The UK government are ignoring that advice. The view of the government's advisers (which the likes of Johnson, Cummings and Hancock are all too eager to accept) is that containment isn't possible and that we therefore shouldn't even try. We should instead deliberately have a large-scale 'managed epidemic' that affects a huge percentage of the population and thus builds up 'herd immunity' so there's much less chance of a second outbreak. That will condemn untold numbers of people to a needless death. The excuse for this utter insanity is that the NHS will be better equipped to deal with the epidemic in the summer than it would be if there's a second wave next winter.
If you want to know what a 'managed epidemic' will actually look like in this country, take a look at the situation in Italy, where the health system is already in virtual collapse in spite of the fact that the numbers infected are still relatively small compared to what we'd be facing here at the height of an epidemic. In a nutshell, a 'managed epidemic' is in current circumstances a contradiction in terms. The NHS is not equipped to cope with it in summer any more than it is in winter.
Who is more to blame for this impending catastrophe - the ministers, or their advisers? Ultimately it comes from the advisers (particularly the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser), but it's not hard to see why it suits the Tories down the ground to go along with it. The alternative is to face a much longer period of disruption to keep the virus under control - in other words something akin to the situation in China and South Korea at the moment. And that would get in the way of Johnson's plans for a glorious post-Brexit future, which is what he'd much rather be getting on with. That's essentially what he meant the other week by his jaw-dropping musings about "taking coronavirus on the chin" and getting it over and done with by letting it move through the population. That might suit him, but I don't think it suits the rest of us.
So what about the argument that the containment achieved in China and South Korea is a) not replicable here, and b) not even sustainable in those countries anyway in the context of a pandemic? It's worth looking in detail at what the WHO have actually said about how containment worked in China. I particularly recommend this interview with Bruce Aylward, who led the WHO's mission to the country. He makes clear that in most of China containment wasn't achieved by total lockdown, but by the same public health measures that can be applied anywhere - closing of large gatherings, large-scale testing, fast and meticulous tracing and isolation of close contacts, and above all a high level of public awareness about the virus so that ordinary people can be used as a surveillance system. It's exactly that high level of vigilance that will enable the Chinese to smother any fresh outbreak much more quickly - and just in case they're unable to do that, they're also using the time they've bought to dramatically build up the capacity of hospitals. They're also testing and quarantining arrivals from other countries to prevent the virus being imported back in. These are all steps we could take here if we actually got the virus under control by social distancing measures, and by ramping up testing to South Korean levels and tracing all the contacts quickly.
Instead, the government are trying to put you in a trance by making you think that what they are about to do by design is completely unavoidable. The most despicable thing Matt Hancock said yesterday (and it was dutifully parroted by Robert Peston as if it was fact) was that the WHO's characterisation of the outbreak as a "pandemic" meant they were saying that nothing could stop it and that it would now reach every corner of the globe. He must have known that was a lie when he said it - because in their press conference, the WHO were at pains to point out that the word "pandemic" was NOT an excuse for governments to give up on containment efforts and that they did NOT believe the virus would affect every part of the world, as long as the correct steps were taken. They even specifically made the point that any government that gives up on containment and moves wholesale to "mitigation" will effectively be creating a situation where the health system will be overwhelmed.
If you agree with me that it would be better to put up with a year or two of moderate disruption rather than have God knows how many pointless deaths over the next few months, you could think about contacting your MP or MSP - in some cases, they may not even know that what is being presented to them as "the best scientific advice" is actually completely at odds with the WHO's directives. Another thing you can do is keep an eye on Rory Stewart's Twitter account and retweet some of the things he's saying to ensure they reach the maximum audience. I know I've criticised him many times in the past, but at the moment he does seem to be the only senior politician who truly "gets it".