The UK government's chief scientific adviser has explained the country's plan to "delay the peak" until summertime and attempt to create "herd immunity" to the novel coronavirus.
Patrick Vallance, Britain's chief scientific adviser, told Reuters that the UK's strategy -- which has not yet included closing schools, banning events or advising people to work from home -- was aimed at preventing the National Health Service from being overwhelmed.
"We think this virus is likely to be one that comes back year on year and becomes like a seasonal virus and communities will become immune to it and that's going to be an important part of controlling this longer term," Vallance said, according to Reuters. "60% is the sort of figure you need to get herd immunity."
He said the goal was to "protect people in the most infectious period" and "delay the peak and to push the peak down" until the summer months, when the NHS is less overburdened, according to Reuters.
The UK is thought to be about four weeks behind Italy and other European countries, with between 5,000 and 10,000 people believed to be infected.
As of Thursday morning, the UK had tested 29,764 people. There have been almost 600 confirmed cases and eight people have died.