Public Health England Deputy Medical Director Dr Jenny Harries Image: PA

England’s Deputy Medical Officer has warned the deadly coronavirus outbreak will cause “significant numbers” of the UK’s population to become infected.

Public Health England Deputy Medical Director, Dr Jenny Harries tolld Sky News this morning the UK must brace for the effects of a major outbreak, as the UK’s death toll climbed to five on Monday (March 9).

“We will have significant numbers in a way which I think the country is not used to… so large numbers of the population will become infected.

“The important thing for us is to make sure that we manage those infections and make sure that those individuals who are most affected so are elderly people particularly those with chronic underlying conditions get in touch and get treatment and we support other people in the home environment.”

The Mirror reports: “Brits have been told to expect anyone with cold, flu or fever symptoms be asked to stay at home in self-isolation in the near future.
“England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty earlier warned tighter measures aimed at protecting the public, particularly the vulnerable and elderly, are likely to be introduced.
“Prof Whitty said in a press conference the balance was expected it to tip so that more and more people would contract Covid-19, rather than the seasonal flu or other common respiratory infections.
“He said the infection numbers are expected to increase rapidly and public health authorities were eager to ‘catch it before the upswing begins.”

Prof Whitty said: “We are now very close to the time, probably within the next 10 to 14 days, when the modelling would imply we should move to a situation where everybody with even minor respiratory tract infections or a fever should be self-isolating for a period of seven days.”

As a result, the report added: “Britain is contemplating stricter measures in the wake of Italy’s announcement the entire country is to be put under strict lockdown.

“Iconic landscapes usually bustling with tourists and locals going about their business in Rome, Venice and Milan are being pictured empty, as Italians are forced into sweeping quarantine measures.

Italian authorities public gatherings banned and travel restricted, following 463 deaths in the country which is experiencing the worst outbreak of the virus outside China. The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising against all but essential travel to Italy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

At this stage Brits are still able to leave Italy without restrictions – and airports remain open in the country.”