UK’s House of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg dismissed the idea that the British Parliament could be closed down for months to avoid spreading coronavirus, Daily Mail reported.
“I want to reassure the House that there are no plans to close the House down”, Rees-Mogg reportedly told the Commons on Thursday. “The public will expect Parliament to sit and get on with its job. Parliament has proved itself to be very resilient over the years.”
“There is no medical reason on current advice to think that shutting Parliament would be necessary or helpful”, the official added. “Our approach will be guided by the best scientific evidence and medical advice and we'll take all necessary measure to deal with this outbreak.”
The House of Commons leader’s comments come following reports that Westminster may be shut down starting from the end of March until September amid the coronavirus outbreak. The idea has been reportedly articulated at high-level meetings citing concerns that MPs could become “superspreaders” of Covid-19 as they travel forward and backward from their constituencies. In the meantime, many of the UK parliament’s members, especially those in the House of Lords, have reached the age of 80 and it is unclear how a potential infection could affect their state of health.
The idea reportedly caused a strong backlash among parliamentary officials, who cited a potential chain reaction across the UK that such a move could trigger.
There are currently around 100 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK as the first death from the virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, was reported in the country on Thursday. The virus has taken the lives of around 3,000 people worldwide, however, according to existing figures, more than half of the people who have been infected have already recovered from the disease.