Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced severe public restrictions, likened to a lockdown, in an effort to combat Coronavirus.
This comes after the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the UK rose earlier to 6,650, up 967 from yesterday’s total.
What is happening
From tonight, people will only be allowed to leave their homes for:
- Essential shopping – once a day
- Exercise – once a day
- Medical reasons or the care of the vulnerable
- Travel to essential work
The government say they will immediately:
- Close all shops selling non-essential goods
- Stop all gatherings of more than two people in public
- Stop all social events, including weddings and other ceremonies, but allow funerals
Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed, he says.
“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings,” Johnson added.
Boris Johnson also said: “No prime minister wants to enact measures like these. If too many people become unwell at the same time, the NHS will be unable to handle it.”
What is essential work?
Your work is essential if you work in one of the critical sectors listed below:
- Education and childcare – This includes childcare, support and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
- Key public services – This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
- Local and national government – This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
- Food and other necessary goods – This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
- Public safety and national security – This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
- Transport – This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
- Utilities, communication and financial services – This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
If workers think they fall within the critical categories above, they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.