UK Covid live: future pandemic ‘realistic possibility’, says Johnson’s defence review | Politics

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Good morning. A year ago today Boris Johnson announced the “soft” lockdown, telling people to avoid non-essential contact and to work from home. The proper lockdown was announced a week later, on 23 March. To mark the anniversary, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg has published an excellent long read revealing new details about how complacent and unprepared the government was in the very early days of the crisis. (More on that soon.) Today Johnson is publishing his long-awaited integrated review of defence and foreign policy and one of its functions is to ensure that, as the country faces other threats in the future, this time the government will be better prepared.

As my colleague Aubrey Allegretti reports, the review says another novel pandemic is a “realistic possibility”.

Aubrey Allegretti
(@breeallegretti)

The Integrated Review warns COVID might not be the only pandemic this decade:

“Infectious disease outbreaks are likely to be more frequent to 2030. Many will be zoonoses… Another novel pandemic remains a realistic possibility.”


March 15, 2021

He is referring to a passage in the document, which has been widely leaked ahead of its publication at lunchtime, saying:


Infectious disease outbreaks are likely to be more frequent to 2030. Many will be zoonoses – diseases caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites that – spread from animals to humans – as population growth drives the intensification of agriculture and as the loss of habitats increases interaction between humans and animals. Another novel pandemic remains a realistic possibility. On current trends, global deaths related to antimicrobial resistance will rise from 700,000 to 20 million per year by 2050.

I will be covering the report, Johnson’s statement announcing it, and the reaction in detail later.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: The ONS publishes its weekly death figures for England and Wales.

11am: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, gives evidence to the Commons health committee about the health white paper.

11.30am: Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor, speaks at a Reform event.

12.30pm: Boris Johnson makes a statement to MPs about the integrated review of defence and foreign policy. As my colleague Dan Sabbagh reports, it will say Britain is lifting the cap on the number of Trident nuclear warheads it can stockpile by more than 40%.

2pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, makes a statement to the Scottish parliament about Covid.

Politics Live has been mostly about Covid for the last year and I will be covering UK coronavirus developments, as well as non-coronavirus Westminster politics. For global coronavirus news, do read our global live blog.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: UK Covid live: future pandemic ‘realistic possibility’, says Johnson’s defence review | Politics

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