Hancock tries to reassure UK public as GPs warn of coronavirus crisis

Health secretary says the government will do ‘everything in its power’ to delay and mitigate threat

The health secretary has insisted the government will do “everything in its power” to delay and mitigate the coronavirus threat, as GPs have warned hospitals will have to cut back on work not related to coronavirus in order to tackle an outbreak.

Matt Hancock said ministers would do “all we can” to contain the Covid-19 outbreak as he set out plans contained in emergency legislation to deal with the impact of the virus.

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Events and outbreaks means Rishi Sunak’s flagship budget must wait | Richard Partington

The coronavirus will reduce budget 2020 from a big bucks curtain raiser for Boris Johnson’s Toryism to a disaster relief statement

Not since Denis Healey in 1974 has a chancellor had so little time to prepare for a budget. With just four weeks in his new role – only a week more than Healey had to prepare – Rishi Sunak had been expected to deliver one of the most important budgets since the financial crisis. Here at last was a Conservative majority, the biggest since Margaret Thatcher in 1987, affording him the space to define Boris Johnson’s brand of Toryism.

Not for the first time, the Treasury’s freedom will be distinctly limited. Faced with the unfolding economic crisis from the coronavirus, the new chancellor has been forced to rip up his plans and start again. For now, the flagship budget once envisaged must wait.

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Rishi Sunak: NHS will get whatever it needs to deal with coronavirus

Chancellor indicates he is willing to write blank cheque to cope with a pandemic

The Treasury will give the NHS “whatever it needs” to tackle the Coronavirus crisis, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has said.

Before this week’s budget, Sunak did not say how much in additional resources the NHS would get, but indicated the government was potentially willing to write a blank cheque to help the health service cope with a pandemic.

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Coronavirus won’t end globalisation, but change it hugely for the better | Will Hutton

An unregulated world can be blamed for its spread, but collective action based on evidence could be the best way to stop it

In 2008, the world successfully pulled together – with Britain playing a catalytic role – when faced with the threat of financial collapse. In 2020, confronted with the threat of a global pandemic, it is every country for itself. There has been no international health summit of national leaders supported by the World Health Organization – although the World Bank has announced a $12bn package of assistance. There are frantic national efforts to create a vaccine and no effort to ensure that, when found and produced in sufficient scale, it will go to the places of need – in all our interests. Britain, with no vaccine production capacity of its own, is especially vulnerable.

Instead there are national bans on exports of key products such as medical supplies, with countries falling back on their own analysis of the crisis amid localised shortages and haphazard, primitive approaches to containment. The standards on isolation, quarantine and contact tracing – medieval approaches to disease control in any case, according to Prof Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – vary hugely between countries.

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Emergency law would safeguard jobs of NHS volunteers as virus crisis deepens

Proposals include four-week job guarantee, banning over-70s from big gatherings and stadium closures in battle against Covid-19

A range of drastic new measures, including emergency legislation allowing people to switch jobs and volunteer to work in the NHS or care homes, are being drawn up by ministers in an attempt to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

The measures – which also include plans for courts to use telephone and video links to avoid people having to attend in person – are likely to be included in a special Covid-19 emergency bill, as the government prepares to move to the next phase – delay – of its response to the spread of the virus.

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Coronavirus UK: NHS England to give GP surgeries protective equipment

All practices in England to be issued with kit to help protect staff from virus

NHS England has confirmed it will provide GP surgeries with personal protective equipment (PPE) to help them deal with the coronavirus outbreak, following complaints from ill-equipped doctors.

In a letter sent to all 7,000 English GP surgeries on Thursday, NHS England made clear they are giving every surgery a full supply of PPE gear, which will help keep staff who come into contact with suspected coronavirus cases safe and help to minimise the spread of the virus.

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Coronavirus: a disease that thrives on human error

When it comes to containing the outbreak, small mistakes will have big consequences for our health

In a time of coronavirus, small mistakes can have outsize consequences.

In the small southern Italian town of San Marco in Lamis, a man who died before it was known that he was carrying the virus infected his wife and daughter, who then came into contact with dozens of relatives and friends at his funeral – 70 of whom are now in quarantine.

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GPs told to switch to digital consultations to combat Covid-19

Millions of patients in England could see GP appointments replaced with phone or video contact

Tell us: have you been affected by the coronavirus?

Millions of patients will have face-to-face appointments with their GP replaced by telephone or video consultations under NHS plans to respond to the threat posed by the coronavirus.

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Coronavirus: charities rally to help older people in self-isolation

Friends and family encouraged to stay in contact and online clinic offers free support in UK

Support networks are springing up around the UK to help the significant number of older people who have chosen to self-isolate as a preventative measure against the coronavirus.

Age UK has changed its advice to the friends and families of older people, suggesting they should keep in contact by phone if the older person feels nervous about contracting the virus through personal contact.

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Coronavirus facts: what’s the mortality rate and is there a cure?

Covid-19 essential guide: can it be caught on public transport, how is it different from the flu, and how sick will I get?

The Covid-19 virus is a member of the coronavirus family that made the jump from animals to humans late last year. Many of those initially infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the centre of the Chinese city of Wuhan. Unusually for a virus that has made the jump from one species to another, it appears to transmit effectively in humans – current estimates show that without strong containment measures the average person who catches Covid-19 will pass it on to two others. The virus also appears to have a higher mortality rate than common illnesses such as seasonal flu. The combination of the coronavirus’s ability to spread and cause serious illness has prompted many countries, including the UK, to introduce or plan extensive public health measures aimed at containing and limiting the impact of the epidemic.

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