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Rory Stewart: "There may even have to be a role for the military"

Peter Kelly
Mar 13, 2020

COVID-19 is the sole focus right now in Britain and it has caused a huge amount of disarray.

Various sporting spectacles are now starting to be called off including all top-four tiers of English football. The decision follows the news that Arsenal Head-Coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Shops have run out of various goods due to the public starting to stockpile items.


Boris Johnson yesterday announced that he would not follow the likes of Italy and Ireland who have decided to close schools in a bid to halt the spread of COVID-19. 

London Mayoral candidate and former Tory Minister Rory Stewart told Love Sport Radio today that workers who have to self-isolate and therefore miss work should be helped out by the Government.

"So, for that the government needs to provide much, much more generous packages and measures to compensate people because otherwise people are going to be encouraged to keep working when it's not safe to do so because understandably, they're going to have to put food on the table. So I'm afraid this is the case where the government has to dig very deep into its pockets, not just for the NHS, but also to help ordinary citizens who are going to have to make huge sacrifices if we're going to get through this safely together."

On how the government should prepare for further COVID-19 related issues, Stewart stated all scenarios need to be ready if needed. 


"We need to model for every kind of scenario, this is a very extreme scenario. And we have to get the balance right. So we're not in the business of panicking people. But we also have to explain that this is something pretty unprecedented. 

"We haven't seen anything like this in Britain in terms of disease for about 100 years. So ultimately, yes, there will have to be a role for policing. There may even have to be a role for the military, particularly and dealing with some of the logistical issues that we're going to face as this disease continues to spread. I'm afraid, we haven't quite got serious enough. 

"I mean, I would be expecting almost every public service now to be taking some key staff back into a planning cell to think about almost nothing else now other than how we respond to coronavirus, particularly if the government continues on its current path, and decides it's not going to try to suppress it in the way that the Chinese and South Koreans set out to do. Then we're really going to have to put some very, very radical planning in place."

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