The killer coronavirus could return in the winter and leave thousands more victims dead, an expert has chillingly warned.
The NHS has already cancelled all non-emergency surgery and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged Brits to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres.
There were fears of London facing an imminent lockdown, since been quashed by the government, with school shuts across Britain.
Changing weather conditions could impede the virus' spread before a cure is available, it has been claimed.
American microbiologist Charles P. Gerba believes the coronavirus could follow the pattern of influenza – where cases often disappear by May.
The flu prefers cool, dry weather and cases tend to diminish during the beginning of summer.
However, the University of Arizona professor has also warned the coronavirus could become more aggressive after summer.
Asked if cases could increase when temperatures fall again, he responded: “Yes, it’s possible. The concern is it migrating to the southern hemisphere and persisting there during the winter.
“It could then come back this winter because that’s what influenza does, it goes from one season to the next.
“That’s one of the concerns but we don’t know for certain.”
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His comments come after Dr Michael Skinner, Reader in Virology, Imperial College London, also said that “we can’t rule out a second wave”.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “It could well slow down over the summer but I think most people anticipate that it's likely that it will come back as a second wave.
“It's common for influenza to talk about one, two, or three waves and even back in 2009 we had two waves there as well.”
Dr Skinner added that it was “hard to believe it will go away unless everyone has been infected and they are all immune”.
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In China, a drug being used to combat strains of the flu has also been effective in coronavirus patients, it has been claimed.
Favipiravir has been used in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen, China, involving 340 coronavirus patients.
People given the medicine in Shenzhen showed greater chest improvement compared to those who did not receive it.
Doctors in Japan are using the same drug – also known as Avigan – on coronavirus patients with mild to moderate symptoms in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease.
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