Prime Minister announces UK lockdown starting tonight
The Prime Minister has ordered social settings such as pubs, restaurants, gyms, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas and leisure centres to close tonight.
This is the latest of a series of moves to mitigate the effects of coronavirus (Covid-19) and follows the announcement earlier this week that schools and colleges were to close as of today, with A-Levels and GCSEs also cancelled.
Speaking in today’s press conference, Boris Johnson voiced the need to ‘push down further’.
He urged people to stay at home tonight, even before closures are officially implemented, and acknowledged that this may go against the ‘freedom loving instincts of the British people’.
Mr Johnson said: ‘I am confident that in time the UK economy is going to bounce back, of course it is. But I must be absolutely clear with you, the speed of our eventual recovery depends entirely on our collective ability to get on top of the virus now.
‘These are places where people come together, but the sad thing is I’m afraid today, for now, at least physically, we need to keep people apart.
‘The more effectively we follow the advice we are given, the faster this country will stage both a medical and economic recovery in full.’
Eating establishments may operate for take-aways only, and the situation will be reviewed each month.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated that the Government will pay 80% of wages for employees who are not working, up to £2,500 a month.
The World Health Organization has also appealed directly to young people today, reminding them that they are ‘not invincible’.
This comes as the UK’s total of confirmed cases rose to 3,983, an increase of 714 since yesterday.
London is identified as significantly ahead of the rest of the country in terms of cases. The city's Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, has declared a ‘critical incident’ and that they are unable to accept more Covid-19 patients. 177 people who tested positive in the UK have died.