Boris Johnson will this week warn “the worst is yet to come” – as coronavirus experts said we will have done “very well” if fewer than 20,000 people die here.

The Prime Minister, who earlier this week tested positive for Covid-19, is writing to 30million households.

In the letters, which are costing nearly £6m to send out, he urges people to stay at home and to continue to maintain social distancing.

Yesterday the UK experienced the biggest daily rise of fatalities yet, as the death toll jumped to 1,019 after officials
announced 260 more victims in 24 hours.

Stephen Powis, the national medical director of the NHS, added: “If we can keep deaths below 20,000 we will have done very well in this epidemic.”

PM Boris, who is self-isolating in Downing Street, also thanked NHS workers and those who have volunteered to help. He will say in his letter: “We know things will get worse before they get better.

“But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal.

“I want to thank everyone who is working flat-out to beat the virus, in particular the staff in our fantastic NHS and care sector across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“It has been truly inspirational to see our doctors, nurses and other carers rise magnificently to the needs of the hour.

“Thousands of retired doctors and nurses are returning to the NHS – and hundreds of thousands of citizens are volunteering to help the most vulnerable.

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“That is why, at this moment of national emergency, I urge you, please, to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Alongside the letter, people will receive a leaflet outlining the Government’s ­advice on preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

It will contain clear explanations of symptoms, hand-washing guidance, rules on leaving the house, self-isolating with symptoms and shielding vulnerable people.

The PM is continuing to run the Government’s response to coronavirus as he isolates himself after testing
positive on Thursday. Health Secretary Matt Hancock also has the bug and Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty is self-isolating ­after experiencing symptoms.

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The men, who are leading the UK ­response, have been criticised for not following their own advice.

They have all been pictured within the advised two-metre limit of each other in recent days.

Fears have also been raised about other members of the Cabinet they have been in contact with.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack is the latest politician to announce he is self-isolating after showing symptoms.

The Government said that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would stand in for the PM if he became too unwell to lead the nation.

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