Boris Johnson on Monday night ordered the biggest lockdown of society in British history as he admitted there were “no easy options” left in the battle against coronavirus. The Prime Minister banned all public gatherings of more than two people, closed down “non essential” shops and imposed draconian restrictions on anyone leaving their own home after being warned it was the only way to save tens of thousands of lives. The measures, which go far beyond anything seen in wartime and will last for an initial three weeks, will be enforced by the police with on-the-spot fines. In a sombre televised address to the nation, Mr Johnson said: “No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this. “But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.”
Britain’s 66million people are today beginning a new life in coronavirus lockdown after Boris Johnson ordered the immediate closure of all non-essential shops and threatened people with fines or even arrest if they do not ‘stay at home’. The Prime Minister’s shutdown will last for a minimum of three weeks and the UK’s new state of emergency is unprecedented in modern history. Gatherings of more than two people will be banned in the most dramatic curbs on freedom ever seen in Britain in time of peace or war, as the government goes all out to stop the spread of the killer disease. In a grim address to the nation from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said family reunions, weddings, baptisms and other social events must be cancelled to stop the NHS collapsing under the strain . Funerals can go ahead attended by just a handful of closest relatives.
Boris Johnson’s “stay at home” lockdown has been backed by political opponents, business leaders and trade unions, despite fears of major job losses on the high street. The prime minister has ordered all shops apart from food stores and chemists to close immediately for at least three weeks and banned more than one form of daily exercise and gatherings of more than two people. But his dramatic announcement – in a momentous TV address – of sweeping restrictions on daily life, with fines of between £30 and £1,000 for people who flout the new rules, has won grudging support. In a move bringing the UK into line with most of Europe, Mr Johnson has declared a “moment of national emergency” and closed shops selling “non-essential goods”, along with playgrounds, libraries and churches. And while he was reluctant to introduce such tough measures, it is claimed a mutiny threatened by senior cabinet ministers forced him to back demands from his medical and scientific advisers for a crackdown.
The UK is waking up to life under strict new anti-virus measures, including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people and orders for people to stay at home. On Monday night, Boris Johnson announced a lockdown of the UK for the next three weeks to limit the spread of coronavirus. The order to stay at home has limited exceptions for when people can leave their home, such as to buy food and other necessities, for essential work, and to exercise once a day. Police will be given powers to break up public gatherings and even fine those who do not comply. Speaking from Downing Street in an historic address to the nation, the Prime Minister declared a “national emergency” and said it was vital people listened to the advice in order to save lives.
Britain was ordered into an unprecedented lockdown as coronavirus shut the UK. All “non-essential” shops were closed, with only food stores, corner shops, hardware stores, chemists, petrol stations and newsagents allowed to remain open. People will be allowed out once a day to exercise and were warned to go shopping for food as infrequently as possible. The emergency measures to tackle the Covid-19 spread came into force and will last for three weeks before being reviewed. Announcing the move from No10, Boris Johnson admitted: “No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this. In a sober address, 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: “At present there are just no easy options.
Boris Johnson declared a “moment of national emergency” last night as he finally imposed a near full lockdown of Britain to protect against the spread of coronavirus. Police will enforce new quarantine rules under which people will be allowed to leave their home only for essential supplies, one form of daily exercise, medical care or “absolutely necessary” work. The prime minister closed all shops selling “non-essential goods”, playgrounds, libraries and churches. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating around the globe. He said that police would have the power to enforce the rules, which include a ban on public gatherings of more than two people. Anyone caught flouting the measures faces a fine of between £30 and £1,000
A network of community hubs is being set up across the UK to deliver food to 1.5 million people with serious medical conditions who have been told to remain indoors for 12 weeks because of coronavirus. Army planners have been drafted in to help organise the support for people with conditions like cancer or respiratory problems, who will receive letters over the coming days asking them to avoid all social contact for three months under a “shielding” plan to protect them from the virus. The announcement came as Boris Johnson warned the public to take social distancing advice “seriously” when going to parks during the outbreak, warning that otherwise they put other people’s lives at risk.
Seven in 10 patients admitted to intensive care units in the UK with coronavirus were overweight or obese, the first data on Britain’s cases shows. The research – which examined in detail the first 196 patients to receive critical care for the virus – showed the average age of those requiring such care was 63, and seven in 10 cases were male. Current UK health policies to prevent the spread and impact of coronavirus have focused in particular on people over the age of 70, especially those who are frail, and those with underlying health conditions. International research has suggested these groups will see the highest death rates – of up to 15 per cent in the over-80s. However, the national audit suggested many cases so far in the UK involved those who were younger, living independently, and without serious health conditions – other than excess weight. See the breakdown below.
ONE in three coronavirus patients are “silent carriers” who show no symptoms – despite testing positive for the disease, experts claim. Classified Chinese government data suggests that the number of “asymptomatic” people may be higher than initially thought. Figures seen by South China Morning Post show that, by the end of last month, 43,000 people had tested positive for coronavirus in China without showing symptoms. These people were quarantined but not counted in official figures – which stood at 80,000 at the time. So far, scientists have been unable to determine how infectious those without symptoms are and what effect it has on the virus’ spread. The World Health Organisation’s guidance on asymptomatic transmission is that it is “extremely rare”. In an earlier report by the WHO’s international mission to China, it had estimated that asymptomatic infections accounted for one to three per cent of cases. But in February, a group of Japanese experts – led by Hiroshi Nishiura – challenged those figures. The epidemiologist, based at Hokkaido University, wrote a letter to the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Up to 70,000 people will die unless Britain gets tougher in suppressing the spread of the illness, according to new estimates. Boris Johnson was urged to enforce social distancing by academics who found his plans would still mean tens of thousands of extra deaths over the year. A scheme to “shield” 1.5 million vulnerable people by confining them indoors for three months is also likely to miss many who have more than one serious condition, the analysis warns. Analysis by University College London researchers found that 20 per cent of the population were in an at-risk group, either because of age or sickness.
FIFTY-FOUR more people have today died across the UK after testing positive to coronavirus – with the death toll climbing to 335 in a day. Sixteen deaths were recorded in London alone in 24 hours, while cases overall jumped from 5,837 to 6,650 – a spike of 800. The 20 per cent jump from 281 fatalities included four deaths in each Wales and Scotland, while England recorded 46 tragic deaths. The victims killed by the deadly bug in the last 24 hours were aged between 47 and 105. It comes after Boris Johnson warned a total lockdown was on the cards unless Brits stay home. 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.”
Hospitals will need to make “life and death decisions” very soon according to doctor and MP Rosena Allin-Khan amid the coronavirus crisis. Dr Allin-Khan has warned that frontline medical staff are frightened of the rising number of cases and deaths, which will increasingly lead them to make difficult decisions. She told BBC Radio 4: “Heart-wrenching and unenviable choices need to be made in the situation that we don’t have any ventilators (left). “In a matter of days or a couple of weeks we will be having to make life-and-death decisions, impossible decisions, over who gets the last ventilator.” She also discussed how hospitals are having to care for younger patients in their 30s and 40s who are critically ill.
British manufacturers will produce 30,000 emergency ventilators to help the NHS deal with the Covid-19 crisis. A collaboration between the aviation, car and medical equipment industries aims to deliver 5,000 machines in the next fortnight and a further 25,000 in a matter of months. The medical regulator is working with the manufacturers and has drawn up specifications for Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator Systems (RMVS). They must be lightweight, robust and “not require more than 30 minutes training for a doctor with some experience of ventilator use”. The Ventilator Challenge UK consortium includes the aviation companies Airbus and GKN, the Formula One team McLaren, Siemens and the medical equipment manufacturers Smiths and Penlon. Clinicians have been closely involved in discussions in the past week.
The government has chosen the medical ventilators it believes can be rapidly produced to equip the NHS with 30,000 machines needed to cope with an upsurge in Covid-19 patients. Amid concern that the 8,175 devices available will not be sufficient, manufacturing giants have been looking at designing a model that could be mass-produced, based on criteria issued by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC). But sources familiar with the discussions said the government has opted for existing designs and could harness the power of UK industry to scale up production massively. Smiths Group already makes one of the designs, its portable “paraPac” ventilator, at its Luton site, and said it was in discussions with the government to help make 5,000 ventilators in the next two weeks. Andrew Reynolds Smith, chief executive, said: “During this time of national and global crisis, it is our duty to assist in the efforts being made to tackle this devastating pandemic, and I have been inspired by the hard work undertaken by our employees to achieve this aim.
Second-home owners remain defiant about their right to decamp from cities despite growing hostility from local residents who are afraid that local services will not cope with the influx. A surge of people leaving cities to live in holiday homes, caravans and second homes has prompted the government to instruct them to remain in their primary residence amid fears that the virus will spread to rural areas. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, confirmed that ferries would no longer accept non-essential passengers on routes to islands. Despite the hostility, those with alternative accommodation away from the big cities remained, for the most part, resolute.
Rural dwellers have slammed wealthy capital residents for visiting second homes as they said Londoners should be ‘locked up’ for defying government advice amid the coronavirus pandemic. Aristocrats, society models and influencers are avoiding busy cities like London by staying at their gorgeous homes – including the likes of Lottie Moss, who shared snaps as she relaxed in the countryside earlier today. It comes as the government updated domestic travel advice to tell people not to visit second homes, holiday homes, campsites or caravan parks. Ministers said people should not visit those places either for self-isolation or for a holiday because doing so would place unnecessary strain on rural communities.
Britain is under pressure to increase the number of coronavirus tests it carries out, as it emerged that public health chiefs have never once hit their initial 10,000-a-day target. The UK is now seriously lagging behind other nations in monitoring the spread of the virus, and testing NHS workers to see if they are infected. Experts have warned that in some hospital wards, up to one third of medics are now self-isolating at home, often because family or housemates have shown signs of the virus. If they could be tested, they could get back to work, say health analysts.
MILLIONS of self-employed workers hit by the coronavirus shutdown are poised to be offered 80 per cent of their income under an emergency package to be unveiled on Wednesday. Boris Johnson and his Chancellor will finalise details of the funding plan today as senior Tories warned the Government they had just 48 hours to save Britain’s five million self-employed. Ex-Tory Business Secretary Greg Clark led calls for the plan to be “comparable” to the job retention scheme for employees, whereby companies who keep their workers will receive 80 per cent of their wage bill. Rishi Sunak is understood to favour creating a grant scheme adopted by Norway whereby the state pays 80 per cent of average income earned over the previous three years. This would be calculated on tax returns and banking history but like the job retention scheme, it would be capped at £2,500 per month. The Treasury was also looking at a similar scheme in Denmark, whereby 75 per cent of income is covered.
Rishi Sunak is under mounting pressure to protect the livelihoods of the UK’s five million self-employed workers as many face disaster during the coronavirus lockdown. The Chancellor has been criticised by campaigners for leaving the self-employed behind after he unveiled an unprecedented package of support for employees last week. It is feared that without immediate action, huge numbers of tradesmen and other who work for themselves could face disaster within days. The urgency was heightened on Monday when Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a lockdown that will officially prevent many self-employed people from earning income.
Cyber criminals are posing as health experts to profit off coronavirus panic, it is being reported. Phishing emails are being sent out from an address which claims to be the director of the World Health Organisation. While the message appears to be written in good faith, it is in fact a malicious email encouraging the receiver to click a link or download an item. Once opened the links can infect a computer and the cyber criminals may try and obtain personal information about the receiver. Researchers at IBM X-Force told The Sun: ‘One thing worth mentioning is that the attackers put some effort in hiding the real intention of it. ‘The environmental awareness of our sample was quite good and average users would most likely not notice an info-stealer being installed.’
The spread of false information during the coronavirus outbreak has been rapid with well-meaning friends and family sharing messages on messaging platforms including WhatsApp warning of everything from the army closing London to beating the virus by drinking hot drinks. This is not just annoying spam; it can be dangerous. Here, we debunk some of the most circulated Covid-19 messages that have spread at speed. We will update this article when there are new false stories being circulated.
On a Zoom video-conferencing call with young Labour Party members on Friday evening, party chairman Ian Lavery repeatedly claimed that the devastating Coronavirus crisis offered “a great opportunity” for the Labour Party to advance politically. He thought he was talking privately to activists. Guido was listening in… “By the way when something like this happens, we’re going to see lots of our own dying as a consequence. But, you know apart from that, it’s going to give the fantastic battalion of Labour Party members, community champions out there a great opportunity of showing how Labour, and why Labour, is best when it gets on the front foot and best when it gets people together. We need to make sure that we do that, and community organising what a great opportunity it’s going to give us” It is an understatement to say this is beyond crass, this crisis is not a partisan opportunity, it is a global tragedy. Lavery should be ashamed of himself, happily discussing the political benefits of this tragedy in private.