19 March 2020 14:38

Boris Johnson This Morning Phillip Schofield

Speaking at a special press conference with Chief Medical Adviser Chris Whitty, Sir Patrick claimed that if the number of deaths from coronavirus in the UK matched that of the yearly number of deaths from the common flu in the country, it would be "remarkable". He explained: "The first thing to say, and it goes without saying, is that all deaths are tragedies for people and their families and you want to try and minimise that. "There are 8,000 or so deaths from flu in an average season. "It can be more than that in a bad season. "And if we can contain this down to the sort of level where it looks comparable to that - which would be a remarkable achievement - then that would be an outcome which is really quite remarkable.

Coronavirus UK death toll: Science chief claims 8,000 deaths would be 'remarkable' result

"Given that we haven't got vaccines and other things." He added: "There will be some overlap (with flu-related deaths) and we don't know how much of an overlap there will be. "Of course, it's true as it's been pointed out repeatedly that those most at risk are the elderly and those with pre-existing diseases - and so they, in any case, have a higher risk of serious disease over that period. "But we don't know the numbers at the moment, and the idea is to try and minimise those and get on top of this." READ MORE: Coronavirus shopping: What to stock up on for coronavirus? Coronavirus UK: Sir Patrick Vallance claims 8,000 deaths mark would be 'remarkable' Coronavirus: What is COVID-19? Emergency legislation to tackle the coronavirus outbreak is set to be published in Parliament as the Education Secretary moved to quell concerns over how school closures will affect students and parents. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the Government will issue guidance on Friday on how pupils unable to sit their GCSEs and A-levels because of the school closures will be awarded their grades. A list of the key workers whose children can still go to school will also be released later, he said. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced school closures across the UK but promised the children of NHS and police workers and supermarket delivery drivers would still be able to attend, as would vulnerable children. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday, Mr Williamson said there will be a "proper and fair system" of appeal for students who are unhappy with the results they are given as GCSEs and A-levels are cancelled. He said: "We will be doing everything we can do to make sure they get their results in August as they will be hoping to, but we can't predict as to how they are going to unfold. "It is absolutely vital for me for those children who have put so much work into all their learning over these years working up to their GCSEs and A-levels to get their results, but also making sure that we have a proper and fair system if they dispute that, if they are not content with it, there is some mechanism for them to have redress." Universities UK chief executive Alistair Jarvis said: "If an appropriate way can be found to assess students, perhaps a combination of teacher assessments and assignment works that's already done, then awards could be granted this summer. DON'T MISS: Chaos for Londoners as 25,000 homes left without water before lockdown [INSIGHT] Coronavirus: Where you live could increase your risk of death [DATA] Coronavirus China: 'symbolic' day for nation as ZERO COVID-19 cases [ANALYSIS] Coronavirus: How to reduce risk of catching COVID-19 Trending

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