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The waiting game

Hunt labels UK response to coronavirus pandemic 'concerning'

The former health secretary has criticised the lack of government action to tackle the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday that anyone with a fever or a new cough should self-isolate for seven days to slow down the spread of Covid-19.

However, he did not advise any home working, school closures or bans on mass gatherings at this stage.

Speaking about Covid-19 in an interview with BBC Newsnight last night, Jeremy Hunt said he was appalled about the Government's decision to not cancel public events despite the UK being in a 'national emergency'.

He said: 'I think it is surprising and concerning that we're not doing any of it at all when we have just four weeks before we get to the stage that Italy is at.

'You would have thought that every single thing we do in that four weeks would be designed to slow the spread of people catching the virus.'

The Government has updated the risk level to the UK public from moderate to high, as 590 people have been confirmed as positive and 10 people have died.

But the real number of cases in the UK is likely between 5,000-10,000, the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said. 

Mr Hunt added that he was 'personally surprised that we're still allowing external visits to care homes'.

Earlier this week, cardiovascular experts called for the QOF and NHS health checks to be suspended to free up GPs to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

But the CQC has said it will not stop GP practice inspections, with most scheduled visits to continue in the short term.

A recent letter from NHS England to regional NHS leads urged secondary and community care to move to remote consultations if possible, but an NHS England spokesperson told Pulse at the time that this did not apply to general practice.

Meanwhile, the Government said discussions are underway to 'lift all appropriate bureaucracy' to free up GPs to deal with the Covid pandemic


Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature of 37.8C or above
  • a new continuous cough

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

The NHS will not be testing those self-isolating with mild symptoms.

Source: UK Government

Readers' comments (6)

  • first step on his path to replacing Boris after the epidemic has passed?

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  • Thanks "doc". It is always easy to criticize when one is not actually doing the job.
    Hunt did not improve capacity while he was Health minister to mitigate for even flu.

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  • so not voting for you matey - i would give up now before it becomes really sad and desperate.

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  • For once, Boris was right, there is no point in going into isolation now, as government (in)-action has ensured a good distribution of the virus through the nation. might as well get it over with -plus the population reduction in the older age-cohorts and sick people will save some NHS funds.......

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  • Mr Hunt appears to have already forgotten that the nation's epidemic preparedness strategies were designed while he was in office........ the current incumbent of the post has hardly had chance to read any plans, when they had to be put in place, and found them severely wanting - plus some downright awful medical advice from the PH specialists....

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  • The poverty, deprivation and suffering caused by an economic crash proposed by Hunt would serve only to widen inequalities and create more illness and early death for the most disadvantaged. This is not ‘flu. Kids need to be at school getting a mild dose and staying well away from granny childcare. This self serving pillock has jumped at the chance of adopting the populist response, just do that when (inevitably) the death rate increases, he can say a misplaced ‘I told you so’ and promote himself as the saviour of the nation.

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