UK News Coronavirus in the UK: Chief Scientific Adviser says '55,000 people already have it'
Coronavirus: People With Mild Fever Will Be Asked To Self-Isolate Within Next 14 Days
Updated: See the latest stories on the coronavirus outbreak. Britons with a mild fever will be asked to begin self-isolating within the next two weeks as the coronavirus outbreak worsens, the chief medical officer has said. Professor Chris Whitty said the UK was “very close” to imposing more stringent advice to delay the spread of Covid-19. The first stage of this will be to ask those with a minor respiratory tract infection or fever to self-isolate within a week, and this advice would be introduced within 14 days.“We have not reached that step but we are going to be reaching that step in the really quite near future,” Whitty told a Downing Street press conference.
Around 55,000 people in the UK already have coronavirus, according to the chief scientific adviser who said the Government's new aim is to limit deaths to fewer than 20,000.
Sir Patrick Vallance said the number of predicted deaths was "horrible".
Jeremy Hunt, chairman of the Health Select Committee, asked whether the expected death rate was one fatality for every 1,000 cases, which would mean that there is "potentially 55,000 cases".
Coronavirus in the UK: Anyone who develops mild symptoms of Covid-19 to be told to stay at home in a fortnight
Government is preparing to move to the next phase of tackling coronavirusEngland's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and the Government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance have advised the Prime Minister to prepare the UK for the first mass self-quarantine of people as the country moves to the second stage of dealing with a potential epidemic.
Sir Patrick replied: "We've tried to get a handle on that in Sage (the scientific advisory group for emergencies) and if you put all the modelling information together, that's a reasonable ballpark way of looking at it. It's not more accurate than that."
Jeremy Hunt, chairman of the Health Select Committee, asked whether the expected death rate was one fatality for every 1,000 cases (Photo: Getty)
The number of confirmed cases in the UK. Some 71 people have now died from , all of whom had underlying health conditions, with 67 of the deaths in England.
A second person in Wales – a 96-year-old – who died after testing positive also had underlying health conditions.
and lead to a reduction in cases and deaths after two to three weeks.
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European countries have taken such measures as the pandemic worsens.Boris Johnson had faced criticism for not introducing such measures, despite similar steps being taken by other European countries as the pandemic worsens.
Asked whether it was hoped that deaths could potentially get below 20,000, he said: "If we can get numbers down to 20,000 and below, that's a good outcome in terms of where we would hope to get to with this outbreak, but that's still horrible, it's still an enormous number of deaths and an enormous pressure on the health service, and having spent 20 years as an NHS consultant as well as an academic, I know what that looks and feels like."
He warned that much was still unknown about.
Sir Patrick told MPs the approach had always been to "save lives and protect the vulnerable" by delaying and suppressing the peak of the outbreak and shielding those most likely to be badly hit.
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From Monday, the Prime Minister or a senior government figure will address the public in a televised update each dayEither the Prime Minister or another senior figure will appear on TV to update the nation and face questions from the media.
Sir Patrick also said Mother's Day lunch should be cancelled for millions of families around the country. Regarding the Government's new measures announced this week regarding social distancing for the over-70s, Mr Hunt asked whether that meant the end of Sunday lunches with grandchildren. Sir Patrick replied: "Yes, they [over 70s] shouldn't go."
NHS staff prepare to swab a member of the public at a drive through coronavirus testing site in Wolverhampton (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty)
He called for a "big increase" in the amount of testing that is done for the virus - more than 50,000 people have been tested in the UK. Asked if testing on the scale of South Korea was required, where 270,000 people have been tested, the chief scientific adviser said: "I think we need a big increase in testing. That's what I'm pushing for very hard. Everyone is working hard to try and make that happen."
But Sir Patrick said it was important not to have people turning up to hospitals for tests and instead a community-based approach was needed, possibly involving the private sector.
Coronavirus: Army to enforce lockdown in Italy's worst-hit region .
The army will be used to impose the lockdown in Lombardy - the region of Italy worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak. "The request to use the army has been accepted... and 114 soldiers will be on the ground throughout Lombardy," regional president Attilio Fontana told a news conference."It is still too little, but it is positive."Lombardy has also asked the government to further tighten the restrictions already in place, which include the closure of all non-essential commercial activities and a ban on public gatherings.