News World Britain's Johnson warns that health service could be overwhelmed by coronavirus

Britain’s Johnson warns that health service could be overwhelmed by coronavirus

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) could be “overwhelmed” by the coronavirus like the Italian health system in just two weeks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Sunday in the face of rising numbers of deaths.

The death toll in Italy — the world’s worst-hit country — reached almost 5,000 on Saturday, while in Britain it hit 233.

In a statement released by his office, Johnson again urged Britons to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus.

“The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating. We are only a matter of weeks — two or three — behind Italy,” he said.

“Unless we act together, unless we make the heroic and collective national effort to slow the spread — then it is all too likely that our own NHS will be similarly overwhelmed.”

Italy overtook China as the country worst affected by the highly contagious virus on Thursday. The Italian government has ordered that all businesses must close until April 3 in its latest desperate effort to halt the epidemic.

Johnson’s government has rapidly stepped up warnings and actions to combat the virus over the past week.

It has closed schools for most pupils, told pubs and restaurants to shut and asked people to avoid unnecessary social interactions – seeking to slow the rise of cases and enable intensive care units in the state healthcare system to cope with the epidemic.

On Saturday the NHS struck a deal with the independent hospital sector, giving it more ventilators and thousands of extra beds and healthcare staff on hand from next week.

Housing minister Robert Jenrick said on Sky News the government had received prototypes of new ventilators – the machines needed to keep the most critically ill alive – and should begin production of the machines soon.

In a separate interview with the BBC he said that Britain needed to go further with testing, adding that it would order millions of an “antibody test” for those who have had the virus that he expected to be ready in the coming weeks.

JUMP BACK UP

Britain has urged 1.5 million people identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract coronavirus to not leave their homes, to protect themselves.

Johnson also advised people to keep away from elderly parents on Sunday, which is Mothering Sunday in Britain.

But physical distancing and strict restrictions on social activity are not enough to defeat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) top emergency expert Mike Ryan said.

“What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them,” Mike Ryan said in an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

“The danger right now with the lockdowns … if we don’t put in place the strong public health measures now, when those movement restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, the danger is the disease will jump back up.”

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Forty-six years since Turkey’s second offensive against Cyprus

Forty-six years ago to this day the Turkish military launched its second offensive against the Republic of Cyprus, in full violation of international law,...

Greek-French exercise held in East Med

A Greek-French naval exercise was held on Thursday at the sea region of the eastern Mediterranean including the area engaged by the illegally issued...

New Zealand lockdown extended for 12 days

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended a lockdown in the country's biggest city on Friday in response to the first national corona virus...

Palestinian leader “rejects and denounces” Israel-UAE deal

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seemed to be taken by surprise by the Israel-UAE deal and was holding meetings with key aides. He has refused...

Israel, United Arab Emirates reach historic deal

Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached a historic deal on Thursday that will lead to a full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the...

Taste

Octopus ‘Kathisto’ (or Octopus braised in Wine)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil 2 medium onions, chopped fine 1 large octopus, about 2kg (cleaned and kept whole) 3/4 cup dry red wine 1/3 cup...

Homemade lemonade

Ingredients: 1 cup lemon juice 1 cup sugar Method: Thoroughly wash the lemons with soap and warm water. Roll each lemon with the palm of your hand, pressing...

‘Striftaria’ mini cheese pies

Ingredients 1 ½ cup milk 2 tbsps. flour 4 tsps. of butter 3 eggs, slightly beaten + 1 extra with 1 tbs. of milk for spreading 1 pack of...

Mini potato canapes baked on salt

Ingredients Serves: 12 1kg small Cypriot potatoes rock salt, as needed 250g salted butter 300ml full fat cremé frâiche 1 pot cod or salmon roe Method Prep:20min › Cook:35min › Ready in:55min Take...