PHILIP Dunne MP has said that the present coronavirus pandemic is the worst for more than a hundred years.

“The Coronavirus (COVID19) crisis is the worst global health pandemic since Spanish Flu struck in 1918,” he said.

“The speed of transmission and the potential threat to life for those in high risk, mean exceptional measures are required for exceptional times. The UK government is acting on the latest scientific advice in a rapidly developing environment.

“This public health emergency is also rapidly becoming an economic emergency. So, after initial measures of £30bn in the Budget, the Chancellor announced an unprecedented emergency support package of £350bn, equivalent to 15 per cent of the country’s GDP.“

It is vital people follow the government advice and self-isolate where appropriate, especially if they are considered vulnerable. Those at high risk should be self-isolating at home, which includes everyone over 70, those who are pregnant, and those under 70 with existing medical conditions.”

Mr Dunne, who had responsibility for hospitals and workforce while a Minister at the Department of Health, says that whatever money the NHS needs will be provided.

“The NHS will get whatever resources it needs,” he said.

“Non-emergency operations are being cancelled for three months to free up 30,000 beds. Manufacturers are being sought to increase ventilator capacity.”

“Retired clinicians who are not themselves in high risk groups are being encouraged to offer to help.”

Doctors say that the NHS goes into the crisis not just with a shortage of protective clothing, doctors and nurses but also with a shortage of intensive care beds and ventilators that will be vital for the more serious cases to help people breath.

There is also the possibility of requisitioning ventilators and even nurses from veterinary practices.