Boris Johnson says ‘business as usual’ after first confirmed death of patient with coronavirus in UK – ITV News

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty said the “direction of travel” was from the containment phase to the delay phase but the “step change” had not been made yet, clarifying earlier comments suggesting a move was being made already.

During the “contain” phase, officials aim to detect and isolate early cases and trace people who have been in contact with those infected in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading widely across the country.

In the “delay” phase, the aim is to slow the spread of the virus, reducing the impact and pushing it away from the winter season.

The Government believes that if the peak of the virus can be delayed until warmer months, it can reduce the risk of overlapping with seasonal flu and other challenges that the colder months bring.

Plans for the delay stage of the outbreak could include school closures, greater home working and reducing large-scale gatherings to “slow the spread”.

It comes as cases of coronavirus in the UK have more than doubled in 48 hours, bringing the total to 116 people.

Of these, 18 people have so far recovered from the respiratory illness and 45 people are being treated at home.

At least ten of the UK cases are caused by community infections – meaning they did not contract the virus abroad or in known hotspots.

Overall, 105 people have tested positive in England, two in Wales, six in Scotland and three in Northern Ireland.

Also on Thursday, the NHS said anyone who has returned from Italy and is displaying symptoms of Covid-19 – a cough, fever or shortness of breath – should self-isolate at home.

Chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty said the move was needed because of the evolving situation in Italy.

In a bid to reduce pressure on the NHS as the number of cases of the virus increases, the Department of Health said people diagnosed with coronavirus and who exhibit only mild symptoms should self-isolate at home rather than in hospital.

Prof Whitty warned critical care beds in the NHS could come under intense pressure during a coronavirus epidemic.

He said people needing oxygen would stretch the health service and some “things may be considerably less well done” during the peak of an epidemic.

He said half of all coronavirus cases in the UK are most likely to occur in just a three-week period, with 95% of them over a nine-week period.

This content was originally published here.