- The UK public could be told to work from home for at least three months under plans being considered by the UK government to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
- Officials are considering a series of draconian measures under plans revealed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday.
- There were 51 confirmed cases in the UK as of Tuesday lunch time.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
British workers could be told to stay at home for up to three months as the country prepares for a major coronavirus outbreak within weeks.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday set out his government’s action plan for combating the spread of the deadly virus across the country. There were 51 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK as of Tuesday lunchtime.
Johnson’s government remains focused on containing the disease, which has reached almost every country in Western Europe and claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people worldwide.
On Tuesday, however, the prime minister said it was likely that COVID-19 would continue to spread across the country and that his government would soon shift to delaying that spread.
“It is highly likely coronavirus will spread more widely in the coming days and weeks, which is why we’re making every possible preparation,” Johnson said at a press conference.
“We have agreed a plan, which I will set out in detail today, so if the virus should spread, we are ready to take necessary steps to contain it and protect the most vulnerable.”
As part of those plans, government officials are considering advising Brits to avoid human contact for about 12 weeks.
Avoiding human contact could include limiting contact with vulnerable groups like the elderly, avoiding contact with people outside home and school, and working from home.
The government is also considering school closings and banning large public gatherings as part of plans to delay the spread of COVID-19.
The UK government’s action plan has four stages: contain, delay, research, and mitigate. The UK is currently in stage one.
If Britain reaches “mitigation,” the National Health Service would most likely have to prioritize emergency care and postpone nonurgent treatment. Similarly, a strain on police numbers would force officers to prioritize serious crimes.
The government on Monday evening confirmed it would seek to bolster the NHS by asking retired health professionals to be on duty in hospitals if the situation escalated.
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