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The time has come to move from 'contain' to 'delay' on coronavirus, Sturgeon says

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The time has come to move from 'contain' to 'delay' on coronavirus, Sturgeon says

The First Minister said that this is advice that she thinks is "likely to come from the Scottish Government and other governments across the UK very soon"

The UK and Scottish governments are likely to up the coronavirus response from the 'contain' to the 'delay' phase, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said. 

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, she said: "My view is that the time has come to move from the policy seeking to contain the virus into one of delaying it."

Sturgeon said that this would involve taking "certain steps" including recommending self-isolation to anyone with mild symptoms of the virus. 

She said that this is advice that she thinks is "likely to come from the Scottish Government and other governments across the UK very soon."

The First Minister's comments were made shortly before Boris Johnson is due to hold another meeting of the emergency Cobra committee where the UK Government expected to confirm that attempts to contain the spread of the disease will likely be stepped up. 

The Scottish Secretary Alister Jack also said that he expects advice to be updated as a result of the meeting. 

Asked on BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, if he thought that people are going to have to prepare for major changes in their lives, Jack said:  “Yes, I’m afraid they are."

He added: “There’s no doubt that we aren’t going to be able to contain it for much longer, so we will then have to delay it, so that the peak isn’t so great, if you like, to flatten it down to make the curve stretch longer to put less strain on the NHS."

Jack said that the UK Government's advice to people would be lead by the recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer. 

He said that he believes this could involve telling people with symptoms, as well as those with underling health conditions or the elderly, to stay at home.

Asked if schools are likely to close, Jack said: "I don’t think we’re at that stage yet. The government will be lead by the Chief Medical Officer on that. It’s possible that we could get there but at the moment our understanding is the Chief Medical Officer is suggesting that’s not where we’re at.”

He said that it was a matter of adjusting "individual behaviour" and reminded people once again to wash their hands regularly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. 

The potential upping of the resonse to the coronavirus comes as the first case of community transmission of the virus in Scotland was detected. 

The total number of 36 cases has been reported by the Scottish Government as of 14:00 on 11 March. 

But the community transmission case shows that the virus is beginning to spread to people who have not had direct contact with infected people, and have not travelled to affected countries. 

The UK Government announced in its budget yesterday an increase of funding to the Scottish Government including around £360m related to special coronavirus related spending measures. 

Read the most recent article written by Ailean Beaton - Nearly half of adults online exposed to coronavirus misinformation, Ofcom says

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