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Coronavirus report warned of impact on UK four years before pandemic

Exclusive: Report from planning exercise in 2016 alerted government of need to stockpile PPE and set up contact tracing system

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Senior health officials who war-gamed the impact of a coronavirus hitting the UK, warned four years before the onset of Covid-19 of the need for stockpiles of PPE, a computerised contact tracing system and screening for foreign travellers, the Guardian can reveal.

The calls to step up preparations in areas already identified as shortcomings in the government’s response to Covid, emerged from a previously unpublished report of a health planning exercise in February 2016 that imagined a coronavirus outbreak.

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