London Mayoral candidate Rory Stewart says government is getting it wrong on coronavirus

12 March 2020, 08:50

By Asher McShane

Rory Stewart has called for urgent action from the government in stepping up its response to coronavirus.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC this morning, the independent candidate for London Mayor said Sadiq Khan and Boris Johnson had been “far too slow” to respond to the disease.

Rory Stewart says the government has to do more
Rory Stewart says the government has to do more. Picture: PA

"Schools should be closed already. Gatherings should be banned. The St Patrick's Day Parade which is coming this weekend should be banned,” he said.

READ MORE: Trump announces 30-day European travel ban to stop spread of coronavirus

"All the evidence from other countries is that the sooner you move to close schools, stop gatherings and encourage people to work from home, the more chance you have of getting on top of this and reducing the death toll."

He added that the impact on the UK economy will be “very severe.”

“It's very important to understand that dealing with a virus like this is very costly, but you have to take that impact because if you don't... this virus currently doubles every 3-6 days.

“If it doubles every three days, we'd go from the current caseload we have now to potentially over 100,000 cases within 24 days.

"You have to get on top of this. That's why it was totally irresponsible to gather all those MPs together for the Budget. It was completely irresponsible of the Mayor yesterday to hold a Mayor's Question Time where he filled the room full of people. Responsible leaders should not be doing this.”

He called for the London Marathon to be cancelled. Boris Johnson is expected to step up Britain’s response to the disease later today.