ARMY TO GUARD HOS­PI­TALS AND SU­PER­MAR­KETS

Dark­est day yet as UK death toll nearly dou­bles Panic buy­ing hits shops as plans are drawn up for...

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Front Page - By Glen Owen, Mark Ni­col and Harry Cole

MIN­IS­TERS have drawn up plans to put troops on the streets to help deal with the coro­n­avirus cri­sis af­ter the num­ber of deaths al­most dou­bled within 24 hours.

The death toll jumped from 11 to 21 and the num­ber of con­firmed UK cases has leapt by al­most 40 per cent to 1,140. In Scot­land there has been one death but con­firmed cases rose yes­ter­day to 121, up 36 in only one day. It is the largest daily in­crease since the out­break hit.

Days af­ter Scot­land be­came the first part of the UK to ban large events and gath­er­ings of more than 500 peo­ple, Down­ing Street ac­cel­er­ated plans for sim­i­lar re­stric­tions and to im­ple­ment the self-iso­la­tion of en­tire house­holds where any­one has suc­cumbed to the ill­ness.

In a bid to ‘shield’ the most vul­ner­a­ble, the UK Govern­ment is also ex­pected to tell peo­ple over 70 to stay in strict iso­la­tion at home or in care homes for four months.

Un­der emer­gency leg­is­la­tion to be put be­fore MPs within days, safe­guards in­tro­duced af­ter the scan­dal in­volv­ing se­rial killer

Dr Harold Ship­man will also be sus­pended in or­der to speed up cre­ma­tions and buri­als.

Min­is­ters will also get pow­ers to make com­pul­sory pur­chases of land to free up room for ex­tra grave­yards.

In prepa­ra­tion for the worstcase sce­nario, de­fence sources told The Mail on Sunday that Army units were step­ping up their train­ing for pub­lic or­der roles – in­clud­ing the guard­ing of hos­pi­tals and su­per­mar­kets.

The Royal Lo­gis­tic Corps is pre­par­ing to be used to es­cort food con­voys and the Royal Army Med­i­cal Corps is poised to build tented field hos­pi­tals next to care homes.

Troops trained in chem­i­cal, bi­o­log­i­cal and nu­clear war­fare will deep-clean empty pub­lic build­ings in case they need to be turned into hos­pi­tals or morgues. And the Army has also drawn up con­tin­gency plans to keep petrol sta­tions topped up with fuel when the coun­try reaches ‘peak virus’.

As con­firmed UK cases rose to 1,140, up from 820, glob­ally there have been 153,585 re­ported cases with 5,802 deaths. Yes­ter­day, in a day of dra­matic de­vel­op­ments:

The Sci­en­tific Ad­vi­sory Group for Emer­gen­cies told the Govern­ment that it will soon need to start shield­ing the most vul­ner­a­ble and iso­lat­ing en­tire house­holds;

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced the US travel ban would be ex­tended to the UK from to­mor­row;

Hun­dreds of Bri­tons, many of them el­derly, were stuck aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean where five peo­ple have tested pos­i­tive for the virus;

Spain and Poland closed their bor­ders, strand­ing thou­sands of British hol­i­day­mak­ers, and France closed all non-es­sen­tial pub­lic spa­ces such as cafes;

Boris John­son asked UK man­u­fac­tur­ers to sup­port the rapid, wartime-style pro­duc­tion of es­sen­tial med­i­cal kit, par­tic­u­larly ven­ti­la­tors, while the NHS will buy up beds in pri­vate hos­pi­tals;

Panic-buy­ing led to ex­tra­or­di­nary scenes at su­per­mar­kets across the coun­try, prompt­ing stores to plead with con­sumers to ‘work to­gether’;

l World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion spokesman Dr Mar­garet Har­ris ques­tioned the British Govern­ment’s strat­egy of de­lay­ing ‘so­cial dis­tanc­ing’, ar­gu­ing that it risked in­fect­ing mil­lions;

Chan­cel­lor Rishi Su­nak met in­sur­ance lead­ers amid a grow­ing row over who will foot the bill for cancelled hol­i­days;

It emerged that care homes and hos­pi­tals are likely to be ‘co­cooned’ when the Easter lockdown comes into ef­fect;

Three pa­tients tested pos­i­tive for Covid-19 at a hospi­tal close to the Queen’s Nor­folk es­tate;

Down­ing Street un­der­went a ‘deep clean’ fol­low­ing a visit by Tory MP Na­dine Dor­ries, who sub­se­quently tested pos­i­tive for the virus – but the Prime Min­is­ter and his preg­nant fi­ancee Car­rie Sy­monds have not been tested as they have shown no symp­toms;

A group of Dutch sci­en­tists claimed to have found an an­ti­body that may help de­tect and prevent the coro­n­avirus from be­ing able to in­fect peo­ple;

l Ex­perts pre­dicted that the Govern­ment could be forced to ef­fec­tively na­tion­alise air­lines and train com­pa­nies;

May’s Ed­in­burgh Marathon Fes­ti­val was post­poned;

The Univer­sity of Glas­gow cancelled face-to-face teach­ing af­ter three cases of coro­n­avirus were con­firmed, while as­sess­ments will no longer be held in exam halls;

Ed­in­burgh Univer­sity, the Univer­sity of the West of Scot­land and Glas­gow Cale­do­nian Univer­sity have an­nounced face-to-face teach­ing will cease from to­mor­row.

Last night, it was re­ported that Vir­gin At­lantic will to­mor­row call on Mr John­son to pro­vide £7.5bil­lion to avert an avi­a­tion in­dus­try cri­sis.

De­fence sources told this news­pa­per that un­der the con­tin­gency plans, 38 mil­i­tary li­ai­son of­fi­cers would work with local coun­cils to brief civil ser­vants on how the Armed Forces could help com­bat the cri­sis.

The most es­sen­tial staff, such as RAF Ty­phoon pi­lots, would be quar­an­tined at work to en­sure the UK’s pro­tec­tion and the SAS’s stand-by squadron would be held in the UK, rather than de­ployed over­seas.

If the cri­sis deep­ens, hun­dreds – pos­si­bly thou­sands – of troops could be de­ployed.

Hun­dreds of mem­bers of the Armed Forces hold HGV li­cences and are trained in trans­port­ing haz­ardous loads such as fuel.

Mem­bers of the Royal Mil­i­tary Po­lice would also sup­port local con­stab­u­lar­ies, while troops could be used to drive ambulances and fire en­gines.

Mr John­son will to­mor­row is­sue a Churchilli­an call to lead­ing British man­u­fac­tur­ers to join a na­tional ef­fort to com­bat the spread of the virus. He will urge the con­struc­tion of more ven­ti­la­tors, which the Govern­ment will vow to buy.

NHS chief ex­ec­u­tive Sir Si­mon Stevens said: ‘The scale of the chal­lenge we face means we can’t do this alone... we need ev­ery part of so­ci­ety and ev­ery in­dus­try to ask what they can do to help the ef­fort.’

Amid crit­i­cism of the UK Govern­ment’s strat­egy, Chief Sci­en­tific Ad­viser Pa­trick Val­lance and Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer Chris Whitty said they will pub­lish the sta­tis­ti­cal mod­els on which the ‘shield­ing and iso­lat­ing’ re­sponse was based.

US travel ban ex­tended to the UK ‘We can’t face this chal­lenge alone’

Com­ment: Page 24

SYMP­TOM-FREE: Boris John­son and fi­ancee Car­rie Sy­monds

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