London, Mar 22: The novel coronavirus death toll has reached 281 in Britain, an increase of 48 in a day, the Department of Health and Social Care said Sunday.As of 9a.m. (0900GMT) on Sunday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Britain reached 5,683, up 665 from the same point on Saturday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday unveiled a plan to shield around 1.5 million vulnerable people in the country, which he said would be more effective than many other measures to slash the number of infected cases.
The National Health Service (NHS) will contact those at higher risk -- asking people to not leave home for 12 weeks -- including people living with severe respiratory conditions, specific cancers and some people with immunosuppressant conditions, said Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick co-chairing the conference with Johnson.
For those without a care network, the government will be setting up a network of local "hubs" -- medicine and food to be distributed by local authorities. Parcels will be left on doorsteps with the help of emergency services and armed forces, said Jenrick.
Calling on people to stay home and protect the NHS, Johnson urged Britons to follow social distancing strictly.
"Otherwise the government will have to bring forward further measures," he added.
Asked about the possibility of enforcing a lockdown, Johnson said "the answer is always to be guided by the science", and the ways of curfews and movement prohibitions would only come "at the right moment". (UNI-Xinhua)