UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that instead of giving statutory sick pay from the fourth day off from work, the government will now provide the pay from the first day itself. Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, Johnson said on March 4 that the government had put "record funding" into the National Health Service (NHS) in order to ensure that it has everything it needs as the world battles the deadly coronavirus. Having at least 87 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, the British PM explained that in "emergency coronavirus legislation" people who will stay in self-isolation to protect others from being infected, will be getting paid from the first day they take an off.
“Today we’re announcing that people self-isolating will get Statutory Sick Pay from the first day off work. This will be included in emergency coronavirus legislation.” — PM @BorisJohnson pic.twitter.com/v8rxS1oj6J— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) March 4, 2020
Johnson further added, "And I think that is the right way forward, and nobody should be penalised for doing the right thing."
Johnson has also claimed earlier that his country was fully prepared to battle the deadly coronavirus, international media reported. According to reports, he also said that he could ask the army to step in the worst-case scenario. The virus, first detected in China has infected more than 95,000 people globally and reportedly caused over 3,200 deaths. According to international media, Britain has reported over 80 cases of COVID-19.
While speaking to international media, the British PM had said that he fully understood the public concern about the global spread of coronavirus but it was highly unlikely that the UK will see growing numbers. He further said that keeping Britain safe was the “government’s overriding priority.” While talking about the army intervention, he said that the military is always ready to backfill but that would be under a “reasonable worst-case scenario.”
Britain's chief medical officer on March 3 said that one per cent of people who contract the new coronavirus might die, based on the Chinese experience. Speaking at a news conference alongside British PM and Britain's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, Professor Chris Whitty added that the risk was higher in older and more vulnerable people. He said that predicting a percentage of how many would be infected was "largely speculative" because of the proportion of people who have no symptoms of the disease and who have not been counted in the overall numbers, and what proportion of the population can get infected.