World

Britain urges people to stay indoors as lockdown begins

LONDON : Britain's leaders yesterday urged people to respect an unprecedented countrywide lockdownto stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"Unless you stay at home, the people you love most may die," senior minister Michael Gove said in broadcast interviews.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday bowed to pressure to follow other countries in shutting most shops and services, as the death toll reached 335.

Mr Johnson said people must stay inside except to buy essentials and take daily exercise, but there were questions about how the new rules will be enforced.

"The police will have the tools in order to ensure those people are penalised and punished", Mr Gove said, citing risk of a fine.

But Britain's police forces were thinly spread even before the outbreak, which has caused further shortages due to officers self-isolating.

Mr Peter Fahy, former head of the police in Manchester, said clarification was needed, particularly on how to enforce a new rule banning gatherings of more than two people.

Italy on Monday reported a second successive drop in daily deaths and infections from the virus that has claimed more than 6,000 lives in a month.

It has now seen its daily fatalities come down from a world record 793 on Saturday to 651 on Sunday and 601 on Monday. The number of new infections fell from 6,557 on Saturday to 4,789 on Monday.

But Mr Angelo Borrelli, head of the Civil Protection agency, said the number of cases is probably 10 times higher than the official tally.

Testing has been limited to people seeking hospital care, meaning thousands of cases have certainly gone undetected, he said.- AFP, REUTERS

coronavirus