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UK Health Secretary says no tactics will be “off the table” in dealing with coronavirus

Published on 02/03/20 at 10:54am
Photo by the Government Digital Service

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said nothing will be “off the table” in tackling the coronavirus as cases in the UK rise to 23.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, responding to a question about shutting down cities, Hancock said: “There is clearly a huge economic and social downside to that. But we don't take anything off the table at this stage because you have to make sure you have all the tools available if that is what is necessary. Under the worst-case scenario we would have to take some quite significant actions that would have social and economic disruption.”

The UK currently remains in a containment phase, and the government plans to release it contingency plans this week. This is expected to include asking retired doctors and nurses to return to work and urging people to work from home.

Labour Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said that Hancock must give more details of any emergency powers the government want to use so the House of Commons can scrutinise the plans.

Three more people in England have recently tested positive for coronavirus. Two had returned from Italy, which is facing the largest outbreak in Europe, while the other had come back from Asia.

The UK has also seen the first person infected who had not travelled abroad, with health officials trying to determine how he became infected with the virus.

Conor Kavanagh

 

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