Coronavirus: Fears 80% of Brits could get disease in worst-case scenario

UP to 80 per cent of the UK population could become infected with coronavirus in a ‘worst-case scenario’, a new document suggests.

The paper, from the National Security Communications Team, which advises ministers, says the Government is planning for a wide range of scenarios, including the reasonable worst case.

‘For the UK, this could involve up to 80 per cent of the population being infected; however, not all of these people will experience symptoms and the vast majority of cases will be mild disease,’ it says.

‘This is based on the currently available scientific evidence.’

Workers disinfect subway trains against coronavirus in Tehran, Iran. Picture: AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

Under this scenario, of those who do develop the symptoms, ‘2 per cent to 3 per cent will result in a fatality’, the document goes on.

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This could potentially mean millions of Britons infected and hundreds of thousands of people dying. The population of the UK is around 66.4 million.

‘The Government is taking all necessary precautions to protect the public, including engaging with key industry partners to discuss their preparedness planning,’ says the paper, which is titled Covid-19 Reasonable Worst-Case Scenario.

The document adds: ‘Covid-19 is a previously unknown virus, which means the global population has little to no immunity to infection.

‘There are currently no clinical counter-measures available to treat Covid-19 and a vaccine is unlikely to be available for many months.’

It says current treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms of infection ‘while the patient's body fights against the virus’.

Current evidence suggests the elderly and those with underlying health problems are most at risk from coronavirus.