Hundreds of scientists have accused the government of “risking many more lives than necessary” over its plan to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. 

Thousands of lives could potentially be saved if social distancing measures were put in place immediately, they add in an open letter.

Such action could slow the spread of Cov 19 “dramatically”, the scientists say.

They also warn that under “unconstrained growth”, the virus could affect “millions of people in the next few weeks”.

That would “most probably” put the NHS at “serious risk of not being able to cope with the flow of patients needing intensive care”, it is claimed.