Prime minister escalates the UK’s response to the coronavirus pandemic with series new of measures.
Boris Johnson has laid out a nationwide self-isolation ‘lockdown’ policy, ordering a ban on gatherings, the closure of non-essential shops, and imposing strict limits on people leaving their homes aside from essential activities.
In a public broadcast on Monday, Johnson described COVID-19 as the “biggest threat the country has seen for decades” and confirmed gatherings of more than two people could be dispersed by the police.
During the broadcast, Johnson said: “From this evening I must give the British public a very simple instruction – you must stay at home”.
The only reasons people are allowed to leave their homes include:
- Shopping for basic necessities, such as food and medicine, as infrequently as possible;
- Exercising once a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help any vulnerable person;
- Traveling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
Johnson said, “You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask to meet, you should say no.
“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
To ensure compliance with the government’s instructions to stay home, the government will:
- Close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises, including libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms, and places of worship;
- Cancel all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with;
- Cancel all social events will be stopped, including weddings, baptisms, and other ceremonies, excluding funerals;
- Keep parks open but disperse gatherings
Johnson added that more than 7,500 clinicians will return to service and the NHS is increasing stocks of equipment.
He also announced that the British Government are buying millions of testing kits that will “enable us to turn the tide on the invisible killer”.
The Prime Minister then gave thanks to “everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus.
“Everyone from the supermarket staff to the transport workers, to the carers to the nurses and doctors on the frontline”.
The decision follows Friday’s social distancing measures announcing that all pubs, restaurants and gyms should shut down.
The NHS advises to:
Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:
- A high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- A new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
- Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
- You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.
- Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.
Phone 111 if:
- You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- Your condition gets worse
- Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
You can read more advice and information about the Coronavirus on the NHS website here.