Further measures to combat spread of COVID-19 have been outlined by the Department of Health and Social Care, as cases in the UK continue to rise.
Among measures outlined, volunteers who already play a role in helping the health and social care system, will be given additional employment safeguards so they can leave their main jobs and temporarily volunteer in the event of a widespread pandemic.
As of 9am on 10 March 2020, 26,261 people have been tested in the UK, of which 25,888 were confirmed negative and 373 were confirmed as positive. Six patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
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‘We will do all we can to contain coronavirus, but as we know, COVID-19 is spreading across the world, so I want to ensure government is doing everything in its power to be ready to delay and mitigate this threat,’ said health secretary Matt Hancock.
‘Public safety is my top priority. Responding to coronavirus is a massive national effort and I’m working with colleagues across government to ensure we have a proportionate emergency bill, with the right measures to deal with the impacts of a widespread COVID-19 outbreak.’
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New NHS data released this week showed that telephone calls to NHS 111 were up by more than a third compared with the same time last year, with an extra 120,000 calls to NHS 111 in the first week of March.
Between Thursday 27 February and Thursday 5 March, NHS 111 answered 389,779 calls. To help deal with this demand, the NHS have announced around 500 additional initial call responders have already been trained, an increase of 20%, and people can also visit NHS 111 online.
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‘We plan for the worst and work for the best, and the NHS is working 24/7 to fight this virus,’ added Mr Hancock.
‘Calls to NHS 111 have increased by more than a third and we have already put in place 500 extra staff to help with this increase. Every person has a role to play in managing the spread of COVID-19 – whether that’s washing your hands more often for 20 seconds or catching your sneeze.’
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