Coronavirus lockdown: What would happen and would we be allowed to go outside?

19 March 2020, 08:53

What will a lockdown in London look like?
What will a lockdown in London look like? Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Reports suggest that London will be put into lockdown this weekend to try to stop the spread of coronavirus. But what does that mean? We look at the likely rules for a coronavirus lockdown.

Boris Johnson revealed that London is "weeks ahead" of other regions in terms of the transmission of coronavirus. Of the UK's 2,626 known cases of Covid-19, 953 are in the capital.

That has led to suggestions that a lockdown similar to those seen in Italy and Spain will be put in place in London.

While Boris Johnson has said are no plans at present to put London in lockdown, he added it is a measure that may be considered at the right time. So what would a lockdown mean for the capital?

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What are the lockdown rules across Europe?

Across many countries in Europe, people have been told to stay in their houses, except for buying food, visiting the chemist or to do their job if they cannot work from home.

They face a fine of €135 if they do so.

Italy's tough quarantine measures include blanket travel restrictions, a ban on all public events, the closures of schools and public spaces, as well as the suspension of religious services.

In Belgium, people are allowed to leave the house for exercise, but only with people who they live with.

READ MORE: When should you self-isolate and for how long?

What measures could be used for a London lockdown?

Among the measures the government is expected to take include closing down bars and restaurants, restrict gatherings and scale back transport services.

Many restaurants have taken the decision to close already.

Transport for London are already running a restricted service. From Friday, there will be no Waterloo & City line, while the Night Tube will not run until further notice. London buses will operate fewer services and everyone will be urged not to use public transport for anything other than essential journeys.

40 Tube stations have already closed.

When will the UK go into lockdown?

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that all schools across the UK would close after this week.

He has not announced any stricter measures currently, but with daily updates, he has not ruled out a more stringent approach.

When asked about tougher measures for the capital in his daily press conference, Mr Johnson said: “Absolutely we do not rule out … because it would be quite wrong to do so.

"We do not rule out taking further and faster measures in due course."

What has Mayor Sadiq Khan said about a London lockdown?

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan insisted people in the capital should only make essential journeys on public transport.

He said: “People should not be travelling, by any means, unless they really, really have to. Londoners should be avoiding social interaction unless absolutely necessary, and that means they should be avoiding using the transport network unless absolutely necessary, ensuring the capital’s critical workers can move around the city will be crucial.”

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