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  • has moved the UK to a higher stage of defense against the virus.

  • He said that if you have a new and continuous cough or have a high temperature, you should self isolate for seven days.

  • The aim is to delay an explosion in the number of infections so that hospitals are not overwhelmed is our health and social care correspondent Victoria McDonald, a crowded Trafalgar Square in the very heart of London and our own image of how it might look if this were a city to go into lock down.

  • Just a few weeks ago, the seemed unimaginable.

  • Today, the government confirmed we are now moving to a new phase in the fight against covered 19.

  • I've got to be clear, we were gonna be clear.

  • This is the worst public health crisis for a generation.

  • Some people compare it to seasonal flu.

  • Alas, that is not right.

  • Owing to the lack of immunity, this disease is more dangerous on dhe.

  • It's going to spread further, and I must level with you, re level with the British public.

  • More families are many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.

  • This isn't locked down yet.

  • But the contained phase, which relied on hand washing, testing and contact tracing, hasn't worked.

  • Today saw the largest day on day increasing numbers since the outbreak began, so it is delay to push the peak of cases away from the winter months and into the warmer weather.

  • They're currently 590 cases that have been identified in the UK, and there are more than 20 patients on intensive care units.

  • If you calculate what that really means in terms of the total number, it's much more likely that we've got somewhere between five and 10,000 people infected at the moment.

  • Newsday at home Guidance has now been issued.

  • If you have symptoms of Corona virus infection covered 19 however mild.

  • Stay at home and do not leave your house for seven days from when the symptoms started, and those symptoms are a new continuous cough and or a high temperature.

  • At some point in the next few weeks, we're likely to go further, and if someone in our household has those symptoms, we will be asking everyone in that household to stay at home, no doubt with these images in their minds.

  • The government has also warned people over 70 not to go on cruisers and for schools not to take trips abroad.

  • Are they going far enough?

  • Certainly not as far as Ireland, where they've closed schools today along with colleges and childcare facilities and have advised against mass gatherings.

  • While in Scotland, the first minister, Nicolas Durgin, said that large scale public events of more than 500 people will be cancelled from Monday.

  • I think it is incumbent order government to do what we can to remove unnecessary burdens on our public service is, and that's at the rationale for the decision that I, um noticing two.

  • D'oh!

  • These pictures from China and more recently from Italy have bean distressing showing frontline health staff working to breaking point beds, running out crowded wards.

  • This is precisely what the government here does not want to happen.

  • But the organization Every doctor which campaigns for better working conditions, has now written to medical unions asking for their help and ensuring n hs staff are protected brightly.

  • The focus has been on the public, but the public won't be cared for without us and our nursing and physiotherapy and paramedic colleagues doing the job that we do every day and say I guess it's like when you're on a plane and they tell you that you should put your mask on before putting that on the mask on your child.

  • I think there's a not now that's perhaps helpful and that we need to do whatever we can to make sure that the workforce that will keep everybody safe and well are able to keep on working.

  • While much is still unknown about Covered 19 it is now clear that young Children are is likely to be infected as adults.

  • But it is not known how much they spread the virus, and that makes the question of closing schools more difficult.

  • Get your goal in your social distancing measures is to stop the outbreak in its tracks.

  • Probably you should be closing schools because even if they're responsible for a little bit of transmission there, certainly, you know potential drivers, whereas if you just want to slow down the outbreak and flatten it, I think the question becomes more complicated.

  • The UK government has no plans yet to close down schools, and the fact is that older people seem to beam or risk from covered 19 and while the vast majority will experience mild to moderate symptoms, the prime minister today called on society to help each other to do all we can and, above all, wash your hands.

  • Victoria McDonald reporting.

  • Now our political correspondent, this Bates was at that news conference and joins us from Downing Street.

  • Yes, the tone here at Downing Street today, as you can imagine, very somber, very serious, is clear that the government has stepped up its response to the Corona virus into a different gear today.

  • There were still questions, though, for Boris Johnson about the U.

  • K's response when you compare it to the rest of the world.

  • But he was insisting that they are simply acting on the best scientific and medical advice that they have access to when it comes to wider political repercussions.

  • Though here in Westminster Brexit trade talks due to be held next week, they've been canceled.

  • It's also affected the Labour leadership contest they have canceled hus stings on, and also the suggestion that local elections inmate could become sold as well, so far reaching repercussions here in Westminster.

  • Thanks very much live now as we've heard, Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon has gone further than Boris Johnson in saying that public gatherings of more than 500 people should be banned from next week.

  • Our Scotland correspondent, Karen Jenkins, is in Edinburgh for is now Karen Kathy.

  • It is notable that Scotland has gone further than the rest of the UK and canceling events off more than 500 people from Monday.

  • That means the old Firm football match this weekend will still go ahead at present, but very soon in Scotland, potentially, we could have life without some conferences, life without concerts or crowds.

  • It's sporting events.

  • Nicholas Sturgeon was asked if there's any tension with Boris Johnson, his government, over this decision, she said, Well, you'd have to ask him, but they don't seem to disagree on the science.

  • If you're symptomatic, Nicholas Sturgeon said, Well, you shouldn't really be going to these events anyway.

  • The new advice is that you should stay at home for seven days on.

  • Her rationale is that in counseling these events, they're freeing up vital public and emergency service is that get tied up on these sorts of occasions?

  • So they say this is primarily about the resilience of emergency service's in Scotland, They're anticipating large numbers of people becoming infected, requiring hospital care in intensive care.

  • And there are in Scotland, at present, just a few 100 intensive care beds.

  • That's all right now in Scotland, we are working on plans to double intensive care capacity we have between 2 300 intensive care beds.

  • Right now, we've got more bathes in addition to that for high dependency capacity.

  • But we're working on a plan to double intensive care.

  • I want to say very clearly that even with all of the things we're going to do to try to manage the peak off this, the pressure on our health service is going to be considerable.

  • And that's why this way defining it's so important that's really worth repeating.

  • Even if intensive care beds double, which is a mammoth task in itself, it will still be considerable pressure on the N.

  • H s o change afoot in hospitals in society.

  • Because these large scale events will be canceled now in Scotland from Monday with no end date, life is about to get very different for who knows how long, Karen thanks very much, or the Irish Prime Minister, Leo Veronica, has announced that schools, colleges and childcare facilities in Ireland will close from six o'clock tonight and will not reopen until March, the 29th to help contain the spread of Covered 19.

  • Jane Dodge is in the town of Dundalk, which is near to the border with Northern Ireland.

  • Jane, What's the latest from there?

  • Thes school corridors will be silent now for the next two weeks.

  • That announcement that schools colleges on childcare facilities will close came as a surprise, though to the head teacher here.

  • Initially, I think the Children, you know there's that usual big cheer.

  • But then the Children, you know, we were with 84 Children making confirmation.

  • They were very, very disappointed, you know, not to be going ahead with the confirmation on Saturday week, some Children cried, and I think teachers were all very anxious, wondering has something very serious happened that were closing at such short notice.

  • It was very short notice for us, really.

  • We had to then spend, you know, the couple of hours we left in the day preparing for, you know, work for the Children on getting ready to put up on our website, and it's not just classrooms that are empty tonight.

  • Some supermarket shelves are to panic.

  • Buying set in across the republic after today's announcement on Dundalk was no exception.

  • It's being hectic.

  • We run a title and tissues disinfectant the holdup, but we will have some more in case God is Saturday morning on Dhe.

  • It's just mental mental.

  • Our day in every shop in the Turners has bean tide roll.

  • Tyler Moore.

  • Tiger, Do you think people are justified in this panic buying?

  • I would be afraid so I would say yes.

  • Dead there, you know it is this very frightening.

  • What's going on?

  • One person in the republic has died from Corona virus.

  • 27 new cases were confirmed today, bringing the total to 70.

  • This disease may not have recognize any any borders, but precautions to fight it Do This classroom and many others across the Republic of Ireland will be closed tomorrow.

  • But just up the road across the border in Nuri, Children will be going to school as normal.

  • Jane, Thanks very much, John, I've been speaking with the former health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

  • He's now the chairman of the Commons Health Select Committee, began by asking him in light of the prime minister's comments about families facing the loss of loved ones.

  • What sort of numbers could we be facing?

  • Well, I think it is a deeply concerning moment on DDE.

  • If you look at the modeling that the chief medical officer believes we will be lucky to have less than 5% of the population getting the virus, that would suggest mortality rate four or five times the annual average for winter flu on dhe.

  • If you look at what happens in other countries, this can often be in the most terrible circumstances.

  • So this is very sobering.

  • But I think the encouraging news from today is that we believe that we are four weeks behind Italy on DDE.

  • That is, I think, thanks to heroic efforts to contact trace people who have had the virus may have the virus on, I think we probably dunmore than any other European country.

  • To do that with sobering news is that maybe up to 10,000 people have got the virus as we speak in this country on, that suggests that we are in a very serious emergency now.

  • Although they are small countries, Denmark and island have both effectively moved to a stop all mass gatherings.

  • Schooling.

  • Everything has been has been closed.

  • Shouldn't that be the measure here?

  • While many people will be surprised and concerned that we're not moving sooner and the reason is because Are you surprised?

  • Yes, I am on.

  • The reason is because one thing we do have now is evidence off countries that appear to have been strikingly successful in turning back the tide of the virus.

  • Thailand, for example, the first country out outside China to get the virus only 59 reported cases.

  • Taiwan right next door, Any 49 cases, the places that have succeeded are the ones that moved earliest to social distancing, that the business of trying to keep the most vulnerable people away from places where they could catch the virus.

  • And so I think people will be concerned that we're not moving sooner to MME.

  • Or social distancing, for example, banning external visits to care homes, things like that.

  • You believe.

  • Actually we should be moving much faster and we should be taking much more drastic measures.

  • But I am concerned because we've got four weeks with four weeks behind Italy on DDE.

  • What we do every single day of those four weeks is absolutely critical.

  • I don't want to second guess theat vice that scientists are giving, but I would like to see what the modeling is from the behavioral scientists that says, That's, uh, you know, we could go to early with some of these measures because I think most people's priority is their elderly loved ones who are most vulnerable, perhaps 89% mortality rates if they get the virus on to do everything possible to make sure that they don't get the virus.

  • But then, if I put you back into your old position, has Secretary of State for Health would you be looking at the health service saying Yes, I wish we could do this, but actually, in order to bring the health service up to a scale in which it can cope at all, we must not take thes drastic measures.

  • Well, the point of taking drastic measures is to slow the onslaught on the N hs.

  • So 5% of the population get the virus, and 5% of those people need an intensive care bed.

  • That's over 100 and 50,000 people who will need intensive care and we only have 4000 beds.

  • So this phrase flattening the curve is incredibly important to delay the moment that it hits the N.

  • H s to give the N.

  • H s more time to very short questions.

  • Jeremy, how the optimist where we will be in four weeks, Jeremy Hunt, the pessimist where we would be in four weeks.

  • Well, I'm still optimistic that we can head off what's happening, Those horrific scenes that we're seeing in Italy because I think the N h s is very good at dealing with these emergencies.

  • And I think we have four weeks and we have a lot more knowledge than the Italian authorities had four weeks ago.

  • And the pessimist, the pessimist says to me that it is going to be very, very challenging to find enough intensive care beds in whether it's the N h.

  • S or any other system.

  • And so we we really need to use every hour we have over the next few weeks wisely to make those preparations on what would your message to the N.

  • H.

  • S stuff that you used to interact with him and run?

  • They are absolutely amazing on dhe.

  • You know, we know we can count on them on.

  • We know we need to do everything possible to spread the pressure that is coming down the track so that it doesn't all come in a very concentrated period.

  • Which means that doctors have to play God and and decide who gets to live and who gets to die.

  • That's the biggest nightmare for any doctor on when we want to try and avoid that as much as possible.

  • Jeremy Hunt Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

  • Thank you.

  • Joining me now is Saffron Corddry of the n hs providers on Dr Jenny, born from the Doctor's Association, who's been caring for acutely ill patients this week.

  • Dr.

  • Jenny, born first, just reflecting on what the former health secretary was saying that a bit of a disagreement with the current health secretary's advice.

  • Do you think additional lives will be lost because the government is not now restricting social gatherings?

  • I think that is possible.

  • The government is saying that they are basing everything on science, but of course there are concerns about this, and I can tell you now in the hospitals that I've obviously been where I work in three different hospitals.

  • Everyone is looking at all the meetings they're going to, and those meant meetings are being canceled and they are being conducted in different ways on.

  • So it's hard to think Why?

  • Why that?

  • What's the logic of canceling smaller meetings with no a small number of people?

  • And yet we're not actually looking at lot banning larger mass gatherings were suffering cauldron.

  • Let me ask you to respond to that.

  • And just with the additional information, Czech Republic has far fewer cases in the U.

  • K.

  • On they're shutting borders, Denmark's comparable number of cases.

  • They're shutting schools and public events.

  • What do they know that we don't?

  • I think it's how we approach this and what we've got to be really clear about.

  • And I think we heard it this afternoon from the chief medical officer is that it's really important not to go too early on this because we've got to make sure that people can sustain this social isolation they can sustain, not moving around.

  • And I think that is absolutely critical because we know the behavioral science shows us.

  • If people go too early, then they're going to kind of break out off the behaviors that we're asking them to adopt.

  • But is that about flat in the peak of the epidemic?

  • Because the N hs couldn't currently coat with a massive surge?

  • Absolutely.

  • And we have to flatter the peak of the second epidemic.

  • We really need to make sure that it it continues over a sustained period rather than goes right up and comes down.

  • Because then we are talking about how we manage the number of patients that will be coming in needing more critical care.

  • So in the end, it just couldn't do that.

  • If it soars right now, if it's always right now, we would be really challenged.

  • And we heard the prime minister saying that this is the biggest public health challenge off over generation on dhe.

  • It's absolutely critical that we do what we can to smooth this curve to give us more time to manage people over a sustained period.

  • Doctor Jenny born, How many intensive care beds do you reckon?

  • We're sure if this does surgeon.

  • Oh, well, one figure I've heard and this is the concern, is that at the moment in Italy they're having to ventilate a CZ.

  • Many people are turning up in one day, they would have to ventilate in the months and then some of the many of these are having to be then ventilated for 2 to 3 weeks.

  • So I think the honest answer to that is we simply don't have enough.

  • I see you beds.

  • But more important but equally important, if not war.

  • Importantly, we have a massive staffing source shortage.

  • We are we are 50,000 nurses down on.

  • We have to.

  • If you've got a ventilator, you also have toe staff it with critical care nurses, and these are not easy to find, and so many of them left the other things that come in from the front.

  • Nine of people are still not got a reasonable access to personal protective equipment, even though you have promised that would help.

  • Absolutely, it's not getting to the front line, and the other thing is money.

  • Medical staff.

  • They're turning up for work.

  • They may have a small amount of flu like symptoms there, then having to leave the premises go home.

  • All they want to do is go back and serve their patients, but actually they're still a delay.

  • It's still taking something, some cases, not taking 24 hours and yet they then can't get back to work.

  • We know that there are medical colleagues of ours undergoing critical character.

  • Man.

  • All we want to do is get in and serve our patients in a Safeway.

  • We really think that there should be priority testing for healthcare workers across this nation because they are the priority here, looking after patients so that we can get back and do our jobs on the front line.

  • That's what we're looking to see from the government the moment.

  • And if you look at the figures from Italy, when you horrifying really, when you see the pictures in the hospital's Italy has, I think 12.5 critical care beds per 100,000 people we have 6.6.

  • Are you worried about that lack of beds?

  • I think what we need to focus on is how we can scale up that critical care capacity, and we we know that we could do that at the moment.

  • We are treating people with Corona virus and we are also continuing to treat other cases, other emergency situations and people who have had elective operations.

  • So regular treatments, that kind of thing.

  • We are going to move to a phase.

  • We're not there yet, but we are