While the UK is still struggling to flatten the curve of coronavirus spread in the country, the residents, especially of London, were seen bracing themselves from much tougher lockdown measures. As of March 20, Britain has recorded at least 3,269 coronavirus infections, out which more than 900 are from its capital. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on March 18 that the government will implement harsh measures in London where the COVID-19 has been spreading faster than any other part of the country.
The British government is reportedly struggling to contain the virus which is drastically spreading across the country despite the city guidelines which have advised all citizens to practice social distancing and non-essential travel. However, while London streets were seen empty, UK Prime Minister said that they can still, “turn the tide” of the pandemic in next 12 weeks, only if people follow the advisories issued by the government.
We can turn the tide against coronavirus in the next 12 weeks - BUT ONLY IF we all follow government advice and look out for one another.— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) March 19, 2020
➡ Practice social distancing
➡ Stay at home if you have a cough or fever
➡ Wash your hands regularly
➡ https://t.co/0G9LPXVhiP pic.twitter.com/J5pgoQCwIK
According to an international news agency, at least 40 London tube stations were set to close ahead of an expected lockdown. Despite Johnson addressing the issue of ‘panic buying’ and urging all citizens to refrain from it, media reports have stated that there were still long queues outside the stores in London along with certain cases of inappropriate behaviour by the customers. The store have been running out of stocks and supermarkets are hoping to get police support in order to deal with the unruly behaviour.
The British shoppers were standing in long queues around the block on March 19 ahead of the intense measures that the government might impose, however, most supermarkets are still taking online orders but they will not be delivered for up to 21 days. Johnson, on the other hand, urged the people to be "thoughtful".
Please be reasonable in your shopping, be considerate and thoughtful of others as you do it. pic.twitter.com/Dwo7lTIkg7— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 19, 2020
The British government has also cautioned the public to avoid social contact and choose to work from home as much as possible. Moreover, Johnson even held a meeting with dozens of industry leaders and urged them to assist the country to scale-up the production of medical equipment.
While addressing the nation, Queen Elizabeth II said that the royal family would also play its part as Britain struggles to face the challenge posed by the unprecedented outbreak of deadly coronavirus. The Indian doctors in the UK also called on the British government to take urgent action in addressing the increasing pressure on the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) by suspending non-urgent surgeries.
Meanwhile, the UK government also announced that it would be closing all schools in the upcoming days and placed at least 20,000 troops on standby in efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19. Adding to the crisis, European Union’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier was also tested positive of the novel virus which originated in the Chinese province of Wuhan in December 2019.