What is lockdown? Britons, including senior minister, are confused

By Paul Sandle LONDON (Reuters) - The minister tasked with explaining lockdown to Britons sowed more confusion on Tuesday as he contradicted himself on children moving between households, was unclear about the status of construction sites and said toy and clothes deliveries could carry on. Prime Minister Boris Johnson ratcheted up Britain's attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus on Monday, announcing strict curbs on ordinary life. He ordered people to stay at home, shops to close and all non-essential interaction to halt.

Reuters March 25, 2020 02:11:28 IST
What is lockdown? Britons, including senior minister, are confused

What is lockdown Britons including senior minister are confused

By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) - The minister tasked with explaining lockdown to Britons sowed more confusion on Tuesday as he contradicted himself on children moving between households, was unclear about the status of construction sites and said toy and clothes deliveries could carry on.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ratcheted up Britain's attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus on Monday, announcing strict curbs on ordinary life. He ordered people to stay at home, shops to close and all non-essential interaction to halt.

Senior minister Michael Gove appeared on radio and television shows on Tuesday to say people "wherever possible" should stay at home to try to prevent the state-run NHS health service being overwhelmed.

But when asked if people could order toys and clothes online and have them delivered, requiring work by distribution centre workers and drivers, Gove said: "yes".

The government's restrictions say that people should only travel to work when "absolutely necessary".

Gove had to correct the advice he gave on air about whether children of separated parents could move from one household to the other, initially saying it should stop but then saying it was allowed.

Major construction work could also continue, he said, but work in homes that involved "intimate contact" with the householder would not be appropriate, he told ITV, adding that the rules were "clear".

Photographs on Tuesday showed builders congregating at sites such as housing developments.

"Construction work that takes place in the open air on new sites, that is appropriate," Gove said.

Later on Tuesday, London's transport authority temporarily suspended work on construction sites for the capital's new Crossrail project. [nS8N27M03E]

Rebecca Long-Bailey, a candidate to be leader the opposition Labour Party, said the government urgently needed to provide more clarity, including a tightly defined list of workplaces.

"There's a whole range of essential functions, and then there are non-essential functions like ordering nice things online," she told BBC radio.

When asked about people who did not do an essential job, but whose employer insisted they went to work, Gove said: "Wherever people can work from home, they should."

Britain has lagged other European countries in introducing strict curbs on ordinary life.

Italy, where more people have died as a result of the epidemic than anywhere else, ordered the closure of all industrial production and almost all private and public offices on Sunday.

(Editing by Stephen Addison)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.