“This is the worst public health crisis for a generation.” That was Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s assessment of the coronavirus pandemic. He made the remarks as he confirmed the UK had moved from the ‘contain’ phase of the operation dealing with the disease to ‘delay’.
“We’ve done what can be done to contain this disease, and this has bought us valuable time,” he told a Downing Street news conference. “But it’s now a global pandemic.”
Today also saw the official UK public risk level raised from moderate to high.
The news conference followed an announcement that two more people had died in the UK as a result of the coronavirus. It took the total number of people who had died to 10.
The deaths were at Barking, Havering, and Redbridge University Trust, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The Government’s chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty, said those who died had underlying health conditions.
Prof Whitty explained: “The virus seems to have its maximum transmission around the time of the first symptoms and for 2 or 3 days afterwards, and then rapidly declines, so that by 7 days, the great majority of people are not infectious, and it is fine for them to go back into society.
“And you may ask why are we asking people with minor symptoms to do this. And the answer is the evidence would appear to be that some people with really quite mild symptoms can spread this virus to a lot of people.”
Mr Johnson warned: “Some people compare it to seasonal flu, alas that is not right. Owing to the lack of immunity, this disease is more dangerous.
“It is going to spread further and I must level with you, I must level with the British public, many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.”
Peter Russell & Tim Locke
March 12, 2020