The Government is expected to announce that large public gatherings and events will be banned in the UK in a bid to fight the spread of coronavirus.
A further 208 people tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, meaning that, as of Friday, there were 798 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.
Prime Minister previously said banning public gatherings would not be an effective method for combating the virus.
The measures to halt public gatherings in the country are expected to be put into action by next weekend.
This plan comes despite the fact that Boris Johnson said at a press conference on Thursday that it was too early to ‘maximise the benefit’ of measures like banning large gatherings.
A source has since told the Mirror: ‘Ministers are working with the Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Medical Officer on our plan to stop various types of public event, including mass gatherings, beginning next week.
‘We are also talking to businesses and other bodies about the timing of moving towards much more widespread working from home.
‘There are many complex considerations to make all these measures as effective as possible. We will make the right decisions at the right time based on the best scientific evidence.’
Thursday’s press conference also saw the PM announce that the UK has moved to the ‘delay phase’ of the Government’s plan to tackle the pandemic.
Johnson called coronavirus the ‘worst public health crisis in a generation’ and said the virus ‘continues and will continue to spread’.
Hours before the plan to ban public gatherings was announced, former MP Rory Stewart told Sky News he thought the UK is ‘just not taking this seriously’, and called for ‘radical’ steps from the government to fight the outbreak.
He said: ‘Our government has decided that it doesn’t make sense to try and suppress this. I think we should be taking the approach taken in China and South Korea.’
However chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance warned that pushing too hard against the virus could see that it ‘bounces back’. He said: ‘That is exactly the risk you would expect from previous epidemics.
‘If you suppress something very, very hard, when you release those measures it bounces back and it bounces back at the wrong time.
‘Our aim is to try and reduce the peak, broaden the peak, not suppress it completely; also, because the vast majority of people get a mild illness, to build up some kind of herd immunity so more people are immune to this disease and we reduce the transmission, at the same time we protect those who are most vulnerable to it.
‘Those are the key things we need to do.’
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