Coronavirus: Strict new curbs on life in UK announced by PM

Content from BBC


Strict new curbs on life in the UK to tackle the spread of coronavirus have been announced by the prime minister.

People may only leave home to exercise once a day, travel to and from work when it is “absolutely necessary”, shop for essential items and fulfil any medical or care needs.

Shops selling non-essential goods have been told to shut and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together will be prohibited.

The UK death toll has reached 335.

If people do not follow the rules police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a televised statement from Downing Street.

Mr Johnson said the country faced a “moment of national emergency” and staying at home was necessary to protect the NHS and save lives.

He said the restrictions would be in place for at least three weeks and would be kept under constant review.

The government guidance says people should only leave home for one of four reasons:

    • Shopping for basic necessities such as food and medicine. Shopping trips should be as infrequent as possible
    • One form of exercise a day such as a run, walk, or cycle. This should be done alone or only with people you live with
    • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. This includes moving children under the age of 18 between their parents’ homes, where applicable. Key workers or those with children identified as vulnerable can continue to take their children to school

<li=>Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home

Even when following the above guidance, people should minimise the amount of time spent out of their homes and should keep two metres (6ft) away from people they do not live with.

The government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies – but funerals will be allowed.

Businesses that will not need to close include:

  • Restaurants, cafes and work canteens – but only for food delivery and takeaway services
  • Supermarkets and other premises selling food, including market stalls
  • “Health shops” such as pharmacies
  • Petrol stations, garages and car rental businesses
  • Bicycle shops
  • Home and hardware shops
  • Launderettes and dry cleaners
  • Pet shops
  • Corner shops, newsagents and post offices
  • Banks

Other premises including libraries, non-essential shops, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship have been ordered to close.

Parks will remain open for exercise but people are not allowed to gather in groups.

Community centres can remain open but only for the purpose of “hosting essential voluntary or public services” such as food banks or service for homeless people, the guidance says.

Hotels, hostels, campsites and caravan parks must also close unless key workers need to stay there, or if other people staying there cannot return to their primary residence.

Scientists have said each person with coronavirus infects 2.5 people and that takes about five days. This means, over a period of 30 days, more than 400 people will have been infected as a result of that one person.

If a person halves their social exposure, that first infection leads to only 15 infections after 30 days.