Published: 17:38, 19 March 2020
| Updated: 17:56, 19 March 2020
The government is trialling drugs that could save the lives of people infected with the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the first patient is being tested today as part of efforts to find a vaccine for the disease, which has now claimed the lives of 128 people in the UK.
Much of Kent has gone into lockdown this week as the government announced schools are to close and people were urged to avoid public gatherings in a bid to thwart spread of the pandemic.
"We can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks and I'm absolutely confident that we can send the coronavirus packing in this country, but only if we take the steps we have outlined," he said during his daily briefing at Downing Street," the Prime Minister said during his daily briefing at Downing Street.
"That is vital because that is how we are going to reduce the peak and once we've achieved then the scientific progress that we are making will slowly come into play."
Mr Johnson added the government was in negotiations today to buy and antibody test that can tell whether soemone has had the virus.
"If it works as its proponents claim then we will literally buy hundreds of thousands of these kits as soon as practical because it has the potential to be a total game changer," he said.
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"Once you know you have had it you know that you are likely to be less vulnerable, you are less likely to pass it on, and you can go back to work.
His comments come as The Chief Medical Officer also said it would be a mistake for healthy young people to think they can "breeze through" the coronavirus outbreak.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday ordered all schools in England to close at the end of play tomorrow.
In Kent, 25 cases of the virus have been confirmed, four of which are in Medway.
Across the UK more than 2,600 people have been infected with the virus leading to 72 deaths - with the government's chief scientific adviser earlier saying 20,000 coronavirus fatalities would be a "good outcome" given the seriousness of the outbreak.
More by this authorGeoffrey Bew
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