Coronavirus: Boris Johnson to outline UK ‘battle plan’ to combat Covid-19 outbreak
Boris Johnson is set to unveil a government action plan to outline the UK’s response to a growing number of coronavirus cases across Britain.
The Prime Minister will reveal a six-point plan at a Downing Street later today in which he is expected to commit to school closures and event cancellations if the spread of coronavirus worsens.
People would also be encouraged to work from home and to avoid unnecessary travel. And NHS staff could come out of retirement to help combat the rise in Covid-19 cases.
Four more people were diagnosed with the coronavirus yesterday to bring the UK’s total to 39.
That prompted Johnson to warn the public of a “significant expansion” in the number of UK Covid-19 cases.
The UK’s case total is significantly behind Germany’s 165 count and France’s 191, though well ahead of Belgium’s eight cases. The EU yesterday raised the risk of the coronavirus from moderate to high.
The coronavirus death toll stands at 3,117, according to John Hopkins University, while the number of global cases stands at 90,937.
Should the UK’s number of coronavirus cases rise further, the government could use a so-called social distancing strategy to reduce contact among people. That would discourage unnecessary travel and push people to work from home.
That may slow the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak until later in the year when the weather is warmer, in a bid to reduce the number of deaths.
Meanwhile, a bill to give government extra powers to deal with the virus is set to go through parliament by the end of the month.
Retired doctors and nurses could be pressed back into service to help combat the crisis. Thirty hospitals around the UK could install special coronavirus wards, it is reported.
And Treasury boss Rishi Sunak is likely to outline measures to support the public health response in his 11 March Budget.
“We are well prepared for this global threat and, as the wider economic picture becomes clearer, we stand ready to announce further support where needed,” Sunak said.
The government could also:
- Assign a minister in each department to coordinate the response to the coronavirus for schools and businesses
- Set up a Cabinet “war room” of communications experts and scientists to design a public information campaign
- Make coronavirus a standing item on the weekly cabinet agenda