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Up to 10,000 people in the UK could be infected with coronavirus, says government

Up to 10,000 people in the UK could be infected with coronavirus, the government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has warned.

Speaking at a press conference alongside the prime minister, it was announced that the UK would now be moving from the "contain" to "delay" phase in a bid to slow down the spread of Covid-19.

Boris Johnson made the announcement following a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee where ministers assessed shifting out of the containment stage.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, alongside Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (left) and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance (right)

The prime minister also outlined new advice that those with mild coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate for seven days.

Mr Johnson said: "If you have coronavirus symptoms however mild, either a new continuous cough or a high temperature, then you should stay at home for at least seven days to protect others and help slow the spread of the disease.

"We advise all those over 70 with serious medical conditions against going on cruises and we advise against international school trips."

Government's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance

In an address at Downing Street, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned virus modelling suggests between 5,000 and 10,000 people in the UK currently have Covid-19 but most are unaware they have contracted it.Sir Patrick said: "Currently we are on a trajectory that looks as though it is about four weeks or so behind Italy and some other countries in Europe," he said.

"There are currently 590 cases that have been identified in the UK and there are more than 20 patients in intensive care units.

"If you calculate what that really means in terms of the total number, it is much more likely that we have between 5,000 and 10,000 people infected at the moment.

"That is still a relatively small number."

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