Politics

Boris Johnson to set up coronavirus ‘war room’ to fight spread of disease

Boris Johnson is to set up a Cabinet Office “war room” in the effort to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The team, including scientists and communications experts, will produce a revised contingency plan this week.

It will include calling doctors out of retirement, travel restrictions and ordering more people to work from home. All government departments will have a minister in charge of co-ordinating the response.


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There are plans for special indemnity coverage for care workers asked to come into contact with victims. Rules on school class sizes could be relaxed so lessons can go ahead if teachers are sick.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock intends to blitz the public with information on how to stay protected, and the PM will tomorrow kick off with advice of his own before chairing a COBRA meeting on Monday.

He said: “We must listen to the advice of the Chief Medical Officer – especially about the importance of washing our hands with soap.

“We should be doing that for 20 seconds, and more often than we would normally think was necessary.

“This will make a real difference in stopping this virus spread.”

And Mr Hancock added: “I have every confidence in our nation’s ability to respond to the threat.

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