Italy last night put all of its 90 million people into lockdown and banned movement between cities in a drastic bid to stop COVID – , which has infected 9, 000 people.
The UK is following the same trajectory, one scientist said, and could end up in a similar situation a few weeks down the line.
There are currently 321 confirmed cases in the UK and five people have died. More infections are expected to be announced later today and throughout the week.
Since February , the number of cases in Italy has rocketed from just three to at least 9, , while in the UK it rose from nine to .
A senior medical officer in the government has admitted ‘many thousands’ of Britons will get infected and bestselling British author and former doctor, Adam Kay, warned in a tweet: ‘This is us in a fortnight’.
Images have emerged of coronavirus patients in intensive care in the Cremona Hospital in northern Italy – they are kept laying face down because it may improve the function of a ventilator, which helps failing lungs to work, by reducing the pressure on the lungs
The entire of Italy is now in lockdown and citizens are forbidden from traveling between cities (Pictured, a solder stands guard outside the Duomo Cathedral in Milan)
Experts say the UK – where the number of coronavirus cases started to take off last week – is just two weeks away from being in a situation as bad as Italy’s
Images have emerged of coronavirus patients in intensive care in the Cremona Hospital in northern Italy laying face down.
Doctors get critically-ill patients – ones who are fighting acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – to lie prone.
The life-threatening condition is caused when the lungs become inflamed, which makes fluid from blood vessels leak into tiny air sacs.
As well as the killer coronavirus, ARDS can be caused by pneumonia, flu, a severe chest injury or the accidental inhalation of vomit, the NHS says.
Patients battling the condition need a ventilator because their lungs can’t provide their body’s vital organs with enough oxygen.
Studies have shown lying prone can improve the function of the device, which helps failing lungs to work, by reducing the pressure on the lungs
The American Association of Critical Care Nurses says: ‘Prone positioning is now considered first-line therapy for patients with severe ARDS.’
The body, which has more than , 06 members, said the positioning can ‘reduce lung trauma and improve results’.
Figures suggest up to 14 per cent of patients admitted to intensive care units suffer ARDS.
University College London biology professor, Dr Francis Balloux, said: ‘The trajectory of the epidemic in the UK is so far roughly comparable to the one in Northern Italy, but with the epidemic in Northern Italy two to three weeks ahead of the situation in the UK. ‘
Dr Balloux said that it was possible the UK could face a similar lockdown to the one which has brought Italy to its knees.
After cases of the virus started to spring up in skiing resorts in the country Alpine north, entire regions including Milan, Venice and Lake Como were put into quarantine.
The rest of the country has now followed suit – citizens face jail time if they try to travel around the country, schools have been closed, the Serie A professional football league has been called off, public transport is shutting down and museums and large events are off limits to the public.
The UK has so far not taken any dramatic measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which officials yesterday saying they still believe they can stop it.
A graph posted on Twitter by another UCL scientist, Professor Mark Handley, showed that outbreaks in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, the US and Switzerland are all following the same trajectory as Italy’s.
Daily increases of approximately (per cent are seen in all the countries.)
Professor Handley compares them to Japan, where the rate of increase is considerably lower and where cases have been being diagnosed for longer.
Italy is at the center of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak – at least 9, 0250 people have been diagnosed with the infection and 823 people have died
The government battle plan has been divided into four stages – ‘contain’, ‘delay’, ‘research’ and ‘mitigate’. Officials are today expected to declare a move to ‘delay’
He said: ‘Everyone else will be like Italy in 9- days time ‘ .
Officials in Britain have already admitted that thousands of people in the UK are expected to catch the deadly disease.
England’s deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jenny Harries, predicted ‘many thousands of people’ would get COVID – .
Most people only get a mild illness and don’t need medical help, while others may be hospitalised and a small proportion will get pneumonia and die.
Dr Harries told Sky News: ‘We currently have relatively few cases here, which is why we are still in the containment phase [the first step of government action plan].
‘Obviously we will have significant numbers in a way in which the country is not used to.
) ‘This is the sort of thing that professionally we’re trained for and very rarely see, a lmost in a professional lifetime.
‘Large numbers of the population will become infected because it’s a naive population, nobody has got antibodies to this virus currently.
‘We will see many thousands of people infected by coronavirus, that’s what we’re seeing in other countries and the important thing for us is to make sure that we manage those infections.’
Doctors work at a hospital in Schiavonia in northern Italy with more than 9, coronavirus cases now confirmed in the country in the worst outbreak outside China and South Korea
A crowd of people with shopping trolleys, some of them wearing masks , gather outside a supermarket in Rome this morning
Italians pack supplies of groceries intooverloaded shopping trolleys at a supermarket in Rome this morning as they prepare for a weeks-long quarantine after Italy’s lockdown was extended nationwide
A masked man checks a person’s paperwork at Milan central station yesterday
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte during a press conference at Chigi Palace in Rome last night where he announced the latest quarantine measures
Boris Johnson yesterday faced a backlash after he held off a decision on upgrading the Government’s coronavirus response despite a Cobra meeting hearing that the UK faces a ‘significant’ outbreak.
The PM chaired a meeting of the emergency committee – but it stopped short of shifting the official strategy from the ‘contain’ phase to focus on efforts to delay the spread.
That could potentially see people being advised to work from home where possible, and vulnerable people – the elderly or those with long-term health problems – urged to stay at home to avoid becoming infected.
More dramatic options include pubs, church halls and schools being closed and football matches called off – although ministers stress those moves are more likely later in the crisis.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, are seen leaving Downing Street yesterday after an emergency Cobra meeting
Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: ‘We remain in the contain phase but it is now accepted that this virus is going to spread in a significant way. ‘
Asked whether the government was being slow to act, the spokesman said the response was based on scientific advice. ‘From the beginning of the outbreak we have based all of our decisions on the best available scientific advice and we will continue to do so,’ he said.
However, former Tory Cabinet Minister Rory Stewart said the example of China, and his experience in the Ebola outbreak in Africa last year, showed Mr Johnson could not afford to wait. ‘What you will find is that the government will eventually close schools,’ he told LBC radio. ‘We should be doing it tomorrow.’
WHAT ARE THE RULES OF ITALY’S QUARANTINE?
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said last night’s decree could be ‘summarized as follows: I stay at home’.
Here are the rules under the new decree.
THE SICK MUST STAY AT HOME
People who have tested positive for coronavirus must not leave their homes for any reason.
Anyone with a fever or respiratory symptoms is urged to stay at home and limit social contact, including with their doctor.
NO TRAVEL ACROSS ITALY
Travel is only allowed for ‘urgent, verifiable work situations and emergencies or health reasons’. Grocery shopping is considered a ‘necessity’ and still allowed.
To avoid work-related travel, public and private companies have been urged to put their staff on leave.
However, it was not immediately clear how the new measures would be enforced. Trains and numerous flights continued to operate into and out of Milan on Monday despite the earlier restrictions in Lombardy.
Public transport will remain operational, but Conte says he wants as many people as possible to stay at home.
People who do want to travel will need to fill in a document explaining their reasons for doing so and carry it with them.
If they are found to have lied they face fines or jail terms. But they will generally work on an honor system.
People will also be allowed to travel to return home.
NO PUBLIC GATHERINGS
‘All forms of gatherings in public places or sites open to the public’ are banned, the decree says.
Cinemas, museums, theaters, pubs, dance schools, betting shops and discos are all closed. Weddings and funerals are banned. Schools and universities will remain shut until April 3.
Bars and restaurants were only allowed to open between 8am and 6pm, the decree said, and only if a distance of at least 3ft could be kept between customers.
Sporting events of all levels and disciplines were cancelled – stopping play in the Serie A football league. Fixtures in international competitions can go ahead but will be played behind closed doors.
Gyms, sports centers, swimming pools, spas and leisure centers must close.
SHOPS MUST KEEP 3FT DISTANCE
Shops can remain open but only if they can guarantee the 3ft safety distance for customers.
Big and mid-sized shopping centers have to close at the weekend. Food stores are allowed to remain open at all hours.
NO LEAVE FOR HEALTH WORKERS
Leave for health workers is cancelled. People accompanying their friends or relatives to emergency units are not allowed to stay with them in the waiting rooms without express permission.
ALL OF ITALY IS COVERED
The entire country, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, is covered by the decree – covering a total population of some million people .