK. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
A shopper peruses near-empty shelves at a supermarket in the centre of York, northern England, on March 19, 2020. - Britain's supermarkets on Wednesday stepped up efforts to safeguard supplies, especially for vulnerable and elderly customers, as the sector battles stockpiling caused by coronavirus panic. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A man wearing a surgical face mask as a precautionary measure against covid-19, sits with other passengers on the concourse at King's Cross train station in central London, on March 19, 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic continues. - Britain announced Wednesday it would be closing schools in the coming days and placing 20,000 troops on standby in efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus, as the death toll topped 100. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had held off following the lead of other European countries because of the impact it would have on the workforce. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP) (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)
A sign advises passengers not to travel if they have covid-19 symptoms, at King's Cross train station in central London, on March 19, 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic continues. - Britain announced Wednesday it would be closing schools in the coming days and placing 20,000 troops on standby in efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus, as the death toll topped 100. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had held off following the lead of other European countries because of the impact it would have on the workforce. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP) (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a coronavirus news conference inside number 10 Downing Street on March 19, 2020 in London, England. Coronavirus (Covid-19) has spread to over 177 countries in a matter of weeks, claiming over 8,000 lives and infecting over 230,000. There are currently 2,692 diagnosed cases in the UK with 137 deaths. (Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 18: A commuter wears a face-mask as she prepares to travel on an underground train, despite Government recommendations that people avoid social contact during the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, on March 18, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
A person wearing a full face mask in King's Cross underground station in London after NHS England announced that the coronavirus death toll had reached 104 in the UK. (Photo by Ian Hinchliffe/PA Images via Getty Images)
A person wearing a full face mask in King's Cross underground station in London after NHS England announced that the coronavirus death toll had reached 104 in the UK. (Photo by Ian Hinchliffe/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 18: A woman in a protective face mask leaves a Pret A Manger restaurant on March 18, 2020 in London, England. The company is closing their seating areas to operate mainly as a takeaway business amid the coronavirus outbreak as the UK government announces stricter measures and social distancing advice to deal with the novel corona virus outbreak. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
A very quiet Westminster Bridge, as the death toll from coronavirus in the UK reached 71 people.
A sign at a Mcdonald's branch in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. All McDonalds restaurants in the UK and Ireland become takeaways, drive-thrus and delivery operations as the company attempts to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.
The closed off seating area inside a McDonald's restaurant in Leicester, as all McDonalds restaurants in the UK and Ireland become takeaways, drive-thrus and delivery operations as the company attempts to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.
A quiet pub in Edinburgh on St Patrick's Day, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on people to stay away from pubs, clubs and theatres, work from home if possible and avoid all non-essential contacts and travel in order to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
A man in a protective face mask walks past a British government public health campaign advertisement at Victoria underground station, as the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases grow around the world, London, Britain
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 17: A quieter than usual view of Buckingham Palace from the Queen Victoria Memorial on March 17, 2020 in London, England. Boris Johnson held the first of his public daily briefing on the Coronavirus outbreak yesterday and told the public to avoid theatres, going to the pub and work from home where possible. The number of people infected with COVID-19 in the UK reached 1500 today with 36 deaths. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
A man sits wearing a face mask with an image of a British police officer in a shop window behind him at Waterloo train station in London, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
A picture shows empty outdoor seating at lunchtime at a restaurant in central London on March 17, 2020 after the UK government announced stringent social distancing advice including avoiding pubs and restaurants as a measure to kerb the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19. - "Sacrificed', in danger of 'death', 'existential crisis': British pub and restaurant chains called on the government on March 17 for help with coronavirus damage in an already faltering sector, after the Prime Minister announced stringent social distancing advice to combat the virus. The UK government recommended on Monday that "non-essential" travel should be avoided, calling in particular for pubs and restaurants to be avoided. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Horse Guards, one of London's top tourist attractions is virtually empty after the coronavirus outbreak in London, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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But he stressed that "nothing is ruled out", suggesting tougher restrictions on movement could be introduced if people failed to comply with advice.

"I'm conscious as the days have gone by that people will want to know how long we're expecting them to keep it up," he told reporters at his daily press conference in Downing Street.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

"I think, looking at it all, that we can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks and I'm absolutely confident that we can send coronavirus packing in this country.

"But only if we all take the steps that we've outlined, that is vital, that's how we're going to reduce the peak and once we've achieved that and I think that we will, if we take the steps I've said, then the scientific progress that we've been making will really start coming into play."

It comes as the Queen issued a message to the nation which says the UK is "entering a period of great concern and uncertainty", adding that "our nation's history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one".

Meanwhile, the death toll in Italy rose to 3,405, overtaking the total number of deaths so far registered in China.

In the UK, the death toll reached 144 as of 1pm on Thursday, with around four in 10 of all deaths so far in London.

Some 56 of the total deaths have been recorded in the capital, according to calculations by the PA news agency, with the next highest total in the West Midlands (27).

Mr Johnson told reporters that British experts expect to start trials for a vaccine against Covid-19 within a month, although expectations are that a vaccine will take at least a year.

He added: "To give you an idea of what is coming down the track, we're in negotiations today to buy a so-called antibody test, as simple as a pregnancy test, which can tell whether you have had the disease and it's early days, but if it works as its proponents claim, then we will buy literally hundreds of thousands of these kits as soon as practicable."

He said knowing whether you have had Covid-19 could be a "total game-changer" as it would mean those people could get back to work and a normal routine.

Mr Johnson said: "By the same token we're massively increasing the testing to see whether you have it now and ramping up daily testing from 5,000 a day, to 10,000 to 25,000 and then up at 250,000."

He said the "combination of ruthless, determined, collective action and scientific progress" could save "many, many thousands of lives".

New coronavirus cases in the UK
(PA Graphics)

But he said he could not guarantee that by the end of June the peak would be on a "downward slope", although he promised restrictive measures "would be finite".

He said: "Now I cannot stand here and tell you that by the end of June that we will be on the downward slope. It's possible but I simply can't say that that's for certain, of course not, we don't know where we are, and we don't know how long this thing will go on for.

"But what I can say is that this is going to be finite, we will turn the tide, and I can see how to do it within the next 12 weeks."

The government's scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said: "The sooner we get the (epidemic) down, the more then we can move into phases where we can test and trace and make sure we keep on top of this."

He added that the 12 weeks "is the timescale over which we need to really push to make sure that we get there".

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty warned there will be a "lag" before the public's efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19 will result in a slowing of case numbers.

He said his next priority on testing was for NHS workers, adding he "completely" understood concerns about a lack of public protective equipment (PPE) for staff and this was a major strand of work in the Department of Health.

It comes as:

– More than 65,000 former nurses and doctors will today be told "Your NHS Needs You", as a new recruitment drive gets under way.

– The Bank of England cut interest rates to 0.1% and unleashed another £200 billion to boost the economy in its second emergency move in just over a week.

– Prince Albert II of Monaco tested positive for coronavirus.

– The Archbishop of Canterbury will lead a virtual service on Sunday, which will be broadcast on all BBC local radio stations.

– The Government published its Emergency Coronavirus Bill on Thursday morning setting out measures aimed at slowing the spread and supporting the NHS and workers.

Earlier, Prof Whitty said the vast majority of people in all age groups would recover but it was a mistake for young people who are healthy to think they would all just "breeze through" the pandemic.

He said the "majority of those that end up dying sadly are people who tend to be either in the later part of their lives, usually quite elderly, or those with pre-existing health conditions.

"But there are also some young people who have ended up in intensive care or who have ended up with severe disease around the world.

"I think it's important that we don't give the impression that every single person who is young and healthy is just going to breeze through this."

He said the "great majority" of people will suffer no symptoms or mild to moderate symptoms, but a very small proportion of young people "will have severe disease even though they are young and healthy".

Prof Whitty continued: "It's important we're clear in not trying to say 'really, really worry', but we also need to be clear in saying this is not a trivial infection for everybody, even if they are a young adult."

Sir Patrick urged people to follow the measures set down by the Government, saying: "Unless everybody looks at the measures that have been introduced by the Government on trying to encourage social distancing, unless everybody does that it doesn't have the effect.

"And so what we absolutely shouldn't encourage is the idea that young people somehow can ignore it because they are going to be fine.

"The mixing in pubs and restaurants and so on that is part of allowing the disease to spread needs to stop and it needs to stop among young people as well as older people."

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