This evening's main briefing was given by the Prime Minister.
- Last week we asked everyone to stay at home if you had one of two key symptoms: a high temperature or a new and continuous cough.
- Today, we need to go further, because according to SAGE [the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies] it looks as though we’re now approaching the fast growth part of the upward curve. And without drastic action, cases could double every 5 or 6 days.
If you have (or anyone in your household has) Symptoms: Stay at home for 14 days.
That means that if possible you should not go out even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others. If necessary, you should ask for help from others for your daily necessities. And if that is not possible, then you should do what you can to limit your social contact when you leave the house to get supplies.
Whether or not you have symptoms
And even if you don’t have symptoms and if no one in your household has symptoms, there is more that we need you to do now.
Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.
We need people to start working from home where they possibly can. And you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.
It goes without saying, we should all only use the NHS when we really need to. And please go online rather than ringing NHS 111.
And if you ask, why are we doing this now, why now, why not earlier, or later? Why bring in this very draconian measure?
The answer is that we are asking people to do something that is difficult and disruptive of their lives.
And the right moment, as we’ve always said, is to do it when it is most effective, when we think it can make the biggest difference to slowing the spread of the disease, reducing the number of victims, reducing the number of fatalities.
And as we take these steps we should be focusing on the most vulnerable.
By this Weekend
So third, in a few days’ time – by this coming weekend – it will be necessary to go further and to ensure that those with the most serious health conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks.
And again the reason for doing this in the next few days, rather than earlier or later, is that this is going to be very disruptive for people who have such conditions, and difficult for them, but, I believe, it’s now necessary.
And we want to ensure that this period of shielding, this period of maximum protection coincides with the peak of the disease.