The UK is probably near the peak of the coronavirus epidemic – but it’s too early to be sure enough to consider lifting the lockdown.
“Our view is that it is probably reaching the peak overall,” he told a news conference.
But he said the death figures always lag behind slightly, causing a “bounce” a few days after a weekend.
And this may be more pronounced after a four-day weekend.
He added: “We do all think that this has flattened out. Sadly we do think high numbers of deaths will continue, certainly for a short while on from where we are at the moment.
“I think at the moment we’re not at the point where we can say confidently and safely this is now past the peak and we can start thinking very much about the next phases.”
Dame Angela McLean, the deputy chief scientific adviser, has said there was continuing evidence that the social distancing measures were having an impact.
She said the numbers of cases of people testing positive for Covid-19 had not increased for the past two weeks.
“I see a flattened curve,” she said.
Speaking at the No 10 news conference she said the numbers of coronavirus patients in hospital beds had fallen by 1% nationally on Tuesday and by 5% in London.
“What I see here is evidence that everybody’s efforts to stay home and not have as much contact with other people is having the impact we hoped it would have and bring this epidemic to a much better trajectory where this is currently flat and no longer rising,” she said.
Dame Angela said that against expectations the number of hospital cases in London appeared to be falling a bit faster than in the rest of the country.
She said they had expected the cases to fall uniformly across the country as the social distancing measures were introduced at the same time.
“We really expected everywhere to be the same. That is not really exactly what we are seeing,” she said .
“Maybe one of the reasons that the number of people in hospital beds in London seems to be falling faster is perhaps, because cases rose faster, here people responded to the earlier bits of advice about staying away a little bit faster.”