The World Health Organisation has “rung the alarm bell loud and clear” and declared the outbreak a global pandemic following its spread to 114 countries and 126,000 confirmed cases of the infection.
WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.
“We have never before seen a pandemic spared by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time.
“WHO has been in full response mode since we were notified of the first cases. We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action. We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”
What time will the Prime Minister speak and where can you watch it?
The Prime Minister will give a speech today about the next steps the country will take in regards to the coronavirus outbreak.
You can watch the speech on BBC iPlayer or Sky News.
Today’s speech is expected to step things up as the confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK rise to 460, and move to the next phase of the government’s four-step action plan.
Speaking from Downing Street on March 3, Boris Johnson said: “Our country remains extremely well prepared.
“We already have a fantastic NHS, fantastic testing systems and fantastic surveillance of the spread of disease.
“The plan does not set out what the government will do; it sets out the things we could do at the right time and on the basis of scientific advice.
“Crucially, we must not forget what we can all do to fight this virus, which is to wash our hands with soap and hot water for the length of time and it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.”
The government’s plan focuses on four key areas:-
Contain: Detect early cases, follow up on people that have been in contact with, and prevent the disease spreading.
Delay: Slow the spread of coronavirus in the UK and lessen the impact if it does become a bigger problem.
Research: Better understand the virus and ways to treat it.
Mitigate: Minimise the impact of people who become ill on the rest of society and public services, as well as providing the best care possible and supporting medical staff.
How can you keep coronavirus at bay?
The NHS say that washing hands is one of the easiest and most effective ways of protecting yourself from the virus.
Washing your hands more often also helps to prevent the spread of infection when visiting people in hospitals and nursing homes, who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Hands need to be washed after using the toilet, changing a baby’s nappy, before and after handling or eating food, and after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing, experts recommend.
WHO however, advise people to dry their hands with a disposable paper towel, before using the same paper to turn off the tap in an effort to limit contamination.