According to a leaked memo, the British government were warned last year to prepare for a potential devastating pandemic.
The document reportedly sets out urgent “capability requirements” warning the government to prepare for a pandemic to prevent thousands of people dying, the Guardian reports.
The paper marked “official – sensitive” was approved by Sir Patrick Vallance, who is the government’s chief scientific advisor.
The 600 page paper dated 2019 was written by National Security Risk Assessment (NSRA), the national security adviser to the Prime Minister was unnamed.
The leaked paper advised the government to stockpile essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and get ready to purchase other essential items.
The paper warned of a coronavirus outbreak, saying, “Pandemics significantly more serious than the reasonable worst case… are possible.”
It further warned there will be up to “three waves” of the deadly virus every week, which will last for 15 weeks, and the deadly virus will peak at six and seven weeks throughout each of the waves.
The leaked paper warned the economic hit could reach £2.3trn, and the pandemic influenza will see 50% of the population infected.
Rachel Reeves, the shadow Cabinet Office minister said the revelations are “alarming… and raised serious questions about the government’s planning and preparedness for a coronavirus style pandemic.”
A Downing street spokesman said the government have been “proactive” in their preparations.
Adding, “This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we have taken the right steps at the right time to combat it, guided at all times by the best scientific advice.”