Prime Minister Boris Johnson: "We are passing through the peak"

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has explained that the country is "passing through the peak" of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street, the prime minister, who has returned to work after recovering from coronavirus said: "I in no way minimise the continuing problems we face and yet it is also true that we are making progress with fewer hospital admissions, fewer patients in ICU and real signs now that we are passing through the peak."

Mr Johnson also addressed his absence by stating that he was away from his desk "much longer" than he wanted to be, before going on to thank the First Secretary of State Dominic Raab for deputising.

The prime minister went on to thank the public for the "sheer grit and guts" they have shown during the pandemic.

"Thanks to your forbearance, your good sense, your altruism, your spirit of community and to our collective national resolve, we are at the brink of achieving that first clear mission to prevent our national health service being overwhelmed in a way that tragically we've seen elsewhere," he said.

The prime minister went on to discuss the impact the lockdown has had on the country's economy.

"To British businesses, to the shopkeepers, to the entrepreneurs, to the hospitality sector and to everyone on whom our economy depends, I understand your impatience and I share your anxiety," he said.

However, he warned that easing lockdown could negatively impact the economy more.

Boris Johnson speaking outside Downing Street Credit: PA

Mr Johnson said: "I can see the long term consequences of lockdown as clearly as anyone, so yes I entirely share your urgency. It's the government's urgency and yet we must also recognise the risk of a second spike, the risk of losing control of the virus and letting the reproduction rate go back over one because that would not only mean a new wave of death and disease but also an economic disaster."

The prime minister went on to promise that any decisions made by the government about the easing of lockdown will be "taken with maximum possible transparency."

Referencing Captain Tom Moore's fundraising efforts, Mr Johnson added: "If you can keep going in the way you have kept going so far, if you can help protect our NHS to save lives and if we as a country can show the same spirit of optimism and energy shown by Captain Tom Moore, then I have absolutely no doubt that we will beat it."