Boris Johnson addressed the nation on Monday evening to outline new rules people must follow in order to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
“All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer,” the Prime Minister said.
“And so tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.”
Boris Johnson continued: “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.”
The Prime Minister explained that it is crucial we slow down the spread of the illness, as it is the only way the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time can be reduced.
The government had previously recommended people stay at home and practice social distancing, but it became clear that many were not following these instructions.
“And though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more.”
“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.”
Boris Johnson said that it is “critical” we stop the disease from spreading between households.
New guidelines have been announced revealing the limited reasons why people are now allowed to leave their homes:
- Shopping for basic necessities (though this must be done as infrequently as possible)
- One form of exercise a day alone or with members of your household (running, walking, cycling)
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work when it is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home
“That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home,” Boris Johnson said.
“If you don’t follow the rules, the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”
In order to make sure people follow these instructions, the government will close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.
The government will also stop all gatherings of more than two people in public, excluding the people you live with.
Likewise, all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals, will also be stopped.
As the illness continues to spread across the world, the British government has accelerated measures to contain it in recent days.