JEREMY Hunt said Britain still “has a chance” of stopping coronavirus devastating our NHS in the same way it wreaked havoc in Italy.
The former health secretary said “it’s all to play for” but Brits must take government advice instead of heading out to socialise.
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It comes after Boris Johnson wrote a letter to the public today warning them to stay at home and not visit their mum’s on Mother’s Day.
Mr Hunt, who served in Theresa May's cabinet, told Sky’s Sophy Ridge: “The crucial thing now is that if everyone does what the social distancing measures require, if we do what the Prime Minister says and don’t visit our mother for mothers’ day, all those kind of things, then we have a chance of avoiding the terrible impact on health service that we saw in Italy.
I think it’s all to play for, it’s absolutely possible still to avoid what we’ve seen.
“I think it’s all to play for, it’s absolutely possible still to avoid what we’ve seen."
The Tory MP added: “But everyone is very worried and the virus is growing still very fast and it's very disappointing when people don’t obey the instructions given out – because it’s not your life you’re risking necessarily its somebody else’s.”
Today Britain’s coronavirus death toll rose to 240 – after seven new victims were reported in Wales.
Cases for the UK have soared to 5,018, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Health on Saturday.
The NHS is under constant pressure as people rush to get tested and medics and doctors have called on the government to issue testing kits.
In Italy, the new epicentre for the virus, covid-19 has caused chaos – plunging the country into lockdown and bringing the hospitals to their knees.
Troops are now working round-the-clock to move coffins after the coronavirus pandemic claimed the lives of 793 people in a single day.
The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating. We are only a matter of weeks — two or three — behind Italy
The total number of dead in the hardest-hit country in the world soared to 4,825 today – the worst day for fatalities since the crisis began.
It now has more than 53,578 confirmed cases of coronavirus and has been under lockdown since the government announced a nationwide quarantine on March 9.
Officials are concerned that if Brits don’t take the advice of the government onboard – the UK could be set for a similar course.
Today the PM urged people “to act together” to avoid the same fate as Italy.
Mr Johnson wrote: “The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating. We are only a matter of weeks — two or three — behind Italy.
“The Italians have a superb healthcare 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.
“That is why this country has taken the steps that it has, in imposing restrictions never seen before either in peace or war.”
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