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‘Work from home and avoid pubs and theatres’: Government’s new coronavirus message

PUBLISHED: 17:24 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:46 16 March 2020

A screen-grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson (centre) speaking at a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on Coronavirus (COVID-19) after he had taken part in the governmentÕs COBRA meeting. Picture date: Monday March 16, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: PA Video/PA Wire

A screen-grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson (centre) speaking at a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on Coronavirus (COVID-19) after he had taken part in the governmentÕs COBRA meeting. Picture date: Monday March 16, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: PA Video/PA Wire

People of all ages are being asked to stop “non-essential contact” as the UK steps up measures to slow the spread of coronavirus and protect society’s most vulnerable.

In the first of his daily briefings on the spread of Covid-19 in Britain, prime minister Boris Johnson said “now is the time for everyone to stop and to stop all non-essential travel” as he urged people to work from home and avoid pubs, clubs and theatres.

He said people should start working from home “where they possibly can”.

“You should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues,” he said.

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Mr Johnson said the advice was particularly important for people over the age of 70, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions.

The prime minister said: “We want to ensure that this period of shielding, this period of maximum protection, coincides with the peak of the disease and it is now clear that the peak of the epidemic is coming faster in some parts of the country than in others.

“And it looks as though London is now a few weeks ahead.”

Mr Johnson said that it is “important that Londoners now pay special attention about avoiding non-essential contact and to take particularly seriously the advice about working from home and avoiding confined spaces such as pubs and restaurants”.

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He added: “Lastly, it remains true - as we said in the last few weeks - that this sort of transmissions of the disease at mass gatherings such as sporting events are relatively low, but obviously, logically, as we advise against unnecessary social contact of all kinds, it’s right that we should extend that advice to mass gatherings as well.

“And so we’ve also got to ensure that we have the critical workers we need that might otherwise be deployed for those gatherings, to deal with those emergencies.

“So from tomorrow we will no longer be supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers in the way that we normally do.”

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