British PM Johnson announces countrywide shutdown to prevent spread of coronavirus

Severe limitations on movement now in place in the country

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation
(PA Video/PA Images via Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 23, 2020 - 11:31pm

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced severe movement restrictions within the country to stem the spread of coronavirus, urging the populace, that with a few exceptions, "You must stay at home."

The exceptions included going out to procure necessities, exercise, work and helping those in need.

"Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible. One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, cycle alone, or with members of your household. Any medical need to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. And traveling 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," Johnson declared.

He added that people should not go out to meet with friends, or even family members who are not part of their household.

"If you don't follow the rules, the police will have the power to enforce them, including through fines and disbursing gatherings," he said.

“To ensure compliance with the government’s instruction to stay at home we will immediately close all shops selling nonessential goods including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms and places of worship. We'll stop all gatherings of more than two people in public, excluding people you live with. And we'll stop all social events including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals. Parks will remain open for exercise, but gatherings will be disbursed,” the Prime Minister explained.

According to Johns Hopkins University there are 6,724 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the UK, less than other countries in Europe including Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Switzerland. Italy has been the hardest hit of the European nations, with 63,927 cases. The U.S. currently has 41,708.