Coronavirus: Entire households 'could be isolated in bid to tackle virus'

6 March 2020, 19:46

A woman wears a medical mask on Westminster Bridge as a precaution against coronavirus in London
A woman wears a medical mask on Westminster Bridge as a precaution against coronavirus in London. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

The government is "looking at" isolating whole households during the current Covid-19 outbreak, according to the UK's chief scientific adviser.

Sir Patrick Vallance said the "more extreme" action is being looked into by the government as it considers options to deal with Covid-19.

According to latest figures, there are 116 cases in the UK and 100,000 worldwide.

It was also confirmed today that two people have now died from the virus in the UK. Both of the victims were elderly.

Sir Patrick is helping to coordinate the UK's response to the virus.

He described self-isolation as "really critical" and "a very key part of what can be done".

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "There are then more extreme versions when you think about households isolating as well.

"Self-isolation is possibly usually within houses, it means that you stay in your room, you get things delivered to it and stay there for 14 days.

"Household isolation would mean the household - that's obviously a more extreme move.

"Again, we're modelling that we're looking at that in terms of what the options might be."

The government is planning for a worst-case scenario and suggests 80 per cent of the UK population will be infected with coronavirus with a death rate of around 1 per cent.

But Sir Patrick said he expects it will be "less than that".

It comes as the government pledged £46million in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

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