Today’s key coronavirus questions answered
– Is there any good news?
Boris Johnson has said the UK could “turn the tide” of the coronavirus outbreak in the next 12 week if people take the precautionary steps the Government has outlined.
– Does that mean progress is being made in developing a vaccine?
The PM said UK experts expect to start trials for the first vaccine within a month. He also said the first British patient had been put in a randomised trial for a treatment for coronavirus.
– Are there going to be lockdowns to halt the spread?
No plans at this stage, despite the “ridiculous” rumours of tanks heading to London. Downing Street said there was “zero prospect” of a ban on travelling in and out of the capital. Irish Health Minister Simon Harris also said he hoped he would never be required to use emergency lockdown powers.
– Do young people really have nothing to worry about?
England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned the young not to be complacent about social distancing, pointing to cases globally of youngsters ending up in intensive care.
– It is all over in China?
Not by a long way. No new cases of transmission between people in the country have been reported for the first time since the virus emerged there. But experts are warning that the virus has not gone away in China and new cases have been reported from travellers returning home to the country.
– Is it all doom and gloom on the jobs front?
Not entirely. The Co-op is creating 5,000 store-based posts to provide temporary employment for hospitality workers who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus crisis.
– Is there any reason for panic buyers to continue their “selfish” behaviour?
No, but there never was. Environment Secretary George Eustice told MPs on Thursday that any shortages were temporary and were in fact being caused by the panic buyers. He said “the challenge that we’ve had is getting food to shelves in time when people have been purchasing more”.