On Monday, the Boris Johnson laid down strict new measures for Britons to follow in a desperate attempt to get the accelerating coronavirus outbreak under control. People will only be allowed to leave their homes for four reasons as part of measures lasting a minimum of three weeks until Easter Monday on April 13, where they will be reviewed again. These are: Infrequent shopping for basic necessities such as food or medicine; one form of exercise a day; for a medical need or to take care of the vulnerable; and to go to work, but only if that cannot be done from home.
Gatherings of more than two people in public will also be dispersed.
Mr Johnson said “police will have the powers to enforce” the rules, and can issue £30 fines and dispersal orders.
This is similar to measures put in place in other European countries, including France, which has issued more than 90,000 fines since the lockdown started a week ago.
France has also given citizens forms to fill out whenever they leave the house, detailing precisely why they are out.
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The Prime Minister’s official spokesman reiterated the punishment, but also warned the £30 fine could rise significantly for those who refuse to comply.
The spokesman said: “Regulations will be made as soon as possible and by Thursday at the latest to allow the police to issue fines to those who refuse to comply.”
He added police would “take whatever steps they consider appropriate to disperse groups of people who are flouting the rules”.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman said those ignoring the rules would initially be fined £30 but this amount would be kept under review and could be increased “significantly if it is necessary to ensure public compliance”.
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Speaking in the House of Commons earlier today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs “home is now the front line” and that working together, coronavirus can be defeated.
But he warned: “These measures are not advice, they are rules and will be enforced, including by the police with fines starting at £30 up to unlimited fines for non compliance.
“We are engaged in a great national effort to beat the virus. Everybody now has it in their power to save lives and protect the NHS.
“Home is now the front line, and in this national effort, working together, we can defeat this disease. Everyone has a part to play.”
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The lockdown measures have been enforced after Britons ignored earlier social distancing advice provided by the Government.
Last week, Mr Johnson had asked the public to remain at home and if out, stay two metres away from others.
But over the past few days, millions of people have been seen together in busy parks and cramming onto trains during busy rush hour periods.
Speaking on Monday evening, the Prime Minister said: “Though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more.
“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.
“Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.”
The Prime Minister added: “You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say “No”.
“You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.
“You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine – and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.
“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”
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