One in five UK workers may end up taking time off for coronavirus

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    Source : METRO

    Up to a fifth of the workforce may be off sick during the peak of a coronavirus epidemic in the UK, the government has warned in battle plan to tackle the outbreak.

    The 27-page document sets out the UK-wide response to Covid-19 amid widespread concerns about the impact the virus will have on people’s wellbeing, the economy and public services.

    Downing Street say the spread of the disease could force police to drop low-priority cases and the NHS to delay non-urgent care if public sector staff fall ill in large numbers.

    In a ‘stretching scenario’ it is possible that up to one in five employees may be absent from work during the height of the epidemic. With increased pressures at work inevitable for everyone, supporting staff welfare ‘will be critical’ for businesses, the government said.

    There are 39 cases of coronavirus in the UK, but Boris Johnson warned yesterday that there could be a ‘significant’ expansion.

    NHS staff could be brought out of retirement to deal with the demand.

    The Government’s response is in four stages: containing the outbreak, delaying its spread and mitigating the impact of the disease once it becomes established, and a research programme aimed at improving diagnostics and treatment for the disease. If coronavirus becomes established, there will be a focus on essential services and helping those ‘most at risk to access the right treatment’.

    Emergency plans to tackle a rise in cases include drafting in the army to help emergency services, school closures, reducing social gatherings and working from home.

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