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23rd Mar 2020

#Covid-19: Boris Johnson announces three-week lockdown for the UK

Anna Daly


Public gatherings will be limited to two people. 

Boris Johnson has announced that the United Kingdom will be under strict lockdown for at least three weeks.

In a public address to the British nation, the Prime Minister informed people that a new set of stringent rules would be put in place in order to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak. People living in the UK are now banned from leaving their homes for all non-essential reasons or for exercise once a day.

All non-essentials shops will be closed, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship. All events will be cancelled, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.

Any people gathering in groups of more than two people, excluding the people they are living with, could be charged £30. Johnson added that parks will remain open for exercise but that “gatherings will be dispersed”.

He entreated the British public to do everything they can to help stop the spread of the virus but added:

“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”

He added that “no prime minister wants to enact measures like this” but that they are necessary due to the damage that the virus outbreak has caused.

“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 coronavirus but from other illnesses as well. So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease.

Because that is the way we reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time, so we can protect the NHS’s ability to cope – and save more lives.”

He said that the lockdown restrictions would be kept under constant review and that the British government would “look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to”.