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Britain’s PM announces lockdown to tackle coronavirus

24 March 2020 10:13

LONDON. KAZINFORM - Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a three-week shutdown of the U.K. on Monday in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Kazinform refers to Anadolu Agency.

Johnson’s televised address to the nation came after a meeting of the government’s emergency COBRA committee and after another 54 people died from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s death toll to 335.

«Across the U.K., there have been 83,945 concluded tests, of which 77,295 were confirmed negative and 6,650 positive, said the Department of Health, adding «335 patients who tested positive for the coronavirus have sadly died.»

Johnson ordered people to stay home, effective this evening, except in certain circumstances.

«Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible. One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle -- alone or with members of your household. Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home. That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.»

He said people should meet neither with their friends nor family members they do not live with.

«If you don’t follow the rules, the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings,» Johnson said.

«To ensure compliance with the government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship,» he said.

«We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with,» he said. «And we’ll stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.»

«And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

«And therefore, I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives,» he concluded, referring to the National Health Service, the country’s publicly funded healthcare system.

According to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University, the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has infected over 372,000 people worldwide, killing more than 16,000 while nearly 101,000 have recovered.

The virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December and has spread to more than 167 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

China, Italy, Iran and Spain continue to be the worst-affected countries.

Despite the rising number of cases, the vast majority of people contracting the virus suffer mild symptoms before making a recovery.

Keywords: Coronavirus, World News,