COVID-19 UPDATE: Friday 27 March
In today’s Downing Street briefing, Michael Gove, Simon Stevens, CEO of the NHS and Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer, emphasised the importance of social distancing. Positive infections are doubling “every two or three days” and if the public stay at home they will protect the NHS and ultimately save lives.
PM, health secretary and CMO self-isolating
Boris Johnson announced that he has mild symptoms, which will not prevent him from leading the country from home. Matt Hancock, health secretary and Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, have also tested positive for coronavirus.
Former first responders asked to return to duty
Retired London Met police officers, firefighters and former ambulance personnel can play a role in supporting the NHS and helping as patients and infected staff numbers increase. 20% of police officers are currently prevented from working because of the virus.
New instruction: stay local to exercise
Tourists have been criticised for travelling long distances to walk, run and cycle in the countryside. Derbyshire Police highlighted a ‘loophole’ in the social distancing instructions. Government has responded with a clarification: “stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily”.
The world is in economic recession
COVID-19 has triggered a global recession 'as bad’ as in 2009, according to the IMF. Beating the virus across the globe may allow recovery in 2021.
“No one will die alone”
NHS staff acknowledge the sadness of relatives prevented from visiting loved ones. Susceptible groups can be overtaken by the rapid onset of serious illness. Medics suggest having tough conversations about end of life care before it’s too late.