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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that the UK “cannot delude” itself that coronavirus has gone away and that scientists are predicting a third wave later this year.

He told a press conference that a new COVID-19 antivirals taskforce has been launched to roll out innovative home treatments this autumn.

“The majority of scientific opinion in this country is still firmly of the view that there will be another wave of COVID at some stage this year,” Johnson said. “And so we must – as far as possible – learn to live with this disease, as we live with other diseases.”

About the taskforce, he said: “This means, for example, that if you test positive there might be a tablet you could take at home to stop the virus in its tracks and significantly reduce the chance of infection turning into more severe disease.”

“Or if you’re living with someone who has tested positive, there might be a pill you could take for a few days to stop you getting the disease yourself.”

The government is aiming to have at least two effective treatments this year that the public can take at home in either tablet or capsule form.

The ultimate aim is to curb any rise in infections, especially during the winter flu season, by reducing transmission and increasing recovery times.

A total of 2,524 new COVID-19 cases were registered across the UK over the last 24 hours, bringing the caseload to 4.39 million. There were also a further 33 deaths, pushing the total to 127,307.

As many as 43.1 million vaccine doses have been administered, with over 10.2 million people fully vaccinated.

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