As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread, Boris Johnson announced on 23rd March 2020 that the UK will go into ‘lockdown’ for at least the next three weeks, effective immediately.
The lockdown – which will be similar to that of the current protocols being enforced in European countries severely impacted by COVID-19, such as Italy and Spain – features a variety of measures intended to keep UK citizens indoors as much as possible, reduce person-to-person contact and help slow the spread of COVID-19. Review the following guidance for an outline of the reasoning behind the lockdown and lockdown standards.
Reasoning Behind the Lockdown
As of 23rd March 2020, the UK has more than 6,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with the disease contributing to over 300 deaths. These numbers—which represent an exponential growth in total cases over the past few weeks—have given health professionals reason to believe that government action is necessary to slow
the spread of this disease.
By issuing a lockdown, the government is aiming to severely limit physical interaction between UK citizens, thus containing the number of COVID-19 cases and keeping the NHS from becoming overwhelmed by the pandemic. This initiative is known as ‘flattening the curve,’ and is being implemented in countries across the globe.
Effective immediately, the government is enforcing the following lockdown standards:
• Staying at home – Citizens are only permitted to leave their homes for basic necessities (eg food and medicine), one form of exercise a day (eg running, walking or cycling), medical reasons (eg to provide care) or travelling to and from work—but only if the work cannot be completed from home. When completing these activities, citizens should still be keeping at least 2 metres from anyone outside of their household.
• Closing all non-essential shops and public spaces – This includes pubs, cinemas, theatres, non-essential retail stores, libraries, community centres, indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, communal areas within parks, places of worship, hostels, hotels, bed and breakfasts, caravan parks and boarding houses. For further information, click here.
• Stopping public gatherings – Public gatherings of more than two people are prohibited. The only exceptions to this rule are when a gathering consists of people who live together or when the gathering is essential for work purposes. All social events, such as weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies are not permitted during this time—the only exception being for funeral services. The government confirmed that police and other authorities will have the power to disperse gatherings and issue fines to any citizens that don’t comply with these lockdown standards.
The lockdown will last for at least three weeks. After this time, the government will reassess the lockdown standards based on COVID-19 case data. For more government information regarding COVID-19, click here.