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A whole world on a single island
Wednesday, Jul 08, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to rock everyday life for millions around the world:

Blanket order for the elderly to self-isolate will be enforced in next 20 days as PM ratchets up efforts; Doctors are preparing to give isolated patients advice over video link and army hospitals will be used; The drastic measure is wrapped into a wider package of emergency powers to stem the spread of the virus; Troops will be deployed to guard hospitals and supermarkets and private hospital beds will be used; Business will be urged to serve national interest by overhauling production lines to make medical supplies
  • The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies told the Government that it will soon need to start shielding the most vulnerable members of society and isolating entire households;

  • President Donald Trump announced the US travel ban would be extended to the UK from tomorrow;

  • Hundreds of Britons, many of them elderly, were stuck aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean where five people have tested positive for the virus;

  • Spain and Poland closed their borders, stranding thousands of British holidaymakers, and France closed all non-essential public spaces such as cafes and cinemas;

  • Boris Johnson asked UK manufacturers to support the rapid, wartime-style production of essential medical kit, particularly ventilators, while the NHS will buy up beds in private hospitals;

  • Panic-buying led to extraordinary scenes at supermarkets across the country, prompting stores to plead with consumers to 'work together';

  • World Health Organisation spokesman Dr Margaret Harris questioned the British Government's strategy of delaying 'social distancing', arguing that it risked infecting millions;

  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak met insurance leaders amid a growing row over who will foot the bill for cancelled holidays;

  • It emerged that care homes and hospitals are likely to be 'cocooned' when the Easter lockdown comes into effect;

  • Three patients tested positive for Covid-19 at a hospital close to the Queen's Norfolk estate;

  • Downing Street underwent a 'deep clean' following a visit by Tory MP Nadine Dorries, who subsequently tested positive for the virus – but the Prime Minister has not been tested;

  • A group of Dutch scientists claimed to have found an antibody that may help detect and prevent the coronavirus from being able to infect people;

  • Experts predicted the Government could be forced to effectively nationalise airlines and train companies.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, said the ten who died 'were in the at-risk groups' - which primarily comprises the elderly. 

In a joint statement, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Prof Whitty said: 'We are dealing with a very fast moving epidemic with emerging data from many disciplines and many complex decisions.

'Scientists across the world are helping each other, governments and society to deal with this international emergency.' 

As Britain's epidemic worsens and panic grips the public, the government will deploy troops at hospitals and outside supermarkets. 

In preparation for the worst-case scenario, defence sources told The Mail on Sunday that Army units were stepping up their training for public order roles. 

The Royal Logistics Corps are preparing to be used to escort food convoys and the Royal Army Medical Corps is poised to build tented field hospitals next to care homes.

Troops trained in chemical, biological and nuclear warfare will deep-clean empty public buildings in case they need to be turned in to hospitals or morgues. 

Soldiers would also be stationed outside supermarkets where startling scenes unfolded the country on Saturday as desperate shoppers gutted food and toilet roll aisles.

Britons are stockpiling as they prepare to bunker down in self-isolation after the the government issued new guidelines, advising anyone with a cough to stay at home for a week.

And whole families will be told to isolate themselves if just one member falls ill with coronavirus, the Sunday Telegraph reports. 

To defuse the strain on the NHS, the PM will go to private hospital groups asking them to free up beds for NHS use, and urge manufacturers of medical equipment to ramp up production of ventilators and other life-saving machinery. 

England has only about 4,000 adult intensive care beds and many of these are already full, either with normal cases or coronavirus patients. 

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