We must be vigilant about the coronavirus but hysteria could impact our economy and way of life
OF course the likely coronavirus pandemic is a threat to health that should be taken very seriously.
But I fear the hysteria and kneejerk reactions currently taking place across the country could have an unnecessary impact on our economy and way of life.
It’s essential that sensible precautions are put in place.
That doesn’t mean cancelling holidays, shutting down workplaces and stopping children going to school.
For example, the Chevron Corporation today sent home 300 employees from its London office because one of their employers could have coronavirus. Of course, they could also just have a cold.
But nevertheless traders, exploration and refining unit staff were told to work remotely – something that is not possible in many businesses.
Some folk are being asked to self-quarantine for two weeks simply because they went on holiday to northern Italy.
It’s getting even more needlessly dramatic within education.
As it stands, Public Health England are NOT advising any schools to close.
But eight now have been, while another 18 have quarantined pupils, forcing them to stay at home with their parents for a fortnight.
In the most ridiculous case so far, an Essex primary school has been shut by its headmaster because one of its teachers spent half-term in Italy. That teacher is reportedly not sick or exhibiting any of the symptoms of coronavirus.
We’ve already seen the very real cost to the market of such overreach, with £100 billion wiped off the FTSE 100 in just 48 hours and the shares of travel companies like Tui and Easy Jet plummeting.
The government is right and responsible to consider worst-case scenarios and plan appropriately.
The Sun today revealed details of an official report showing that a catastrophic outbreak could see 80 per cent of Brits come down with coronavirus and 500,000 die.
But while the situation is serious and worsening, we are far from being anywhere near such a doomsday predicament.
Of the 7132 people tested for the virus in the UK, 13 have tested positive and eight of those have now been discharged.
The reality is that for the vast majority of healthy people Coronavirus will not be fatal.
Doing the basics right now – like washing your hands regularly and using tissues – will actually do more to help curb the spread than costly grand gestures.
We must be vigilant and safe, but avoid Coronavirus hysteria.
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