Is the UK really prepared for the coronavirus epidemic?

The coronavirus epidemic is now affecting the UK as four new cases were announced on Monday, all of whom had travelled to Italy- which has witnessed the biggest outbreak in Europe.

It was earlier reported that Britain had 51 coronavirus cases and it has been declared as a level four virus by NHS England.

There are still many unknowns about this virus, but it is becoming clear that it could incapacitate a fifth of the British workforce. The coronavirus is also known as COVID-19 and it comes from animals. Many of those initially infected either frequently shopped or worked in the Huanan seafood wholesale market.

According to the WHO, most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Many people are being advised to wash their hands thoroughly and to self-isolate themselves if necessary. It has also been recommended that people should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.

Although the flu virus kills many people every year, there is no data on the coronavirus available yet to evaluate whether the latter is more deadly than the former.

The Daily Mail reports that the worst case scenario is that 80 percent of the UK population could contract the virus within weeks, and it would be three months before its highest point was reached.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has done everything he can considering this country has never experienced this kind of epidemic. He has published a 28-page report that was agreed during a Cobra meeting that the Prime Minister chaired on Monday, which stresses that the Government’s response is still in the ‘containment’ phase. The plan aims to ‘minimise the social and economic impact of the disease, subject to keeping people safe.’ The reason why it is a decent plan is because it covers all the ways the coronavirus can disrupt everyday life.

For example, the report states that there would be ‘population distancing strategies’ such as greater home working, school closures, and cutting the number of large scale gatherings to delay the spread of the coronavirus.

Pensioners would be advised to avoid attending events to prevent putting themselves at risk.

The police would be able to deal with serious crimes if forces suffer a substantial loss of staff and the army could be called upon to provide assistance.

However, the NHS could struggle with this outbreak. The British Thoracic Society discovered that NHS respiratory departments have already struggled with staff shortages this winter and the coronavirus has the potential to impact further upon the health service.

Under non-mitigation plans, non-coronavirus patients could be discharged early from hospital, and routine operations postponed. Retired staff could be brought back to help increase the health service’s capacity.

The Treasury is also prepared to unlock billions of pounds to assist businesses damaged by the epidemic, which is necessary if the Government is serious about restoring economic confidence during this time.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has praised the international response to the coronavirus, and he included Boris in his remarks, which proves that the Prime Minister has the Governor’s confidence.

Some experts have anticipated that the number of cases should hopefully drop as the weather improves. People are becoming more knowledgeable as to how the coronavirus can affect them, which will also help contain the disease.

As other nations react in their own way to the epidemic, many Brits should be reassured that the UK Government has done everything it can to contain the virus for now. But as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, the coronavirus might not be able to be contained indefinitely if it spreads throughout the globe.