Coronavirus: Prime Minister places the UK on lockdown with new emergency measures

PUBLISHED: 20:53 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 21:14 23 March 2020

Screen grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation from 10 Downing Street, London, as he placed the UK on lockdown as the Government seeks to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Picture: PA Video/PA Wire

Screen grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation from 10 Downing Street, London, as he placed the UK on lockdown as the Government seeks to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Picture: PA Video/PA Wire

The Prime Minister has announced new restrictions on people leaving their homes and has ordered shops to close in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In an address to the nation on Monday evening (March 23), Boris Johnson said he was giving the British people a simple instruction – stay at home.

Members of the public will now only be allowed to leave the home for four purposes:

– Shopping for basic necessities

– One form of exercise a day alone or with members of your household

– Any medical need or to provide care for a vulnerable person

– Travelling to and from work, but only where absolutely necessary and if you cannot work from home

Mr Johnson also announced the closure of all shops selling ‘non-essential goods’ including clothing and electrical items, libraries, playgrounds outdoor gyms and places of worship.

All gatherings of two or more people are banned, as are social events including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, excluding funerals.

Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

The measures – in force for an initial period of three weeks – will be enforced by the police, who will have the power to issue fines.

Mr Johnson said: “No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this. I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.

“And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.

“And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

“But at present there are just no easy options.

He added: “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 many thousands of lives.

“And I know that as they have in the past so many times, the people of this country will rise to that challenge. And we will come through it stronger than ever.

“We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together. And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.”


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