The former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt has warned the UK are “preparing for a pandemic” for when it is “no longer possible to contain” the spread of coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already declared the coronavirus outbreak a “global emergency” and health officials are considering whether or not to label it a “pandemic.”
Speaking on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme Hunt said, “We are preparing for a pandemic, whether or not it’s been officially labelled as such.
“There is a very specific definition of a pandemic which is when it reaches the point where it’s no longer possible to contain it.
“We don’t believe we’re at that point, we still think it is possible to contain the virus.
“We’re still very much hoping that will happen.”
When hunt was asked over the kind of preparations that are being made he said, “One of the things I think we should take some comfort from in the UK is that if I was going to choose a country to be in in a pandemic, I would choose the UK.
“Horrible thought though it is, the NHS is very very good at preparing for these kinds of situations.
“The NHS has centralised structures, bureaucracy that it’s sometimes criticised for, but it does mean it can react in a very coordinated and integrated way in a crisis like this.
“I think we should take some comfort in the fact that what we hear about is probably less than one percent of the actual preparations that are going on in hospitals and GP surgeries around the country.”
Speaking over school closures Hunt said, “But also if schools are closed, people are not being able to get to work because they’ve got to think about childcare, all those things I know the NHS will be thinking about.”
The former health secretary warned that 70% of the UK’s population could be affected with coronavirus.
Hunt said, “I think we also have to recognise that although the initial spread of the virus may not have been identified because of China’s authoritarian structures, they have moved heaven and earth since then.
“We are all counting on China to do everything they can to control the spread of the virus.
“The real point about China is in Wuhan, it appears that it has peaked at less than five percent of the population getting it.
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