But just how well equipped is Britain’s health service for coping with the pandemic? Political commentator Keith Rowe gave his views on the matter.
Sputnik: Is the NHS adequately prepared for the coronavirus pandemic?
Keith Rowe: I don’t think any health service could be totally prepared to cover for every pandemic that could possibly happen, and whatever inbuilt capacity we have in our system; we couldn’t possibly have had sufficient capacity just sitting there idly waiting for a pandemic to happen, this is exceptional and never seen before.
I think everybody in the country has to do their bit, and if you are a trained healthcare worker and you are able to help the NHS through this time, then I think that the government is probably taking the right course of action. I would hope that people listen to what they say.
Sputnik: Should the British government have acted faster with regards to closing schools and other public premises?
Keith Rowe: With regards to the exact timing, we will only be able to tell when the whole thing is done and dusted, and hopefully that will be soon.
The problem is, of course, that if you close too early, you cause other problems: you cause other people not to be at work, so you cause supply chain problems or NHS worker problems, and you have to restrict the spread of the virus itself.
I think the government is rightly taking scientific and medical advice as they go, as to the timing and the way these viruses react, and trying to minimise the damage to the people and to the economy, at the same time as restricting the virus as much as possible.
I think that in this instance, we just have to trust the experts and hope that they know what they are talking about.
Keith Rowe: I think that the length of time that it’s going to take us to recover economically depends very much on the length of time that we are all in this lockdown. The sooner the virus itself subsides and allows us to get back to some sort of normality and start loosening up on these restrictions, the sooner things can start getting back to something approaching normal.
The longer this goes on, the more damage there will be worldwide; this is not just a British problem, it is hitting pretty much every country in the world. We are going to have to have a huge effort to get ourselves back into decent shape.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.