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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

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS

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