PortandTerminal.com, March 13, 2020
Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said the true number of infections was “likely” to be between 5,000 and 10,000 – possibly ten times higher than the current figure of 798.
LONDON – Up to 10,000 people in the UK probably have coronavirus, officials have said, as they announced they were stepping up Britain’s response to the outbreak with new actions designed to delay its spread.
The announcement suggests that there are possibly 10 times as many cases in the UK as is currently being reported. If true, that would mean the UK has more cases of coronavirus infection than South Korea.
The announcement also raises alarm-bells over President Trump’s decision to exclude Britain from his European travel ban.
The news from Britain comes as the World Health Organization has just said that Europe is now the global epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, with “more cases than the rest of the world combined, apart from China”.
In England, schools have been ordered to cancel all foreign trips, and elderly people or those with underlying health conditions are advised not to go on cruise ships. However, ministers have stepped back from immediate closures and sporting events will still go ahead, with fans allowed into stadiums.
“This is the worst public health crisis for a generation.”Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister
Anyone showing cold or flu-like symptoms is being told to isolate themselves for seven days from Friday onwards – a measure brought forward by at least a week.
They should then stay at least two metres, or “about three steps”, away from anyone else, sleep alone and ask for help “to get the things you need”.
Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said the true number of infections was “likely” to be between 5,000 and 10,000 – many times higher than the current figure of 590.
“We are in a period when we have got some, but it hasn’t yet taken off,” he told a press conference.
The warning came as Boris Johnson sought to prepare the public for tougher times to come, saying: “This is the worst public health crisis for a generation.”
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