Government To Ask 1.5 Million 'High Risk' People To Stay Home For 'At Least' 12 Weeks
The UK government has told 1.5 million 'high risk' people to stay at home for at least 12 weeks, urging people to take official advice 'seriously' to help save lives. The individuals the government is asking to stay inside will be informed by letter or text message in the coming week.
People who can't get out to get food and other essential supplies will have parcels delivered to their doorsteps, as the government works with the military on a regional distribution network that will take over pubs and other community hubs.
Boris Johnson has also stressed the importance of social distancing in a bid to protect the nation from the spread of coronavirus, saying in his daily briefing: "Take this advice seriously. Follow it because it's absolutely crucial."
He added: "We have to slow the spread of the disease."
Johnson said he understood the need for people to 'go to the parks and open spaces to enjoy themselves', and that this is important for physical and mental wellbeing.
However, he ordered people to honour the social distancing advice issued by the government, telling them they must 'stay two metres apart'.
He said: "Don't think fresh air automatically provides some immunity.
"Even if you think you're personally invulnerable there are plenty of people you could infect."
Johnson continued: "We will keep the implementation of these measures under review - and yes, of course we will bring forward further measures if we think this is necessary."
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While he said he didn't 'want' to enforce 'tougher measures', Johnson later reiterated: "You've got to follow the social distancing rule. Otherwise [...] there is going to be no doubt that we have to bring forward further measures."
The UK's death toll has now risen to 281, with a total of 5,683 confirmed cases.
The government has been pushing a #StayHomeSaveLives campaign this week, encouraging people to do their bit to not only protect others, but also the NHS - which is already feeling the strain of dealing with the virus.
Our amazing NHS staff want to be there to help you and your loved ones over the coming weeks and months.
You can help them right now by staying inside. #StayHomeSaveLives https://t.co/qhfdh51HDk
- Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 21, 2020
Earlier today Health Secretary Matt Hancock has revealed that 4,500 retired doctors and nurses have signed up to return to the NHS to assist those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
In a video shared on Twitter, he said: "With coronavirus growing, on Friday we put out the call asking recently retired doctors, nurses, other health professionals, to come back to the NHS to help in this unprecedented crisis.
"I'm delighted that in the first 48 hours, 4,000 nurses and 500 doctors have already signed up. But we need many more.
"It's easy to do, and we will make sure that your service is put to best effect.
"The whole country needs the NHS right now, and if you're a retired doctor or a retired nurse, then your NHS needs you."
Featured Image Credit: PA