Coronavirus news you might have missed overnight: Boris Johnson imposes nationwide lockdown and bans gatherings of more than two people

Samuel Osborne
AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic continues to cause chaos across the UK and around the world.

Here is your morning briefing of everything you may have missed overnight about the fight against Covid-19.

Boris Johnson imposes nationwide lockdown

Boris Johnson has imposed an unprecedented three-week lockdown across the UK in an attempt to bring a halt to the coronavirus outbreak.

All British households have been told to stay at home except for a strictly limited set of reasons – with police having powers to enforce the instructions with fines.

Weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies are being stopped, but funerals will go ahead. And all public gatherings of more than two people – except for members of the same household – are banned.

From Monday evening, people will only be allowed to leave their homes for:

  • Shopping for basic necessities “as infrequently as possible”;
  • One exercise outing a day – for example a run, walk or cycle;
  • Medical needs or caring for a vulnerable person;
  • Travelling to and from work, but only if this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home

UK bans gatherings of more than two people

Boris Johnson has placed the UK on lockdown to tackle the coronavirus, with a ban on public gatherings of more than two people, to be enforced by police.

The prime minister detailed a short list of reasons why individuals may leave their homes as he ordered the immediate closure of all shops selling non-essentials items.

“We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with,” he said. “And we’ll stop all social events​, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.”

Matt Hancock claims ‘biggest public health campaign in history’ – despite no adverts on Facebook or Instagram

Matt Hancock is under fire after claiming “the biggest public health campaign in history” is telling people how to defeat coronavirus – despite no adverts being placed on Facebook or Instagram.

The heath secretary rejected growing warnings that much of the public is in the dark about official advice on ‘social distancing’, insisting no government had ever done so much.

However, the claim was immediately undermined by research showing not a single advert about the pandemic has run from the government’s official Facebook or Instagram accounts

Children no longer in school must not play outside with friends, minister urges

Children have been told they must not play outside with friends amid school closures.

Parents must not allow play dates or sleepovers during the coronavirus pandemic, the Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams has urged.

She told children and young people that they were not powerless and should remain at home to maintain social distancing while schools are closed.

Sacked by text message: Zero-hours contract workers laid off because of coronavirus’ impact

For many of Britain’s precarious workers, the future is more uncertain than ever – despite a government plan to pay 80 per cent of wages for employees out of work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Charlie Powell, 23, and 12 colleagues working for outsourcing company Aramark were informed last Monday that, as of that evening, their services were no longer required.

The message was delivered in a Facebook group post, then followed up by a text message.

US death toll surges past 500

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in the United States surged past 500 on Monday.

The total number of victims now stands at 573, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking cases across the world. It represents a significant jump from the previously recorded toll of 499.

The number of confirmed infections in the US is now 41,708, the third-highest number of cases in the world behind China and Italy.

Trump says he will ‘reopen’ US in three weeks against advice of doctors who ‘want to keep world shut forever’

Donald Trump said he intends to re-open the United States from its coronavirus shutdown sooner than in three or four months, as some experts have predicted the lockdown should last, even saying he might consider such an order when a White House-mandated 15-day period to shutter much of the economy ends next week.

However, it is unclear if state and local officials would even follow such presidential guidance – especially in hard-hit areas.

“Our country wasn’t built to be shut down,” Mr Trump said during an evening briefing at the White House. Once medical officials signal it is “okay,” he added, “Let’s get back to work.”

The inimitable Dr Fauci: Meet the man leading America’s fight against coronavirus – and an anti-science White House

In times of crises past, worried Americans have turned to their president for comfort. The commander-in-chief has, on occasion, served as a point of key information, unity and calm.

But today, an unfortunate confluence of a deadly pandemic and an anti-science White House has meant that job has fallen to another man.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has become perhaps the most visible face of the US government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

‘It’s important to tell everyone my experience’: US woman who tested positive for coronavirus reports unusual symptoms

An American woman has reported suffering very different symptoms to other people who have contracted Covid-19.

Julia Buscaglia tested positive for coronavirus, but shared in a Twitter thread the unusual symptoms she suffered with, including hearing loss.

The 20-year-old said she decided to share her symptoms because “it’s important to tell everyone my experience.”

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