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23 mars 2020 | 21h59 UTC

UK: PM Johnson issues stay-at-home orders, closes nonessential businesses March 23 to curb COVID-19 spread /update 7

United Kingdom Alerte de sécurité

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces new stay-at-home restrictions, orders nonessential businesses to close March 23 to curb spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19); further international spread of COVID-19 to be expected over near term

TIMEFRAME expected from 23/3/2020, 12h00 until 30/4/2020, 11h59 (Europe/London). COUNTRY/REGION United Kingdom

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Event

On Monday, March 23, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new stay-at-home restrictions for Britons and ordered nonessential businesses to close to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak within the country. Johnson instructed British citizens to only leave their homes to shop for necessities as infrequently as possible, engage in one form of exercise per day alone or with members of one's household, satisfy medical needs (i.e. to provide care or help an individual vulnerable to COVID-19), or to travel to and from work when working from home is not possible. Johnson cautioned that police forces may issue fines and disperse gatherings of people refusing to adhere to the orders.

All nonessential businesses and public venues have been ordered to close, all public gatherings of more than two people have been prohibited (excluding people living together), and all social events have been canceled, excluding funerals. Notably, parks remain open for exercise, but "gatherings will be dispersed," according to Johnson.

As of March 23, over 6600 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the UK. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

 

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