Coronavirus: Boris Johnson believes UK has 'turned the tide' in COVID-19 fight

June 16, 2020

The prime minister says he believes the UK has "turned the tide" in the fight against coronavirus.

Boris Johnson made the claim during his appearance at the latest COVID-19 news briefing in Downing Street on Tuesday.

It came after he was asked about his assertion back in March that the UK could "turn the tide" on the coronavirus within 12 weeks.

"I really think we did," the PM said, adding that "we went through the peak" and have "flattened the sombrero".

Mr Johnson added that "many, many tens of thousands of lives at least" have been saved through a collective effort to control the spread of the virus.

He acknowledged the last few months have been a "very, very difficult time for our country - but we are coming through it".

Mr Johnson continued: "We are now starting to see - with drugs like dexamethasone and the idea that perhaps you could combine that with other things - we are seeing the first chink of light, which I was perhaps a bit dubious about.

"We are seeing the first chink of light and the hope that there will be preparations, treatments - there already are - that could make a big difference to mortality rates and we are making big investments in vaccines.

"None of that negates the importance of us continuing to follow the rules, control the virus and save lives."

The PM declared: "We've turned the tide on it, we haven't yet, finally, defeated it."

Critics of the government's handling of the crisis, including Sir Keir Starmer's Labour Party - allege that Mr Johnson was too slow in introducing the lockdown.

They contend that if he had acted sooner, many lives would have been saved.

One of the government's former key advisers told MPs earlier this month that deaths could have been reduced "by at least half" if the lockdown had been introduced sooner.

Professor Neil Ferguson, of London's Imperial College, told the Commons science committee: "The epidemic was doubling every three to four days before lockdown interventions were introduced.

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"So, had we introduced lockdown measures a week earlier, we would have reduced the final toll by at least a half."

Critics of the government's handling of the outbreak also point to the fact that the UK has the third highest number of recorded COVID-19 deaths in the world (41,969).

This more than other European nations like Italy, France, Spain and Germany.

But ministers have argued that international comparisons are not comparing like-for-like due to differences in how deaths are recorded and data collected.

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