Boris Johnson will chair an emergency COBRA meeting today, in which he is expected to approve moving to the “delay phase” of the coronavirus response that includes more stringent measures, including school closures and lockdowns of mass gatherings, to counter the outbreak of coronavirus. The UK plan for dealing with the outbreak has three main phases – containment, delay and mitigation.
In the delay phase, so called social distancing measures such as school closures, more home working and reducing large scale gathering will be considered, though will not necessarily be approved immediately.
The Government’s planning document explained: “The benefits are that if the peak of the outbreak can be delayed until the warmer months, we can reduce significantly the risk of overlapping with seasonal flu and other challenges, societal or medical, that the colder months bring.
“The delay phase also buys time for the testing of drugs and initial development of vaccines and/or improved therapies or tests to help reduce the impact of the disease.”
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus across the United Kingdom rose to 456 as of Wednesday, up from 373 a day earlier.
Eight people in the UK with the deadly virus have died.
It comes after the global Covid-19 outbreak was categorised as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation
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8.18am update: Rishi Sunak stands ‘ready to respond’
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he was ready to do more to help Britain’s economy if needed to offset the impact of the spread of coronavirus.
His remarks come a day after he delivered the biggest stimulus budget for nearly 30 years.
Mr Sunak told Talk Radio this morning: “As the situation evolves, if we need to do more, I of course stand ready to respond.”
8.12am update: Crucial Brexit trade talks face uncertainty over coronavirus
Trade talks with the EU could be cancelled as the deadly coronavirus crisis sweeps Europe.
Michael Gove has warned MPs it was a “live question” whether the next round of talks will be able to go ahead amid a growing list of travel bans and restrictions to stop the spread of the virus. Vital talks are due to take place in London from March 18, following last week’s inconclusive discussions in Brussels.
The Cabinet minister said: “We were looking forward to a joint committee meeting in the UK on 30th of this month and also looking forward to the next next stage of negotiations going ahead.
“But we have had indications today from Belgium that there may be specific public health concerns so I will keep house and committee updated on progress.”
8.07am update: UK faces Calpol shortage
Parents are being warned they may be unable to buy children’s medicines, including Calpol, as supply issues from China caused by coronavirus are preventing them from reaching the UK.
Many factories in China have been forced to close as a result of the outbreak after millions of citizens were ordered to stay at home in a bid to contain its spread.
Published at Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:49:00 +0000