PM holds emergency Cobra meeting over Coronavirus

PM holds emergency Cobra meeting over Coronavirus

Today the Prime Minister (PM) is holding an emergency Cobra meeting to discuss whether to enforce new measures to delay the spread of Coronavirus in the UK.

The meeting is expected to conclude on whether ‘social distancing’ measures should be phased in.

This might include restricting public transport, the banning of big events, closing schools and potentially workplaces. Ministers are also meeting with sports bodies and UK supermarkets to discuss their responses to the outbreak.

This comes after a third man has died from Covid-19, and after supermarkets began to ration sales of certain products amid panic buying.

The total of cases in the UK is now 280, and the UK is currently still in the ‘containment’ phase of the governments plan to manage the outbreak.

However, last week the NHS announced that they are now regarding Covid-19 as a ‘level 4 incident’, the highest level of emergency possible.

It is expected that ministers will decide whether the UK should officially move into the ‘delay’ phase.

This would involve going from trying to contain the spread of the virus to accepting there is going to be community transmission and looking at ways to slow its spread.

It is thought that health officials are unlikely to recommend these measures immediately. Instead, opting for a more gradual approach.

The World Health Organisation have said:

“The global number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 100 000.

As we mark this sombre moment, the World Health Organization (WHO) reminds all countries and communities that the spread of this virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities.”

A European Union expert has said that the UK needs to act quickly and implement measures to prevent an outbreak like Italy’s.

Similarly, a spokesperson for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has said:

“The UK is in the same situation Italy was two weeks ago.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has accused the government of offering only “vague statements” in response to the outbreak, saying it needed to guarantee sick pay for all workers and address issues such as a shortage of 100,000 NHS staff.

British nationals are still able to depart Italy without restriction, but some airlines have cancelled flights to and from affected areas.

The Foreign Office said it is “working intensively” to arrange a flight home for 140 Britons on board the Grand Princess cruise ship, which is quarantined after 21 people tested positive for the virus.

One Briton aboard the ship stated that food on board has become very limited, and another said that she is going “stir crazy” under the restricting circumstances.

Amid concerns that conflicting news reports about the virus are causing confusion, a specialist information unit has been set up and teams from Whitehall have been brought together to identify and respond to incorrect information.

As of Sunday, 23,513 people had been tested across the UK, with 280 cases returning as positive.

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