Boris Johnson has acknowledged that “drastic action” is needed as the UK faces a rapid growth in the number of coronavirus cases.
Here are the key points announced by the Prime Minister, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty:
– A call to stop “non-essential contact” and “unnecessary travel”
The Prime Minister said that meant more people should work from home and everyone should avoid pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Avoiding unnecessary social contact is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions.
– A shift to isolating entire households where someone has developed symptoms
While individuals who developed a continuous cough or high temperature had previously been told to self-isolate for seven days, the new plan is for a fortnight’s lockdown for all those living with someone who develops symptoms.
– The imminent prospect of a 12-week period of social “shielding” for the most vulnerable
By the weekend, those with the most serious conditions will be advised to take steps to ensure they are “largely shielded from social contact” for around 12 weeks.
– The outbreak is progressing faster in London than other parts of the country
Mr Johnson said to relieve pressure on the NHS in the capital, it was particularly important for Londoners to heed the advice about working from home and avoiding pubs and restaurants.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) March 16, 2020
– From Tuesday, emergency workers will no longer support mass gatherings
The Prime Minister said: “Mass gatherings, we are now moving emphatically away from.”
– The UK may just be three weeks behind Italy in the spread of the disease
Sir Patrick had previously said the UK was around four weeks behind Italy, but he said the new numbers suggested it could be closer to 21 days.