Boris Johnson to ramp up coronavirus fight as he chairs another emergency COBRA meeting

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BORIS Johnson is set to ramp up his coronavirus battle plan this afternoon – as he chairs another emergency COBRA meeting and deaths hit 37.

The number of cases has spiralled faster than experts thought, prompting the Government to push ahead with measures quickly.

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Boris Johnson is chairing an emergency COBRA meeting this afternoon before holding a press conference
Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Vallance, and Chief Medical officer Chris Whitty will speak later today

The PM is expected to make announcements on stepping up the national fight against the deadly bug.

Options on the table could include a ban on mass gatherings, ordering Brits to stay away from pubs and restaurants, or shutting schools for an extra two weeks before the Easter holidays.

Extra advice on how the vulnerable and elderly can stay safe is expected too.

This morning Transport Secretary Grant Shapps defended the Government’s plan – amid criticism that Britain hasn’t gone as far as other countries in its bid to tackle the spread.

Italy, France, Spain, Germany and several other nations have revealed lockdowns of schools and public places, cancelled flights in and out of the country, and shut their borders.

Earlier today the true cost of the coronavirus was laid bare as leaked documents estimated that up to 8million could have to be hospitalised in an outbreak that could last up to a year.

Downing Street stressed it was a worst-case scenario but stressed that “does not mean that is what we expect to happen”.

Today it was confirmed:

  • Britain’s death toll leapt from 21 to 36 today and included Nick Matthews, 59 — the youngest UK victim
  • Schools have been told to send kids with a cough home to stop the spread
  • Millions of workers stay at home today in ghost town Britain
  • Brits could face fines or even jail if they ignore quarantine rules under new emergency laws coming to Parliament this week
  • Shoppers are continuing to raid supermarkets for food and supplies – even as officials begged them not to
  • Leaked documents say up to 8million could be hospitalised, and the outbreak may last up to a year

Ministers will later today beg manufacturers to switch to making ventilators which will be desperately needed by the sick in the coming days and weeks.

Anyone who can overhaul their factories is being urged to contact the Business Department.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock is preparing to reveal emergency legislation to the Commons tomorrow to give extra powers to the Government to tackle the crisis.

It could include the powers to detain people suspected of having Covid-19, or slapping a fine on them instead.

 

 

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A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past Buckingham Palace, London, as Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said ministers are yet to make a decision on whether to ban gatherings

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