James O'Brien's instant reaction to Boris Johnson's coronavirus battle plan

3 March 2020, 12:03 | Updated: 3 March 2020, 12:39

By Adrian Sherling

James O'Brien pointed out a comical contradiction in Boris Johnson's bullish coronavirus battle plan as the Prime Minister laid out plans to beat the killer bug.

The Government says it is possible the coronavirus outbreak could lead to up to a fifth of workers across the country being off sick as ministers revealed their battle plan for the illness.

The document says Covid-19 could cause the police to drop low-priority cases if there aren't enough officers and force the NHS to delay non-urgent care.

But the main message of the Prime Minister's press conference was that the British public can slow the spread of the virus by washing their hands thoroughly - for the time it takes to sing 'Happy Birthday' twice.

Read more: Why coronavirus is more than "just another flu virus"

James O'Brien, however, pointed out one answer by Boris Johnson that seemed to defy that. The Prime Minister said: "I'm shaking hands continually. I was at a hospital the other night where there were a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody."

He said: "Boris Johnson, of course, had one job. One job.

"The one bit of advice that the country has agreed upon - washing hands and avoiding contact."

James O'Brien reviewed Boris Johnson's press conference for the battle plan
James O'Brien reviewed Boris Johnson's press conference for the battle plan. Picture: LBC / PA

Speaking in Downing Street, alongside Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance the PM said the country remains "extremely well prepared."

Mr Johnson said the vast majority of the public would be able to go about their business as normal.

But, England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned "probably around 1% of people who get this virus might end up dying", but that the death rate varies according to age group.