New social distancing guidelines for the UK have just been announced.
The UK government is now holding daily briefings about the coronavirus outbreak, and today’s briefing has resulted in several new guidelines for Londoners to follow. Foremost amongst these is the new social distancing measure, with guidance that we should “stop all non-essential contact with others” (whether you have symptoms of the virus or not) marking a new phase in the fight against coronavirus.
In his briefing today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked the country:
- To start working from home wherever possible.
- To avoid pubs, clubs, theatres, and other social venues.
- To only use the NHS when it’s really necessary.
- That anyone with a cough or temperature should stay at home for 14 days.
The government has also announced that they’ll no longer be supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers, which appears to leave the choice of continuing such gatherings in the hands of the organisers. Johnson noted that we’re “approaching the fast growth part of the virus curve”, and said that without “drastic action”, total coronavirus cases could double every five to six days.
(See a full list of London venue closures here.)
Though an active ban on visiting pubs, bars, and theatres isn’t in effect yet, Johnson, in response to a reporter’s question, said that the government has the powers to do it if necessary, but that he doesn’t believe they will need be used. On the subject of school closures, meanwhile, the UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said they won’t be in effect yet, but could come “at the right stage” of the outbreak.
This is going to be tough, London, but it’s on us to act with an abundance of caution – especially since London is ahead of the virus curve when compared to the rest of the UK. We’re being asked to be especially cautious, so please do everything you can to help reduce the spread of the virus.
More information on this story as soon as we have it.
Also published on Medium.