Johnson announces new restrictions on UK daily life amid pandemic

Johnson announces new restrictions on UK daily life amid pandemic
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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday that the government will enforce new restrictions on any unnecessary movement amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Johnson said in a recorded statement that people will not be allowed to leave their homes for at least three weeks except in specific circumstances.

Residents will be permitted to leave to buy essentials, for medical needs, to travel to and from work if it’s “absolutely necessary,” to help a vulnerable person, or for one form of exercise a day, either alone or with members of their households.

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“Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope,” Johnson said, noting that a lack of supplies would inhibit medical care. 

“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,” he added.

The prime minister said shops selling nonessential items, playgrounds, gyms, libraries and places of worship will close. Social events such as weddings and baptisms will be forbidden, but funerals will be permitted. 

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Parks will stay open for exercise, but police will disperse gatherings of people and enforce fines against those who don’t comply.

“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 die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well,” he added, referring to the National Health Service. “So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease.”

The U.K. has recorded more than 6,700 positive cases of COVID-19, with 336 deaths and 140 recoveries, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 372,000 people and killed more than 16,000, with more than 100,000 recovering.