Last Updated on March 23, 2020
Boris Johnson announced that the UK is going into lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus, shutting most shops and banning social gatherings.
Speaking to the nation, the Prime Minister thanked everyone who had been following the announced social distancing measures, but that the time had come to put the country into lockdown, as it was “vital” the spread of coronavirus be stopped. “From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,” the Prime Minister said.
Johnson announced that people would only be allowed to leave their houses for a small number of reasons, such as shopping for “basic necessities,” travelling to and from work (only if absolutely necessary), to exercise once a day, and for any medical need, including providing care for any “vulnerable person.”
In order to ensure the compliance with the lockdown order, the government will also: immediately close any shops selling “non-essential” goods, libraries, playgrounds and places of worship; stop all gatherings of more than two people in public, apart from people who live together; cancel all social events, including weddings and baptisms, but not funerals.
“No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this,” Johnson said, but that the fight against coronavirus has the whole country “enlisted”:
I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs. And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business. 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. But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost…
In this fight, we can be in no doubt that each and every one of us is directly enlisted. Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together to halt the spread of this disease. To protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives. And I know that as they have in the past so many times the people of this country will rise to that challenge and we will come through it stronger than ever. We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together. And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.
You can watch the full announcement about the lockdown below: