BORIS Johnson will today throw the country on to a war footing to battle the coronavirus outbreak.
Downing Street’s battle plan will put the nation on red alert for a string of restrictions in the event of mass infection.
The PM will also tell nervous Brits the deadly coronavirus could change everybody’s lives. His stark warning comes as four more UK cases were confirmed last night, including the first child, taking the total to 39.
A Downing Street insider last night warned that if coronavirus becomes a pandemic “then life cannot carry on as it does now”. A new four-part battle plan will include a “social distancing” strategy, with Brits urged to work from home and avoid unnecessary journeys.
Ministers will also launch a massive PR blitz telling the public to wash their hands regularly. An army of retired doctors and nurses could also be called up amid fears the NHS will struggle to cope if current medics get the virus.
A senior government source said: “If we do end up in the scenario where this is a full epidemic, steps will have to be taken that mean life can’t carry on quite as it does now. And we will have to make some changes to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect the public and delay the full onset of this virus.”
Vowing to give the NHS whatever money or resources it needs, Mr Johnson said Brits should brace themselves for a “very significant expansion” of coronavirus.
Steps will have to be taken that mean life can’t carry on quite as it does now. He said: “It is highly likely coronavirus will spread more widely in the coming days and weeks.”
The PM will launch the new strategy in Downing Street today — joined by Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
It will lay out the Government’s four-stage plan — contain, delay, research and mitigate. No 10 believes it will take “months rather than weeks” for the outbreak to peak in Britain.
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