The number of UK coronavirus cases rocketed to 51 today, a climb of 12 new cases, the government revealed today.
Health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the climb in parliament today after the UK recorded four more cases yesterday to take the total to 39.
The government today outlined worst-case scenario measures if the UK coronavirus outbreak gets worse. They include banning large gatherings, encouraging people to work remotely and drafting in the army to act on standby.
“As of 9am today there were 51 confirmed cases in the UK and it is becoming more likely we will see widespread transmission here in this country,” Hancock told MPs.
“The situation facing the country is increasingly serious. Globally and at home the number of cases continues to rise.”
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said: “Probably around one per cent of people who get this virus might end up dying.”
Government unveils Covid-19 infection plan
It follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning a further spread of the coronavirus in Britain is likely. He also laid out the government’s plan to combat the Covid-19 outbreak.
One measure would prevent large gatherings of people after organisers cancelled a string of international events on the coronavirus crisis.
That has sparked fears over UK events like the London Marathon, with organisers saying they are “closely monitoring” developments.
But Hancock today told parliament it is “far too early” to cancel the event, which is eight weeks away.
Other measures set out by the Prime Minister to contain a worst-case scenario coronavirus outbreak include:
- Closing schools
- Discouraging people from using public transport
- Encouraging remote working
Such measures could stand in place for up to 12 weeks to combat the UK coronavirus outbreak. The government hopes its plan would see UK coronavirus cases peak in summer, when the weather is warmer.
80 per cent of Brits could catch coronavirus
“The current data seem to show that we are all susceptible to catching this disease, and thus it is also more likely than not that the UK will be significantly affected,” the government’s action plan read.
Around one per cent of infected Brits would die in a UK coronavirus outbreak. The worst scenario would see 80 per cent of the population catch Covid-19.
“Our approach is to plan for the worst and work for the best,” Hancock added.
“Contain is about detecting the early cases, following up with close contacts, preventing the disease from taking hold in this country for as long as reasonably possible.
“This approach also buys time for the NHS to ramp up its preparations.
“If the number of global cases continues to rise, especially in Europe, the scientific advice is that we may not be able to contain this virus indefinitely.”
UK coronavirus: Brits warned of economic blow if infections mount
The government also warned one in five British workers could miss work in a possible dent to the UK economy.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney also warned the UK faces a large but short-lived economic hit from the Covid-19 outbreak.
And a G7 meeting of economists today released a statement saying countries were “ready to act” to mitigate any economic fallout.
The FTSE 100 rose had risen 1.8 per cent by this afternoon after the global coronavirus outbreak wiped £200bn off it last week.
Yesterday’s rise to 39 cases came after four Brits tested positive yesterday. They had all recently travelled to Italy.
UK coronavirus cases have risen as other countries experienced sharp rises today. South Korea now has a total 5,186 cases, while Italy’s count has broken the 2,000 mark.
Across the world, 3118 people have died from the Covid-19 strain. And 91,320 people are infected – most of whom live in China. Almost 50,000 people have recovered from the virus.
By Joe Curtis