British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his government's four-step plan to combat the global coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday (March 3), saying that the British Army was ready to be deployed in a "reasonable worst case scenario."
Johnson's four step plan includes "containing the virus, delaying its spread, researching its origins and cure, and mitigating the impact should the virus become more widespread."
The prime minister reassured the public that the "overwhelming majority" of people who contract COVID-19 will suffer minimal symptoms and make a full recovery, but said he understood the rising level of public concern and conceded the number of UK cases was "highly likely" to rise beyond the current figure of 51.
Johnson said Britons should also exercise "self-restraint" when seeking treatment from the country's National Health Service (NHS), with increased pressure expected to impact medical services as more people contract the virus.
The government's plan includes possible school closures and home working, warning as many as one fifth of employees could be absent from work during peak weeks.
Asked about the possibility of drafting in the army if the police force is struck by staff shortages, Johnson said the military was "always ready to backfill as and when."