UK announces 3-week lockdown to halt spread of Covid-19

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a three-week lockdown for Britain in an effort to contain Covid-19.

In an address this evening, Monday, March 23, Johnson said people would only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons including: shopping for basic necessities; one form of exercise a day; any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and travelling to and from work, but only where absolutely necessary.

The announcement was made following the latest UK Department of Health reports showing 6,650 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of 9:00am this morning. 335 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus have died.

As the largest importer of a number of Irish agri-food exports, the lockdown is bound to be a significant blow to Ireland’s export trade.

In his address, Prime Minister Johnson said: “You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine – and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”

Continuing, Johnson said that, in a bid to ensure compliance, the UK government will:
  • Close all shops selling non-essential goods,​ including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship;
  • Stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with; and
  • Stop all social events​, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.

The prime minister said: “I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.

“And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.

“And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to,” the prime minister said.