Prime Minister Boris Johnson has addressed the nation this evening and orders UK to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The announcement comes as the UK death toll has reached 335 today, with 16 of those in Wales. The total number of confirmed cases in the UK rose to 6,650, with 418 in Wales.
In his statement, the Prime Minister has announced the immediate closure of non-essential businesses and limit people from leaving their homes.
The Government has promised to review these measures in three weeks times, and will relax them if they can.
Boris Johnson said:
“All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer.
“And so tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.
“And I want to begin by reminding you why the UK has been taking the approach that we have.
“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; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.
“And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.
“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.
“So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease.”
What happens now
To ensure compliance with the instructions to stay at home, the Government will immediately:
- 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;
- will 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.
Who can leave their home
People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
- shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
- any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
- travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed, the Government has said.
First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford reiterated the Prime Minister’s announcement in a speech this evening.
Mark Drakeford said:
“Over the last few weeks, we have asked everyone in Wales to make changes to the way we live our lives. We have asked you to stay at home. We’ve asked you to work from home if you can and not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary.
“We’ve done this to slow the spread of coronavirus in Wales. To save lives and to protect our NHS.
“But now we have to introduce more, even tighter measures.
“From now on, all high street shops will be closed, except those selling food, pharmacies, banks and post offices.
“Local NHS services, including your GP, will continue to be open.
All social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, as well as gatherings of more than two people in public should not take place. Funerals will continue to be held but only with close family present.
“We’re asking everyone to stay at home – please only go out once a day to shop for basic food if you have to and to exercise close to home.
“Everyone should now also work from home, if you can.
“Now these are really big changes for us all. We are making them because of the speed the virus is continuing to spread.
“Please help us protect you and to save lives. Together, we can do this.”