Prime minister declares lockdown in UK

You must “stay at home”

The Prime Minister declared a state of lockdown in the UK on Monday to stop the spread of the Coronavirus – with people only able to leave their homes under very limited circumstances.

Boris Johnson made the announcement on Monday (23 March) after people across the UK were seen flocking to beaches, parks and public areas enjoying the sunshine over the weekend – ignoring advice to stay at home.

The measures unlike anything since the Second World War will last for at least three weeks

To help enforce social distancing, people will be banned from gathering in groups of more than two – excluding family members from the same household.

They will only be allowed to leave their homes to collect necessities such as food or medicine or to provide care for a vulnerable person and are urged to use food delivery services.

Travel for essential work will be allowed but only if absolutely necessary and it cannot be done from home.

One form of exercise will be allowed once a day such as running, walking or cycling and must be done “either alone or with other household members”.

All social events will be banned including weddings and baptisms but funerals will be allowed.

Anyone caught breaking the rules will face police action, through fines and the dispersing of gatherings. 

To ensure compliance, shops selling non-essential goods will be shut, as will other public spaces such as libraries, playgrounds, places of worship and outdoor gyms.

In his televised address to the nation Mr Johnson said : “The Coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades – and this country is not alone.

“All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer.

“And so tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.

“And I want to begin by reminding you why the UK has been taking the approach that we have. Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.

‘And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger. To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it, meaning more people are likely to die, not just from the Coronavirus but from other illnesses as well…”

Mr Johnson said the situation would be reviewed in a three weeks and rules would be relaxed if evidence showed they were able to.

He ended saying: ” I urge you at this time of national emergency: stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.”