By Tony Winterburn • 12 March 2020 • 8:40
Boris Johnson will attend an emergency Cobra meeting today and is expected to announce some drastic measures in a bid slow down the spread of COVID-19.
After admitting the first phase of containment didn’t work, Mr Johnson will most probably announce a move to the “next phase” with actions similar to Italy’s response, that is to close schools, quarantine badly affected areas and to promote “social distancing” tactics.
Hospitals are preparing to cancel thousands of non-urgent operations to free up beds while sporting events, concerts and festivals scheduled for the next few weeks are likely to be cancelled or held behind closed doors.
The elderly and those with long-term illnesses will be advised to stay at home when the epidemic hits its peak in Britain, healthy adults will be advised to work from home where possible.
The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock has confirmed that parliament will not close, even though the health minister Nadine Dorries was diagnosed with COVID-19 and another MP went into self-isolation as a precaution.
In an address to the Commons Mr Hancock admitted they “may have to function differently” but insisted MPs’ ability to create new laws to tackle the outbreak and scrutinise the government was “vital”.
Latest figures issued on Wednesday morning showed that 460 people now have COVID-19 – a rise of 87 cases in 24 hours.
Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended travel of citizens and residents and halted flights with several states due to coronavirus fears.
The decision includes the European Union, Switzerland, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, and Somalia, the Kingdom also suspended entry to those coming from these countries.
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