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UPDATE 1-UK PM Johnson says soaring COVID-19 cases in line with forecasts

Mon, 5th Oct 2020 11:20

(Adds vaccine remarks)

LONDON, Oct 5 (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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