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News | Published March 04 2020

England’s chief medical officer: "a wave is almost certainly coming, but we don't know the size"

Patients are to be seen via video link under new guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the UK.

It is hoped that this decision will both reduce the number of patients in hospitals, lowering the overall risk of transmission.

This coincides with the government launching a campaign to remind people of the importance of washing their hands.

The total number of known cases in the UK has risen to 53, with three new instances in Scotland.

Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said "in the worst case scenario" up to 80 per cent of the population could become infected.

While he noted that “a few” vulnerable and older people well die if they have the disease, he emphasized the fact that the flu kills 8,000 people in the UK annually.

He confirmed that is was “very unlikely” for the UK to adopt Wuhan-esque lockdowns, saying that it was “likely” the virus would become an epidemic across the country.

He concluded: "a wave is almost certainly coming, but we don't know the size."

NHS England are expected to send out a letter to hospital trusts and similar organisations suggesting steps which can be taken in preparation for an increase in the number of patients.

This coincides with a new information campaign telling people to wash their hands frequently for 20 seconds at a time, or for two counts of the song “Happy Birthday”.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said that washing hands was the "single most important thing that an individual can do".

It is believed that the government will declare the virus a “notifiable disease” in the coming days, while the Scottish government deemed it "notifiable" last month.


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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
@
March 04 2020

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