On Monday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on the stricter measures that will be implemented to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak after firmly telling the public to “stay at home”. In an unprecedented announcement, PM Johnson declared a nationwide lockdown for at least three weeks.
According to government guidance, the only reasons permitted for stepping outside include exercising once a day, travelling to and from work if unavoidable, shopping for essential items and attending important medical appointments. Any shops that sell non-essential goods have been ordered to close, along with places of worship, playgrounds and libraries. Social events like weddings and baptisms have also been barred; however funerals will continue to happen.
Businesses that are allowed to continue running include: pharmacies, supermarkets, banks, corner shops, newsagents, post offices, petrol stations, bicycle shops, pet shops, laundrettes, hardware shops, restaurants and cafes (but only for takeaway services).
During the televised address, Prime Minister Johnson warned that if measures weren’t followed that the police have been given the power to enforce rules through fines and dispersing crowds.
“In this fight, we can be in no doubt that each and every one of us is directly enlisted. Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together. To halt the spread of this disease. To protect our NHS and to save many thousands of lives,” said Johnson.
This announcement comes after days of criticism at the lack of leadership on tackling the pandemic. In several other European countries, including Spain, France and Italy, lockdowns have been quickly imposed to minimise the devastating effects. However, the UK decided upon a lighter approach which quickly drew backlash when crowds of people began congregating at pubs and beaches across the country last weekend.
The number of deaths in the country has risen to 335 with over 6,000 cases confirmed.
Photo Credit: Mirror