The briefing delivers a shock long-term assessment of the epidemic which has so far seen 1,372 people infected with the viral disease while in the UK while 35 have died. The document lays out the depths of the strain set to be placed on the NHS over the next 12 months. The report, seen by the…
The briefing delivers a shock long-term assessment of the epidemic which has so far seen 1,372 people infected with the viral disease while in the UK while 35 have died. The document lays out the depths of the strain set to be placed on the NHS over the next 12 months. The report, seen by the Guardian, says PHE is preparing for the possibility of 80 percent of Britain’s 66.4 million inhabitants being infected over the coming year.
“As many as 80 percent of the population are expected to be infected with Covid-19 in the next 12 months, and up to 15 percent (7.9 million people) may require hospitalisation,” says the document.
Health chiefs also touch on how the coronavirus could affect public services such as the NHS, police, fire brigade and transport if personnel were infected.
The summary was drawn up by PHE’s emergency preparedness and response team and sent to bosses at hospitals and senior doctors in NHS England.
Dr Susan Hopkins has confirmed it is accurate.
The World Health Organisation have asked every country to test, test, test (Image: GETTY)
The prediction that the Covid-19 crisis could drag on for a year is a realistic one, according to Paul Hunter, a medicine professor at the University of East Anglia.
He warned that while “a year is entirely plausible” the UK could possibly experience a fall in the number of cases over the summer period before the lingering virus would come back strong in the winter months.
The report is likely to cause alarm among British citizens, many of whom have been critical of Boris Johnson’s approach to tackling the infection.
Last week US President Donald Trump said scientists had told him they believe the virus would simply “wash through, it will flow through” with the next eight weeks being “critical”.
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6.18pm update: Matt Hancock vows to fight virus “with all we’ve got”
He said: “Our policy is to fight this virus with everything we’ve got”.
“We’ll give the NHS whatever it needs and we will do whatever it takes.
“We’ll get through this by working through our action plan to contain, delay, research and mitigate the virus and that plan has two overriding aims – to protect the NHS by building it up and flattening the curve and to protect life by safeguarding those who are most vulnerable.”
6.04pm update: UK deaths increase to 53
Following today’s press conference, Helth Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed 53 people have died from the coronavirus.
5.40pm update: Jess Phillips calls on the Government to provide a detailed plan for businesses
The Labour MP demanded Mr Johnson’s Government must provide “detailed answers” on how it would support businesses.
She said: “Huge parts of my constituency rely on work in pubs and restaurants, it’s not enough to say don’t worry it’ll be OK.
“Where is the impact assessment, where is the understanding that for my people this isn’t a Saturday job done by students.
“I trust the CMO (chief medical officer) and CSO (chief scientific officer) and feel confident in their advice.
“I do not feel confident in the details of a recovery package for workers and businesses set out by the Government.”
5.33pm update: “Marathon not a sprint”
Mr Whitty reinstated the public must realise they are in it for the “long haul” on the crisis.
He added it is now more likely weeks to months rather than days.
5.27pm update: Prime Minister insisted cooperation between G7 will be needed
Mr Johnson said: “There is a widespread agreement amongst colleagues in the G7 that we are going to need to make sure everybody has access to liquidity and that if we do things jointly, then I think that the global markets will understand that we’re all operating in the same sort of fiscal framework and I think we’ll be much more successful that way.”
Sir Patrick also stated that research is essential in tackling the pandemic.
He also stated the UK is “outstanding” in terms of clinical research.
5.23pm update: Boris Johnson refuses to enforce powers to enforce social distancing
The Prime Minister insisted businesses will be given the “liquidity” they need to survive.
5.20pm update: “We must ramp up testing”
Sir Patrick supported the WHO’s claims that there must be more testing.
5.15pm update: Closure of pubs, clubs and theatres will not be enforced
The Prime Minister admitted the Government did have the powers to enforce closures of social venues but will not do so as of yet.
Mr Whitty also insisted the country will “scale up” testing following the WHO’s advice to “test, test, test”.
Coronavirus LIVE: Boris Johnson holds press conference (Image: Sky News)
5.08pm update: Situation will go on for “some time”
Professor Chris Whitty admits the current situation will go on “for some time”.
Mr Whitty did admit the overall mortality rate will be under one percent.
Although overall, the majority of the public will not be at risk.
He also stated that elderly members of the public may not contract the virus worse than others in society.
5.03pm update: “Fast-moving situation”
The UK’s chief executive adviser Sir Patrick Vallance reveals country moving into “fast growth period”.
As well as self-isolation, Sir Patrick insisted there must be more social distancing.
He added social matters must be avoided if possible while working home should be used.
4.59pm update: Measures needed to “reduce peak”
Residents in the capital must in particular pay special attention to the new measures which will be put in place, the Prime Minister stated.
Mr Johnson also stated the UK is now “leading the global effort” to combat the contagion.
Labour MP David Lammy has accused Boris Johnson of ‘dithering’ on his response to Covid-19 (Image: GETTY)
4.53pm update: Those vulnerable must be “shielded” from contact
In his press conference today, Mr Johnson also stated for those who are the most vulnerable should be isolated from anyone for up to 12 weeks.
He also stated that London is ahead of the rest of the country in hitting the peak of the virus.
4.50pm update: Boris Johnson releases statement on coronavirus
Boris Johnson updated the public today where he advised the public the UK was approaching the “fast growth path” towards the peak.
Mr Johnson stated the anyone with certain symptoms, should now self-isolate for 14 days.
He added: “Now is the time for everyone to reduce non-essential contact with others.”
He also insisted that if possible, workers should work from home “if possible”.
He added: “If possible you should not go out, even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise and in that case at a safe distance from others.”
4:06pm update: World Health Organisation director-general calls for further testing.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he has a simple message to all countries on tackling coronavirus: “Test, test, test.”
The W.H.O advises that every single country start rapid testing which seems to be in contrast to the announcement made by Boris Johnson’s advisor last week.
The chief medical officer for England Chris Witty said at a Number 10 press conference on March 12: “It is no longer necessary for us to identify every case and we will move from having testing mainly done in homes and outpatients and walk-in centres, to a situation where people who are remaining at home do not need testing.
“We will pivot all the testing capacity to identify those in hospitals who have symptoms so we can pick them up early, make sure we treat them well and ensure they don’t pass on the virus to other people in hospitals.
“So there will be a change in hospital and other testing systems.”
Additional reporting by Laura O’Callaghan.
Campaigners from Pause the System stage a protest outside No10 over the PM’s response to the crisis (Image: Pause the System)
There are now 1,372 people in the UK infected by coronavirus (Image: EXPRESS)
2.25pm update: 10,000 troops on standby, says MOD
More than 10,000 members of the Armed Forces could be put on standby in the coming week, the Ministry of Defence has said.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is to make a statement later today on the government’s reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, Sky News reports.
2.17pm update: Public Health Wales says 30 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 which brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 124.
2.14pm update: The Scottish Government has confirmed 171 cases of covid-19 in the country
2.13pm update: Cases in the UK rise above 1,500
There are now 1,543 cases confirmed in the UK.
1.39pm update: French carmaker PSA closes European factories due to virus spread
French carmaker PSA said on Monday the company will close its European factories until March 27 due to the coronavirus outbreak spread.
“The chairman of the executive board with the members of the crisis unit decided …on the closure of the vehicle production sites,” PSA said in a statement.
France has 5,423 cases of Covid-19 and 127 fatalities.
1.03pm update: French to be confined to homes for five weeks
French President Emmanuel Macron is planning on imposing a five-week lockdown which would force citizens to remain in their homes, reports suggest.
For the full story click here.
1.01pm update: Tunisian land border with Libya closed-minister
Tunisia’s land border with Libya has been closed due to the coronavirus, Transport Minister Anouar Maarouf said on Monday.
Tunisia, which has confirmed 20 cases of the coronavirus, has imposed restrictions on flights with some European countries and stopped sea travel.
Libya, where power is split between rival administrations in Tripoli and Benghazi, has not yet confirmed any cases of the coronavirus but has stopped most commercial air and sea travel.
12.27pm update: BBC delays plan to strip over 75s of free TV licences due to coronavirus outbreak
The BBC has announced it will delay its controversial plan to strip over 75s of free TV licences because of the mounting challenges posed to pensioners by the coronavirus crisis.
The Beeb this morning published a joint statement with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport explaining the reasons why it was pushing back the date it would usher in the changes.
The broadcaster had been due to introduce the licence fee for older viewers at the beginning of June.
It will now implement the plan in August but said the policy would be kept under review in light of the outbreak.
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11.48am update: Friday prayers cancelled in Oman
Oman, which has 22 cases of coronavirus, has called off Friday prayers, the country’s ministry of religious affairs has said.
11.46am update: Spain cancels elections in the Basque region
Spain’s Basque region has postponed elections scheduled for April 5 due to the coronavirus emergency.
The country has reported 7,988 cases of the disease and 294 deaths.
11.44am update: EU executive says closing borders “not best way” to contain coronavirus
The European Union’s executive arm said on Monday that closing borders were “not the best way” to contain the spread of the coronavirus inside what is normally Europe’s cherished zone of free travel.
A European Commission spokesman said any border measures must be well-coordinated to prevent them from aggravating the crisis by impeding food or medical supplies.
A report by Public Health England warned 7.9 million Britons may be hospitalised due to coronavirus (Image: GETTY)
10.47am update: Boris shamed as protesters swarm No10 demanding urgent action over coronavirus
Boris Johnson faced an embarrassing start to the week as protesters wearing hazmat suits, masks and gloves swarmed Downing Street holding biohazard tape and a banner to demand urgent action on the coronavirus crisis.
For the full story click here.
10.16am update: Act fast Boris! PM urged to intervene to help businesses before it’s too late
Boris Johnson has been urged to dole out ‘immediate packages of financial support’ to cushion British businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Many companies are experiencing a drop in demand for services and products as fearful Britons opt for ‘social distancing’.
For the full story click here.
9.51am update: Georgia bans all foreigners
Georgia on Monday banned all foreigners from entering the country over coronavirus concerns the prime minister’s spokesman, Irakli Chikovani, told a briefing.
Georgia has reported 33 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
8.46am update: China medical expert says the impact of weather on coronavirus infection rates not confirmed
The impact of weather on coronavirus infection rates has not been confirmed, said Cao Wei, Deputy Director and Associate Chief Physician of Department of Infectious Diseases, Peking Union Medical College Hospital at a press conference on Monday.
Mainland China reported an overall drop in new coronavirus infections on Sunday, but major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai continued to wrestle with cases involving infected travellers arriving from abroad.
8.31am update: David Lammy slams Boris Johnson for ‘dithering’ on coronavirus response
Labour MP David Lammy has hit out at Boris Johnson for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, arguing the “whole country deserves to know what’s going on”.
Mr Lammy accused the Prime Minister of “dithering” on what action to take to stem the infection and urged him to show “leadership, transparency and a clear plan” in the midst of the epidemic.
Mr Lammy welcomed Downing Street’s statement saying the government would hold daily press briefings on coronavirus from Monday.
On Sunday evening he tweeted: “Enough dither. Tomorrow morning Boris Johnson has to start being straight with the country.
“We’re heading into what looks like the worst public health crisis of our lifetimes.
“The country is crying out for leadership, transparency and a clear plan.”
This morning Mr Lammy continued his criticism of Mr Johnson’s tactics, saying the Prime Minister should use his first televised daily briefing to “released the full data and models to back up the UK’s outlier response to coronavirus”.
His tough words come after hundreds of scientists used an open letter to warn the government’s response to Covid-19 was “risking lives”.
A health worker in Wolverhampton holds out a coronavirus testing kit (Image: GETTY)
8.28am update: British businesses ‘need help fast’ warns CBI boss
The director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Carolyn Fairbairn, has warned British businesses “need help fast” amid the coronavirus epidemic.
Speaking to the Today programme on BBC’s Radio Four she said “very major intervention by the government” was needed businesses grapple with a fall in demand caused by shoppers wanting to practice social distancing.
Ms Fairbairn said: “The severity of that demand slump is affecting business as we speak.”
She added: “We do not want to look back and say we acted too late.”
8.17am update: Armenia to discuss declaring state of emergency over coronavirus – PM
Armenia’s government will discuss declaring a state of emergency later on Monday in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said.
Armenia has reported 30 coronavirus cases so far.
One patient has recovered, and more than 300 people remain in quarantine, authorities say.
Armenia on Sunday locked down its fourth-largest city, Vagharshapat, also known as Echmiadzin, which has a population of around 46,000 people because the majority of registered coronavirus cases so far are there.
8.14am update: Coronavirus will hit Swedish firms and economy hard, says finance minister
Swedish finance minister Magdalena Andersson has said the coronavirus outbreak will have significant effects on the economy and companies.
There are 1,040 confirmed cases of the virus in Sweden and three people have died.
8.08am update: EU headed for 2020 recession over coronavirus impact
The European Union will go through a recession this year due to the impact on its economy of the coronavirus health crisis, the bloc’s internal market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Monday.
“Obviously we are expecting a recession during the year 2020,” Mr Breton told BFM Business radio.
“Before the crisis, we were (expecting) around 1.4 percent (economic) growth for the whole continent, now we expect a negative impact of between 2 percent and 2.5 percent.”
8.04am update: Bahrain reports its first coronavirus death – health ministry
7.53am update: UK to announce further coronavirus measures on Monday
Britain will make further announcements on Monday about the measures it is taking to tackle coronavirus, Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings told Reuters.
“The government will be making further announcements today,” Mr Cummings said when asked about the UK response to the outbreak.
When pressed on why the UK government had not implemented the stringent measures taken by other European governments, he declined to comment.