The UK can “turn the tide” on the coronavirus crisis within 12 weeks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
He said he was “absolutely confident” the UK could “send coronavirus packing” but only if people followed government advice.
Trials on a vaccine were expected to begin within a month, he said.
Mr Johnson said there were no plans to stop the London tube network but the capital will see tougher measures if people did not do more.
Speaking in Downing Street, he said the government would “enforce” its advice on social distancing “if it becomes necessary” because there was “some evidence that in some parts of the capital it is very patchy”.
“I know how difficult it may be or it may seem right now, but if we do this together, we will save many, many thousands of lives,” he added.
He also urged businesses to stand by their employees “because we will stand by you”.
Speaking alongside the PM, Prof Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical adviser, warned there would be a “lag” before the public’s efforts to stem the spread of the virus would slow down case numbers.
In other developments across the globe:
- Italy’s death toll has risen by 427, overtaking China’s toll
- The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier tests positive for the virus
- France and Italy could extend lockdowns
- Asian countries are seeing a second wave of infections from people returning home
- UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said a number of British nationals – estimated at about 400, were trapped in Peru because of restrictions imposed in the country
- Confirmed cases worldwide have passed 220,000, while almost 9,000 people have died
Earlier, the Queen issued a message to the nation, urging people to come together for the common good.
The Queen, who is now in Windsor Castle with the Duke of Edinburgh, said the world was “entering a period of great uncertainty” and every individual had “a vitally important part to play”.
“Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe – I am certain we are up to that challenge,” she added.
“You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.”