PM finally applies strict measures in line with other EU countries after voluntary social distancing failed
THE UK is in lockdown to contain coronavirus since Tuesday following a speech to the nation by PM Boris Johnson.
The Prime Minister laid out a series measures placing the UK on lockdown as the Government seeks to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Here are the key points from Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on Monday evening:
People are only allowed to leave the house for limited purposes.
Mr Johnson said that residents are only allowed to leave their homes for shopping for basic necessities – as infrequently as possible. One form of exercise a day is allowed – for example a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of one’s household, while those with any medical needs or anyone providing care or helping a vulnerable person can also go out.
Travelling to and from work is permitted, but only when absolutely necessary and if work cannot be done from home.
Police have powers to enforce rules. Anyone who is not following the rules could be fined, Mr Johnson said, while police will have powers to disperse gatherings.
Although parks remain open for exercise, gatherings will be dispersed.
All shops selling non-essential goods are shut.
Libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship are also to be closed.
All social events have been stopped.
Gatherings with more than two people in public, excluding people you live with, have been stopped, as will weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies.
Mr Johnson said these measures exclude funerals.
The measures are under constant review and could be relaxed in three weeks if evidence shows the Government is able.
Huge response to NHS volunteer plea
More than 500,000 people in just over 24 hours have signed up to help the NHS as volunteers during the coronavirus crisis.
The NHS and the Prime Minister have thanked those who have offered to help some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
Speaking at Wednesday’s daily press conference at Number 10, Boris Johnson said he wanted to offer a ‘special thank you to everyone who has now volunteered to help the NHS’.
“When we launched the appeal last night, we hoped to get 250,000 volunteers over a few days.”
On Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: ‘NEWS: Fantastic that 560,000 people have now responded to our call to volunteer to support our NHS to defeat #Coronavirus.’
The mass sign-up follows Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s request for a quarter-of-a-million people to donate their time to help the 1.5 million people isolating for 12 weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Mr Johnson said the volunteers would be ‘absolutely crucial’ in the fight against the illness.
A national salute was due to take place yesterday evening (Thursday) to honour the hardworking NHS staff who are trying to battle coronavirus.
In a gesture of thanks to the frontline healthcare heroes, everyone across the nation has been invited to join a a mass round of applause from their doorsteps, windows and balconies on Thursday at 20.00.
The Clap For Carers campaign, which started online, is being staged because ‘during these unprecedented times they need to know we are grateful’, according to the organisers.
The Wembley Arch, the Principality Stadium, the Royal Albert Hall and Lincoln Cathedral are said to be among some of the landmarks which were set to be lit up in blue during the salute.
£11million raised by emergency fund
The National Emergencies Trust appeal to raise money for charities helping vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak has raised nearly £11 million in its first week.
First allocations totalling around £2.5 million will begin going out to a network of 46 local community foundations across the country.
The money will be used to support those who are isolated, facing loss of income or recovering at home from the Covid-19 illness.
The Duke of Cambridge, whose father the Prince of Wales has since tested positive for coronavirus, launched the fundraising drive on March 18 with a video message, saying the country had a ‘unique ability to pull together’ during times of adversity.
The Trust said it had received thousands of donations from the public, companies and charitable foundations.
England striker Callum Wilson and Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin are among a group of Premier League players who launched the #FootballUnited initiative to raise money for the NET appeal. Manchester United full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Chelsea defender Reece James and Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend have also signed up to the campaign.
Crowdfunding posts to get Britons abroad home
Dozens of British families stuck abroad due to coronavirus restrictions are trying to crowdfund their way home as a last resort.
Crowdfunding page GoFundMe said a keyword search on its website shows a 54% increase in campaigns in the last week mentioning being stuck abroad, and a 33% increase in campaigns mentioning being stranded overseas.
Elizabeth Hazlewood, from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, created a crowdfunding page after being left stranded in Tunisia.
The 52-year-old support worker travelled to the country on Friday March 6 and was scheduled to fly back on Wednesday.
But her flight home was cancelled after the country suspended commercial air travel to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Ms Hazlewood said she is staying in a hotel in the capital Tunis and is waiting further instructions from the British embassy.
“I am running out of money rapidly,” she added. “I really am stressed because of the situation and feel totally lost and alone.”
Another crowdfunding page was created for a family of four from Leswalt, south-west Scotland, who are stuck in Florida.
George McMillan, 43, his wife Kim, 42, and their children Finlay, 13 and Ruby, five, travelled to the popular holiday destination on March 5.
But their holiday plans were scuppered after Disney World Florida announced it would close due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr McMillan, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, said their flights to the UK were cancelled and they were soon to be kicked out of their hotel.
A spokesman from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said: “We recognise British tourists abroad are finding it difficult to return to the UK because of the unprecedented international travel and domestic restrictions that are being introduced around the world – often with very little or no notice.
“The Government is seeking to keep key transit routes open as long as possible and is in touch with international partners and the airline industry to make this happen.”
Wimbledon to consider cancellation
The All England Lawn Tennis Club will decide whether to go ahead with this summer’s Wimbledon championships during an emergency board meeting next week.
Pressure has been growing on organisers to make a decision, with the SW19 tournament one of the biggest sporting events still remaining on the calendar for June and July.
Bosses have ruled out playing the tournament, which is due to start on June 29, behind closed doors and admitted postponing it would be difficult.