UK News (INL): Anyone with even a mild fever will be told to isolate themselves for a week as the number of coronavirus victims starts to rise “really quite fast”, the government has announced. Ministers expect to move to the next stage of fighting the outbreak in 10 to 14 days – a shift from the situation where only people with specific symptoms, or who are at known risk of having contracted the virus – stay at home. It was announced as Boris Johnson fought off pressure to adopt draconian, Italian-style restrictions – closing down schools, playing sporting events behind closed doors, or mass home-working – insisting they were not yet necessary.
It comes as: Italy expands its quarantine from the north of the country to span the entire nation, while also cancelling all public gatherings. US stock markets experienced their worst day since the 2008 financial crash, with Donald Trump announcing new tax cut proposals in an attempt to stem the freefall. The WHO warned the threat of a pandemic was now ‘very real’ in a press conference from Geneva. South Korea – once the second worst afflicted nation in the world, may be beginning to stabilise, according to President Moon Jae-in. UK experts are worried that if they “go too early”, people will grow tired of such curbs before the peak of the virus is reached in the coming months. Instead, Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer – speaking ahead of the fifth death from Covid-19 being revealed – said the UK was “very close” to imposing the tougher advice on self-isolating.
Coronavirus ‘pushing Europe into recession’. “We are expecting the numbers to increase, initially slowly, but really quite fast after a while,” he told a press conference, adding: “We have to catch it before the upswing begins. “We are now very close to the time, probably within the next 10 to 14 days, when the modelling would imply we should move to a situation where we say everybody who has even a minor respiratory tract infection or a fever should be self-isolating for 7 days afterwards.” Speaking alongside the prime minister, Mr Whitty said: “This is going to be the next step. We have not reached that step, but we are going to be reaching that step in the really quite near future.” The development came as Mr Johnson called for “a great national effort” to ensure coronavirus is beaten and as he hinted at further measures to be announced later this week.