The NHS could be “overwhelmed” by the coronavirus pandemic in a similar fashion to Italy unless the population makes a “collective national effort to slow the spread” of coronavirus, prime minister Boris Johnson has warned.
“The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating. We are only a matter of weeks – two or three – behind Italy,” he said. Military planners have also been called in to help with localised support systems to ensure vulnerable people self-isolating at home can have basic groceries and healthcare delivered.
Elsewhere, South Korea reported 98 more cases of coronavirus on Sunday, taking the total to 8,897 while in China, 46 new infections have been confirmed over the previous 24 hours, 45 of them coming from overseas. All eyes continue to remain on east Asia in fear of a second wave of infections.
Follow the latest updates
Italy’s death toll rose by 793 to 4,825 on Saturday, marking the highest daily increase since the contagion began. Confirmed cases also surged by 14 per cent from 47,021 to 53,578, according to the civil protection agency.
The northern region of Lombardy is the most badly affected, with 3,095 deaths and 25,515 cases.
Italy was among the first in Europe to deploy widespread travel restrictions to stem the pandemic and continues to impose a nationwide lockdown.
The country will be releasing its figures for the past 24 hours later today.
reports social affairs correspondent May Bulman.
Staple components of emergency food packages are “just not on the shelves”, one charity boss told The Independent, while another spoke of his fear that worse was to come given that the UK would be on lockdown for months.
British households have stored an estimated £1bn worth of goods in their homes during the pandemic, according to government figures, creating shortages despite manufacturers having produced 50 per cent more food than usual in the last week.
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Boris Johnson has urged the British public not to visit their parents on Mother’s Day as he warned that the NHS was in danger of being “overwhelmed” by the coronavirus outbreak.
The prime minister suggested families “avoid any unnecessary physical contact” and try to protect their loved ones by speaking over the phone or online instead.
It comes as Mr Johnson said the nation is ”only a matter of weeks – two or three – behind Italy”, where officials reported 793 deaths across a 24 hour period on Saturday to bring the total to more than 4,800.
Having already ordered the closure of all pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres, the PM said the growing number of restrictions on daily life were essential to slow down the spread of the virus.
“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.”
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.
Here are the latest updates from across the world:
– UK military planners have been called in to help with localised support systems as people at high risk from the coronavirus were urged to stay home for at least 12 weeks.
– Japan has issued a travel warning for its nationals, urging not to make non-essential trips to the United States because of the rapidly expanding coronavirus outbreak there, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
– Australia has unveiled a 66.4 billion Australian dollar (£33 billion) stimulus package in a bid to ward off a recession and safeguard employment from the coronavirus pandemic.
– The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the global pandemic was first detected, went a fourth consecutive day on Sunday without reporting any new or suspected cases of the virus.
– China reported 46 new cases over the previous 24 hours, 45 of them coming from overseas. The health ministry did not say where the domestic case was found.
– Tokyo 2020 organisers have started drafting possible plans to delay the Olympics this summer, according to Reuters. This is despite the Japanese government’s insistence that postponement is not an option.
– Hundreds of millions of Indians stayed indoors on Sunday, heeding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to citizens to self-isolate as authorities battled to contain the fast-spreading epidemic.