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Boris Johnson: “Cities lockdown to fight coronavirus”

Mr Boris Johnson said: "The number of coronavirus cases around the world is rising every day and the UK is no exception."

Boris Johnson coronavirus
Boris Johnson coronavirus

To stop the spread of coronavirus, swathes of Britain could be put on lockdown as Boris Johnson vowed to take charge of the Government response after being accused of acting like a ‘part-time Prime Minister’. Boris Johnson has said ‘now seems little doubt that it will present a significant challenge’ to the UK in the coming days and weeks.

He decided to delegate management of the crisis to Health Secretary Matt Hancock then criticism mounted. Then ex-Tory chancellor George Osborne said the Government had to ‘get a grip’.

The Prime Minister donning a yellow biohazard suit to visit Public Health England’s laboratory, a labs whew tests for virus are carried out in Colindale, north-west London.

Then he went to Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead to meet staff who are treating patients with the illness.

Coronavirus, Boris Johnson’s speech

Speaking ahead of today’s emergency meeting, Mr Johnson said: ‘The number of coronavirus cases around the world is rising every day – and the UK is no exception. ‘There now seems little doubt that it will present a significant challenge for our country. ‘But we are well prepared, and the Government and the NHS will stop at nothing to fight this virus. This battle plan lays out in detail the measures we could use – if and when they are needed.’ Two days ago, Mr Johnson said he wanted to see school stay open as long as possible. If teachers are off sick, he will publish emergency law this week to allow class sizes increase.

Mass gatherings, such as at sports events and concerts, could also be banned temporarily and Mr Hancock said draconian measures, such as sealing off whole cities, had not been ruled out. These could include deciding whether to allow the virus to take its course quickly or try to delay its spread. The first option would likely result in a higher peak in the number of cases, but would allow the economic and social disruption to pass more quickly. Sources said the Prime Minister had visited NHS staff who may soon be on the frontline. Last week, he visited Kettering General Hospital in Northamptonshireto see its new coronavirus ‘pod’ where people can come to be checked.

As he visited Public Health England’s testing lab in Colindale, London, yesterday, the PM has acknowledged the figure would continue to increase in the coming days, despite frantic efforts to contain the spread of the virus, Ministers are set to agree a ‘battle plan’, When he asked about closing off cities to stop the illness spreading, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday: ‘We don’t take anything off the table at this stage because you have to make sure you have all the tools available if that is what is necessary.’ Banning public gatherings, cancelling football matches and encouraging people to avoid public transport, could also be considered.

The Prime Minister said: ‘The number of coronavirus cases around the world is rising every day – and the UK is no exception. ‘There now seems little doubt that it will present a significant challenge for our country. But we are well prepared, and the Government and the NHS will stop at nothing to fight this virus. Our battle plan lays out in detail the measures we could use – if and when they are needed.’ Dr Susan Crossland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said a major outbreak would bring ‘immense stress’ to the NHS. ‘While the emergency planning measures put in place specifically for coronavirus have been good, the wider picture is one of grave concern,’ she said. ‘One of the huge problems we will see in the event of a widespread outbreak is a complete squeeze on elective surgery that will have huge implications for already dire patient waiting times and this directly relates to the under-funding of previous years.’

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