The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this evening have announced strict new curbs on life in Scotland and the UK to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
From this evening:
- People can only leave their homes for only very limited purposes – shopping for basic necessities; for one form of exercise a day; for any medical need; and to travel to and from work when “absolutely necessary”;
- People are warned not to meet friends or family members who they do not live with;
- Shopping is only permitted for essentials like food and medicine, and people are advised to do it “as little as you can”;
- Police have the powers to enforce the rules, including through fines and dispersing gatherings;
- All shops selling non-essential good, such as clothing and electronic stores, are ordered to close;
- Libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship are to close;
- All gatherings of more than two people in public – exclusing people you live with – are banned;
- All social events, including weddings and baptisms are banned;
- Funerals are not included in the new restrictions – but limited to family only;
- Parks will remain open for exercise but gathering will be dispersed;
- Restrictions “under constant review” and will be checked again in three weeks. They will be relaexed “if the evidence shows we are able to”;
Ministers and officials have become concerned about reports of people failing to observe the advice about social distancing.
The sunny weather at the weekend led to people flocking to parks and other outdoor places to enjoy the start of spring, while images of commuters packed on to trains have also raised alarm.
The figures show the number of positive cases are beginning to rise quickly and there is a desire – now we have gone down this route – that the gains from reducing social contact are maximised.
If we halve exposure, new infections could fall by more than 95%. Scientists currently believe that each person with coronavirus infects 2.5 people and that takes about five days. Thirty days after that first infection, that means more than 400 people will be infected.
But if we all reduce our exposure by half, after 30 days, that first infection would have led to only 15 infections.