Britain sets out measures to tackle spread of coronavirus

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People wearing masks walk at the castle esplanade in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

LONDON (Reuters) – The British government unveiled its action plan to tackle the spread of coronavirus on Tuesday, including possible measures to close schools, force people to work from home and cancel large-scale gatherings to delay the peak of the outbreak.

Below are the main measures set out in the plan:

If transmission of the virus becomes established in the UK population:

– Emergency services, including the police and fire and rescue services, will enact plans to ensure they are able to maintain a critical function.

– With a serious loss of officers and staff, police would concentrate on responding to serious crimes and maintaining public order.

– Businesses facing short-term cash flow issues, for example as a result of subdued demand, can use existing mitigations to the ‘Time to Pay’ system.

– Some non-urgent medical care may be delayed to prioritise and triage service delivery. Staff rostering changes may be necessary, including calling leavers and retirees back to duty.

– The requirement for medicines might start to increase, with a need to draw down on existing stockpiles of the most important medicines, medical devices and clinical consumables.

– The government will provide advice to local authorities on dealing with the challenge of any increase in deaths arising from the outbreak.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; writing by Paul Sandle, Editing by Kylie MacLellan

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