Coronavirus: UK moves to ‘delay phase’, chief medic says

The UK has mainly moved into the “delay phase” of tackling coronavirus, England’s chief medical officer has said, as the country’s 90th case was confirmed.

Professor Chris Whitty, who is being grilled by MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee, said there was evidence of community transmission between people who had no connections to overseas cases or returning travellers.

He said: “We have moved from a situation where we are mainly in contain, with some delay built in, to we are now mainly delay,” he said, although elements of the contain process were remaining in place.

The delay phase means measures to tackle coronavirus are ramped up to delay its spread.

The Government’s battle plan says of the delay phase: “Action that would be considered could include population distancing strategies (such as school closures, encouraging greater home working, reducing the number of large-scale gatherings) to slow the spread of the disease throughout the population, while ensuring the country’s ability to continue to run as normally as possible.”

Earlier Scotland confirmed three more cases of coronavirus, taking the UK total to 90.

Overall, current figures show 80 cases in England, six in Scotland, one in Wales and three in Northern Ireland.

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