BRITAIN IN LOCKDOWN: Boris Johnson orders people to stay in their homes

PUBLISHED: 21:32 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:00 24 March 2020

Boris Johnson has ordered a strict lockdown across the country. Picture: PA Video/PA Wire

Boris Johnson has ordered a strict lockdown across the country. Picture: PA Video/PA Wire

Boris Johnson has ordered a lockdown to tackle the coronavirus, threatening police fines for anyone who ignores new measures.

The Prime Minister detailed a short list of reasons why people can leave their homes as he ordered the immediate closure of all shops selling non-essentials items during an address to the nation this evening (Monday March, 23).

It comes as the death toll in the UK has reached 336, with 6,650 people tested positive for the virus. In the latest update from Public Health England, the number of confirmed cases for Norfolk now stands at 35, up by 1 in a day, while in Suffolk the figure is 22, which has risen by four since yesterday.

Mr Johnson ordered people to only leave the house to shop for basic items “as infrequently as possible” and to perform one form of exercise a day.

People can also seek medical help, provide care to a vulnerable person or travel to work if “absolutely necessary”.

“That’s all - these are the only reasons you should leave your home,” he said.

Police will also have powers, such as issuing fines, to enforce the new measures.

To ensure people follow the rules, Mr Johnson ordered the immediate closure of non-essential stores including those selling electronics and clothing.

And he said all public gatherings of more than two people - other than those you live with - will be barred.

Other premises being shuttered are libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship.

And, while parks will remain open for exercise, all social events including weddings and baptisms will be stopped. Funerals, however, can continue.

Mr Johnson said the measures will be “under constant review” and will be considered for relaxation in three weeks’ time if the evidence allows.

He said that “no prime minister wants to enact measures like this” as he reminded the public of the support programme to aid ailing businesses and struggling individuals.

But he said the drastic new measures allowing people to only leave home for the “very limited purposes” were necessary to slow the spread of the disease.

“To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it - meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well,” he added.

But he reassured the public progress had been made to curtail the pandemic including 7,500 former clinicians returning to the NHS.

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