British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday, March 19, that the UK can “turn the tide” on the coronavirus pandemic within 12 weeks, but only if the public sticks to advice from the Government and avoid social contacts.

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He made the announcement in his daily coronavirus press conference, however, unlike on other occasions, there was no talk of the government implementing any major new measures.

This time it seems, he wanted to use the press conference to reveal more encouraging news about the coronavirus. He said scientists in the UK expect to start trials for the first Covid-19 vaccine within a “month”.

“I think, looking at it all, that we can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks and I’m absolutely confident that we can send coronavirus packing in this country.” the prime minister said at a news conference.

“But only if we all take the steps that we’ve outlined, that is vital, that’s how we’re going to reduce the peak and once we’ve achieved that and I think that we will, if we take the steps I’ve said, then the scientific progress that we’ve been making will really start coming into play.”

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He said the public was playing a “crucial” role by following advice which he says is “saving literally thousands of lives”.

The government has also promised more testing – “up to next week” – from 5,000 daily tests to 10,000, with a target of 25,000 per month.

He added: “To give you an idea of what is coming down the track, we’re in negotiations today to buy a so-called antibody test, as simple as a pregnancy test which can tell whether you have had the coronavirus and its early days, but if it works as its proponents claim, then we will buy literally hundreds of thousands of these kits as soon as practicable. Because obviously it has the potential to be a total gamechanger.”

To date, 144 people have died of coronavirus Covid-19 in the UK, but there are 3269 confirmed cases. Health officials, however, warned earlier this week that the true number could be 55,000.

Johnson did not announce any new measures on Thursday but denied rumors that London, the worst-hit area in the outbreak, would halt public transport.

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Transportation officials have closed dozens of subway stations, but the transportation system continues to operate so that “critical workers can make their significant journeys.”

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