Coronavirus: Italian reporter slams the UK government's "lethal" lack of action

9 March 2020, 16:50 | Updated: 9 March 2020, 17:34

By Fiona Jones

This Italian reporter compared the response in Italy to the UK's coronavirus response and explained why Boris Johnson's "business as usual attitude" will be "lethal."

Northern Italy has quarantined 16 million people as Italy's death count has surged to 366.

Chief UK correspondent for Italy's Mediaset Federico Gatti told Shelagh how he's been quarantined himself after returning from Italy which was in a state of "almost panic."

Mr Gatti shared that on Saturday night a government document was leaked which outlined all the new measures to curb the virus spread. This led to people fleeing Milan overnight in their "hundreds or thousands" causing "scenes of panic."

He listed the restrictions people in the infectious zones are subjected to including not gathering outside your house, not meeting friends, not going to the pub or restaurants.

Mr Gatti reflected that after Italy's response, he was expecting to find a rigorous response at UK airports but "nothing happened, I met nobody."

He criticised the UK government's lack of action: "From the Cobra meeting nothing changed - I'm afraid to say that if action is not taken, this business as usual attitude can be very risky."

The pressure on the NHS could be "lethal", he said, because "in Milan right now doctors have to choose who is going to live and who is going to die because they don't have enough beds or rooms."

"It's not the virus itself it's the pressure on the hospitals," he clarified, "allowing festivals to go on, allowing clubs to stay open, allowing people to go on the tube can be very dangerous because this virus is very very effective in terms of spreading airborne."

In the UK the fourth person has died after testing positive for the coronavirus - follow the updates on our live blog.