Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:07 pm on 3rd March 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 1:07 pm, 3rd March 2020

I would highlight two. The first is that there is an economic and social impact of disruption; if an action has no medical benefit, there is no need for that disruption. The second is a medical risk. Behavioural science and experience from previous similar outbreaks shows that, if we ask people too early to do things that are disruptive to their normal life, they may try to return to normal earlier than they otherwise would. At the moment, the number of cases is relatively small. If we go into the reasonable worst-case scenario, it will rise sharply and be high for a number of weeks. We need to keep people doing the right, responsible thing over a period of weeks and, if we ask them to move too soon, they may question whether that advice was the right advice.