SOCIAL isolation measures will need to be in place for “at least most of a year” in order to control the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, experts have advised the UK Government.

Scientists also advised ministers that, while the severity of measures could alternate during the period, the "stricter" measures would need to be enforced for at least half of the year.

The Government published the stark advice less than 24 hours after Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, declared that he expected the tide could be turned in the fight against Covid-19 within 12 weeks.

A report by the scientific pandemic influenza group on modelling states: "It was agreed that the addition of both general social distancing and school closures to case isolation, household isolation and social distancing of vulnerable groups would be likely to control the epidemic when kept in place for a long period.

"It was agreed that a policy of alternating between periods of more and less strict social distancing measures could plausibly be effective at keeping the number of critical care cases within capacity.

"These would need to be in place for at least most of a year. Under such as policy, at least half of the year would be spent under the stricter social distancing measures," it added.