- UK citizens told to work from home and avoid all social contact as Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeks to slow the rapid spread of the coronavirus across the country.
- “We need people to start working from home where they can and you should avoid pubs, clubs and other venues,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
- Anyone living with somebody experiencing coronavirus symptoms should isolate themselves for 14 days.
- Those with serious health conditions told to isolate themselves for 3 months.
- Mass gatherings will be effectively banned.
- Here’s how the coronavirus is spreading in Britain.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
British people have been told to work at home and limit all non-essential human contact over the coming months as the coronavirus spreads rapidly across the United Kingdom.
The move, which was announced by Johnson at a press conference on Monday, came as the coronavirus death toll in the UK rose to 53, with 1,543 confirmed cases.
“Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others, and to stop all non-essential travel,” Johnson said.
“We need people to start working from home where they can and you should avoid pubs, clubs and other venues.”
Johnson said that anyone living in a household where another individual had experienced symptoms of the coronavirus should isolate themselves for 14 days.
“We need to ask you to ensure that if you or anyone in your household has one of those two [coronavirus] symptoms, then you should stay at home for fourteen days,” Johnson said.
” That means that if possible you should not go out even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others.
“If necessary, you should ask for help from others for your daily necessities. And if that is not possible, then you should do what you can to limit your social contact when you leave the house to get supplies.”
The Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said all Brits would have to limit their contact with others for “a minimum of weeks to months” to come.
“We need people to start working from home and you should avoid pubs, clubs… and other such social venues"
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 16, 2020
Johnson said the guidance applied especially to “people over 70-years-old, pregnant women and for those with some health conditions.”
He said the government would soon implement new advice that anyone with a serious health condition should isolate themselves for at least three months.
“By this weekend it will be necessary to go further, and to ensure that those with the most serious health conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks,” he said.
“And again, the reason for doing this in the next few days rather than earlier or later is that this is going to be very disruptive for people who have such conditions, but I believe it’s now necessary.”
Mass gatherings will no longer be supported by the emergency services, meaning they will effectively be banned.
“As we advise against unnecessary social contact of all kinds, it’s right that we should extend that advice to mass gatherings as well,” Johnson said.
“So we’ve also got to ensure that we have the critical workers we need that might otherwise be deployed at those gatherings to deal with this emergency.”
The Prime Minister defended what he described as the “draconian” measures as being necessary to slow the spread of the virus.
“Many people, including fit and active people over 70, may feel listening to what I’ve just said that there is something excessive about these measures.
“But I have to say I believe they are overwhelmingly worth it to slow the spread of the disease, to reduce the peak, to save lives, minimise suffering, and to give our NHS the chance to cope.”
However, Johnson continues to resist calls to mirror many other European countries by closing schools.
The Prime Minister said the advice particularly applied to London where the number of cases far exceeds the rest of the country.
“It’s now clear that the peak of the epidemic is coming faster in some parts of the country than in others,” Johnson said.
“It looks as though London is now a few weeks ahead. So, to relieve pressure on the London health system and slow the spread, it’s important that Londoners now pay special attention to what we’re saying about avoiding non-essential contact and to take particularly seriously the advice about working from home and avoiding confined spaces such as pubs and restaurants.”