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Coronavirus: Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces total UK lockdown
23 March 2020, 19:07 | Updated: 23 March 2020, 21:16
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a UK-wide lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus.
The Prime Minister announced a series of strict measures that are designed to limit the spread of the disease, similar to those already in place in cities across Europe.
In a televised address to the nation from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said that Brits "must stay at home" and that the new rules will last for at least the next three weeks.
He also said police will be given powers to enforce a raft of new measures, including handing out fines and dispersing crowds.
Read more: LBC explains the UK lockdown
What are you allowed to leave the house for?
The government says we are allowed to leave our homes for "very limited purposes":
- shopping for basic necessities as infrequently as possible
- one form of exercise per day, such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with a member of your household
- for any medical need
- to provide care or help a vulnerable person
- travelling to and from work but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
What should you not do?
- You should not meet friends; the Prime Minister said you should "say no" if a free asks to meet
- You should not meet up with family members who do not live in your home
- You should not be going shopping except for food and medicine and even this should be done as little as possible. Mr Johnson advised people use food delivery services where possible.
NEW: Everyone must now stay home apart from:— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 23, 2020
➡️ shopping for necessities as infrequently as possible
➡️ exercising once a day
➡️ medical need
➡️ travelling to work only if you work in a critical industry like the NHS
These rules are not optional. They are to stop people dying. pic.twitter.com/yMgdZR476j
Which measures will be enforced?
- All shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores will be closed
- Libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship will be closed
- Gatherings of more than two people in public banned – excluding people you live with
- All social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies banned, but funerals are allowed
London, with a population of close to 9 million people, has seen 148 people die from the disease so far. The capital is at the epicentre of the outbreak, but Mr Johnson had refused to lock down the capital despite growing concerns.
Over the weekend, photos and videos showed crowds of people leave their homes to enjoy the good weather and visit parks and markets - despite Mr Johnson's pleas with for people to socially distance themselves from others.
Mr Johnson said: "I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs."
He added that the measures will be relaxed "if the evidence shows we are able to."