Coronavirus: PM urges Britons to avoid pubs, restaurants and theatres

In the UK, Sky News reports on Boris Johnson’s updated advice to British citizens, after a weekend during which many questioned the lightweight response to coronavirus in Britain:

Boris Johnson has told Britons to avoid pubs, clubs, restaurants and theatres and to only make essential journeys in the “national fightback” against coronavirus.

The prime minister told a Downing Street news conference the number of coronavirus cases in the UK could double every five or six days without “drastic action”.

Anyone with a high temperature or a persistent cough, or anyone in the same household with them, is now being told to stay at home for 14 days.

Sky News YouTube Channel

Avoiding pubs, clubs and restaurants, is a step towards the aggressive measures recommended by WHO. But, doctors who helped to overcome the virus in Wuhan today really stressed the need to “test, test, and test” for coronavirus. In the UK, they will not be testing mild cases, instead asking those who display symptoms to “self-isolate” for 14 days – up from last week’s 7 days advice.

Such measures, it could be argued, mean it is likely Britain will follow a similar trajectory to most nations where the virus has taken hold, such as Italy, which has seen over 2,158 deaths in little over one month since the virus was first reported in the country.

Italy fully shut down around one week ago – meaning the figures seem likely to rise for at least one more week, as the virus was spreading unchecked in the country up until then. Britain, is taking a less aggressive approach, and should therefore expect the virus to show a similar trajectory in the nation.

A lot of commentators have pointed to a low mortality rate, but the infectiousness of Covid-19 has most experts very concerned: 1% mortality of a large number of people, is a very large number of deaths. For example, in Britain, it is anticipated that perhaps 50-70% – and perhaps as high as 80% of the population – might catch the virus.

At a 1% mortality rate, this would mean, if we took the lower 50% infection, that 338,000 British would perish.

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is preparing for a stern test.

A movement, globally, to “flatten the curve” – meaning reducing the severity of the spike of initial severe cases of Covid-19 – suggests more social isolation, including among otherwise healthy people, will help to stem the spread of the virus, and therefore allow health services more time to deal with cases, while vaccines and anti-viral drugs are developed.

At present, little is known about novel-coronavirus; for example, in China, it was found that around 14% of people tested “negative” for the virus will later show a positive test. It is not known, however, if such people are still contagious.

More research is necessary.

In the mean time, stemming the spread of this virus is of large importance. It is to be hoped that Britain’s approach will prove sufficiently up to this challenge.

In This Story: Italy

Italy is a republic in central Europe which forms a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea as well as bordering France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily form part of the main territory of Italy. Italy is part of the Eurozone, having entered the common currency on 1st January 1999.

The capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. Other major cities include Florence, with Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s “David” and Brunelleschi’s Duomo; Venice, the city of canals; and Milan, Italy’s fashion capital.

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