Coronavirus: Boris Johnson orders people 'stay at home' as he announces draconian new measures

James MorrisSenior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
Yahoo News UK

Boris Johnson has ordered the public to “stay at home” as he set out draconian new measures to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The prime minister ordered cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to shut across the UK.

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Nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres have also been told to close.

He said at his daily coronavirus press conference in Downing Street: “You may be tempted to go out tonight and I say to you: please don’t.

Boris Johnson set out draconian new measures on Friday amid the coronavirus crisis. (PA Video/PA Images via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson set out draconian new measures on Friday amid the coronavirus crisis. (PA Video/PA Images via Getty Images)

“You may think that you are invincible – but there is no guarantee that you will get mild symptoms.

“But you can still be a carrier of the disease and pass it on.

“We want you as far as possible to stay at home. That’s how we can protect our NHS and save lives.”

It comes as the UK death toll jumped to 177 on Friday and the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose 714 to 3,983 in the biggest leap yet.

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Johnson said of the closures: “We need now to push down further on that curve of transmission between us.

“We are collectively telling – telling – cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants [as well as nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres] to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can – and not to open tomorrow.”

Take-out services will not be affected, the PM said.

“These are places where people come together and the whole purpose of these businesses is to bring people together.

“But the sad thing is, today, for now, at least physically, we need to keep people apart.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak subsequently unveiled another new set of “unprecedented” measures to help protect workers and jobs following Johnson’s announcement.

A man with a drink at a pub in London as Boris Johnson, pictured on the television screen, orders the closure of UK pubs. (REUTERS/Hannah McKay)
A man with a drink at a pub in London as Boris Johnson, pictured on the television screen, orders the closure of UK pubs. (REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

The PM said the situation will be reviewed “each month”.

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Johnson was asked to offer advice to the public ahead of Mother’s Day on Sunday.

He subsequently urged people to “think very carefully” about being in contact with any elderly people – before saying of his own elderly mother: “I hope to get to see her”.

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He said: “My advice would be that people should really think very carefully about any elderly person who may be in a vulnerable group. Think very carefully about the risk of transmission of the virus and look at the medial advice.

“Our advice is elderly people, people with serious underlying health conditions, people in the later stages of pregnancy – you have to be careful about the transmission of the virus. I’m sure people will handle that advice accordingly.

“I’m in regular contact with all members of my family but I’ll be working very hard on Sunday, I can tell you that much. I will certainly be sending her my very best wishes and hope to get to see her.”

‘Don’t endanger others’

As well as the closures announced on Friday, the government has previously urged people to avoid all non-essential social contact.

Johnson said anyone who ignores Downing Street’s advice will “endanger” others.

“I say to people who do go against the advice we are giving: you are not only putting your own life [and] the lives of your family at risk, you are endangering the community and making it more difficult for us to protect the NHS and save lives.”

He said compliance with the guidelines will allow the nation “to come out of this thing all the faster”.

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