Europe

Matt Hancock warns ‘we are at war against an invisible killer’ – as death toll hits 53

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the coronavirus pandemic is “the most serious public health emergency that our nation has faced for a generation”. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged Britons to self-isolate if “anyone in your household” is showing symptoms. He added non-essential travel should also be stopped.

Coronavirus is spreading around the world now officially named a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and in the last few days, cases in the UK have increased rapidly. Now, there are 1,391 confirmed cases of coronavirus – official name COVID-19 – across the UK.

Speaking in the House of Commons,Mr Hancock said: “Our goal is to protect life. Our actions have meant that the spread of the virus has been slowed in the UK.

“I want to pay tribute to the officials at Public Health England and the NHS for their exemplary approach to contact tracing and their work so far.

“However, the disease is now accelerating and 53 have sadly now died.

“Our hearts across this whole House go out to their families.”

Mr Hancock added: “Our policy is to fight this virus with everything we’ve got”.

He said: “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.”

“We are in a war against an invisible killer and we’ve got to do everything we can to stop it.”

The Health Secretary said ventilators are key to treating those suffering the worst effects of the disease and the Government has asked manufacturers to step up efforts to help in the production of kit needed.

Mr Hancock said emergency legislation will be introduced to Parliament on Thursday which will give the Government new powers to keep strained public services running.

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He told MPs: “On Thursday we will introduce to the House the Coronavirus Emergency Bill.

“This Bill will give us the powers to keep essential services running at a time when large parts of the workforce may be off sick.”

Across the world, more than 7,000 people have died with as the highest number of cases in Europe is in Italy at 2,158.

While 3,099 have died in Mainland China from COVID-19 which reported cases of the virus back in December 2019.

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