Boris Johnson will today chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee to discuss the coronavirus outbreak following the third death linked to the illness in the UK.
Public Health England confirmed last night that a man in his 60s – who had underlying health problems – died at North Manchester General Hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.
The confirmed number of cases of the virus in the UK stands at 319, with more than 23,500 people having been tested.
Today’s discussion will assess whether the UK should officially move from the “contain” to the “delay” phase of the government’s battle plan to deal with coronavirus.
The Prime Minister is expected to tell members that tackling the outbreak will require a “national and international effort” but that he is “confident the British people are ready to play their part in that”.
Former Health Secretary Lord Andrew Lansley told talkRADIO that while pressure on the NHS was inevitable, Britain was “amongst the best prepared countries in the world”.
“We can see in Italy that there are very severe pressures, even for a highly developed and very respected health care system so I don’t think we should underestimate the potential stresses that it would cause in the NHS,” he told Julia Hartley-Brewer.
“That we are amongst the best prepared countries in the world is undoubtedly true, I think that has been true for a long time that the NHS has thought about this.”
Around 16 million people have been placed under lockdown in Italy as its Covid-19 linked death toll rose to 366.
Measures passed by the Italian government have placed restrictions on museums, cinemas, shopping centres and restaurants until the start of April.
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