Coronavirus: "The numbers are very stark and they are accelerating" admits Boris Johnson.

"The numbers are very stark and they are accelerating", Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Britain as National Health Service (NHS) hospitals begin to buckle under the strains of a veritable deluge of new patients, a shortage of hospital beds, and lack of necessary equipment. The NHS, which as been ailing for years, is now reduced to asking vetinary surgeons for the loan of vital ventilators.

Johnson's call for a "heroic and collective national effort to slow the spread", lest "our own NHS will be similarly overwhelmed", a reference to the catastrophic situation unfolding in Italy, where around 800 died in one day alone, was somewhat at odds with his procrastination over imposing shutdowns on pubs, restaurants, and other gathering places.

His actions over the last few days may be too little too late to avoid the Italian scenario replicating itself in the UK: in terms of mortalities, the UK is in exactly the same position as Italy was two weeks ago, although the rate is now rising faster in the UK.

The Italians have a superb health care system. And yet their doctors and nurses have been completely overwhelmed by the demand. The Italian death toll is already in the thousands and climbing. Unless we act together, unless we make the heroic and collective national effort to slow the spread - then it is all too likely that our own NHS will be similarly overwhelmed.

Boris Johnson.

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The UK's mortality rate jumped to 5.85% in the last 24 hours, outstripping that of China's 4.01% and hard-hit Spain's 5.02%, as it creeps perilously close to Italy's 8.57%,

It has emerged that French President Emmanuel Macron threatened to close France’s border with Britain on Friday if Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to take more stringent measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

If neighbouring countries, Britain for instance, stayed for too long in a situation without taking these measures, then we would find it hard to accept on our soil British nationals who would have been moving freely in their own country.

Edouard Philippe, Prime Minister of France.

“We had to clearly threaten him to make him finally budge,” French newspaper Liberation quoted an Elysee official as saying.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

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