"Everyone who knows about coronavirus is alarmed by the UK's strategy"

16 March 2020, 16:07 | Updated: 16 March 2020, 16:27

By Adrian Sherling

A professor who is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak in China revealed what he thinks is a key error at the heart of the UK's response to the outbreak.

Professor Daniel Falush is a professor at the Institute Pasteur Shanghai and is currently working on Coronavirus Outreach.

Speaking to James O'Brien, he explained why he thinks the government has got it wrong, based on his work on the ground in China.

He said: "Everyone who has responded to this in the first instance has got it wrong. The Chinese response in the first month wasn't very good either, because you have to understand this is not business as usual any more.

"The longer you wait to understand it, it multiplies the problem.

"The key message is that as soon as we shut down, the less people will die and the faster it will be to get back to real life.

Professor Chris Whitty is advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak
Professor Chris Whitty is advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: LBC / PA

The professor's concern over the UK's strategy focuses on what he says is one vital error that the government's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has made.

He added: "Chris Whitty said there is 20% herd immunity in Wuhan and someone he works with says it's probably 5%. I reckon it's 1-2% at most. 20% is just so out of the ballpark, it's wrong.

"Herd immunity had nothing to do with stopping this epidemic, that's clear."

Professor Falush ended by saying: "Everyone who really knows about this outbreak is completely alarmed by the strategy of the UK. It's catastrophic."

James O'Brien summed up his contribution: "You're saying that in good faith, our government is pursuing a notion that herd immunity plays a crucial role in controlling coronavirus, but the evidence from China simply refutes that."

LBC has contacted the Department of Health and Social Care for a response.

Self-isolate if you have any Covid-19 symptoms

The official government advice for if you have a cough or fever is:

- If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

- This action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.

- Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home.

- Ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.

- Stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible.

- Sleep alone, if that is possible.

- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.

- Stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.

Do not call NHS 111 unless symptoms deteriorate

The government have asked people with mild symptoms to NOT call NHS 111, but use self-isolate and use the internet to get more information. They say that will put too great a burden on the system.

If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.