Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a global pandemic which represents the greatest public health crisis for a generation. I fully appreciate public concern around coronavirus, not least as the Government has asked us to make considerable changes to our daily lives. I want you to know that I am passing on concerns to Government daily.
The Government has a clear path to overcoming the coronavirus pandemic based on expert scientific advice. The Chief Medical Officer is closely monitoring the decisions taken by all other states and advice from the World Health Organisation to ascertain the suitability of any measures for the UK context.
Phase 1 in our war against coronavirus was to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. Thanks to our collective efforts this has been achieved. Phase 2 is about adapting to a new reality - one where society can return to normal as far as possible while also continuing to protect against the spread of the disease.
The Government's plan for Phase 2 is to continue to save lives whilst also taking baby steps to minimise the other harms restrictive measures cause to people's wellbeing, livelihoods, and wider health.
Sector specific ‘Covid-Secure’ guidance for workplaces will be introduced to make social distancing measures smarter, more refined and more reflective of the level of risk to different parts of the UK at any point in time. The Government’s economic support schemes will remain as people are eased back into work.
Throughout Phase 2 the new Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) will carefully monitor the spread of the virus across the UK to avoid us going too far too fast and risking the return of an exponential growth in the rate of infection (‘R’) that could overwhelm to NHS.
The Prime Minister has committed the full power of the state to overcome this challenge and I know that the Government, supported by the Civil Service, are working tirelessly night and day. Combined with our collective efforts, the UK will win the fight against this invisible killer.
Stay alert. Control the virus. Save lives.
Guidance, information and support related to coronavirus will be updated frequently following any major Government announcements. For the very latest Government advice and information click here.