By Sebastian Murphy-bates For Mailonline
Published: 13:03 GMT, 1 March 2020 | Updated: 14:50 GMT, 1 March 2020
Boris Johnson has hailed frontline NHS staff as the UK's 'greatest asset' in the face of the coronavirus outbreak as he urged people to was their hands with soap for 20 seconds to stop the spread of infection.
With 23 cases now confirmed in the UK and fears that up to 80 per cent of the population could be infected, the Prime Minister says he has no doubt that Covid-19 will be beaten.
Johnson's comments come after he visited Kettering General Hospital in Northamptonshire.
This morning he tweeted: 'Coronavirus may very well be a challenge in the weeks and months ahead. But I have no doubt that with the help of the NHS and its incomparable staff, this country will get through it — and beat it.'
Boris Johnson is pictured meeting with staff at Kettering General Hospital which he said left him 100 per cent confident that the UK will beat the coronavirus crisis
Pictured: A woman wears a protective mask while waiting or the Tube in central London following the confirmation of 23 cases of coronavirus in the UK
Writing in The Sun, he said: 'In the early hours of Friday I was walking the corridors of Kettering General Hospital, talking to the NHS professionals who may well be in the front line.
'I saw some of the extraordinary steps they have already taken in case the illness spreads further in this country.
'They showed me a new coronavirus pod, a special sterile cabin outside the hospital, where people can come to be checked.'
He said that during his visit he met with patients who were also full of praise for the NHS workers.
But he admitted that the social care system needs to be fixed in order to help care for people in their own homes.
The Prime Minister urged people to pay special attention when washing their hands, saying it should be done for