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23 March 2020, 20:53 | Updated: 23 March 2020, 21:37
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a national lockdown in the wake of the sharp increase in people catching the Coronavirus which will include the shutting of parks, and any shops not deemed necessary
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced much tougher, extra measures in a strengthened attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19 including shutting everything bar essential shops and telling everyone to stay home apart from essential shopping and exercising once a day.
Addressing the nation, the PM said: "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 to die."
"Although huge numbers are complying the time has now come for us all to do more, from this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction."
"You must stay at home."
His speech is aiming to 'shock' the nation into behaving in the way the government has advised after sunny weather saw hoards of people out in public at the weekend.
The following reasons have been set out as acceptable reasons to leave your house.
You are allowed to leave your house for the following reasons:
- Shopping for basic necessities (use food delivery services where you can).
- One form of exercise a day (either alone or with members of your household).
- Any medical need
- Travelling to and from work but only when this is absolutely necessary
The following are deemed NOT acceptable/now to be closed:
- You should not be meeting friends, if they ask you, you should say no.
- Family members who do not live in your home
The following are now to be closed:
- Close all shops selling non essential items including clothing and electronics.
- Outdoor gyms
- Places of worship
- Stop all gatherings of more than two people in public
- All social events- weddings, baptisms, excluding funerals
- Parks remaining open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed
If you don't follow the rules, police will have the power to enforce them, including handing out fines and dispersing gatherings.
Boris said the government will be assessing these measures in three weeks time and relaxing them if it is deemed suitable but at present there are 'no easy options.'
Making his speech privately rather than part of a news conference he had been holding daily in the afternoon with a series of questions from journalists- his latest announcements come after a COBRA (Cabinet Office Briefing Room) meeting was held to discuss the direction the government were to lead the country during the crisis.
His speech comes after a sunny weekend saw the public, especially in London, flood to local parks and markets in numbers not deemed safe, breaking the 'two metre' rule, with many healthcare professionals saying they were putting the nation at risk.
Boris said: "Day by day we are strengthening our NHS... we are increasing our stocks of equipment and buying millions of testing kits enabling us to turn the tide on this invisible killer."