Coronavirus pandemic: Boris Johnson announces slew of measures to deal with outbreak, asks people to minimise social contact

Britons should avoid pubs, clubs and theaters to help slow the spread of coronavirus, British prime minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

"We need people to start working from home where they possibly can," he told a news conference. “And you should avoid pubs, clubs, theaters and other such social venues.”

"This advice about avoiding all unnecessary social contact is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions," he said.

 Coronavirus pandemic: Boris Johnson announces slew of measures to deal with outbreak, asks people to minimise social contact

File image of British prime minister Boris Johnson. AP

The United Kingdom prime minister, announcing a slew of stringent measures to tackle the spread of the COVID-19 in the country, where the toll rose to 36, which included "reduced social contact, increased home working, and avoiding mass gatherings," Financial Times reported.

In the first of a series of reportedly daily press briefings on the government's steps to tackle the pandemic, Johnson said that UK was on the verge of hitting the "fast growth" stage of the outbreak curve and asserted that "without drastic action, cases could double every five or six days".

According to reports, the measures aim to delay the impact of the outbreak.
"Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and stop all non-essential travel,” he said. "We need people to start working from home and avoid pubs, clubs and theatres."

Johnson also said that the government was trying to "minimise suffering and save lives".

"Looks like we’re approaching the fast growth part of the curve, so we have to ask you to ensure that if you or anyone in your house has two symptoms, you should stay home for 14 days. Not even to go out to buy groceries, only exercise," he said.

Johnson also specified that the precautionary measures were particularly for residents of London. "It’s now clear that the peak of the epidemic is coming faster in some parts of the country than in others. And it looks as though London is now a few weeks ahead.

"So, to relieve the pressure on the London health system and to slow the spread in London, it’s important that Londoners now pay special attention to what we are saying about avoiding non-essential contact, and to take particularly seriously the advice about working from home, and avoiding confined spaces such as pubs and restaurants," he said.

Earlier, the UK government had justified its "relaxed" approach in tackling the global outbreak saying that it's a way to tackle the infection in the long run by developing "herd immunity".

UK ministers defended Johnson's refusal to cancel large public gatherings, saying that "the important thing that needed to be done was to 'build up some kind of herd immunity' so that many people are immune to coronavirus, which will result in reduced transmission," News18 reported.

With inputs from agencies​

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

Updated Date: Mar 17, 2020 00:39:12 IST