UK Coronavirus cases will rocket, but most will recover: Deputy Chief Medical Officer

10 March 2020, 09:04 | Updated: 10 March 2020, 12:22

By Adrian Sherling

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England has told LBC that many thousands of people can expect to contract coronavirus, but the majority will fully recover.

The UK currently has 319 cases of coronavirus, but the rate has been rising more quickly in recent days.

The government have insisted they are remaining in the containment phase of stopping COVID-19 and have not moved on to the second delay phase.

Dr Jenny Harries expects that rate to rocket within the next couple of weeks.

Dr Jenny Harries said the rise in coronavirus cases is still gentle in the UK
Dr Jenny Harries said the rise in coronavirus cases is still gentle in the UK. Picture: LBC / PA
However, it looks very different if you add in other European countries
However, it looks very different if you add in other European countries. Picture: LBC / PA

Speaking to Nick Ferrari, she said: "We're not really at the rocket phase yet. We are rising gently at the start and we would expect more cases.

"The interventions that we would want to bring in would be to manage that sharp rise when it arrives and we're not quite there yet.

"Our Chief Medical Officer said yesterday that we would be offering guidance on safe working at home in the next 10-14 days."

Nick Ferrari spoke to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer about the spread of coronavirus
Nick Ferrari spoke to the Deputy Chief Medical Officer about the spread of coronavirus. Picture: PA / LBC

With regards to what that actually means for real numbers of people affected, Dr Harries confirmed that the worst-case scenario they are working towards is 80% of the population is infected, but noted that in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus, fewer than 20% of people caught the virus.

Urging people to avoid panic, she said: "This is a mild disease for the vast majority of people. 99% of people will get better. It's very mild in the cases that we've seen so far and people can quite safely remain at home. It's a bit like having a bit of flu.

"We do know that older people and people with underlying medical conditions are most at risk and those are the people who the government is particularly concerned to be protecting."

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