BRITAIN can send coronavirus “packing” in just 12 weeks if we all follow strict new rules, Boris Johnson vowed today.
In an impassioned plea to the nation tonight the PM stressed that the whole country could be over the worst of the crisis in three months if they bucked up and did their duty now – before it’s too late.
At a Downing Street press conference he begged Brits to stop going out to the pub, practise social distancing and work from home if they can.
“Please, please follow that advice,” he told the public, as he thanked them for their valiant efforts so far.
Offering the nation a ray of hope in some of Britain’s darkest days since the war, he promised hard-hit Brits that there WAS light at the end of the tunnel.
“With ruthless, determined, collective action and scientific progress, we will succeed,” the PM said.
“If we do this together, we will save many thousands of lives.”
Speaking just an hour after the Queen urged the country to do their bit to tackle the bug, he stressed “we can curb the tide within the next 12 weeks” and stressed he was “confident we can send coronavirus packing in this country”.
But he warned: “Only if we take the steps we have outlined.”
Boris pleaded with people not to panic-buy goods too – after days of shops being stripped bare by Brits grabbing as much stock as they can.
The dramatic sweeping measures came as:
- The death toll from coronavirus has now reached 144 in the UK with confirmed cases up to 3,269
- No10 insisted today that draconian lock-down measure that keep people in their homes were NOT on the cards
- Pubs closures in the capital are on the cards to stop the spread further
- Schools will shut from Friday evening – with exams cancelled
The PM again refused to rule out shutting pubs and restaurants to try and stop the spread, but made no hint as to whether it was on the way soon.
“We will do it very much by the science and whether we think the advice given is working,” he said.
“If we feel if it isn’t working and we need to bring in tougher measures… nothing is ruled out.”
And he again vowed that a package of vital measures for helping working Brits up and down the country was on the way.
Boris said this evening: “We are going to look after the people who really suffer, we will be directing our support to them first, the people first.
The PM stressed that the first patients had started a randomised trial to try and help cure them of the disease.
And he promised to ramp up testing to a whopping 250,000 PER DAY in future – yet no details on how that would happen.
Negotiations are underway to buy a new “game-changing” antibody tests which will tell if anyone has had the virus too, he said.
If it works, “we will buy literally hundreds of thousands of these kits as soon as practical”, he promised.
After claims from Nicola Sturgeon that more “stringent measures” on London could be on the way, the PM vowed that no one would be told not to leave their home as is the case in Italy and France.
There is no prospect of us wanting to stop public transport in London
He promised: “We are not going to be telling people that under no circumstances they should go to work.
“There is no prospect of us wanting to stop public transport in London.”
He also used his daily address to beg employers not to fire their staff as help was coming for them tomorrow.
“I hope you stick by your employees, because we’re all going to need them”, the PM insisted.
“Think very carefully before you start laying off your staff.
“They should stand behind their employees, we in the government are going to stand behind British firms.”
It came after Boris and the Government laid out sweeping new emergency laws to crack down on every aspect of life in Britain today.
NHS staff and police will have the power to detain people for up to 24 hours and force them to be tested for Covid-19.
The sweeping laws give them to power to order them not to attend work or to stay in isolation, or ban them from travelling.
And they will face a £1000 fine if they don’t comply.
The 329-page bill will allow for more phone and video hearings in court so the justice system can keep going.
Officials will be able to suspend all plane and ship arrivals at airports or ports or there aren’t enough staff to maintain border security.
Morgues could be expanded and inquests stripped back in order to try and deal with extra deaths.
It also enacts pension changes so retired doctors and nurses can come back into the NHS easily without their retirement cash suffering.
The emergency powers will be able to be “switched on” and “switched off” if and when needed – for up to two years.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are doing everything we can to protect lives and support the NHS, guided by the best scientists and clinicians in the world.
“The new measures we will be introducing in the Emergency Coronavirus Bill this week will only be used when it is absolutely necessary and must be timed to maximise their effectiveness, but crucially they give the government the powers it needs to protect lives.”
The plans also included:
- Detaining people under the mental health act will only need one doctor’s permission, not two
- Any doctors will be able to sign death certificates
- An army of volunteers will be able to get paid time off work to help the NHS
Meanwhile, Downing Street denied that the capital would be put into lockdown – with any restrictions on travel or transport.
They said Britain will never see the draconian measures like in France and Italy where people are unable to leave their homes without good reason or paperwork.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “There are no plans to close down the transport network in London and there is zero prospect of any restrictions being placed on travelling in and out of London.”
London was not being shut or cut off, but the Government wants to try and ease pressure on the NHS by enforcing the rules better.
But they said new social distancing measures for London were on the cards.
This is likely to include forcing pubs, restaurants and cafes to close.
Troops are not expected to deployed on the streets to ensure public order, either, the PM’s spokesperson stressed.
However, London’s transport network is expected to be scaled back in the coming days, and 40 stations are set to close for the meantime.
Ministers will reveal more about how kids will get their exam grades without sitting tests in the coming days.
Here’s some more information about what to do if you lose your job due to coronavirus.
And here are your rights to sick pay if you have to self-isolate.
— to www.thesun.co.uk