Infectious disease expert: UK trying to minimise impact, not stop spread of coronavirus

13 March 2020, 08:09 | Updated: 13 March 2020, 08:11

By Adrian Sherling

This expert in infectious disease told LBC of the real numbers of people infected with coronavirus and why the government is acting in the way they are.

Yesterday, Boris Johnson announced the UK is moving to the "delay" phase of the Covid-19 battle-plan, which involves social distancing.

Among the measures implemented are isolation for anyone suffering even mild symptoms of coronavirus, such as a new continuous cough or a temperature of greater than 37.8C.

While official figures show the UK having 590 cases, the Chief Scientific Advisor Patrick Vallance revealed the real number of people infected with the disease is likely to be between 5,000 and 10,000. The government is now moving resources being used for testing to dealing with the most severe cases.

Dr Alexandra Phelan, a specialist in international law and infectious disease, told Iain Dale that the UK is now attempting to minimise the impact of the virus rather than contain its spread.

Iain Dale heard a fascinating account from an infectious diseases expert
Iain Dale heard a fascinating account from an infectious diseases expert. Picture: LBC / PA

Speaking to Iain Dale, she said: "The World Health Organisation Director General advises that we can limit the spread of the outbreak globally, but I think the real priority for countries that are already seeing cases is that move to focus very significantly on minimising the impact of this outbreak."

Dr Phelan revealed that while the US state of Ohio only has a handful of official cases, experts believe the real number of infections is around 100,000.

Listeners found her expert take on the government's measures fascinating - watch her full interview at the top of the page.