In a statement on coronavirus to the House of Commons today, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
"And while scientists are bleak in their predictions over the short-term, they are unanimously optimistic about the medium and long-term.
And if the House asks me Mr Speaker what is the exit strategy, what is the way out – let me be as clear as I can:
it is to get the R down now – to beat this autumn surge and to use this moment to exploit the medical and technical advances we are making to keep it low.
We now have not only much better medication and the prospect of a vaccine the immediate prospect of many millions of cheap, reliable and rapid turnaround tests – with a result in minutes.
Trials have already shown that we can help suppress the disease in hospitals, schools and universities by testing large numbers of NHS workers, children, teachers and students.
These tests, crucially, identify people who are infectious but do not have symptoms, allowing them immediately to self-isolate and stop the spread of the disease, and allowing those who are not infectious to continue as normal.
This means that, unlike in the spring, it’s possible to keep these institutions open and still stop the spread of the disease.
And so over the next few days and weeks, we plan a steady but massive expansion in the deployment of these quick turnaround tests which we will be manufacturing in this country applying them in an ever-growing number of situations, from helping women to have their partners with them in labour wards when they’re giving birth, to testing whole towns and even cities.
The army has been brought in to work on the logistics and the programme will begin in a matter of days.
Mr Speaker, we have dexamethasone – the first validated life-saving treatment for the disease, pioneered in this country.
We have the real prospect of a vaccine in the first quarter of next year and we have ever more sophisticated means of providing virtually instant tests.
I believe that these technical developments, taken together, will enable us to defeat this virus by the spring, as humanity has defeated every other infectious disease.
And I am not alone in this optimism but I cannot pretend that the way ahead is easy, or without painful choices for us all.
And so for the next four weeks I must ask the people of this country to come together, to protect the NHS, and to save many thousands of lives.
And Mr Speaker I commend this statement to the House."