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18 Mar, 2020 08:14

UK epidemiologist who recently visited Downing Street self-isolates with cough and fever

UK epidemiologist who recently visited Downing Street self-isolates with cough and fever

The British professor largely credited with convincing the British government to stiffen its response against the coronavirus has self-isolated after developing symptoms, saying, “there is a lot of COVID-19 in Westminster.”

“Sigh. Developed a slight dry but persistent cough yesterday and self isolated even though I felt fine,” said Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London. “Then developed high fever at 4am today. There is a lot of COVID-19 in Westminster,” he said on Twitter Wednesday morning.

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“We must act like any wartime government and do whatever it takes to support our economy,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday, prior to knowing that one of his top advisers on the coronavirus crisis may have contracted the infection, and may have spread the virus to the prime minister himself.

Meanwhile, the NHS has canceled all routine surgeries and will discharge all inpatients from April 15 for a period of at least three months to free up beds to help cope with the impending surge of cases. 

Echoing similar moves elsewhere in Europe, the British Premier League has been suspended until at least April 3, while governing bodies debate what to do to handle the crisis. 

Johnson advised people not to go out, but has yet to shutter pubs and restaurants across the UK for the time being.

As of Wednesday morning, the UK has 1,960 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 71 deaths. 

Together with British Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Johnson has promised a £330 billion stimulus package of business loans to keep the British economy afloat during the coming months, in addition to a further £20 billion in aid to help struggling Britons. 

For the time being, Johnson added that school closures are “under continuous review” but no such move has yet been confirmed.

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