Coronavirus cases have now pushed past 100 in the UK, as the country struggles under the weight of the European outbreak. COVID-19 claimed its first UK victim today (March 5), a woman understood to be in her 70s, and the Government has declared the country will enter the delay phase of its announced action plan.
What comes after the coronavirus delay phase?
The Government outlined its coronavirus action plan earlier this week, which contains four distinct phases.
Officials first concerned themselves with containment, clamping down on cases and attempting to prevent the virus from taking hold.
However, COVID-19 has since established a foothold in the UK, and authorities suspect transmission may have taken place in local communities.
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Coronavirus delay phase: What comes after delay phase as UK cases increase
The design of the delay phase is to slow the spread of the already established virus.
The Government said it wants to lower the “peak” impact of the virus in the winter and prevent cases mixing with seasonal influenza.
The “catch it, bin it, kill it” campaign for personal hygiene will play a part as well, as it allows people to prevent the virus from spreading themselves.
During the delay phase, the Government will also work on emerging treatment options.
Alongside the delay phase is the research phase, which sees experts research and develop new drugs, tests and practices to combat COVID-19.
Once officials have expended their efforts to delay, they enter the mitigate phase.
Mitigation comes when the country is in the midst of a global pandemic, and the only available choice is to temper COVID-19’s overall impact.
The government’s phase plan states the “nature and scale of the response” changes in the mitigation phase.
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Once the Government begins mitigation, it will focus on helping those who need it the most.
According to GOV.uk, the “chief focus” will be “helping those most at risk to access the right treatment”.
Should the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus continue on its path of replication, the next step would be to lower the social impact by preventing large public gatherings and temporarily closing some organisations, such as schools.
The Government also said it may recruit extra personnel for hospitals and emergency services in the event an outbreak continues, potentially bringing people out of retirement.
While officials likely hope they never have to enter the mitigate phase, a spokesman for the Prime Minister has warned the virus could continue to spread in a “significant way”.
He said: “We will continue to try to contain this virus. However, it’s now highly likely that the virus is going to spread in a significant way.
“Officials will, therefore, accelerate work on preparations for the delay phase of the government’s plan focusing on steps we can take to seek to delay the spread of the virus.
“This will include detailed work on the optimum time to introduce further measures.”