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16 March 2020

First daily press briefing with Boris Johnson, Chris Whitty, Patrick Vallance – new social distancing measures for all

Summary

In the first daily briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson states that the objective is to delay and flatten the peak of the COVID-19 spread, with the right measures introduced at the right time, saying 'Everything we do is based scrupulously on the best scientific advice.' Two new measures are introduced to delay the spread of the disease (self-isolation for people with two key symptoms and their households, plus everyone to 'stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel'). A third measure to protect the most vulnerable is signalled for the future. Boris Johnson asks why now, not earlier? '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.' He warns that London is further ahead in the spread of the disease, so Londoners need to pay particular attention to the government advice.

Source(s)

Gov.uk speech