Johnson urges 'everyone' to avoid pubs, clubs & social gatherings

Cheryl Sanders
March 17, 2020

Johnson said anyone who lives in a household where someone is showing one of the two key coronavirus symptoms - a fever or persistent dry cough - should stay at home for 14 days.

He said these measures are particularly important for people over 70, pregnant women and people with health conditions. "I can't remember anything like it in my lifetime", Mr Johnson said.

Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre chief executive Julian Bird said: "Closing venues is not a decision that is taken lightly, and we know that this will have a severe impact on numerous 290,000 individuals working in our industry".

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

Sunak announced the biggest spending budget plan in almost 30 years last week, including measures to offset the impact of the virus, and promised more help if needed.

British authorities on Monday dramatically ramped up measures to combat the new coronavirus, urging all United Kingdom residents to avoid unnecessary contact with others and telling people in the most vulnerable groups to stay at home for three months.

"Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel". No-one self-isolating should go out "even to buy food or essentials" other than for exercise if possible.

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 adviser, Patrick Vallance, said.

"People should be thinking of a minimum of weeks or months and, depending how it goes, it may be longer", Prof Whitty added.

When Phillip asked what his son would think of that because he'd told people not to go, Stanley said: 'No, he told people should avoid going to pubs but if I had to go to a pub I'd go to a pub'.

The U.K. strategy has been based on the presumption that most people will eventually get the virus.

Government sources said the guidance covered "meeting your mates in the pub" but also applied to "inviting friends to your home", meaning dinner parties are discouraged.

Johnson also said the government would no longer give emergency-services support to large gatherings, though he did not ban them outright.

Mr Johnson added: "We want to ensure that this period of shielding, this period of maximum protection, coincides with the peak of the disease and it is now clear that the peak of the epidemic is coming faster in some parts of the country than in others". The number who have died increased to 55 from 35.

All of London's West End theaters said they would close in the wake of the government announcement.

"The prime minister's latest advice on mass gatherings has resulted in huge uncertainty and confusion over what exactly it will mean for the music industry", acting chief executive Tom Kiehl said.

Prof Azra Ghani from Imperial College London said the approach depends on every person reducing their person to person contacts by 75 per cent - on top of association in workplaces and schools.

Experts have already warned this could be a year off.

A religious street preacher alongside protesters wearing hazmat from a group called "Pause the System" outside Downing Street in London.

But 60 percent of more than 15,000 people who responded to a recent LADbible poll say the problem is that the government just hasn't done enough to help tackle the pandemic.

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