Tags: Coronavirus | coronavirus | greatbritian | socialcontact

UK Closes Down Social Life as Coronavirus Outbreak Accelerates

UK Closes Down Social Life as Coronavirus Outbreak Accelerates
A woman crosses the millennium bridge wearing a face mask for protection against the corona virus on Monday in London. (Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Monday, 16 March 2020 05:48 PM

British people need to stop non-essential social contact and avoid clubs, pubs, theaters and all unnecessary travel as the coronavirus outbreak accelerates towards the fast growth phase, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

Johnson had faced a backlash after his government took a less stringent approach to tackling the virus than countries such as Italy, France and Spain which have effectively locked down much of Europe.

In an sharp toughening of Britain's approach to the outbreak, Johnson effectively closed down much of the remaining social life in the world's fifth largest economy.

"Now is the time for everyone to stop non essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel," Johnson said at a news conference in Downing Street. "You should avoid pubs, clubs, theaters and other such social venues."

When asked if he was ordering pubs, clubs and theaters to close, Johnson said he was not but that he hoped the venues would take a responsible approach. The limits on social contact could last for months or at least weeks, Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty said.

He said anyone with symptoms of the coronavirus should isolate along with their entire household for 14 days. Home working, he said, should begin in earnest.

"We need people to start working from home where they possibly can," Johnson said.

Sterling fell to its lowest against the U.S. dollar since October while Johnson was speaking, down two thirds of a cent on the day.

"This is unlike 2008, there isn't a systemic problem within the economy," Johnson said. "If we can get the disease under control... then there is absolutely no reason why economies worldwide should not come roaring back."

VIRUS SPREADS FASTER

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom has risen to 1,543, up from 1,372 the day before, the health ministry said on Monday.

"It looks as though we are now approaching the fast growth part of the upward curve and without drastic action cases could double every 5 or 6 days," Johnson said.

Johnson faced a backlash on Monday over his decision to keep schools open, with angry parents keeping their children at home and complaining that other countries were doing more to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Britain may need to close schools to slow the spread of coronavirus but now is not the time for this, the government's chief scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, said on Monday.

"At some point, as we've said, it may be necessary to think about things like school closures. But those things, again, need to be done at the right time in the right way, at the right stage of the outbreak," Vallance said.

When asked about the need for a globally coordinated response, Johnson said there was widespread agreement in the G7 that measures would be needed to make sure everyone had access to liquidity.

"There is a widespread agreement amongst colleagues in the G7 that we are going to need to make sure everybody has access to liquidity and that if we do things jointly then I think that the global markets will understand that we're all operating in the same sort of fiscal framework and I think we'll be much more successful that way," Johnson said.

© 2020 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


   
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British people need to stop non-essential social contact and avoid clubs, pubs, theaters and all unnecessary travel as the coronavirus outbreak accelerates towards the fast growth phase, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.Johnson had faced a backlash after his...
coronavirus, greatbritian, socialcontact
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2020-48-16
Monday, 16 March 2020 05:48 PM
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