News | Published March 13 2020

UK’s chief science adviser defends move from “contain” to “delay” phase in coronavirus plan

The UK’s chief science adviser has defended measures to move from the “contain” to the “delay” phase of Britain’s coronavirus plan.

Sir Patrick Vallance said that advising those with a cough or high temperature to self-isolate is a "big intervention.”

Former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has criticised the measures for not doing enough to contain the spread.

Hunt said that the refusal to cancel large gatherings was both "surprising and concerning", especially considering the fact that we have "four weeks before we get to the stage that Italy is at".

He continued that: "You would have thought that every single thing we do in that four weeks would be designed to slow the spread of people catching the virus.”

Vallance defended current policy in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, saying that: "The most likely place you are going to get an infection from is a family member or friend in a small space, not in a big space.”

He noted that: "The first set of measures are actually rather large.

"We have just asked a lot of people to isolate, stay at home, if they have got symptoms of mild upper respiratory tract infection, cough or fever. That is a big change.”

Vallance concluded “importantly we are also talking about that during the peak when people are most likely to get infected, the elderly and vulnerable are properly protected. This is not a short-term thing, it is going to go on for weeks."

There are currently 596 confirmed cases of the virus in the UK and ten people have died across the country.

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
March 13 2020

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