UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces strict coronavirus lockdown for at least three weeks

Citizens will only be allowed outside to shop for food and medicine, for one form of exercise a day, and to travel to work if necessary from tonight (March 23)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced strict coronavirus lockdown measures for the country in a new speech.

In a TV address from inside 10 Downing Street, Johnson revealed that from tonight (March 23), citizens must stay at home except to shop for food and medicine, for only one form of exercise per day, and to travel to and from essential workplaces.

Public gatherings of more than two people who do not live together will be prohibited, and the police have the power to shut down such gatherings, either through fines or forcibly dispersing gatherings. Shops selling non-essential goods are also set to be shut, following Johnson’s call for pubs, restaurants and bars to close over the weekend.

The measures are currently set to last for three weeks, when the government will “look again” and “relax them if the evidence shows we are able to”.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson. CREDIT: Richard Pohle – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Other public places including libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship are also being ordered to close. Parks are set to remain open, but only for exercise purposes, and any gatherings in these places will be dispersed.

A number of social events are also being stopped, including weddings and baptisms. Funerals, though, are still to be allowed.

“Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses,” Johnson said during his speech.

Keep up to date with all the latest news around the coronavirus pandemic here.

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