At every stage of this pandemic, the Government has sought to strike a delicate balance between saving lives by protecting our NHS and minimising the wider impact of restrictions.
Yesterday the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser warned that Coronavirus cases are rising and therefore this is the moment when we must act. If we can curb the number of daily infections, we can save lives and shelter the economy from the far sterner and more costly measures that would inevitably become necessary later.
As the Prime Minister has said: a stitch in time saves nine.
So now it falls to each and every one of us to remember the basics – wash our hands, cover our faces, observe social distancing – and follow the rules.
In addition, the Prime Minister has just announced that the Government will introduce new restrictions to suppress the disease while minimising damage to lives and livelihoods. These new measures include:
💻 Office workers who can work from home should do so.
🍺 Pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only and must close at 10pm.
😷 The requirement to wear face coverings will be extended. This will include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
💒 From Monday, a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions.
🏟️ Plans to reopen business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will be put on hold.
👮 These rules measures will only work if people comply so the Government will tighten the enforcement with higher penalties.
It is important to note that this is not a return to the full lockdown in March. The Government is not issuing a general instruction to stay at home. The Government will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open - because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people.