LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that the current soaring number of COVID-19 cases was about where government forecasts had predicted so the next weeks would be crucial to see if local lockdowns could get on top of the virus.
“The incidence that we’re seeing in the cases really sort of corresponds to pretty much where we thought we were,” Johnson said after Britain reported a jump in daily COVID-19 cases to a record 22,961 on Sunday.
A technical glitch had meant that over 15,000 test results had not been transferred into computer systems on time, including for contact tracers.
“To be frank, I think that the slightly lower numbers that we’d seen didn’t really reflect where we thought that the disease was likely to go so I think these numbers are realistic,” Johnson said.
“The crucial thing is that in the next few days, weeks we’ll we’ll see more clearly whether some of the restrictions that we put in … whether that starts to work in driving down the virus.”
Asked about a vaccine, Johnson said it felt like an AstraZeneca project must be on the verge of one.
“We are working very very hard to get one,” Johnson said of a vaccine. “We are not there yet.”
“I went to see the scientists at Oxford at the Jenner Institute, the AstraZeneca team – incredible what they’re doing. You know you really feel they must be on the verge of it, but its got to be properly tested,” Johnson said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by William James)
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