The document, seen by the Guardian, is a briefing for senior NHS officials and also reveals UK officials believe the deadly virus could last until Spring 2021. It states as many as 80 percent of Britons could become infected with the coronavirus, with as many as 7.9million requiring hospitalisation. The dossier states: “As many as 80% of the population are expected to be infected with Covid-19 in the next 12 months, and up to 15% (7.9m people) may require hospitalisation.”
Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, has previously stated the figure, that four fifths of the UK population could become infected with the virus, was the worst-case scenario.
But the briefing states that 80 percent of Britons are “expected” to contract the virus.
The document has been shared with hospital bosses and senior doctors in NHS England and was recently drawn up by Public Health England’s emergency preparedness and response team, the newspaper reports.
It claims Dr Susan Hopkins, a Healthcare Epidemiologist Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at Public Health England, has verified the documents accuracy.
The document also states te NHS will be unable to cope with the sheer number of people with symptoms who need to be tested because laboratories are “under significant demand pressures”.
As a result, only those in hospital, care homes and prisons where the virus has already been detected will get tested.
Even NHS workers will not be able to be tested, even though they are at great risk of passing the virus on to patients.
The number of UK cases are predicted to steadily rise over the coming weeks and months, with a peak expected at the end of May to mid-June.
Mr Hancock said the move will be announced “within the coming weeks”.
The Government is to release social distancing advice for elderly people on Monday – but they will not yet be asked to self-isolate for long periods.