Almost 20% of the UK population could be off work sick during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in a worst case scenario, the Government have said as part of their response.
Measures outlined to reduce the harm of the outbreak include a possible delay strategy could be used to move the peak of the outbreak to warmer months so that it does not overlap with normal flu and allows more time for research. If the disease becomes established in the UK, further measures to be considered include school closures, home working and reducing large-scale gatherings.
‘I fully understand public concern about the global spread of the virus and it is highly likely we will see a growing number of UK cases. Keeping the UK safe is the government’s overriding priority,’ said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
‘We will make sure the NHS gets all the support it needs. Our country remains extremely well prepared as it has been since the outbreak began several months ago. We must not forget what we can do to prevent this virus, wash your hands with soap and hot water for the length of time it takes to sing happy birthday twice.’
As of 3 March, four further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19. All 4 patients had recently travelled from Italy. The patients are from Hertfordshire, Devon and Kent. All are being investigated and contact tracing has begun. The total number of confirmed cases in England is now 37. Following previously reported confirmed cases in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, the total number of UK cases is 40.
‘Let me be absolutely clear that for the overwhelming majority of people who contract the virus, this will be a mild disease from which they will speedily and fully recover, as we have already seen,’ added Mr Johnson.