Boris Johnson was updated on the coronavirus outbreak in a call on Friday with Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty. The professor also gave evidence to the Health Select Committee on Friday, urging people to avoid shaking hands with those who can be seen coughing in their hands and not immediately washing them thereafter. But as he gave such advice, the Professor could be seen coughing in his own hands himself – failing to follow his own advice.
He said: “If you happen to see someone cough straight into their hand, put their hand out to you, maybe…
“I would encourage whether or not there was coronavirus to avoid taking that particular hand.”
The Professor then proceeded to cough in his own hand before continuing with his advice.
He added: “But if for social reasons you felt you had to, the key thing, it doesn’t get into the skin.
“So the key thing is if someone washes their hands between that time and when they then touch their face, it is unlikely that the transmission will occur.”
The Government is working with supermarkets to ensure food supplies as the number of people self-isolating with coronavirus is expected to rise, the Health Secretary has said.
Matt Hancock sought to reassure the public following panic-buying in some areas, with supermarkets seeing their shelves cleared of essentials such as toilet roll and paracetamol.
It comes as an older patient, reported to be a woman in her 70s, became the first person in the UK to die after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
Speaking on BBC’s Question Time, Mr Hancock said: “The Government has supplies of the key things that are needed, and, within the food supply, we are absolutely confident that there won’t be a problem there.
“And, crucially, we are working to makes sure that if people are self-isolating, they will be able to get the food and supplies that they need.”
He said there was “absolutely no need” for individual people “to go round buying more than they need.”
He added: “The very, very strong advice from the scientists, from the medics, is that people should not go buying more than they need.”
Mr Hancock also told anyone self-isolating with coronavirus to stay away from their own family members as much as possible and to wipe down shared surfaces such as in bathrooms.
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He said: “People should try to self-isolate from their families, not only go home, try not to go out shopping, definitely don’t use public transport, but within your own home you should also try to self-isolate.”
He said that, as the father of three children, he understood that “can be difficult and some people have caring responsibilities”, but people should try to keep to themselves as much as possible.
After the Prime Minister’s phone call with Professor Whitty, a No 10 spokesman said: “We are still in the containment phase. As the CMO said, it is now highly likely that the infection will spread in a significant way.
“Officials will, therefore, accelerate work on the delay phase of the Government’s plan.”
The spokesman said Mr Johnson will chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra civil contingencies committee on the issue on Monday.
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