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On 27 April, UK health secretary Alan Johnson stated that Britain has a stockpile of 33 million courses of antiviral drugs effective against this strain, enough for one course for around half of the UK's population. On 30 April, Alan Johnson stated that the government was obtaining extra antiviral drugs that would protect 50 million people, amounting to more than three-quarters of the UK population.
There is a pandemic plan covering topics from distributing the drugs and setting up helplines to closing schools and banning public events which was tested in a large exercise in 2007. There is also a specific response plan for London.
It should be noted that oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza), the 2 antivirals known to be effective, must be taken within 48 hours of onset of symptoms or earlier to be effective; the positive effects are greatest if treatment is started within 6 hours.To be effective stockpiled supplies must be made available to patients within this timescale, regardless of weekends and holidays.