BORIS JOHNSON tonight warned people over 70 with serious medical conditions should avoid taking cruises to protect them from coronavirus.
The PM revealed the UK has now moved to the "delay" phase of the UK's virus battle plan after he chaired an emergency COBRA meeting.
The new advice is based on guidance from the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, and follows a number of cases around the world of cruise ships experiencing outbreaks on board.
Underlying conditions include diabetes, respiratory disease, asthma, chronic heart, liver or neurological disease, a weakened immune system or any recent or undergoing chemotherapy.
Vulnerable travellers with existing plans should speak to their operator, transport and accommodation provider for further advice, the Foreign Office warned.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Our first priority is the safety of British nationals.
"The nature and design of cruise ships – where passengers are contained and the virus can spread faster – makes them a particularly risky environment for vulnerable people.
"We’ve already seen the impact a coronavirus outbreak can have on board a cruise ship and we have changed this advice with the safety of British nationals in mind.”
It was revealed today that Princess Cruises is suspending operations on all 18 of its cruise ships due to the coronavirus.
The two-month halting of cruises comes after an outbreak of the virus on two of its ships, the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princes.
Speaking after today's COBRA meeting, Mr Johnson said: "We advise all those over 70 with serious medical conditions against going on cruises and we advise against international school trips."
We’ve already seen the impact a coronavirus outbreak can have on board a cruise ship and we have changed this advice with the safety of British nationals in mind
Brits are also being told to stay away from vulnerable elderly people as the UK's coronavirus battle plan ramps up.
The government also advised people to stay away from anyone with underlying health conditions as much as possible.
But the Department of Health admitted:"We are aware that not all these measures will be possible".
The new guidelines come as the number of Brits to die from coronavirus reached 10, with 590 people testing postive for COVID-19.
Britain's plans to tackle the "global pandemic" were likely to go further "in the coming weeks", the PM added.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's Chief Scientific Adviser, said modelling predicted a 20-25 per cent drop in the peak of the epidemic by getting people to stay at home for a week if they have mild symptoms.
Moving to whole household isolation adds an extra 25 per cent reduction.
Preventing the elderly from getting infected could reduce death rates by 20-30 per cent, Sir Patrick said.
"Those are the three most important measures to take," he said.
"It doesn't mean other things don't have additional effects as well, but those are the ones which have the biggest effect and therefore they need to come in first."
Brits told to self-isolate for a week if they have a 'mild' cold or a cough
BRITS are being told to do their duty for the country's coronavirus effort and self-isolate for seven days if they have a mild cough or cold.
Anyone with even mild symptoms should not leave home for seven days from when their symptoms start to stop the virus spreading.
People staying at home for seven days should stay at least two metres away from people whenever possible, according to Public Health England's guidelines.
They should also sleep alone – as well as wash their hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water.
Boris rules out cancelling public gatherings for now despite Scotland ban
Boris Johnson has ruled out cancelling public gatherings over the coronavirus despite Scotland issuing a ban.
The Prime Minister refused to cancel sporting events and concerts to combat the disease as it offered no real benefit.
His decision comes as Scotland banned gatherings of more than 500 people.
He said: "The scientific advice as we’ve said over the last couple of weeks is that banning such events will have little effect on the spread.
"So we’re discussing these issues with colleagues in all parts of the United Kingdom and will have more to say shortly about the timing of further action in that respect.”
Up to 10,000 Brits ‘already infected with coronavirus’ – and peak of crisis is still weeks away
UP TO 10,000 Brits could already be infected with undiagnosed coronavirus, experts have warned.
Speaking after a COBRA meeting, Boris Johnson said the number of cases in the UK is expected to rise sharply – warning the peak is still weeks away.
The Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance added the 590 reported cases in the UK could be the tip of the iceberg.
He said: “"If you calculate what that really means in terms of the total number, it is much more likely that we have between 5,000 and 10,000 people infected at the moment.”
SCHOOLS won't be closed over coronavirus fears – but will be forced to ditch foreign trips
Boris Johnson today confirmed schools would stay open because closing them could actually make things worse.The Prime Minister vowed to keep them open for now but slapped a ban on school trips abroad.
Instead schools will be monitored and only forced to close on an individual basis.
Mr Johnson said: "We are not closing schools now, the scientific advice is that this could do more harm than good at this time.
"Schools should only close if they are specifically advised to do so."
Don't call NHS 111 with mild symptoms – go online
IF you are worried you might have coronavirus DON'T call NHS 111, the Prime Minister said today.
Boris Johnson urged all Brits to visit the NHS 111 website as their first port of call.
If you think your condition is getting worse, seek medical attention quickly and dial 999 in an emergency.
If it's not an emergency, contact NHS 111 online here.
If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
All routine medical and dental appointments should be cancelled while you are sick and staying at home.
Public Health England said it will no longer be testing everyone suspected of having coronavirus.
If you are self-isolating with mild symptoms you won't be tested.
Whole families could have to self-isolate if ONE has symptoms in future
FAMILIES could soon be told to self-isolate if just ONE of them has coronavirus symptoms, it emerged today.
At the moment Brits who get ill are being told to stay away from the people in their home as best they can – and avoid contact with others.
But in future whole families could have to go into lockdown to stop the spread further, experts said earlier.
That could be for up to a fortnight to make sure that everyone in the family has time for the symptoms to show and to get over the most infectious part of the disease.
However, that is not advice the Government is recommending at the moment – as we are not yet at the peak of the illness.
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