Measures give UK officials power to detain people for testing, impose heavy fines.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced nationwide lockdown measures late Friday as British health authorities registered a spike in Wuhan Coronavirus deaths. UK’s National Health Service (NHS) reported 40 Coronavirus related deaths on Friday, the biggest single day jump yet, taking the overall death toll to 177.
The government has ordered the closure of all restaurants, pubs, gyms and other leisure activities across the country, UK media reports said. “Tens of thousands of bars, restaurants, cafes and gyms across the UK have remained closed this morning as the government battles to control the spread of Coronavirus,” UK newspaper The Independent reported on Saturday. Schools and colleges have already been told to close indefinitely.
The Coronavirus Bill, publicized by the government on Friday, gives police and health officials power to detain people for testing and slap a £1,000 fine on anyone refusing to obey. As part of the measures, the government has agreed to pay 80 percent of workers’ wages for those retained by their employees in wake of the shutdown, the UK Finance Ministry announced.
The UK newspaper Daily Telegraph reported the nationwide shutdown:
The coronavirus outbreak has sent the UK into lockdown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has closed pubs, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, gyms, theatres, cinemas and schools, and asked members of the public to start working from home “where they possibly can”.
Dozens of stations on the London Underground network have also closed in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the capital.
An emergency Coronavirus Bill published on Thursday would give the Government the power to close down premises and stop people entering as well as detain people to be tested for the virus, then force them to isolate for 14 days or face a £1,000 fine.
Where a member of a household has displayed symptoms (see the breakdown below), the Prime Minister said all residents should self-isolate for 14 days.
Prime Minister Johnson remained optimistic ahead of the measure. The UK could “turn the tide of this disease” in next 12 weeks, he assured. The nation could “send Coronavirus packing in this country, but only if we all take the steps we have outlined,” he added.
The UK lockdown comes as the epicenter of the Wuhan virus outbreak shifts to Europe. Italy became the first European country to imposed a nationwide shutdown after witnessing highest cases of the life-threatening disease after China. The country has reported over 4,000 deaths and 47,000 confirmed cases of the virus so far. Rome is expected to carry on with the measures beyond the previously announced date of April 3, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Thursday.
France has also taken similar steps this week as the outbreak claimed 450 lives.
Spain, too, is considering to extended the nationwide shutdown, initially thought to last only 14 day, after registering more than thousand deaths and over 21,000 cases of the infection. Unlike Johnson, Spanish government appears less optimistic in ‘beating’ the disease. “The worst days are coming,” Salvador Illa, the Spanish health minister, said.
Germany is also moving towards a nationwide shutdown, with several German states announcing measures restricting public movement. “German states move closer to near-total lockdowns,” the public broadcaster DW News confirmed. Berlin is planning to mobilize military reservists to help civilian authorities in dealing with the outbreak, as confirmed cases of virus neared 20,000. With 68 deaths, Germany has among the lowest death rates.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.