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COVID-19 outbreak to worsen: British prime minister

'Things will get worse before they get better,' Boris Johnson says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will send every household in the country a letter to warn that the coronavirus outbreak is likely to worsen, the government said in a statement on Sunday.

“It’s important for me to level with you — we know things will get worse before they get better. But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal,” Johnson said in the letter, which will be sent to 30 million households across the U.K. this week.

Stressing that the country has sought to institute the right measures at the right time from the beginning of the outbreak, he said: “We will not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do.”

“We must slow the spread of the disease, and reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment in order to save as many lives as possible,” he said, urging people to stay at home, to ease the burden od the National Health Service (NHS) and save lives.

On Friday, Johnson, 55, tested positive for the coronavirus and began self-isolating.

The death toll in the U.K. has reached 1,019, while the number of confirmed cases is 17,312.

Data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University shows worldwide infections over 665,000 mark with over 30,800 deaths. More than 140,200 have recovered from infections.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China in December, the virus has spread to 177 countries and regions.

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