Now we know why Boris Johnson has been so reluctant to give new dates for when we can expect a lifting of lockdown restrictions or, indeed, to provide a “road map” for an exit.

In a new twist, the Prime Minister confirmed at tonight’s press briefing that early research suggests the new “Kent” strain of the coronavirus may be up to 30 per cent more lethal than earlier versions.

But the PM’s claim was challenged by Professor Robert Dingwall, a leading member of the key body monitoring the disease. Dingwall told Reaction in an exclusive interview: “It is wrong to exploit it to increase public fear.”