Coronavirus: People 'must stay at home'

Date published: 24 March 2020

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Following last night's broadcast to the nation by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the British Medical Association has insisted that it is 'absolutely crucial' people follow the advice and stay at home to help the NHS.

Responding to the latest announcement by the PM where he issued tougher measures on social distancing and said that people “must stay at home”, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “The Government has issued a very simple instruction – that people must stay at home – and it is absolutely crucial that they follow this.

"This is about saving lives, protecting the most vulnerable in society and ensuring that our NHS can cope and care for patients.

“The BMA urges people to stay at home.

"Healthcare workers need everyone to help to battle this virus and save lives.”

Commenting on concerns that people are not following social distancing measures effectively and the impact this is having on the NHS, Dr Nagpaul added: “People need to help save lives by staying at home and strictly following government guidance.

"Too many people are putting themselves and others at risk.

“If people continue to ignore the guidance then they are putting the health service under catastrophic strain by accelerating the spread of the virus and putting even more lives in danger.

“The Government must now take any further appropriate action to ensure the safety of the nation.

"This is about saving lives, protecting the most vulnerable in society and ensuring that our NHS can cope and care for patients.”

There are now only a limited number of circumstances under which people can leave their home.

They are:

- shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible

- one form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk or cycle - alone or with members of your household

- any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

- travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home

PM Mr Johnson said: "That's all - these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

"You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No."

Meanwhile, a further 11 people have died after contracting coronavirus in Greater Manchester.

NHS England announced a further 87 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll in England to 422.

It is also a rise of 26%, which is not the biggest percentage day-on-day increase so far but is higher than the 19% increase reported yesterday.

There are currently 28 confirmed cases in Oldham, while the UK case toll has risen to 8,077.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to the nation