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Coronavirus

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:05 pm on 11th March 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 7:05 pm, 11th March 2020

I want to make two comments in response to my right hon. Friend. First, I want slightly to correct the point about the deputy chief medical officer, who said that in the next couple of weeks we may see the numbers starting to rise fast to their peak. We do not expect numbers to peak in the next fortnight. We expect them to continue to rise after that. The peak would be in a matter of a couple of months, rather than a couple of weeks. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Secondly, the World Health Organisation declaring this afternoon that the virus is globally now regarded as a pandemic indicates that the WHO thinks it will spread right across the world, and that will have a significant impact on the way in which countries around the world will now take forward their plans. Of course, the expectation that this may well happen was all within the plan that we set out. We will be discussing that at the Cobra meeting tomorrow.