Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan welcome Boris Johnson's lockdown of UK

23 March 2020, 23:42

Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan have both said they welcome the UK lockdwon
Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan have both said they welcome the UK lockdwon. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The Labour leader and London Mayor have both said they back the lockdown of the UK to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure was announced by the Prime Minister on Monday evening, with the government ordering all "non-essential" shops to close and gatherings of more than two people banned.

People will now be required to remain in their homes, except to visit shops for essential items or get exercise.

Jeremy Corbyn said it was the "right response", but called for clearer guidance to be given to the UK public.

"There now needs to be clear guidance to employers and workers about which workplaces should close - and the Government must close the loopholes to give security to all workers, including the self-employed, as well as renters and mortgage holders," he said.

The self-employed are still waiting to hear what measures the Treasury have in place for them, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this week announced unprecedented financial measures that would see the government cover 80 per cent of wages.

Mayor of London Mr Khan took to social media to urge

He said in a video posted to Twitter: "I want to speak directly to Londoners: these rules are not optional.

"These instructions have been put in place to stop the spread of the virus and must be followed at all times to save lives."

He added: "These unprecedented circumstances call for extraordinary measures. Unless we follow these rules, people will die."

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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 through fines and dispersing crowds.

People can only leave their homes for the following reasons:

*Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible

*One form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household

*Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

*Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

Boris Johnson announced the measures on Monday evening
Boris Johnson announced the measures on Monday evening. Picture: PA

The following 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.