Coronavirus POLL: Should Britain be placed on lockdown to prevent virus spreading? VOTE

Coronavirus has so far infected more than 114,000 people and killed more than 4,000 others around the world. The deadly virus known as Covid-19 has disrupted business globally and caused financial markets to crash. As a result there have been calls for the Government to instigate lockdowns on the scale that are happening in Italy.

There are four main stages in the government’s current action plan: contain, delay, research and mitigate.

The focus so far has been on contain and delay.

The contain stage has involved tracing people who had contact with those diagnosed with coronavirus and getting them to self-isolate in case symptoms develop.

From the end of March health experts are likely to start advising people with mild cold and flu-like symptoms to assume they may have coronavirus and self-isolate.


At the moment, winter bugs are still circulating, so any illness is more likely to be those.

NHS England says it is scaling up its capacity for testing people for the infection.

It means 10,000 tests a day can be done 8,000 more than the 1,500 being carried out currently.

Confirmation of any positive test results will be accelerated, helping people take the right action to recover or quickly get treatment.

The Government may begin giving advice aimed at the elderly and those with existing health conditions, who are most at risk of becoming severely ill.

Others may be asked to work from home, stagger their commute, or cut back on unnecessary socialising.

The government’s emergency Cobra committee – made up of ministers, civil servants and officials – is co-ordinating the response.

Steps such as closing schools would have major social and economic consequences.


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Because of this, ministers have stressed the need not to over-react.

There are also doubts about whether such measures have much impact.

For example, if you stop people attending football matches they may just meet in pubs, where the risk of infection would be similar.

There is also a question of sustaining so-called social distancing steps, officials say it is about choosing the right options at the right time.

The most drastic measures therefore look likely to be reserved for just before the peak, which could be two months away.

A sixth person has died from the COVID-19 virus in the UK, bringing the total cases to 382.

The latest person to pass away from the illness was a man in his 80s who also suffered from underlying health issues.

The Bank of England has announced an emergency cut in interest rates in a bid to preserve the economy in the coming weeks, while Manchester City’s Premier League match against Arsenal has been postponed as a “precautionary measure”.

Arsenal players are also in self-quarantine after coming into contact with infected Nottingham Forest and Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has vowed that the NHS will receive “whatever resources it needs” throughout the crisis, while hospitals are scaling up on testing capacity as more people as the demand is set to rise.

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