Prime Minister announces stringent curbs, tells people they must stay at home

The United Kingdom has become the latest European country to impose an effective lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced stringent restrictions on everyday life on Monday and said to people, “You must stay at home.”

British people are only allowed to leave their homes for “very limited purposes” starting on Monday night such as shopping for daily necessities and medical needs, Johnson announced in a televised address to the nation on Monday evening. The new measures are set to last for at least three weeks and subject to constant review.

He also ordered shops selling nonessential goods to be closed immediately. Libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship were also ordered to be closed. All social events and the gathering of more than two people in public will also be barred, except for people that one lives with.

“From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction: You must stay at home,” Johnson said, adding that police have powers to enforce the rules, including issuing fines and dispersing gatherings.

The UK has reported 6,650 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 335 deaths as of Monday, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

The novel coronavirus continues to take its toll across Europe, now the epicenter of the pandemic, and lockdowns have been put in place in many countries, notably in worst-hit Italy, as well as in France and Spain.

The continent has reported 182,470 cases and 10,049 deaths as of Tuesday, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

In Spain, Europe’s second hardest-hit country, the number of confirmed cases rose to 39,673 from 33,089 on Monday, and the death toll climbed to 2,696, according to the Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Services.

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