Greta Thunberg speaks out on coronavirus: 'Back the experts'

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks with the media as she arrives for a meeting of the Environment Council at the European Council building in Brussels, Thursday, March 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has urged people to listen to coronavirus experts (AP)

Greta Thunberg has spoken out on the coronavirus pandemic, urging people across the globe to “unite behind experts and science”.

The UK government has maintained that their tactics on battling Covid-19 are based on advice from experts – something the Swedish climate activist has also now recommended.

Thunberg tweeted: “We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis and we must unite behind experts and science. This of course goes for all crises.”

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Boris Johnson is expected to move Britain into the ‘delay’ phase of the pandemic, which could see large social gatherings like football match airings in pubs being banned.

Commenting on the advice, Thunberg went on: “Now the experts urge us to avoid big public gatherings for a better chance to #flattenthecurve and slow the spreading of the coronavirus.

“So I personally recommend that we do as the experts say. Especially in high-risk areas.”

Johnson is chairing a Cobra meeting on Thursday to decide on the next move in tackling the spread of coronavirus in the UK.

Read more: Doctor's warning to those underestimating coronavirus

Ex-Tory minister Rory Stewart attacked the government’s coronavirus stance this week, insisting that swift action had to be taken, including closing schools.

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) criticised "alarming levels of inaction" as he declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the UN health agency is still advising a containment strategy but countries must "double-down" on their efforts, adding: "We should be more aggressive.”

In a similar tone, the executive director of the WHO health emergencies programme questioned if action by the EU and western Europe had been "good enough" following an acceleration in cases.

Dr Tedros told a briefing in Geneva the agency had repeatedly called for countries to take "urgent and aggressive action" and had "rung the alarm bell loud and clear”.

Read more: Health expert's warning over Boris Johnson's coronavirus response

He said: "We expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries climb even higher.

"WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we're deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference, at 10 Downing Street, in London, on the government's coronavirus action plan.
Boris Johnson is to chair a Cobra meeting on the next phase of tackling coronavirus (PA)

"We have therefore made the assessment that Covid-19 can be characterised as a pandemic.”

He appealed to affected countries to "detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilise", adding: "We cannot say this loudly enough or clearly enough or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic.”

Read more: How many coronavirus cases are there in your area?

The UK is currently in the containment phase of tackling Covid-19 as the number of cases rose to 460.

Moving to the next stage – delay – would mean social distancing measures could be brought in, such as restricting public gatherings and more widespread advice to stay at home.

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