Major events could be banned after coronavirus crisis escalates to 'delay' stage of Boris Johnson's battle plan

MAJOR events could be banned and schools closed in the coming weeks after Britain started slipping into the next stage of the coronavirus crisis.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty this morning confirmed there would be more cases confirmed today – and said the country is now sliding into the "delay" phase of Boris' battle plan.

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He said this morning that the "timing is critical" for any major decisions that would have a huge impact on society.

Government sources stressed "we're not there yet for banning public gatherings" and experts are still mulling over whether it would work.

Professor Whitty told MPs today "We have moved from a situation where we are mainly in contain, with some delay built in, to we are now mainly delay."

This means health chiefs believe it is inevitable the virus will spread across the country and efforts will be made to slow it down, rather than stop it.

And he added: "We are very keen to not intervene at the point we absolutely have to minimise the social and economic impact on people."

He warned that it was now highly likely that there was community transmission in the UK at the moment – meaning people who have not travelled abroad could get the disease.

It comes as:

  • The number of cases has jumped to 90 this morning
  • The release of the new James Bond film, 'No Time to Die' was delayed until November
  • The Department of Health confirmed around 17,000 people have so far been tested in the UK
  • Experts warned that up to one in five elderly people could die of the disease
  • Parliament could be shut for months to stop politicians becoming 'super spreaders'

Professor Whitty – who is helping to advise the Government on what action to take next – said older people will likely be told to stay away from public crowds as the epidemic steps up.

He said: "We may make advice for older citizens to avoid crowded areas, which might include [the House of Commons]."

Brits have been warned scores of people are likely to die from the virus, especially elderly and vulnerable patients.

Professor Whitty warned MPs mortality rates among the elderly across the world has been around 'eight or nine percent'.

Jimmy Whitworth, of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said today: "We are in unchartered territory.

"The mortality rate in the over 80s is something like 20 per cent.

"Even if you’re young it does not mean you will get a mild illness. We have seen apparently young people die from this."

What is the delay phase and what could happen in it?

  • Public information campaign on washing hands steps up
  • Population distancing measures will be considered such as school closures, encouraging people to work from home and cancelling large scale gatherings like concerts and sports matches
  • Measures to protect vulnerable individuals or those with illnesses and who are more at risk will be looked at



What you can do to help in the UK fight against coronavirus

  • Follow public health advice on handwashing regularly for at least 20 seconds
  • Reduce the impact and spread of misinformation by only relying on trusted sources like the NHS website, and Gov.UK
  • Check and follow the latest FCO travel advice when travelling and planning to travel
  • Ensure you and your family's vaccinations are up to date to reduce pressures on the NHS
  • Checking on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours
  • Using NHs 111, pharmacies and GPs responsible, and only go the hospital when you really need to
  • Being understanding of the pressures the health and social care systems may be under and receptive to changes
  • Accepting that the advice for managing the illness for most people will be self-isolating at home and over the counter medications
  • Checking for new advice as the situation changes

Two cases were confirmed in Ribble Valley, Lancashire, after a couple returned from an Italian break.

One confirmed case in Scotland is understood to work at Aberdeen-based Food Standards Scotland. It is not known what duties the employee had carried out after returning from Italy.

Kingston Academy in Surrey became the latest school to confirm a pupil has tested positive for coronavirus after recently returning from an affected area overseas.


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