Social distancing due to coronavirus will ‘last for a year’ to prevent second wave

“The effectiveness of test, track and trace to keep the reproductive rate of this virus down is determined by the incidence in the community and our goal is to get to a point where we can test, track and trace everybody who needs it.”

Meanwhile, Prof Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College, who sits on Sage, said it was likely that only 5 per cent of the population had contracted the virus and warned that the country would be vulnerable to a new peak when lockdown ended.

“There is almost no herd immunity and a very large risk of a second peak if we relax current measures without something to put in their place,” he told The Telegraph.

“Which is why I think large scale community testing and contact tracing – akin to what South Korea are doing – is likely to be vital.”

On Wednesday night Tory MPs expressed their “deep concern” over a lack of clarity from the Government on when the lockdown will end in a highly charged meeting of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers.

They expressed a need for the Government to share a route out of the current measures to “give businesses the certainty they need to survive”.

One member said: “They simply have to get on with it. The idea that the public can’t be trusted with the facts is frankly quite silly, they’ve handled lockdown incredibly well.”

Another member insisted: “It’s not just backbench MPs that think this, it’s the vast majority of the Cabinet.”     

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