Government Issues Update on Coronavirus

The Government has issued an update on the Coronavirus, stating in a press release:

“Like the rest of the world, the UK is working hard to combat COVID-19. There are now 1,950 cases and there have been 60 deaths in the UK.

The UK Government is working closely with the World Health Organization and our international partners to keep the whole of the UK safe. Our approach is clinically led, based on the expert advice of the Chief Medical Officer for England, the National Health Service and Public Health England.

We are doing everything we can to combat this outbreak based on the very latest and best scientific and medical advice. The UK Government is taking a four-phased approach to tackling the virus: to “contain, delay, mitigate, and research”.

We are now in the “delay” phase, which is not just an attempt to contain the disease, as far as possible, but to delay its spread. As part of our response in this phase, the Prime Minister has announced several drastic new measures, recommending:

Households where an occupant has symptoms of COVID-19 should undertake self-isolation for 14 days;

All citizens should begin practising “social distancing”, including where possible working at home and stopping unnecessary travel.

More vulnerable groups should avoid social contact for around 12 weeks.

The suspension of mass gatherings, such as sporting events.

These measures are being implemented now because scientists judge the timing is right, and these measures can now make the biggest difference to slowing the spread of the disease and reducing the number of victims. The Government will publish the scientific modelling behind these measures.We will keep these and other possible measures – including the possible closure of schools – under constant review.

Against the background of misunderstanding about the UK government’s approach to tackling COVID-19, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock made clear last weekend that “herd immunity is not a part of the UK’s plan”. The UK is also increasing its testing capacity: the UK has already performed over 40,000 tests for coronavirus so far, putting it ahead of most other countries, and the health services plan to increase testing further, to 10,000 per day.

Alongside implementing these measures at home, we are working closely with China to help the world improve its capacity to tackle the virus: UK Research and Innovation and China’s National Natural Science Foundation recently agreed a Memorandum of Understanding, helping scientists cooperate on developing new techniques to respond to the virus. UK companies are also working with China, such as Randox who have developed new, advanced COVID-19 tests that are being used in Wuhan and Guangzhou.

And internationally, the UK has pledged £91 million (773m RMB) to the global response tackling COVID-19 and has committed up to £150m (1.3bn RMB) to the International Monetary Fund’s “Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust”. Both will help drive the effort to stop further transmission and support vulnerable countries.”