Boris Johnson has drafted stringent new measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, including a prohibition on public gatherings of more than two people.
He stated that people should only leave their home to exercise once a day, travel to and from work, where necessary, shop for basic items and fulfil any medical or care needs.
He further ordered the immediate closure of shops selling non-essential goods, but the police have said that they’ve received loads of calls asking what was still allowed.
On Monday evening, 27 million TV viewers watched Boris Johnson tell the nation it was facing a moment of national emergency and that staying at home was required to protect the NHS, save lives and tackle the biggest threat this country has suffered for decades.
Police and local authorities will have the capabilities to disband groups, including through penalties, and the constraints will be under continuous review and relaxation of the rules would be considered in three weeks.
Putting it plainly, if too many people become severely ill at one time, the NHS will not be able to handle it, which means more people are expected to die and not just from the coronavirus but other illnesses as well.
The new rules came following a sunny weekend during which groups of people were seen at beaches, parks, markets and other public places.
The new guidance states people should only leave their homes to shop for essentials such as food and medicine and shopping trips should be as sparse as possible.
People can have one form of exercise a day such as a run, walk or cycle but this should only be done alone or people that you live with.
You can provide care to anyone with a medical need or a vulnerable person. This includes transferring children under the age of 18 between their parent’s homes, where appropriate and you can travel to and from work, but only where it’s necessary and can’t be done from home.
Even when following the above guidance, people should reduce the amount of time spent out of their homes and should keep two metres (6ft) away from people they don’t live with.
The parents of thousands of children are keeping them out of school to try to decrease the spread of the virus and Downing Street said school attendance in England was about 10 per cent on Monday.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said employers should take every conceivable measure to allow for remote working, but added that when people absolutely can’t work from home they can still go to work because it’s important they keep the country running.
The government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but funerals attended by direct family members are allowed.
Downing Street said the use of penalties, starting at £30, will be targeted at disbanding groups, and failure to pay could lead to criminal actions and a summary conviction and these measures represent some of the most far-reaching restraints on personal freedom ever introduced in the United Kingdom in peacetime.
However, it’s unclear how the rules can be made to work and the first obstacle is getting them on to the statute book, even though the Prime Minister stated the constraints on travel and gatherings would come into effect immediately, even though the police don’t have the powers to implement them yet, nor have they had official direction.
But assuming legal regulations are approved, there’s the practical difficulty of getting crowds to disband and accurately distinguishing people who shouldn’t be on the streets, without losing public goodwill and sparking a rebellion.
However, when these attempts to persuade those who don’t comply have failed, officers will be able to dispense penalties, with prosecutions expected to be the last option, but at a time when officer numbers are increasingly exhausted through illness or self-isolation, forces will be hoping communities do the right thing without the necessity for intervention.
Businesses that will not need to close include supermarkets, petrol stations, post offices, launderettes, bike shops, pet shops, hardware stores and banks.
Michael Gove said that all-important construction work should go ahead but works carried out at close quarters in someone’s home would not be suitable, but critics, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, challenged his approach and Crossrail and housebuilder Taylor Wimpey halted work. However, competitor Redrow announced its sites have remained open with stringent precautions in place.
The mayor has also warned London Underground passengers that if they don’t stop packing into trains, more people will die, and premises such as libraries, non-essential stores, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship have been ordered to close.
Hotels, hostels, campsites and caravan parks must also close unless key workers need to stay there, or if others staying there can’t get back home.
Parks will remain open for exercise but people are not permitted to congregate in groups.
Golf courses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will close, and in Scotland, golfers have been urged not to play.
Community centres can stay open but only to host quintessential voluntary or public services such as food banks or service for homeless people.
Barristers have been told not to attend Crown Court except if they’re involved in one of the 34 ongoing cases in England and Wales.
On Monday night, the government amended its travel guidance, telling all British people travelling overseas to return to the United Kingdom now. This was because of the rate of new border constraints and those requiring urgent help could call the local UK embassy or high commissioner.
Prisoners in England and Wales will be restricted to their cells for 23 hours a day and let out only to shower and use payphones, with all visits cancelled, it’s conjectured.
More than 83,000 people in the United Kingdom have been tested for coronavirus with 6,710 testing positive. Nevertheless, the actual number of cases will be far higher as tests are primarily done on hospital patients with signs of the virus.
It seems difficult to emphasise how enormous an impact this will have on the people, and what a huge decision this is for the government to have taken, whose effect will last at least for three weeks at the shortest, possibly for very much longer.
Although this is not quite like the kind of total crackdown we have seen in other countries, at least not yet, so not surprisingly, there’s already tremendous debate about whether the United Kingdom has been moving fast enough.
And there have been calls for more information about the guidance, and Lincolnshire Police warned of an extremely large amount of calls and Humberside Chief Constable Lee Freeman said his force had received several calls on the matter, which he said he wasn’t able to answer.
Implementing new constraints is going to be a real challenge, as there’s already huge amounts of sickness amongst officers across London, and the National Police Chief’s Council stated officers wouldn’t be deployed on patrol specifically to police social distancing rules but would still patrol their communities as always.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the measures were the right response but asked for more direction on workplace closures.
Millions of workers have been worried about whether they should be at work, while millions of self-employed and precarious workers were dreading being sent home because it would mean no wages.
And asked in the Commons about help for the UK’s five million self-employed workers, Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated the government was determined to find a way to help them and was looking at the matter in immense detail and speed.
The Prime Minister said he knew the damage the constraints were causing to people’s lives, businesses and jobs and said that countless lives will sadly be lost, despite the measures.
But he added that there was a clear way through by strengthening the NHS with former clinicians returning to work, expediting the search for treatments and a vaccine and buying millions of testing kits.
Sports Direct has confirmed it will not open its stores to the public following a U-turn by the sportswear retailer, and most of Ryanair’s flights are expected to be grounded with no further flights expected in April or May.
Chemicals giant Ineos is to build a hand sanitiser plant near Middlesbrough to produce one million bottles a month, and emergency legislation introducing steps to respond to the virus will go before the House of Lords after it passed through the Commons on Monday evening.
The Olympics, scheduled to start in July, is going to be moved to next year and 514 more people have died in Spain, and Donald Trump has declared that the US will soon be open for trading as more states are shut down.
China announced it had 78 new cases, 74 of them from abroad, nevertheless, Wuhan, the city where the virus began is to lift its lockdown next month, and one of Africa’s most influential musicians, saxophonist Manu Dibango, has died of the virus.
We’re supposed to be in isolation, but with the number of people on beaches last weekend, what does the government think will happen in about a week and a half? And it’s almost always the youngsters that are flaunting the rules of the exclusion.
And those who were the unlucky ones that didn’t make it through the virus and died, supposedly they caught the virus weeks ago, back when the government said it was okay to be in public and go to sporting events.
Is the government under-reporting to us, and would Boris Johnson lie to us?
And is this virus about people suffering, making them beg for a lockdown to make themselves feel tied up and protected by someone, and is this lockdown about ending civil liberties and killing off as many old folk as possible and blaming the virus?
Especially now they need the next of kins permission to count a COVID death as a death, which is a diabolical lie to conceal the actual level of the disease, and one should be suspicious when the UK government are using data protection laws to misrepresent the figures.
And will all these NHS volunteers be tested for coronavirus to stop them from spreading the disease, and if so, how long will that take?
Given that we are in lockdown, is this lockdown working? Because in Spain they’ve been in complete lockdown and the deaths are still climbing, and we should expect it to get more acute because COVID 19 doesn’t recognise borders.
But assuming the data is accurate, the rate of new infections is now going to grow linearly and thanks to the doctors and nurses and others, we can expect to see many new cases to peak and then start to fall gradually.
It’s not safe to go outside unless necessary and people should be following the guidelines with stringency.
As for the information on how many people have got it, how can the government possibly know the rate of infections without testing everyone, and it seems as if our government are playing fast and loose with the lives of people.
This virus has been here in England for a while, but the weather, storms et cetera and how people dressed in gloves, scarves, umbrella’s et cetera reduced the spread.
An umbrella gives social distancing, gloves stop lifts and crossing buttons getting contaminated and wet jackets don’t get used or touched for several days.
So, shopping trolley’s and baskets stayed relatively clean and door handles. The rain prevented people from going out and this is why we and other countries are at different stages.
The weather protected us and gave us time to prepare, but we didn’t.
I was unwell in November till January with a virus. I kept going in to see my doctor and all she said was I had a virus that was going around hugely. That was back in November!
I had a barking cough that went on for months, which I couldn’t get rid of and it eventually eased off in January, so I have no idea whether I had the coronavirus back then or not, or whether I could get it again.
Maybe these storms that we had in England prevented us from spreading it because we didn’t go out as much because of it and ridiculous as it sounds perhaps some of these storms helped save some lives, and if what they’re saying, that the warm weather will slow it down, then we should be thankful.
And you can’t measure whether this lockdown is working by looking at death rates, it has to be measured by the number of new infections, only a drop in these will indicate success or failure.
And people are dying at home because they’re sick and not being tested, so what is a credible source of news and figures? Sadly the current figures don’t indicate actual data and there’s a pretty strong indication that we’re going to be heading for a peak in the next few weeks, which might be delayed for a bit if the lockdown measures work.
The figure will, of course, rise significantly in the coming days or weeks as people are tested, as well as more people catching it of course. Sadly the deaths will also increase significantly, although some will not be affected 2 or 3 weeks down the line if our lockdown has an impact.
This virus has been around since last October, so we’re not doing too bad, even though we’ve had melodrama from the newspapers, and it never ceases to astound me how many armchair scientists come out of the woodwork, knowing more than the people who have worked with these viruses for years.
If you want to know more about COVID 19, then you should read or listen to a qualified Virologist, one that has excellent information which is presented in an extremely calm and communicative way, making it simple for laypeople to follow.
And if anyone is getting agitated, then listen to the person who knows about these things, not social media, and probably not all that’s going on in the news.
It’s far too early to get excited about the fact that the death rate has come down, as it’s only apparently halved in 24 hours. It needs to come down consistently for at least a few weeks before anything can be deducted from this.
Furthermore, we have only just gone into lockdown, and it hasn’t been that wonderful yet with some people being careless regarding staying 2 metres away from each other and only being with one other person.
As regards irresponsible people ignoring the 2-metre rule. There have been police wandering around in groups of 2 or 3, probably no more than a couple of feet apart, and then standing right next to the people they were advising – Have they been given magical powers that ward off the virus?
It takes the virus twelve days to breed, so I don’t think that after four days of isolation it’s suddenly gone away, especially as we’re not in total isolation, with tubes, buses and supermarkets, airports all open. Add people roaming around in parks, carrying on as normal.
Boris Johnson has been accused of letting Brexit ideology dictate his approach to coronavirus after the government declined to take part in an EU plan to procure much needed medical supplies.
European countries have banded together collectively to obtain bulk amounts of ventilators and personal protective equipment, with the first stage now having secured offers of substantial scale on short notice.
The UK was summoned to take part in the scheme, which is leveraging the 500 million people single market, with huge buying power to obtain faster and cheaper orders, with less admin at the time of intense global demand.
But it was confirmed that Britain wouldn’t be taking part in the scheme, after previously having said the government would choose which way to go. So, once again our government has chosen to go it alone, right over a cliff!
We must feel sad for those that have lost loved ones, and they should have complete privacy and that should be respected. Nevertheless, the government shouldn’t be withholding the actual fatality figures – it’s not like they have to give out names, all they have to do is say that another person has died, but no names are to be given out to the public.
By withholding these figures it’s heading dangerously towards dictatorship, and we all know how that ends.
There are masses of people whining about what’s going on, but this country managed throughout WWII and no one sat there thinking about themselves or their mental health conditions, they simply rolled up their sleeves and did what they could to assist others.
We have become a self-indulgent society, not even giving someone else a second thought. We don’t think to pick up the telephone to see how other people are getting on. This is the time that everyone should be supporting each other, even if it’s just a phone call to someone who lives on their own.
Hopefully, Britain will come out of this relatively unscathed, perhaps this is because we’re not a hugging and kissing country when we greet each other. Unlike other countries like Italy and Spain where everyone continuously kisses and hugs one another, making them continually exposed to the virus.
Although we sneeze into our hands, rub them on our pants and then shake hands with people and sit on chairs in cafes, so the Latin style cheek kissing isn’t the only route to contamination.
And in Spain people kiss each other every day, even people they meet on the off chance for two minutes but will likely never see again, that’s their custom, so it’s no wonder why these type of countries are the worst afflicted by the virus.
The difficulty with data and people seemingly having the virus or not having the virus is that not everyone is being tested, so there could never be a true interpretation of the data because there are people out there that have symptoms and are self-isolating but have not been tested to see if they actually have it or not.
Perhaps we should get our tin hats at the ready because at the moment it looks like we’re being manipulated.
There were lots of people that were horribly sick in February, some still have not completely recovered, and it might have been a standing joke at the time, but it’s not a joke now.
And more and more stories have been emerging on how this virus has seemingly been spreading across the country for longer than the authorities were aware, so either they were pig-ignorant or merely careless, but it’s starting to be extremely doubtful that they were unaware, and maybe we’ve not been told the entire truth from the start.
This is what we call a natural disaster, yet the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the air appears to be cleaner because natural disasters are a way of curing the earth of Mankind.
What I would like to know is how many people have survived after having this virus because all we hear about is how many have died, and several milder cases have recovered or are well on there way to recovery, but have not been tracked.