Prime minister says UK still in containment phase of coronavirus and not yet preparing to move to delay stage
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Here are the main points from the press conference held by Boris Johnson. He was joined by Prof Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser.
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 everybody with even minor respiratory tract infections or a fever should be self-isolating for a period of seven days.
It is absolutely critical in managing the spread of this virus that we take the right decisions at the right time based on the latest and the best evidence, so we mustn’t do things which have no or limited medical benefit, nor things which could turn out actually to be counter-productive.
We were all given an instruction not to shake hands and there’s a good reason for not shaking hands, which is that the behavioural psychologists say that if you don’t shake somebody’s hand then that sends an important message to them about the importance of washing your hands.
So there’s a subliminal cue there to everybody to wash your hands, which is, I think I’m right in saying … far more important.
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What you can’t do is suppress this thing completely, and what you shouldn’t do is suppress it completely because all that happens then is it pops up again later in the year when the NHS is at a more vulnerable stage in the winter and you end up with another problem.
This is what Boris Johnson said at the start of his press conference.
I want to stress the following things. First, we are doing everything we can to combat this outbreak based on the latest scientific and medical advice.
Second, we have a truly brilliant NHS where staff have responded with all the determination, compassion and skill that makes their service so revered across the world and they will continue to have this government’s full support, my support, in tackling this virus on the front line.