UK steps up battle with coronavirus, tells ill people to isolate

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stepped up the response to the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, moving to the so called “delay phase” which includes the option of more stringent measures designed to slow down the spread of the virus.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives to hold a news conference addressing the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, at Downing Street in London, Britain March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Pool

Stock markets tumbled across the world, with Britain’s FTSE 100 down 10.9 percent, its worst one-day performance since 1987. Sterling fell three cents against the dollar, the biggest fall since the 2016 Brexit vote.

At a meeting of Britain’s emergency committee, known as COBR, Johnson decided to move to the so called “delay phase” from the “contain phase”.

“We are now getting onto the next phase,” Johnson said. “This is now not just an attempt to contain the disease as far as possible but to delay its spread.”

He said those showing symptoms of having the virus should self-isolate for at least a week.

The British plan for dealing wi

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