Britain needs to prepare for “more widespread transmission” of the coronavirus according to Public Health England.
Professor Paul Cosford, PHE’s emeritus medical director, has said:
“With the increasing numbers that we are seeing in a range of different countries and beginning to see here, it is more likely now that we will see more widespread transmission.”
“We have to be prepared for that, and a range of different eventualities, and it’s right to say that some of those might be quite challenging for us. But we will have the best preparations that we can possibly have in place for them.”
This morning Boris Johnson is to chair his first emergency COBRA meeting on coronavirus after the UK saw its most significant growth in cases of the virus on the weekend.
Thirteen more cases have been confirmed in the UK on Sunday, including the first one in Scotland.
The number of British people who have tested positive for COVID-19 has now climbed to 36, with cases now in all four countries in the UK.
The Scottish patient, who is is a resident of the Tayside area, is receiving treatment after being placed in isolation; they had recently returned from Italy.
The other 12 cases are in England, including a “family cluster”.
Wimbledon College is among the few schools in the UK to have been temporarily closed after some staff and pupils returned from trips to northern Italy.
The school said in a tweet on Monday that they will be shut until the 10th of March for a deep clean after a member of staff tested positive for the virus after a trip to Italy, adding those who had come into contact with them are self-isolating.
The government have suggested that part of their plans to battle the coronavirus could include bringing retired doctors and other healthcare professionals back to help with treating the virus.
Ministers are also considering encouraging more people to work from home and to discourage unnecessary travel.
The strategy is based on pre-existing plans for responding to a flu pandemic but has been adapted to take into consideration the differences with COVID-19.
Worst-case scenario plans prepare for a predicted 80% of the population possibly contracting the virus, with up to 500,000 deaths.