Scientists have accused the UK government of risking lives as a result of their Covid-19 strategy. 

In an open letter to the UK the government urging them to reassess their strategy to combat the spread of Covid-19.

The open letter from 229 scientists from UK universities urges the government to do more to tackle the coronavirus pandemic as well as questioning the government's current approach.

According to the signatories, the current strategy will put the NHS under additional stress and "risk many more lives than necessary".

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The letter, which was published on the day of the biggest spike in the UK which saw 10 more people die after testing positive for coronavirus, hits out at comments made by Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, about managing the spread of the infection to make the population immune.

The total number of deaths in the UK hit 21 today with a number of countries taking more drastic measures to cut the spread of the virus. 

In the open letter, the group of scientists argue that stronger "social distancing measures" would "dramatically" slow the rate of growth of the disease in the UK, and would spare "thousands of lives".

The group said the current measures are "insufficient" and "additional and more restrictive measures should be taken immediately", as is happening in other countries.

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The letter says: “In particular, we are deeply preoccupied by the timeline of the proposed plan, which aims at delaying social distancing measures even further. The current data about the number of infections in the UK is in line with the growth curves already observed in other countries, including Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. The same data suggests that the number of infected will be in the order of dozens of thousands within a few days.

"Under unconstrained growth, this outbreak will affect millions of people in the next few weeks. This will most probably put the NHS at serious risk of not being able to cope with the flow of patients needing intensive care, as the number of ICU beds in the UK is not larger than that available in other neighbouring countries with a similar population.

"Going for “herd immunity” at this point does not seem a viable option, as this will put NHS at an even stronger level of stress, risking many more lives than necessary.

"By putting in place social distancing measures now, the growth can be slowed down dramatically, and thousands of lives can be spared. We consider the social distancing measures taken as of today as insufficient, and we believe that additional and more restrictive measures should be taken immediately, as it is already happening in other countries across the world.

"We urge anyone who has sympathy with our views, and access to the government strategy group, to make our concerns more widely known."