British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to escalate the country’s response to coronavirus, with UK public gatherings and offices to face closure.
In the UK at least 456 coronavirus cases have now been confirmed, with eight deaths on British soil. The Prime Minister is set to chair an emergency COBRA meeting where the UK’s contingency plans for tackling the virus will be addressed. Mr Johnson is expected to move to the second phase of his action plan, delay, which will see attempts to slow the virus from hitting its peak until the summer.
This is so that the NHS, which many experts have said would struggle under the burden of a pandemic, can tackle the outbreak.
Under new plans from the Government, public gatherings could be halted to stop person to person transmission.
Furthermore, offices could also face closure with millions of people to be advised to work from home.
Plans could also include asking the elderly to stay at home as much as possible.
The Whitehall meeting will take place at lunchtime and it is expected the next stage of the plan will surge into action shortly afterwards.
Ministers have expressed their hope that a cash boost to businesses will mean they can incentivise people to stay at home in self-isolation by providing good levels of sick pay.
The decision comes after vocal fears that people would ignore advise if it was likely to leave them substantially out of pocket.
A press conference with Mr Johnson, chief science adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical adviser Professor Chris Whitty raised the issue that soon, people with even cold like symptoms would be asked to remain home and self isolate.
Shockwaves were recently sent through the political arena, when health minister and MP Nadine Dorries confirmed she had tested positive for coronavirus.
Ms Dorries is currently self-isolating at home whilst recovering from the deadly disease.
It was later confirmed a member of Cabinet had also taken the decision to self-isolate following close contact with Ms Dorries.
Ms Dorries had, before she was diagnosed, attended a reception at Number 10 for International Women’s Day.
Yesterday, the coronavirus was deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
Over 4,000 people across the globe are now confirmed dead as a result of the outbreak.
And close to 120,000 people have now been infected.
A total of 373 cases were announced in the UK as of 9am yesterday morning, however, the British death toll from the virus rose to eight, and infection numbers also surged to 456.
Victims have been described as elderly, and with underlying health conditions.
The Budget included comprehensive plans to tackle coronavirus.
Rishi Sunak, the newly appointed Chancellor, announced £5 billion in funding for the NHS and social care.
And Matt Hancock added the NHS would be given “whatever they need” to fight the virus.