I would close schools and ban large gatherings to stop coronavirus, says Rory Stewart

9 March 2020, 15:22 | Updated: 10 March 2020, 06:57

By Adrian Sherling

Rory Stewart told LBC that London should be closing all schools and banning large gatherings to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The government says the UK remains in the containment phase of tackling the spread of coronavirus, as the number of cases in the UK rises to at least 319.

Health officials will continue to trace close contact with anyone diagnosed, but haven't moved to a stage which would mean restricting public gatherings.

Mr Stewart, who is running as an independent candidate to be London Mayor in May, told LBC that we should be taking action now.

He said: "I feel the government should be moving faster and I'm afraid there are many reasons that governments tend to be too slow. One of them is that the costs of acting early are always very very high.

"I'm afraid we need to move fast to limit the exposure.

"I would be, for example, shutting down all schools now. I would also be banning large gatherings.

Rory Stewart would close schools to slow the spread of coronavirus
Rory Stewart would close schools to slow the spread of coronavirus. Picture: PA / LBC

"This is the biggest event we've had like this for 100 years, since the Spanish flu after the First World War and we should have no regrets about acting quickly.

"There will be significant economic costs in doing it, but better to take those immediately and keep it short. We are being too slow in responding.

"The experience that the more aggressive you are in your containment measures, the better you do."

Watch his interview at the top of the page.

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