The United Kingdom has just announced a countrywide lockdown in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the order today, according to CNN, calling the pandemic the “biggest threat” the UK has faced in decades. “Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of the virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses…”
Under the Prime Minister’s orders, the UK’s rules match that of many American cities like Los Angeles — practicing a “safer-at-home” initiative, meaning UK residents will still be allowed to leave their homes for basic necessities like medical care, work travel, and exercise, though with slightly stricter guidelines like limiting exercise to once a day and shopping for basic needs as infrequently as possible. All nonessential businesses are to be closed and travel is only allowed to and from work for jobs that cannot be done at home.
Unlike many American cities’ stay-at-home orders, the UK’s proclamation comes with the force of law behind it.
“If you don’t follow the rules, the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings,” Johnson said in his televised address. The measures are effective immediately and will be in place for at least three weeks, at which time they’ll be reviewed.