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England’s deputy chief medical officer has ridiculed Donald Trump’s suggestion that injecting people with disinfectant could help fight coronavirus.
Jenny Harries made clear that “nobody should be injecting anything” into their bodies.
After the US president’s remarkable comments senior officials were forced to immediately clarify that there were no plans to inject disinfectant into Americans and experts lambasted the idea as irresponsible and dangerous.
Harries was asked about Trump’s idea at the Downing Street daily coronavirus briefing.
She replied: “I wouldn’t have a specific message to Donald Trump – I’d have a specific message to anybody who suggested they should be injecting anything into their bodies.
“Clearly we would not support from a medical professional perspective – it is really important that people use appropriate treatments that are evidence-based and tested.
“We have very good programmes that have been taken up very rapidly, coordinated in this country, testing various different alternative treatments.
“Those trials will report reasonably early.
“But certainly nobody should be injecting anything and we should be using evidence-based and properly trialled treatments that we know will be safe.”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps added: “That was very clear.”
Shapps meanwhile suggested Trump’s decision to impose bans on people travelling to the US had not worked.
He said the government would keep “under review” whether to introduce airport scanning for coronavirus, suggesting it may be more useful when the government’s strategy switches back to trying to contain the epidemic using testing, tracking and contact tracing.
“As we come out of any of this and into the next phase at a future point, we will continue to keep the excellent medical and scientific advice we receive under review to say whether those procedures at airports should change.”
But the transport secretary said countries which locked down flights early on “have not necessarily weathered the storm of the coronavirus any better”.
“Although it must be part of the plan going forward, I think it is probably more useful during the phase of ‘test, track and trace’ that the health secretary was talking about yesterday.”
Harries said that quarantining people returning from abroad becomes “less effective” once the prevalence of the disease balances across the world.
“What may well become an opportunity is when our rates are very tightly controlled and individuals are coming into the country.
“Even then it may not be quite as simple.”