Boris Johnson warned Britain faced a total lockdown within 24 hours amid growing concern at the failure of the public to heed demands for “social distancing” to prevent the coronavirus spreading. He said the UK could follow France, Italy and Spain where people’s movements have been restricted by police, curfews have been imposed, parks closed and all stores except food shops and pharmacies shut. His comments came after a weekend in which thousands of people spurned the Government’s “stay home” advice to take advantage of the Mothering Sunday weekend sunshine to crowd towns and parks and go shopping. But at his daily news conference, Mr Johnson warned that failing to maintain “social distancing” by keeping two metres apart even in the open air risked spreading the coronavirus, putting more pressure on the NHS and reducing the number of lives that could be saved.
Curfews and travel bans will be imposed to tackle coronavirus if Britons do not start acting responsibly, Boris Johnson has warned. The prime minister said yesterday that the government was considering introducing tougher restrictions if guidelines on social distancing were not followed after huge numbers flocked to parks, beaches and markets over the weekend. An 18-year-old with underlying health conditions became the youngest known victim of the virus in Britain. Forty-eight deaths were announced yesterday, including that of a 102-year-old who became the oldest known victim. It means that the death toll has risen by more than 50 per cent in two days to a total of 281.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned the Government will impose stricter restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus if the public does not follow social distancing advice. Mr Johnson urged people to stay two metres apart and said social distancing was “absolutely critical.” Speaking at the daily press conference at Downing Street, the prime minister did not announce any new measures, but said he could not rule out having to enforce tougher rules if people ignored the current advice. His warning came as the UK death toll from Covid-19 has risen by 48 to 281 – including an 18-year-old with underlying health conditions, thought to be the youngest victim so far. A total of 5,683 patients have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK.
A shocking picture of a suspected coronavirus patient being rushed to hospital in London poses a stark warning to Britons who refuse to observe social distancing rules ‘making full lockdown of the capital inevitable’.’ Disturbing images show medics carrying an elderly patient from a nursing home in Primrose Hill yesterday as the capital faces Italian-style measures to combat Covid-19. Masked police officers watch as health workers place the senior citizen in an ambulance outside the Carole House complex. The images surfaced just hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned people who weren’t following Government advice on social distancing that they have just 24 hours to take the measure seriously.
Countries can’t simply lock down their societies to defeat coronavirus, the World Health Organization’s top emergency expert said on Sunday, adding that public health measures are needed to avoid a resurgence of the virus later on. “What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them,” Mike Ryan said in an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “The danger right now with the lockdowns … if we don’t put in place the strong public health measures now, when those movement restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, the danger is the disease will jump back up.” Much of Europe and the United States have followed China and other Asian countries and introduced drastic restrictions to fight the new coronavirus, with most workers told to work from home and schools, bars, pubs and restaurants being closed.
The Scottish Government has reiterated calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to halt the UK Government’s Brexit negotiations and instead focus its efforts on tackling coronavirus. Roseanna Cunningham raised the issue again ahead of an Inter-Ministerial Group for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs being hosted by the Scottish Government. The meeting will be held by video conference as part of measures in place with Covid-19 cases on the rise across the UK. As of Sunday 416 people in Scotland had tested positive, an increase of 43 from Saturday, while the number of deaths rose from seven to 10. Ms Cunningham, Scotland’s Environment Secretary, said: “This is a truly unprecedented and distressing period for the entire country.
Boris Johnson is attempting to race sweeping new laws on coronavirus through the Commons in a day, as the UK faces the prospect of a total lockdown in the next 24 hours. MPs are returning to the Commons after the weekend to debate the government’s Coronavirus Bill in all its stages, before it goes to the House of Lords and becomes law by the end of this week. The Commons debate follows a stark warning from the prime minister that the UK is heading towards a lockdown, after appeals to the public to stay indoors were largely ignored during a sunny Mother’s Day.
The health secretary says the government is prepared to “do what it takes” to tackle the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Emergency legislation that would grant powers aimed at tackling the issue will be debated by MPs later. Matt Hancock said it was “unfair” that people appeared to be continuing to socialise despite warnings. Over the weekend, photos emerged showing crowds of people visiting open spaces across many parts of the UK. Under the proposals to be discussed by MPs, airports could shut and police would be able to force people with virus symptoms to isolate. According to the latest figures, the UK’s death toll has reached 281 – including a person aged 18 with an underlying health condition. There are now 5,683 confirmed cases.
The economy is expected to collapse this year as the coronavirus outbreak brings Britain to a standstill, leading economic forecasters have warned. KPMG, in its latest quarterly economic outlook, has slashed growth forecasts for the year, predicting that the pandemic could cause the UK economy to shrink by up to 5.4pc in 2020 unless public health measures were able to stem the rise in infections. Its economists expect the economy to rebound by the second half of 2021, but it has modelled forecasts for a worst-case scenario amid a radical overhaul in civil life in recent weeks. Such a collapse threatens a “more severe recession” than the financial crisis in 2008-09.
A final design of ventilator that can be rushed into mass production is expected to be agreed on by the Government and its health advisers as soon as today. Officials were set to start meetings yesterday about selecting a single blueprint for the life-saving machines, which are needed to treat patients suffering from respiratory problems caused by coronavirus. It is thought that once a ventilator design is identified – which could take until today – manufacturing could begin by the end of the month. The Government has said it will buy as many ventilators as can be made to treat coronavirus patients. There are about 8,000 ventilators in the UK at the moment.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain needs “far far more” ventilators to support patients with coronavirus in critical care. “We have we think a good supply at the moment but we need to get far far more,” he said at a news conference on Sunday. “That’s why there’s a huge national effort to equip ourselves not just with ventilators but with all the testing kits, the reagents, all the stuff that we’re going to need to beat this disease”
Supermarkets are banning new customers from online deliveries as they prioritise their elderly and vulnerable users in a bid to combat panic buying. Hundreds of people queued outside supermarkets on Sunday to try and get supplies as shelves have been cleared by people fearing that the will be forced to self-isolate. The pressure on stores from the coronavirus outbreak led to fears of looting, with Essex Police revealing that they had arrested three men for burglary after a “large quantity of hand sanitiser and toilet rolls” were stolen over the weekend.
A backlash against people ignoring social distancing saw people in rural communities telling visitors to “go home” on Sunday because parks and beauty spots were packed with visitors. Some tourist destinations and National Parks saw their busiest ever days over the weekend as people ignored the advice to stay two metres apart to enjoy the sunshine. In updated advice issued on Sunday, the culture department said essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays and that people should remain in their primary residence. The National Trust, the Royal Horticultural Society and a London council were among those that announced that they were to close all their venues as they could not guarantee the safety after visitor numbers spiked.
Congregating in parks is “dangerous” and parents must stop children playing near each other in playgrounds, the government warned yesterday. Historic gardens were forced to close to prevent the spread of coronavirus after visitors failed to adhere to guidelines to remain at least 2m apart from others, while national parks and coastal resorts saw a huge influx of people. Tourist bodies in the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and Snowdonia urged people to stay away and stick to advice to avoid unnecessary travel.
Boris Johnson has hinted he could ban all Britons from leaving their homes ‘within 24 hours’ if they refuse to keep the ‘absolutely crucial’ six feet apart. The PM used his daily press conference to warn there was ‘no doubt’ he would act to shut open spaces and limit all movement outside homes if people continued to act foolishly, but stopped short of immediate action. It came as the UK death toll rose by 48 in just 24 hours to 281 people, with more than 5,600 confirmed cases. These who died in England were aged between 18 and 102, authorities said. Hours earlier there had been appalling scenes as Britons across the UK flocked to beaches and parks up and down the country to take a stroll with their loved ones for Mother’s Day, despite social distancing advice from the government surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
The public must stop congregating in public or face new coronavirus enforcement measures within 24 hours, Boris Johnson has said, amid growing concern that his previous attempts to encourage social distancing were being ignored. After a weekend of public alarm at pictures of groups spending time in parks, on beaches and at markets, the prime minister responded to mounting criticism of a mixed message from No 10 on Sunday with his most explicit warning yet that the UK could face an Italy-style lockdown. But amid growing unease among his own supporters over Downing Street’s communications with the public, he again stopped short of taking tougher action, saying: “We will think about this very actively in the next 24 hours. If people can’t make use of parks and playgrounds responsibly, in a way that observes the 2-metre rule, then of course we’re going to have to look at further measures.”
BORIS Johnson has warned he may ban all Brits from leaving their homes within the next 24 hours unless they follow the social distancing rule and stay six feet apart. The PM warned selfish Brits not listening to advice designed to save lives that he could soon enforce a more serious lockdown – similar to the ones in Italy, France and Spain. In his address yesterday, Mr Johnson said: “I don’t think you need to use your imagination very much to see where we might have to go, and we will think about this very very actively in the next 24 hours. “We need to think about the kind of measures we’ve seen elsewhere – other countries that have been forced to bring in restrictions on people’s movements altogether, now as I say I don’t want to do that.” There was anger at scenes over the weekend of crowds flocking to parks, markets, beaches and beauty spots.
A multi-billion pound rescue package to protect Britain’s five million self-employed workers could be announced as soon as today. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is preparing the fresh coronavirus economic bailout amid warnings thousands of sole traders will not survive the crisis. He had announced on Friday that the Government would cover 80 per cent of employers’ wage bills in a bid to stop mass lay-offs. But following criticism that the self-employed were not receiving a similar level of support, the Treasury has spent the weekend drawing up a new package. Amid mounting pressure, more than 2,000 musicians have today written to the Chancellor warning that the outbreak has resulted in the ‘complete shutdown of our places of work’.
CALLS are mounting on the Government to do more to aid five million self-employed workers. It comes amid fears they are being abandoned in the coronavirus crisis. Chancellor Rushi Sunak is allowing them to claim statutory sick pay of £94.25 a week if they contract the virus. But critics say his plan to underwrite the wages of staff who face being laid off — by paying them up to £2,500 a month — does nothing for the self-employed, freelancers and contractors whose work could dry up. Representatives for the self-employed met the Government over the weekend.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe says a postponement of the Tokyo Olympics would be unavoidable if the games cannot be held in a complete way because of the coronavirus impact. He was commenting on the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s plan to examine the situation over the next few weeks and make a decision, which could include a postponement. Mr Abe, speaking at a parliamentary session, ruled out the possibility of a cancellation. Whether Tokyo can hold the Olympics as planned from July 24 has been a major international concern as the Covid-19 pandemic has spread globally.
Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has conceded that a delay to the Tokyo Olympic Games could be ‘inevitable’ as the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, Abe told parliament that Japan was still committed to hosting a ‘complete’ Games, but added: ‘If that becomes difficult, in light of considering athletes first, it may become inevitable that we make a decision to postpone.’ The decision came as Team Canada and Team Australia announced they will not be sending athletes if the games are staged this year.
Parents have today been urged to keep their children at home unless ‘absolutely necessary’ as schools were threatened with litigation after rejecting applications and the row over Boris Johnson’s ‘vague’ key workers list rumbled on. Headteachers have been ‘overwhelmed’ with demand for emergency places with education experts estimating that two million pupils – a quarter of the total UK school population – could be dropped off at the school gates today. Schools ordered to close for up to six months on Friday have been told to reopen today to care for children whose parents’ work is ‘critical’ to the fight against coronavirus, which has killed 281 in the UK so far. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast today: ‘The most important message is if you don’t have to take your child to school, even if you’re a key worker, then you should not take your child to school’.
Downing Street last night angrily denied claims that Dominic Cummings said the lives of pensioners should be sacrificed to coronavirus to help protect the economy. The Sunday Times claimed that Boris Johnson’s chief aide told a private engagement in February that the Government was pursuing a strategy of so called ‘herd immunity’, despite concerns it would lead to more deaths among the elderly. At the time the idea was the subject of intense debate within Government, although No 10 insists it was never adopted. Proponents of the idea of ‘herd immunity’ believed the epidemic should be allowed to run its course to allow the population to build up resistance to it and prevent a deadly second wave in the winter. Mitigation would have been put in place to limit the number of deaths, but the Government would not have tried to stamp out the disease altogether.
Downing Street has emphatically denied claims that Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings initially argued against strict measures that would have protected vulnerable people from the coronavirus outbreak. A report in The Sunday Times claimed that Mr Cummings set out the government’s strategy in a private meeting in February, which those present characterised as “herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad”. However, Mr Cummings drastically changed tack after a meeting with the government’s scientific experts weeks later, becoming an outspoken advocate for shutdown measures. One senior Tory told the newspaper: “Dominic himself had a conversion. “He’s gone from ‘herd immunity and let the old people die’, to ‘let’s shut down the country and the economy’.”
Millions of tests that can detect whether people have ever been infected with Covid-19 will be ordered, the government said yesterday. Robert Jenrick, the housing and communities secretary, told the BBC that the tests would be available within weeks. He said: “It will be a very simple one to use and it will be similar to taking a pregnancy test.” His comments came as the government announced a £20 million investment to study the genome of Covid-19 and better understand its spread. Last week Boris Johnson said that a test that could identify the antibodies produced in response to coronavirus would be a “game changer”.
Tests which can identify who has immunity to coronavirus could be available to millions of people in the UK within weeks, a minister has revealed. Housing and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the government had ordered mass stocks of the antibody test, which can tell if an individual has had Covid-19 even if they did not experience symptoms. The test, which is still in development, is highly sought after because it goes further than diagnosing those currently suffering from the disease but can also reveal people who have recovered from it.