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  • #76
    Poles returning home from Germany, UK & even Norway have been infected. This means there is community spread occurring in these three countries that is more than recorded to date :(

    Italy is not being mentioned as a primary source in Poland.

    The Polish defense minster is infected and he says he got it from a recent trip to Germany.

    Given the hamsterkauf going on i found the below comment from this video quite poignant

    You see people, their morals, their code; it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble.
    They're only as good as the world allows them to be. You'll see- I'll show you.
    When the chips are down, these.. civilized people? THEY'LL EAT EACH OTHER."
    - Joker, The Dark Knight

    Again the Joker is right about the Society.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 13 Mar 20,, 06:33.


    • #77
      We've started the crackdown here:

      This city is banning starting this sunday, punishable by 2 years prison:
      - all gatherings exceeding 100 people, including private.
      - any dancing or concerts.
      - returnees from high-risk zones from entering senior citizen homes or hospitals.
      (the next high-risk zone starts 50 km from here)
      • Universities are closed by state order since thursday (affecting about 45,000 students in the city).
      • Schools and kindergartens will be closed starting next tuesday (affecting almost 200 facilities in the city).
      • Organized replacement childcare (the city is legally required to provide childcare) will due to the situation only be offered for parents who are both working in critical infrastructure - these are: police and firefighters / medical and care / production and retail of food and pharmaceutical products / water, energy, garbage infrastructure.
      • Busses in public transport will have their front doors and first row of seats blocked off to better protect drivers starting today. Busses and trams will hail at all stations and open doors instead of on-demand to avoid people touching buttons.
      • Offices of the city and the unemployment agency will avoid any personal face-to-face contact with customers, limiting it to where it is legally required in a process. Virtually all public events are cancelled and all venues in which the city has stock are closed. Weddings are limited to the bridal pair plus ten guests for the official ceremony in city offices.

      Also, the supermarket around the corner here was entirely out of raw vegetables just now.


      • #78
        Read somewhere that perhaps one of the reasons Italy has so many deaths proportionate to the number of known cases, is the tendency for family members of multiple generations to live with one another. Seems to make sense as far as explaining the Italian death toll. A quick Google search brought up a statistic that 67% of Italians aged 18-34 live with their parents. This article from the Guardian says that 25.3% of Italians age 30-44 live with their mothers, along with 11.8% of those age 45-64.
        "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


        • #79
          City of Mannheim next door is going a step further:
          • suspended under explicit announced use of force (!) to disband such:
            • all gatherings of more than 50 people banned (both indoors and outdoors, in public and private)
            • all non-primary-meal gastronomy is banned (street vending remains allowed; hotels may not serve outside guests)
            • saunas, movie theaters, clubs and discotheques, gambling places, places of prostitution and indoor playgrounds are closed (and yes, mentioned in that order).
          • required under announced 10,000 Euro penalty for not following:
            • public events of less than 50 people have to be announced to the city 48 hours beforehand providing a risk analysis
          • violations against any of these are punishable by up to two years prison.


          • #80
            All my life i've known it as surgical spirit or methylated spirit or ethyl alcohol. C2H5OH. Ask for that in the US and they don't know what that is. They use Iso propyl alcohol. No idea why, maybe cheaper to mass produce. BUT, if its unavailable then have to use something else. This video talks about grain alcohol that is a minimum of 150 proof or 75%.

            Minimum alcohol content to be effective at disinfection is 60%

            I like the idea of glycerin as its easily available and cheap. Glycerin is a moisturiser and is used in making soap. Costs less than aloe vera gel that i see being recommended in other DIY hand sanitiser videos. Aloe vera is a cactus so if you got that growing in your back yard then great.

            If you're into making your own moonshine then the alcohol part is the easy bit : D

            WHO's recipe includes hydrogen peroxide : )

            WHO's standard is 75% strength
            Last edited by Double Edge; 15 Mar 20,, 05:06.


            • #81
              Originally posted by Ironduke View Post
              Read somewhere that perhaps one of the reasons Italy has so many deaths proportionate to the number of known cases, is the tendency for family members of multiple generations to live with one another. Seems to make sense as far as explaining the Italian death toll.
              That would be the case in Hong Kong as well. The difference is HK had to deal with SARS so better experienced to deal with this epidemic better.


              • #82
                France is holding local elections nation-wide on sunday. They're telling people to bring their own pen.


                • #83
                  There is a model to estimate true number of cases from reported ones. But it requires number of deaths.

                  What if there are no deaths and you're like Germany. Get to 1000 reported infected before you have deaths.

                  1) One approximation is to multiply infected by 10 - 20. Now you get a range.

                  Number of infected as of today in Germany : 4,585

                  This means true range of infected is between 45 - 90k ?

                  Quite high. Is it a realistic number ? Don't know

                  2) Let's see how much it is if there are deaths

                  Number of deaths in Germany as of today : 9

                  Let's assume a fatality rate of 1%

                  If there are 9 deaths then infected will be 900

                  It takes around 17 days on average to die from getting infected for the vulnerable.

                  It takes 6.2 days for infected to double

                  So in 18 days there are 3 doublings

                  900 --1st double --1800 --2nd double 3600 --3rd double-- 7200

                  Germany has reported 4,585

                  3) Yet another way is to just use doubling and assume clock begins at the beginning of January for Germany

                  5 doublings per month

                  1st month - 25 = 32
                  2nd month - 210 = 1,024
                  By 18 March - 213 = 8,192
                  We are assuming no quarantine at all

                  So we have a smaller range now.

                  True number of infected in Germany as of Sunday Mar 15th is 7 - 8k ?

                  We will find out in time

                  How many has Germany tested so far ?


                  Don't know
                  Last edited by Double Edge; 15 Mar 20,, 19:29.


                  • #84
                    Now for India, cases reported as of today is 102 with 2 deaths

                    1) Multiply 10 - 20 gives 1,000 to 2,000 true cases

                    2) 2 deaths means 200 infected and after 3 doublings becomes 1,600

                    India's true case count is around 2k infected

                    Thing to keep in mind with deaths is where they occur matters. If both deaths occurred in one household then number of deaths here should be kept at 1 and not 2. It is only 2 if the deaths occurred in different places.

                    If deaths are 1 then India's true count stands at 1k and not 2k

                    When number of infected is in the 3 digits the first way gives us a number close to the one worked out through deaths of the second way

                    3) Assuming clock starts beginning Jan we are at 213 = 8,192

                    If it started later than Jan then number will be less 211 = 2,048

                    People looking at this and thinking if there are 100 reported cases then how the heck can true number be up to 2k !!!!

                    Remember, the Chinese thought the same as well ; )

                    How many has India tested ? best i can figure is about 5k which is pretty low. There are concerns raised about testing in India

                    public-health experts have highlighted two primary concerns with the Indian government’s response to the ongoing crisis.

                    First, the health ministry has restricted testing for COVID-19 to the few government-accredited laboratories in the country.

                    Second, the government is limiting the tests only to those with a travel history, and those who came in contact with international travellers.

                    In the press conference, Lal Agarwal (secretary of the Health ministry) stated that twelve states across the country had reported positive cases of COVID-19.

                    Given the extent to which it had spread already, public-health experts had hoped that the testing parameters would be expanded to include people without a travel history, which would reveal the full scale of crisis.

                    But Agarwal made it clear that the Indian government had “no plans to revise testing parameters, as testing everyone would create panic.”

                    Experts also hoped that the health ministry would allow private laboratories to test for COVID-19, so as to not overwhelm the government sector. “There is a real concern that the government is not expanding testing parameters to include everyone because they want to keep the numbers low,” an epidemiologist working with a global-health organisation said, on the condition of anonymity. “If you are not looking for cases, you are not going to find any cases. How can the government know that there is no community transmission, when they are not testing enough people?”

                    As of 12 March, the testing was limited to 52 government centres, and there were 56 collection centres where samples could be given. But Agarwal maintained that the country had adequate testing centres and “there was no need to involve the private sector for testing.”

                    The central government has also invoked the Epidemics Diseases Act of 1897, which allows a state to prosecute any person or institution violating quarantine norms. The decision was taken after a patient in Bangalore and another in Punjab, who had been quarantined in local hospitals with symptoms of COVID-19, went missing.
                    Clearly they want to keep a strict control on information. They have so such control over a private institute.

                    It's also about resources. They don't want to be overwhelmed. Can't say this is good idea.

                    And what if the numbers spike as would happen in the case of community spread. What then ?

                    We have thermally scanned over 100k passengers to date but that method can potentially allow 46% already infected through.

                    Effectiveness of airport screening at detecting travellers infected with 2019-nCoV | Medrxiv | Feb 02 2020

                    That means in theory, 50k or less pre-symptomatic infected could have entered India's airports.

                    31k are in the surveillance network already. I don't know what tripwires GOI is relying on with them.

                    Maybe we are at the same state as Germany but we don't know it.

                    Which means clamping down in India NOW like Germany is doing is a good idea ?

                    So the range of true infected for India could be 2 - 8k !!!

                    Only more testing will establish which end of that range we are at.

                    Need to pay attention to the neighbours. Whether any cases emerge saying they got infected in India. That will suggest community spread is already occurring in India.
                    Last edited by Double Edge; 15 Mar 20,, 19:31.


                    • #85
                      One more contender in the fray : )

                      India becomes fifth country to isolate Covid-19 virus strain | Live mint | mar 12 2020

                      • ICMR says isolation of the virus is the first step towards expediting the development of drugs, vaccines and rapid diagnostic kits in the country
                      • ICMR, which is also the testing agency for the virus, has expanded its network of labs equipped to test Covid-19 from 51 to 65.

                      13 Mar 2020, 09:59 PM IST

                      Neetu Chandra Sharma

                      New Delhi: Moving a step ahead towards finding a vaccine for Covid-19, India has become the fifth country to successfully isolate the virus strain after Japan, Thailand, United States of America and China.

                      The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the apex health research body of India, said that isolation of the virus is the first step towards expediting the development of drugs, vaccines and rapid diagnostic kits in the country.

                      Scientists at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune have isolated 11 strains of the Covid-19. Still, they will need between 18 months and two years to develop a Covid-19 vaccine even if the clinical trials are expedited, the government said.

                      “Coronavirus was very difficult to isolate but the scientists at NIV Pune have been successful in getting around 11 strains isolated. The strains are the prerequisite for conducting any research related to viruses," said Raman R. Gangakhedkar, head of the epidemiology and communicable diseases division of the Indian Council of Medical Research.

                      According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no vaccine to cure Covid-19. China has used HIV drugs on some Covid-19 patients but that has to be studied for efficacy. “We have not used any anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs on the seven patients that have recovered. We have only used routine medicines to treat those patients," ICMR scientist Raman R. Gangakhedkar.

                      Even as a combination of anti-HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir were used on a coronavirus-infected elderly Italian couple at a Jaipur, doctors have said that no conclusion should be drawn with a single patient experiment.

                      ICMR has also been closely working with the Ministry of Health and family welfare, and other departments to coordinate the effort to tackle Covid-19. Till date, ICMR has tested more than 6,500 samples of 5,900 individuals, out of which 83 cases have been tested positive for the virus.

                      ICMR, which is also the testing agency for the virus, has expanded its network of labs equipped to test Covid-19 from 51 to 65. The secondary test for reconfirmation of the virus, which was earlier conducted only in National Institute of Virology (NIV) have also been expanded to 31 labs. These steps will enable India to expedite detection of the virus and will help in effective management.

                      “ICMR is equipped to handle more volumes of samples if the need arises. People should not panic, but take precautionary measures. Strong systems and processes are in place to deal with Covid-19 and the Ministry is constantly monitoring the situation," Professor Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General, ICMR, said.

                      On 31 December 2019, WHO was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) was identified as the causative virus by Chinese authorities on 7 January. As part of WHO’s response to the outbreak, the R&D blueprint has been activated to accelerate diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for this novel coronavirus. The WHO recently advised countries on how to prevent the spread of disease and care for those who are sick. The apex health agency also said that it is strengthening lab capacity all over the world along with training thousands of health workers.
                      This bit matters ...

                      ICMR says isolation of the virus is the first step towards expediting the development of drugs, vaccines and rapid diagnostic kits in the country
                      There you have it. India does not have rapid diagnostic tests yet or lets say enough of them to do mass testing. And by the looks of it we're going to have to roll our own because they ain't enough available to go around.

                      Iran wanted 2.6 million test kits. Nobody can supply them that many right now : (
                      Last edited by Double Edge; 15 Mar 20,, 19:38.


                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Oracle View Post
                        I try not to patronise, but get bogged down by their complaints that the big guys are pushing prices and so they have too, else they'd have to make a loss. I give in.
                        Shop around. As i said i've found people who would sell at the price on the packet and not some future price.

                        Onions are INR 40/kg, what's the price in Bangalore?
                        About Rs.5 less, see here

                        I mean when the price approaches a hundred that is when they import.

                        1 guy was found to be infected with COVID-19 here in my place. He got beat up (what I heard), now he is in Delhi with whoever he came in contact with. I wonder where did he get his blood test done? There is no place here to do that. There are 2 places where one can get tested in Assam, one is the GMC.
                        Only govt test labs are authorised here

                        GMC and one in Dibrugarh so two for Assam. Could be more with time once we get the test kits.

                        There is a grand mela here every year during this time, that was cancelled by the administration.

                        Mela: People (mostly migrants) from other part of the country come with their troop and spend like a month here in a field. They have circus, some stunt shows, lots of places to eat, etc. Cheap utensils (not so cheap as compared to prices with Big Bazar), different types of pickles etc too.
                        Good, this is one example of govt being pro active.
                        Last edited by Double Edge; 15 Mar 20,, 19:40.


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
                          Which means clamping down in India NOW like Germany is doing is a good idea ?
                          Germany isn't really clamping down. The exact measures are left up to the cities and towns and thus widely vary.

                          As of sunday we're at 4838 cases. 650 of these cases are in a single district with 250,000 people, in Heinsberg:

                          Germany’s Ground Zero - A District Is Paralyzed by Coronavirus

                          The first cases of the coronavirus to be registered in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia originated in the Heinsberg district. The area has become a test case for all of Germany and how the country will handle the deadly sickness.

                          When Stephan Pusch, the district administrator of Heinsberg, a region in the far west of Germany, thinks of the coronavirus, the book that comes to mind is "Lord of the Flies.” He’s not trying to say Germans have gone wild and civilization is crumbling.

                          Pusch is just trying to say that the human, the social being, can take on antisocial characteristics when placed under considerable pressure. In other words, you need to tread lightly with people experiencing the kind of crisis seen in Heinsberg right now, in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. There are some moments when people just lose it.

                          It’s 9:20 a.m. on Tuesday morning and the district administrator glances at his watch. At this moment, there are 84 registered cases of coronavirus in his district. By Thursday, that figure will grow to 197.

                          The first infected people were registered a week ago, on Fat Tuesday. They had been celebrating carnival festivities for the past 10 days in the town of Gangelt, which is part of the Heinsberg district. The married couple became the first registered cases of COVID-19 in the state. When Germany’s federal health minister called Pusch directly, the administrator knew the situation was going to be a big deal.

                          Heinsberg has become a case study for Germany of how a district can respond to a health crisis like this.

                          When the district administrator meets a reporter, he doesn’t shake hands, and instead bumps elbows. The crisis team is about to meet in what will be the first of two or three meetings on this day. They will, once again, focus on medical care, which isn’t going very well. Pusch sits in a conference room in the district offices, a massive administrative building. Confused local residents stand outside the administrative offices, which have been closed to the public.

                          Anything But Business as Usual

                          The situation in the district is anything but business as usual. Heinsberg is a flat region containing villages lined with brick rowhouses, single-family homes with gravel front gardens. About 250,000 people live here.

                          The streets are devoid of cars. Many people are staying at home in voluntary quarantine. The Dutch, who live just across the border and often shop here are also keeping away. Even healthy residents are staying indoors out of fear of the invisible threat.

                          A cafe that is usually open until 6 p.m. closes at 2 p.m. One gym remains shut, and there are few customers at local book and shoe stores. A pharmacist wearing gloves passes cough drops and medication through the pharmacy’s night-service window.

                          At the Heinsberg hospital, even fathers and mothers who want to see their newborn babies are stopped and asked about whom they have had contact with and whether they have a fever. In any instances of doubt, their temperature is taken.

                          The local jail isn’t allowing any visits at all. A flea market for children’s goods has been cancelled, as has a meetup for local senior citizens and all soccer matches in the district this weekend.

                          Sitting in his office, Pusch, a man who is used to public life, talks about the first crisis meeting on Feb. 25 and his visit to the state health minister the next day.

                          The meeting was held to discuss the case of a man who had attended a large party with his wife hosted by a local carnival association on Feb. 15. The man had danced a comedic ballet performance at the party and is now in serious condition at a hospital in Düsseldorf.

                          Pusch says he also wants to share bad news with the people in his district because he believes in transparency and communication. He regularly addresses residents in videos posted on the district administration’s website and on Facebook. By Tuesday, he had published 11 videos since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. He calls them the "The Pusch Report.”

                          The most impactful video is probably the sixth, a response to false information spread on social media claiming that people weren’t complying with the quarantine and that restricted areas would be set up.

                          Pusch told residents: "As long as I'm in charge, nothing will be sealed off here.”

                          When asked why he wouldn’t, given that entire cities and villages had been sealed off in Italy, he responded, "That’s not the kind of approach you can convey to the people of Germany. Besides, you can’t control it.”

                          Measures from the Middle Ages

                          COVID-19 is a virus of the globalized era, but the containment measures being used, including quarantines and restricted areas, originated in the Middle Ages. Back then, homes of people suffering from the plague were marked with a cross on the door. Pusch doesn’t think much of the idea of placing police watches in front of every home. He says he spent time thinking about his own own capacities and the feelings of local residents.

                          Pusch says people "grew very alarmed by the false report.” If there hadn’t been a response to it, he says, "people would have broken out in panic” and attempted to flee - the infected and the non-infected alike. The district shares a 78-kilometer long border with the Netherlands, and Pusch says sealing off an area that big would have required the deployment of the German military.

                          "Again: You can’t do that here. Crises like these can only be solved together, with the residents and through trust.”

                          The question now is how bad the crisis actually is. Experts say that there are only mild symptoms or none at all in 80 percent of the people infected, and the mortality rate is between 0.3 and 0.7 percent. Is that low or high, reassuring or disturbing?

                          The big questions now being asked over the cancellation of trade fairs, stock-market crashes, travel cancellations and panic buying around the world, have already arrive here in Heinsberg. The biggest: What’s worse – the virus or the panic it is fueling?

                          A Risk of Paralysis

                          If the regulations are too lax, the district administrator could be putting local lives at risk. If they’re too strict, he could paralyze public life and the economy.

                          Pusch ordered the closure of local schools and daycare centers until the end of the first week of March, but he doesn’t want to have everyone and everything tested. Pusch and his crisis team, for instance, determined that it wasn’t necessary to test every single person who had been to the carnival party in Gangelt. They felt that telling people they should stay home for 14 days went far enough.

                          But some even had trouble with that.

                          One woman who was at the party and is still awaiting her test results at home is having difficulty grappling with what is going on. Reached by phone, she explains how she contacted the local public-health authorities, who directed her to get in touch with her family doctor. The doctor then told her to contact the public-health authorities. She says she hasn’t heard anything else from the health office since. She then waited for days and decided to have her doctor test her for the illness. The woman says she can’t understand why tests aren’t being given to each of the 300 people who attended the party. Although her husband works at home, she can’t do the same. She recalls that when she recently cleaned her bathroom and her husband asked if he should help her, she said: "Don’t, so that I’ll still have something to do tomorrow.”

                          Crises Bring Out the Best and the Worst

                          She says that the social surveillance feels very real and that she doesn’t even dare to go to the mailbox out of fear that people will start talking about it, that they might accuse her of acting irresponsibly. One passerby, she recalls, drew a cross with his fingers when he saw her standing in the window.

                          But people can also act differently.


                          • #88
                            Stay strong Italy

                            Coronavirus in Italy: How Pizza & Songs Are Keeping Everyone Sane | The Quint | Mar 16 2020

                            There's that and there's also this


                            It's not only that the crisis set's free a lot of creativity, the Italians are singing, that strengthens their lungs. Best prevention against a virus that affects the lung! Viva Italia! Forza!
                            We come from the blood of conquerors, cesars, explorers, poets, musicians. The Roman Empire was the cradle of civlization, the beacon of light ad law and order in Europe.

                            We survived worse, a virus won't break us.

                            Questa e' la mia Italia, la mia Italia, anche ferita e nel buio della crisi, brilla piu' di ogni altra. Questa e' l'Italia che amo.

                            Viva l'Italia!
                            Un abbraccio da Roma.
                            That's the spirit
                            Last edited by Double Edge; 16 Mar 20,, 01:25.


                            • #89
                              Lessons learnt from previous Ebola epidemics

                              “If you need to be right before you move, you will never win. Perfection is the enemy of the good when it comes to emergency management. Speed trumps perfection”


                              • #90
                                WTF are these Brits playing at ?

                                ‘It’s going to be daunting’: U.K. considers herd-immunity approach — allowing more people to contract coronavirus | Market watch | Mar 15 2020

                                Can you allow a virus to slowly infect lower-risk people so they create enough immunity to eventually protect higher-risk groups? It is, some say, a risky proposition
                                No shit!!

                                “The success is premised on the ability to keep those two groups separated, but I don’t know if you can,” Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security and a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, told MarketWatch.

                                “It’s a challenging approach,” Adalja said, adding that social distancing is the “good part” of what China did to slow down the rapid increase in coronavirus cases.

                                “It’s going to be daunting. It’s not as if those two demographics never interact. None of these intervention options is cost free.”

                                Former U.K. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt criticized the herd-immunity approach and said it was unwise to allow schools to remain open and people to gather and said Britain should take a more aggressive approach along the lines currently being forged by the U.S.

                                “Whether we then go on to have tea with our friend who’s recovering from cancer, our grandfather, grandmother — that’s the issue,” he added. “It is surprising and concerning that we’re not doing any of it at all when we have just four weeks before we get to the stage that Italy is at.” Italy has had 21,157 confirmed cases and 1,441 deaths, John Hopkins said.

                                There’s an advantage to coming down with a virus that has been around for hundreds, if not a couple of thousand, years such as the flu. COVID-19 has only been around for three-plus months. Those aged nine months and younger are believed to have the strongest natural defenses against the virus.
                                Earlier article

                                UK’s chief scientific adviser defends ‘herd immunity’ strategy for coronavirus | FT | Mar 13 2020

                                George Parker, Jim Pickard and Laura Hughes in London MARCH 13 2020

                                Britain’s chief scientific adviser stoked controversy on Friday when he said that about 40m people in the UK could need to catch the coronavirus to build up “herd immunity” and prevent the disease coming back in the future.

                                Defending Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision not to follow other European countries by closing schools and banning mass gatherings, Patrick Vallance said it was the government’s aim to “reduce the peak of the epidemic, pull it down and broaden it” while protecting the elderly and vulnerable.

                                But Sir Patrick told Sky News that experts estimated that about 60 per cent of the UK’s 66m population would have to contract coronavirus in order for society to build up immunity.

                                “Communities will become immune to it and that’s going to be an important part of controlling this longer term,” he said. “About 60 per cent is the sort of figure you need to get herd immunity.”

                                In another interview with the BBC, Sir Patrick said: “If you suppress something very, very hard, when you release those measures it bounces back and it bounces back at the wrong time.”

                                He added: “Our aim is to try to reduce the peak, broaden the peak, not suppress it completely; also, because the vast majority of people get a mild illness, to build up some kind of herd immunity so more people are immune to this disease and we reduce the transmission, at the same time we protect those who are most vulnerable to it.”

                                A total of 798 people in the UK have so far tested positive for coronavirus, an increase of 208 since Thursday. Following confirmation of the first death from the virus in Scotland, 11 people are now known to have died of it in the UK.

                                Downing Street confirmed that the prime minister had decided to postpone May’s local and mayoral elections for a year, amid fears they could coincide with the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.

                                Elections were due to be held on May 7 for councils in England and Wales, the London Assembly and for mayors including those for London, the West Midlands and Liverpool, as well as police commissioners.

                                The polls were set to be the first electoral test for Mr Johnson since his general election victory in December as well as a significant moment for Labour’s new leader — the winner is due to be announced on April 4.

                                On Friday morning the pressure on Mr Johnson and his scientific and medical advisers to take more drastic action more quickly grew when opposition leaders, including Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, challenged England’s deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries and minister of care Helen Whately on why the UK was taking such a different approach to other countries.

                                An official with knowledge of the meeting said Ms Harries “came under sustained pressure” and “the meeting was quite fractious”.

                                They added: “It was difficult and lots of opposition MPs had a range of concerns with the government’s position.”

                                Mr Johnson’s decision on Thursday to introduce staged interventions — starting with asking people with a new cough or a temperature to self-isolate for seven days — has been criticised as too timid by politicians.

                                The prime minister is also under pressure because some neighbouring countries, including Ireland, France and Belgium, are taking much tougher measures, including banning sports fixtures. On Friday, England’s football authorities said all professional games were being postponed until April 3, including Premier League and Football League matches.

                                Jeremy Hunt, former health secretary, on Thursday led the attack against Mr Johnson, arguing that countries such as Thailand and Singapore, which have most successfully contained the coronavirus, had adopted stringent “social distancing” measures early on in the outbreak.

                                John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, called on the prime minister to launch an international intervention to agree a global co-ordinated response, and accused Mr Johnson of having “self-isolated” himself from his responsibilities.

                                “We are saying to Boris Johnson, bluntly, get off your backside and show some international leadership,” he said. “That is what UK prime ministers of all political colours have traditionally done.”

                                A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “We maintain our confidence in the CMO [chief medical officer], the experts and the decisions we are making.

                                “What we are disappointed with is the way Conservative ministers have communicated that information. We feel they haven’t really made a clear enough case as to why our position is so radically different to other countries.

                                “We aren’t saying it’s the wrong advice, it’s just that we feel there is increasing concern that people don’t know what’s going on.”
                                Last edited by Double Edge; 16 Mar 20,, 07:37.