UK COVID-19 National Strategy: Physical Distancing, Facility and Business Closing
“Initially, all physical distancing was recommended rather than mandatory, except for quarantine measures (see next section). By this stage in the UK it had been 15 days since the 100th case had been confirmed. For comparison, the same measures were implemented some 9 days after the 100th case in Germany and around 14 days after the 100th case in the US.
“On Monday 16th March 2020, there was a blanket recommendation for the public to stay at home and avoid mass gatherings, public transport and close contact with persons, particularly individuals who were considered vulnerable, (which was defined as those eligible for a seasonal influenza vaccine i.e. those over 70 years of age, those with chronic conditions, pregnant women), who were also requested to stay at home in isolation for the foreseeable future and restrict non-essential visits (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19). Although restrictions on mass gatherings were not formally implemented at this time, sports bodies and entertainment venues unilaterally decided to suspend such events anyway. On 20th March 2020 all pubs restaurants and cafés were asked to close for all but takeaway food sales.
“Schools, colleges and nurseries in the UK were asked to close from 23rd March 2020, but cover was provided for children whose parents are keyworkers (to enable functioning of the health and social care services, transport and utilities as well as food supply), children with disabilities (to ensure continuity of care) and those children considered to be vulnerable such as those who are eligible for free school meals.
“From 24th March 2020, non-essential retail outlets were closed (excluding supermarkets and pharmacists etc) and physical distancing became mandatory for everyone with people required to stay at home, except for very limited purposes such as one form of exercise per day, essential work that cannot be done at home and shopping for food or collecting medicines. Gatherings of more than two people were banned in public for a minimum period of three weeks. Relevant authorities, including the police, were granted powers to enforce these measures through fines and dispersing gatherings.”
Source: COVID-19 Health System Response Monitor. A project of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, the European Commission, and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. From the web at https://www.covid19healthsystem.org/mainpage.aspx, last accessed April 20, 2020.
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Page last updated May 21, 2020 by Doug McVay, Senior Policy Analyst.