British PM returns to work, appeals for patience as lockdown continues

UK PM Boris Johnson
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By BBC News

The UK is at the moment of maximum risk in the coronavirus outbreak, Boris Johnson has said, as he urged people not to lose patience with the lockdown.

Speaking outside No 10 for the first time since recovering from the virus, Mr Johnson said “we are now beginning to turn the tide” on the disease.

But he said he refused to “throw away” the public’s “effort and sacrifice” and relax the lockdown too soon.

More details on any changes will be given in the “coming days”, he added.

The latest daily figures show a further 360 people died with the virus in hospitals, taking the total number of deaths to 21,092.

This number does not include deaths in the community, in places such as care homes.

‘Invisible mugger’

The PM returned to Downing Street on Sunday after more than three weeks off sick.

Mr Johnson apologised for being “away from my desk for much longer than I would’ve liked” and thanked his colleagues who stood in for him – as well as the public for their “sheer grit and guts”.

In the speech on Monday morning, Mr Johnson said he understood concerns from business owners who were impatient to end the lockdown.

But ending it too soon could lead to a second spike in cases and cause more deaths, “economic disaster” and restrictions being reintroduced, he said.

“I ask you to contain your impatience,” Mr Johnson added.

He said there were “real signs now that we are passing through the peak” – including with fewer hospital admissions and fewer Covid-19 patients in intensive care.

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