Prime Minister Boris Johnson has officially announced that the United Kingdom is entering a three-week lockdown, effective Monday evening, in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In a public address from 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Johnson described the pandemic as “the biggest threat (the country) has faced in decades.”
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) March 23, 2020
From this evening, all citizens are required to stay at home, with people only being able to leave for a few essential reasons.
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Individuals are permitted to leave their homes for the following activities:
- Shopping for basic necessities
- One form of exercise a day (alone or with members of their household)
- Any medical care (or to help a vulnerable person)
- Commuting to work, “but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.”
Johnson continues that citizens should not be venturing to meet friends or family members that do not live in the same household.
Also, he explained that people should only go shopping for essential items such as foods or medicines, and this should be done as minimally as possible.
Additionally, the prime minister encourages the usage of food delivery services.
Should these rules not be followed, the police will have the power to enforce them through issuing fines and dispersing gatherings.
The government is also closing all shops and non-essential businesses to the public, including clothing and electronic retailers, as well as public areas, such as parks, libraries, and places of worship.
Moving forward, gatherings of more than two people in public will also be banned, except individuals within your household.
All social events, such as “weddings, baptisms, and other ceremonies,” will be banned with the exclusion of funerals.
Parks will remain open for exercise, but gatherings of more than two people will be dispersed, Johnson explained.
The restrictions will be reviewed in three weeks to account for any changes that may take place and will be relaxed if evidence shows that it is allowed.
“At present, there are just no easy options,” Johnson said.
“The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost. And yet, it is also true that there is a clear way through.”
He concluded by extending his heartfelt appreciation for the efforts currently being carried out by the country’s National Health Service.
“We will beat the coronavirus, and we will beat it together,” Johnson said.
“Therefore, I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS, and save lives.”