The UK’s battle plan to tackle coronavirus will be revealed on Tuesday as the country panics over the lethal illness spreading more widely in the days and weeks ahead. Boris Johnson will set out the blueprint at Downing Street, vowing that officials are “ready to take necessary steps” to contain coronavirus and protect the vulnerable. The plan is expected to include a “war room”, bringing together communications experts and scientists from across Government and NHS to roll out a public information campaign.
Other measures could see people discouraged from unnecessary travel, workers urged to stay at home, and retired doctors and nurses asked to return to work to help deal with patients.
It is understood potential plans could include getting volunteers into public services to help out with things like delivering food to hospital patients.
Another measure could include cancelling public events, as seen in a number of leading countries heavily impacted by coronavirus over recent weeks and days.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted Britain is not planning to cancel mass gatherings or large sporting events over the concerns around coronavirus but will need legislation in case it needs to take action in the future.
He told the BBC: “Right now, we do not recommend the cancelling of mass events and schools as well should not be closing unless there is a positive case and the schools have the advice to close.
“There maybe things we have to do down the line that we don’t want to, but we will need the powers to do that hence proposing emergency legislation.”
But the rapid spread of coronavirus has sent countries heavily impacted into a frenzy, cancelling or postponing huge public events that were due to host hundreds of thousands of people and cost millions of pounds.
Last week, Facebook cancelled its F8 conference for developers, its biggest event of the year, while the social media giant also cancelled its its annual Global Marketing Summit in San Francisco, which was due to host 5,000 people.
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the biggest smartphone conference of the year attracting more than 100,000 people, was cancelled after major companies including LG, Amazon, Sony, Ericsson, and Facebook pulled out of the event.
The Games Developers Conference in San Francisco was cancelled after major companies like Sony and Microsoft pulled out, while the Google News initiative Global Summit and Spotify’s annual developer conference followed the same fate.
Venice cancelled the last two days of the city’s carnival, while several fashion shows for Paris and Milan’s fashion weeks were cancelled.
Sporting events have also fallen victim to the coronavirus outbreak, with Formula One’s Chinese Grand Prix and the World Athletics Indoor Championship postponed.
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World football has also been heavily impacted, with six games in coronavirus-hit Italy’s top Serie A division postponed last week, while the top-of-the-table clash between Juventus and Inter Milan was played behind closed doors.
The English football leagues, including Liverpool’s first top division title win in 30 years, are thought to be under threat from being written off altogether.
The Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer is also at risk, although there are currently no plans to cancel or postpone the biggest global event on the sporting calendar.
The UK has yet to postpone or cancel any public events, but that could change depending on how quickly the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country, and whether the death toll from the deadly disease surges.
The global death toll has surpassed 3,000, with the virus rapidly spreading to more than 60 countries.
Mainland China reported 125 new cases on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 80,151. A further 31 people died, with the death toll hitting reached 2,943.
Morocco, Andorra, Armenia, Czech Republic, Iceland and Indonesia all confirmed their first cases, while the number of cases in South Korea surged by 600, taking total infections to 4,812 and deaths to 34.
Infections in Iran has increased to 1,501 people with 66 deaths, while the death toll in Italy jumped to 52 on Monday from 34 the day before, and the total number of confirmed cases in Europe’s worst affected country climbed past the 2,000 mark.
Germany confirmed at least 28 new cases, bringing the number of infections to 157 from 129 on Sunday, while Spain’s confirmed cases rose to around 120 from 81 the day before.