THE UK Government's approach to developing "herd immunity" among the public against Covid-19 has been questioned by the World Health Organisation. 

Spokeswoman Margaret Harris said not enough is currently known about the science of the coronavirus and while "theories" can be discussed, this situation requires "action".

Her comments came as the UK's plans got under way to follow Scotland's footsteps and ban mass gatherings from next week. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has so far faced criticism for not taking such action despite similar steps being taken by other European countries as the outbreak spreads.

Emergency legislation bringing in new powers like giving police and immigration officers the right to detain anyone suspected of having the virus will be brought in soon. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus: UK Government to introduce emergency laws for outbreak

Dr Harris spoke to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, saying: "We don't know enough about the science of this virus, it hasn't been in our population for long enough for us to know what it does in immunological terms.

"Every virus functions differently in your body and stimulates a different immunological profile.

"We can talk theories, but at the moment we are really facing a situation where we have got to look at action."

Yesterday the UK's chief scientific adviser said it is hoped the UK Government's approach to tackling the coronavirus will create a "herd immunity" to the illness.

WHO added Europe has become the epicentre of the pandemic, and US President Donald Trump indicated he may add the UK to the list of countries facing a US travel ban.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 60% of UK public need Covid-19 for 'herd immunity'

Late last night a Whitehall source said: "Ministers are working with the chief scientific adviser and chief medical officer on our plan to stop various types of public event, including mass gatherings, beginning next week.

"We are also talking to businesses and other bodies about the timing of moving towards much more widespread working from home.

"There are many complex considerations to make all these measures as effective as possible.

"We will make the right decisions at the right time based on the best scientific evidence.

"We have drafted emergency legislation to give the Government the powers it needs to deal with coronavirus, including powers to stop mass gatherings and compensate organisations.

"We will publish this legislation next week."

READ MORE: Coronavirus LIVE: Cases of COVID-19 in Scotland rise to 85

The Times reported the laws could also give police and immigration officers to detain people if they are suspected of being infected and the ability to direct schools to stay open.
The newspaper said the laws could remain in place for two years.

The UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance had previously said while it is "eye-catching" to order the cancellation of mass gatherings and sporting events, the chances of contracting the disease by attending such occasions are slim.

Care Minister Helen Whately told the BBC: "We are following the evidence. As the chief medical officer said, and I have been advised, the evidence tells us that stopping mass gatherings doesn't have a huge impact on the spread of the virus.

"But, for example, decisions have been taken in some countries because of the impact on public services and because, when you have a mass gatherings, that draws on the police and the ambulance service you need to support it."