Coronavirus: Why the UK should prepare for an Italy style outbreak

23 March 2020, 14:53

By Seán Hickey

This journalist exposed the reasons why the UK should prepare for an Italian style coronavirus outbreak if people don't change their behaviours.

Paul Nuki is the Global Health Security Editor at the Daily Telegraph and he was on hand to discuss the UK's approach to the coronavirus crisis and what we should be learning as a country to prevent an Italian or Spanish-style pandemic.

Shelagh wanted to know if where the UK was falling down was a lack of strict measures being implemented earlier.

Mr. Nuki told Shelagh that even if the measures we live under now were in place three weeks ago, it still wouldn't have worked.

The Telegraph journalist told Shelagh of how he wanted to go for a walk on the weekend, but found out very quickly that "if you say you can go out, then everyone goes out".

Mr. Nuki reminded Shelagh that these people "don't intend to cause problems", they are just doing what they've been told they're allowed do- which is resulting unintentionally in people being put at risk.

Italy has been the worst affected country in Europe by coronavirus
Italy has been the worst affected country in Europe by coronavirus. Picture: PA

Shelagh told Mr. Nuki that in Italy "the statistics are horrifying" and wondered if Brits should be more aware of what is happening in the Mediterranean.

Believing that the situation is being undermined, the journalist warned Shelagh that "we shouldn't think we will be immune" and told of how we can somewhat predict the impact on the UK based on our commonalities with Italy.

The global health security editor pointed out that "the profile of the population is a little older" in Italy than in the UK, but health conditions such as obesity are far higher in the UK than in Italy, and this should be taken as something that could influence the mortality rates in the UK.

Shelagh argued that the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jenny Harries told Britain on Sunday that "one country's experience isn't going to be the same as another" and people should not compare.

Paul Nuki accepted the point but proposed that it isn't a bad idea to "consider that might happen here and prepare ourselves" rather than take issues as they come.

Mr. Nuki was optimistic that Brits will be much more careful in the coming weeks and months and hoped that "if it doesn't happen the same way here, it will be because people changed their behaviour and learned the lesson of Italy."