UK on lockdown as Boris Johnson announces new measures to tackle coronavirus

Boris Johnson has announced an unprecedented new series of measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

Speaking from Downing Street, the Prime Minister banned people from leaving their homes except for specific purposes.

These include shopping for basic necessities, basic exercise, medical needs, and travelling to and from work, but only if it is absolutely impossible to work from home.

The police have been given powers to disperse any public gatherings of more than two people, excluding those that you live with.

All social events except funerals will be banned.

Johnson warned that without a "huge national effort," the NHS would become overwhelmed.

He added: "You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say no."

The PM also warned against any meeting with family and any shopping trips for anything except essentials such as food and medicine.

"If you don't follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings," he went on.

Any public meetings with more than two people – excluding those who you live with – will also be broken up by police.

These measures will be in place for at least the next three weeks before they are reviewed again, Johnson said.

So far, 335 people have died in the UK from the coronavirus, with Sunday seeing 48 new deaths.

This comes days after similar measures were taken in other European countries such as Spain, Italy, and France.

It comes after Brits were seen flocking to beaches and parks at the weekend, flouting the government guidelines.

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The UK's death rate so far largely matches that of Italy two weeks ago, and this is believed to be the factor which has pushed Johnson into acting.

Italy has now seen the second-highest number of cases worldwide, with almost 64,000 confirmed cases.

It has also seen the highest number of deaths, with more than 6,000 victims overwhelming hospitals in parts of the country.

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In the epicentre of the disease, the northern Italian region of Lombardy, some the army has been drafted in to remove the bodies.

Spain has been on nationwide lockdown for nine days already, but despite that, its number of cases is continuing to soar.

The country recorded 434 new deaths on Monday, and 4,321 cases in the past day, a rise of more than a quarter on the previous day.

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Monday that the lockdown would stay in place until at least April 11, with officials in Madrid warned that deaths and infections will continue to rise this week.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the pandemic is accelerating after it took 67 days to reach 100,000 coronavirus cases, but just 11 days to reach 200,000, while 300,000 cases were reached in just four days.

In New York, the stock exchange opened with none of its traders in the building for the first time in its 228 year history.

  • Coronavirus
  • Boris Johnson
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