First coronavirus deaths in UK imminent with spike in cases, medical chief warns
The UK will see a spike in coronavirus cases and deaths from the disease within six weeks, according to a medical official.
England and Wales' Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty told Sky News the UK will see a significant number of COVID-19 cases and "some deaths”.
He added that it is "sensible" to plan for up to 20% of Brits to be sick at one time.
NHS England has mandated hospitals to test all patients in intensive care who are showing signs of a lung infection for coronavirus.
Bosses have been told to draft up plans to segregate wards such as A&E department, critical care and diagnostic areas amid fears of a “significant escalation” in cases.
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Professor Whitty earlier warned that up to 80% of Britons would catch the bug in the government's worst case scenario, and 1% of those infected may die.
The army could be deployed to tackle the coronavirus as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to fight the disease.
Soldiers could be deployed to guard vital sites so the police are free to deal with potential public disorder, according to new government plans.
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The outbreak could lead to a fifth of workers being absent, cause police to drop low-priority cases and force the NHS to delay non-urgent care.
The Prime Minister yesterday said it is “highly likely” the UK will see a growing number of coronavirus cases, but stressed that “for the vast majority of people in this country we should be going about our business as usual”.
There are four phases in the government’s plan – contain, delay, research and mitigate.
In the event of the outbreak worsening, or a severe, prolonged pandemic, the response will escalate and the focus will move away from "contain" and "delay" to "mitigate".
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