UK May Shut Down Parliament For Months to Curb the Spread of the Coronavirus

A tourist wears a surgical face mask as she walks past a red telephone box in central London on March 2, 2020. - Britain's Prime Minister Prime Minister on Monday chaired an emergency COBRA meeting on the coronavirus outbreak, after the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United …
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom may shut down parliament to prevent MPs from spreading the coronavirus, as the country saw its largest ever daily increase of cases of the deadly virus.

In an attempt to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus, the UK is considering limiting large public events, closing schools and now the government is reportedly drafting plans to shut down the House of Commons and Lords until September in “the longest summer recess we have known” according to a parliamentary insider.

“We’ve got 650 people who spend half the week spread across the country meeting their constituents and the other half rubbing up against one another in Westminster. It’s 650 superspreaders,” the insider told The Times.

The total number of those infected in the UK reached 87 on Wednesday, with 36 six new cases being confirmed, the largest daily increase since the start of the epidemic. In England, 32 new cases were confirmed and two cases were reported in both Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Almost all of the new cases were found in people who have either travelled to an infected area or came into contact with someone who did. However, the origin of three of the new cases is currently unexplained, suggesting that transmission may have already begun in the country.

Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer said that the likelihood of a serious outbreak in the UK is “almost certain” and that he expects “some deaths”.

“If we get established transmission in the UK, which I think at this time is more likely than not, then there will be a number of weeks – about six weeks – until we start to see a significant amount of transmission in the UK,” he told Sky News.

“The key thing is we will need to do a variety of interventions, but we do not want to do them too early because we’ll then need to sustain them through the epidemic. So what we’re trying to do is plan to do them at exactly the right point to minimise social disruption but still manage to reduce the impact of this epidemic,” Whitty added.

Whitty said that with the virus spreading quickly throughout Europe, it is unlikely that the UK will “escape” a major outbreak of the coronavirus, that could last for several months.

“With all epidemics, what happens is they start off very slowly and then they gradually gather momentum and then they suddenly go up relatively fast,” he warned.

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