The United Kingdom is well prepared for disease outbreaks, having responded to a wide range of infectious disease outbreaks in the recent past, and having undertaken significant preparedness work for an influenza pandemic for well over a decade.
Our plans have been regularly tested and updated locally and nationally to ensure they are fit for purpose. This experience provides the basis for an effective response to COVID-19, which can be tailored as more specific information emerges about the virus.
These plans ensure the UK is equipped to deliver a co-ordinated multi-agency response to minimise wider societal impact that could arise from a significant outbreak. An effective response also requires the active participation of a well-informed public and all service providers.
Publicly available advice recommends the best way for people to protect themselves from infections like coronavirus is to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use a sanitiser gel, as well as always carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, then putting the tissue in a bin.
We have a plan based on the expertise of world leading scientists. We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.