Coronavirus could already have infected HALF the British population and has been spreading in the UK since January, a new study claims.
Oxford University researchers say the deadly bug is thought to have been circulating around a month before the first reported case and six weeks before the first reported death.
This means it could have had enough time to have spread widely - with many individuals developing immunity, experts warned.
It reinforces the call for better testing in the UK - to identify those people who have already been infected, and are now immune.
Yesterday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced 3.5 million of these antibody tests have been bought by the government, and should be available in days to weeks.
Sunetra Gupta, a professor of theoretical epidemiology who led the new study, said testing was needed to assess the new theory.
She said: "We need immediately to begin large-scale serological surveys – antibody testing – to assess what stage of the epidemic we are in now."
If this turns out to be the case then the herd immunity should start to make the number of new cases decline.
Full details of the study on link.