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Posted: 2020-03-25 00:25:18

Sadiq Khan faces mounting fury over crammed London transport that is risking lives tonight as a Cabinet minister swiped that there is 'no good reason' Tube services have been slashed.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock delivered a stinging rebuke to the London Mayor saying the underground system should be running 'in full' so essential workers do not have to be close together. 

The jibe came after another day of chaotic scenes in the capital where 'health hazard' carriages were rammed despite the unprecedented shutdown of British society. 

Five hundred British Transport Police officers will be on the rail network this evening to remind passengers that only those making essential journeys for work should be using the Tube and trains.    

Mr Khan has blamed commuters for flouting a ban on 'all non-essential travel' and urged people to avoid rush hour 'to save lives' - claiming he does not have enough staff to return services to normal.   

Mr Hancock went on the attack as he was asked at a Downing Street press conference this evening why NHS staff and other key workers were being forced to put themselves at risk on crowded transport.

He said: 'When it comes to the Tube, the first and the best answer is that Transport for London should have the Tube running in full so that people travelling on the tube are spaced out and can be further apart - obeying the two-metre rule wherever possible.

'And there is no good reason in the information that I've seen that the current levels of tube provision should be as low as they are. We should have more tube trains running.'

Earlier, commuters packed in like sardines hit back at the Mayor, who runs the capital's public transport network, with one victim claiming it was about saving money, tweeting: 'Using the pandemic to save a few pennies. Nice work helping the people you claim to represent'. Another Londoner wrote: 'Utter disgrace. We need professional leadership at this time'.

A busy Jubilee line eastbound train carriage, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus

A busy Jubilee line eastbound train carriage, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus

Tube trains were packed again today despite the Government's unprecedented lockdown that started just hours earlier to save lives and take pressure off the NHS

Tube trains were packed again today despite the Government's unprecedented lockdown that started just hours earlier to save lives and take pressure off the NHS

Health Secretary Matt Hancock delivered a stinging rebuke to the London Mayor tonight saying the underground system should be running 'in full' so essential workers do not have to be close together

Health Secretary Matt Hancock delivered a stinging rebuke to the London Mayor tonight saying the underground system should be running 'in full' so essential workers do not have to be close together

NHS sonographer Nicola Smith tweeted: 'This is my tube this morning. I live in zone 4 and work in a zone 1 hospital. I love my job, but now I'm risking my health just on the journey in?!

NHS sonographer Nicola Smith tweeted: 'This is my tube this morning. I live in zone 4 and work in a zone 1 hospital. I love my job, but now I'm risking my health just on the journey in?!

London Mayor Sadiq Khan today blamed commuters for flouting a ban on 'all non-essential travel' and said they must avoid rush hour 'to save lives'

London Mayor Sadiq Khan today blamed commuters for flouting a ban on 'all non-essential travel' and said they must avoid rush hour 'to save lives'

Packed London Underground tube train and platforms this morning as commuters still use public transport despite Boris Johnson's message to stay at home

Packed London Underground tube train and platforms this morning as commuters still use public transport despite Boris Johnson's message to stay at home

Workers at building site on Hanover Square in Central London today amid conflicting advice about whether they should be working and a lack of support for the self employed

Workers at building site on Hanover Square in Central London today amid conflicting advice about whether they should be working and a lack of support for the self employed

Sharing a horrifying picture of a packed Tube train this morning, NHS sonographer Nicola Smith tweeted: 'I love my job, but now I'm risking my health just on the journey in?! @SadiqKhan put the tube service back to normal so we can all spread out, or @BorisJohnson start policing who's getting on. Help me!'. After completing her journey to the Imperial College NHS Trust in west London, she said: 'I worry for my health more on my commute than actually being in the hospital.'

And there is continuing confusion over who qualifies as a key worker, especially among London's army of builders, meaning most had no choice but to ride the busy trains to work and run the terrifying risk of catching coronavirus, which has claimed 422 lives so far in the UK.

Boris Johnson also raised concerns about cutbacks in London Underground services with the capital's Mayor in a call this afternoon and is said to have asked him to put on more trains. His Downing Street spokesman said: 'The Prime Minister raised with the mayor the issue of reduced services on the tube and its impact on people trying to get to work'. 

British Transport Police has said its officers will stop non-essential workers travelling on the Tube. A spokesman said the force would 'ensure that only those making essential journeys for work are using the Tube and rail network', adding: 'Our officers will be on hand to support rail operators if people are clearly disregarding the advice'.

Hours after the PM said almost all Britons should should stay at home in the most draconian shutdown in modern history, people were nose-to-nose on the Tube, trains and buses despite being told to be two metres apart to avoid exposure to the killer virus.  

To stem the terrifying number of deaths, gatherings of more than two people are now banned and people must only leave their homes for essential supplies, medical help, or to travel to work if it is 'absolutely' unavoidable. Going out for exercise is allowed once a day as long as people stay two metres apart to stop the NHS collapsing under the strain of new cases.

But transport union TSSA today called for police to be deployed to make sure only key workers are getting on trains amid claims Tube staff could walk out unless ID checks start immediately because of 'dangerous' conditions at London stations. 

General secretary Manuel Cortes said: 'Sadly, the situation on the London Underground has not improved. We urgently need British Transport Police and other officers at major stations across London's transport network to ensure only those with a valid reason to travel are doing so in this emergency'.  

Mr Khan's office hit back at Mr Hancock's claim there was 'no good reason' not to have more frequent services on the Underground tonight.

A spokeswoman for the Mayor said: 'This is simply not true.

'The Mayor has told ministers countless times over recent days that TfL simply cannot safely run a full service because of the levels of staff sickness and self-isolation.

'Nearly a third of staff are already absent - there aren't enough drivers and control staff to do it.

'The Government must act urgently to get more people staying at home rather than going to work unnecessarily - that means taking the difficult decisions they are refusing to take to ban non-essential construction work and provide proper financial support to freelancers, the self-employed and those on zero-hours contracts to stay at home.' 

Mr Khan has demanded that employers enable their staff to work from home 'unless it's absolutely necessary' and avoid rush hour if they can't, adding: 'Ignoring these rules means more lives lost. Some of the people on the Tube yesterday and today are not essential workers, I can tell you that'.

But there is ongoing confusion caused by Boris Johnson's long list of key workers - with many packed on to trains appearing to be labourers legitimately heading to building sites in London after housing secretary Robert Jenrick tweeted last night: 'If you are working on site, you can continue to do so.'   

As Britain's 66million people are today beginning a new life in coronavirus lockdown, it has emerged:  

  • Police Federation believe it is 'not realistic' for officers to enforce stringent coronavirus lockdown rules such as once daily exercise and 'essential shopping'. Chairman John Apter says forces will have to ignore some crimes;
  • FTSE 100 in London opens up four per cent as investors reacted positively to PM's three week curb on freedom of movement; 
  • Supermarket websites crash and delivery slots are booked solid for weeks as lockdown begins;
  • There are one million Britons abroad who have been told to come home now as air routes disintegrate - but many can't get on flights or afford sky-high fares;
  • The Army has moved in as soldiers offload supplies to frontline doctors at hospitals today; 
  • Fewer school staff may be 'willing or able' to work to care for key workers' children in the absence of clear advice on how to stay safe in schools, headteachers have said;
  • Italy's daily death toll falls for a second consecutive day - in glimmer of hope for Britain - after country's national lockdown appears to start working after two weeks; 
This CCTV on the westbound Jubilee Line showed just how busy platforms are as workers kept commuting

This CCTV on the westbound Jubilee Line showed just how busy platforms are as workers kept commuting

The PM has said only key workers whose jobs are crucial to fighting coronavirus must go to work but 'vague' definitions and reduced train services has led to packed trains
The PM has said only key workers whose jobs are crucial to fighting coronavirus must go to work but 'vague' definitions and reduced train services has led to packed trains

The PM has said only key workers whose jobs are crucial to fighting coronavirus must go to work but 'vague' definitions and reduced train services has led to packed trains

Travellers on the Jubilee Line were in eachother's faces and armpits despite being warned to stay two metres apart

Travellers on the Jubilee Line were in eachother's faces and armpits despite being warned to stay two metres apart

Robert Tay, from Romford, took a picture of a packed London bus with people stood on the bottom and top decks this morning and said: '@BorisJohnson @TfL @MayorofLondon @SadiqKhan Are you seriously telling me this is a bus full of “key workers”?'

Robert Tay, from Romford, took a picture of a packed London bus with people stood on the bottom and top decks this morning and said: '@BorisJohnson @TfL @MayorofLondon @SadiqKhan Are you seriously telling me this is a bus full of 'key workers'?'

The Mayor of London told Good Morning Britain today that construction workers should not continue working except for essential public health reasons, such as in an NHS facility.

He said: 'My message is don't use public transport unless you really really have to go to work, you work in the NHS, you work in food supply, you work for the police - if you really have to go to work, don't use rush hour, it's really important'.

Transport union TSSA has called for police to be deployed at major train stations in London - including London Underground, London Overground and mainline railway stations - to ensure only passengers who are 'providing vital services' are travelling.

Has Italy turned the tide on coronavirus? Daily death toll falls for SECOND consecutive day as disease claims 602 new victims 

Italy's death toll from coronavirus has surpassed China, but there is evidence that the steep rise is starting to taper off two weeks after draconian lockdown measures were put in place

Italy's death toll from coronavirus has surpassed China, but there is evidence that the steep rise is starting to taper off two weeks after draconian lockdown measures were put in place

Italy may have started to turn the tide on coronavirus as the data showed the death toll has fallen for the second consecutive day to 602 victims, offering a glimmer of hope the national lockdown is working. 

The country remains the world's worst-affected by the coronavirus - with 6,078 people killed by the disease in total and confirmed infections at more than 60,000.

But a drop in the rate of deaths and new infections between Saturday and Sunday night has indicated that the curve is finally starting to flatten out, two weeks after the entire country was placed into lockdown.

Today, the trend continued, with the total number of confirmed cases rose to 63,927 from a previous 59,138, an increase of 8 per cent, the lowest rise in percentage terms since the contagion came to light in mid-February.

Authorities in Rome reported that 602 died today - a staggering figures but significantly lower than the 651 on Sunday, and 793 who died on Saturday. 

Health official, Silvio Brusaferro, resisted being too optimistic, saying that the improvements registered Monday were due to actions taken at the beginning of the month, not in recent days.

'We need more consecutive results to confirm the trend, to be more certain that we are in a favorable situation.' he said.

Aslef union organiser Finn Brennan wrote: 'Getting lots of reports of early trains being full on the Underground. If the Government doesn't shut construction sites and pay self employment, people will die'. 

Robert Tay, from Romford, took a picture of a packed London bus this morning and said: '@BorisJohnson @TfL @MayorofLondon @SadiqKhan Are you seriously telling me this is a bus full of 'key workers'?'   

Chris Kaye-York filmed scores of people rushing through a London Tube station's ticket barriers and said: 'Still? Really? Get a grip'.

Sadiq Khan said today that 20 per cent of Transport for London staff are now off work because they are either unwell or self-isolating, and said: 'It is simply not possible for us to increase train and bus services'. He added: 'I cannot say this more strongly: we must stop all non-essential use of public transport now. Employers: please support your staff to work from home unless it's absolutely necessary. Ignoring these rules means more lives lost'.

Concerned passengers have shared the shocking images of carriages as cramped as in a normal rush hour and many called for ministers and London Mayor Khan to act.

Platforms were also crowded and there were long queues, with similar scenes on many rail and bus services.

Transport bosses accused commuters of putting lives at risk by ignoring government advice against all but essential travel.

But passengers said the drastically reduced timetable was to blame, causing overcrowding that makes it more likely the virus will spread. Many said they had no choice but to travel as they had to work.

Fred Scott, a commuter on the Hammersmith and City line, wrote on Twitter: 'On a 6.40 train from Upton Park going to Hammersmith. If one person on here has the virus then that will affect others, who will take that elsewhere. Lockdown needed.'

Fin Brennan, of the Aslef train drivers' union, said: 'This is endangering the health of the vital workers who have to use the system.

'I'm being sent pictures of crush-loaded platforms at some Jubilee line platforms this morning. Drivers and other frontline staff are furious.'

One Tory MP told the Mail: 'This is exactly the reason why we will have to take additional powers to force people to stay home... It exposes a complete contradiction in the Government's approach. On the one hand, people are being told to avoid all travel, on the other hand they have no choice but to go into work as normal as their offices are still open.'

Labour transport spokesman Andy McDonald said the images were alarming, adding: 'The Government must help keep transport workers and the public safe by urgently extending financial assistance to the self-employed and other workers so nobody risks losing their income by staying at home, and make it clear that workers in all non-key sectors of the economy must not travel to work.'

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he would speak to Mr Khan about increasing the frequency of trains on the London Underground, where 40 stations have been closed by TfL and some main routes have trains running only once every 18 minutes.

Rail services which had been slashed by up to 50 per cent, with some axed, may be partly restored as ministers fear the reduced service is worsening the spread of the virus. 

The Government had said the changes would discourage unnecessary journeys, allowing key workers to commute safely. 

But in a U-turn yesterday, Mr Shapps said he was 'concerned' by the images of crowded trains and added: 'We are working with train operators to introduce a small number of trains for key workers to have space to be safe.'

There are growing calls for police to be deployed at all main underground and overground stations to make sure only key workers are getting on trains (BTP officers pictured in Bristol today)

There are growing calls for police to be deployed at all main underground and overground stations to make sure only key workers are getting on trains (BTP officers pictured in Bristol today)

Sadiq Khan has been criticised for not laying on more trains - but Mayor of London says they don't have enough staff because of coronavirus

Sadiq Khan has been criticised for not laying on more trains - but Mayor of London says they don't have enough staff because of coronavirus

Packed platforms and trains in London were a common scene again today on Britain's first day of a three-week lockdown
Packed platforms and trains in London were a common scene again today on Britain's first day of a three-week lockdown

Packed platforms and trains in London were a common scene again today on Britain's first day of a three-week lockdown

Signs reminding people to

Signs reminding people to 

Members of the 101 Logistic Brigade arrive in a military lorry to deliver a consignment to St Thomas' hospital, which sits across the Thames from Parliament in South London

Members of the 101 Logistic Brigade arrive in a military lorry to deliver a consignment to St Thomas' hospital, which sits across the Thames from Parliament in South London

Soldiers were unloading masks for NHS staff as the Army were called in to fight the tackle the problem

Soldiers were unloading masks for NHS staff as the Army were called in to fight the tackle the problem

What major world cities have the lowest proportion of people moving around compared to normal? 

Data from Citymapper Mobility Index 

Confusion as shop and office workers are told to stay home amid coronavirus lockdown but builders and delivery drivers can carry on 

The government has come under pressure to urgently clarify who it counts as a 'key worker' after Britons woke up in a state of lockdown confusion.

Last night in his historic address to the nation, Boris Johnson ordered the public to stay at home unless travelling to work was 'absolutely necessary'. 

It was wrapped into an emergency package of draconian measures to keep people indoors to stem the tide of coronavirus infection, which threatens to overwhelm the NHS.

But the wriggle room left by the Prime Minister over exactly who was allowed to travel was seized upon by many workers who continued to commute to their jobs this morning.

Construction workers were seen operating in close proximity, causing head-scratching over why they were continuing to work while most of the country was forced to hunker down at home.

Responding to claims that details of the lockdown were 'murky', Michael Gove, the minister for the cabinet office, said: 'It is the case that construction should continue on sites.

'People should obviously exercise sensitivity and common sense and follow social distancing measures. But construction sites carried out in the open air can continue'. 

And Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan fanned further confusion when they advised construction workers to stay at home. 

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said it has closed its construction sites, show homes and sale sites due to coronavirus.

The company said it has a 'large order-book and quality long-term landbank' which provides it with increased resilience.

It said UK operations have 'only been meaningfully impacted in very recent days' while its smaller Spanish operations have been disrupted by a nationwide shutdown. Earlier on Tuesday, competitor Redrow said its sites remain open with 'strict precautions in place including enhanced levels of cleaning, additional hygiene facilities and social distancing'.

The Department for Transport is identifying those lines that need more trains. It said: 'We are aware of some instances of overcrowding on certain train services this morning, and are working with operators regarding capacity on specific lines as needed to make sure there is space to be safe.'

C2C, which runs commuter services between Essex and London, is thought to have been identified as a line in need of increased capacity.

Passenger watchdog Transport Focus said: 'The Government should continue to review what measures are needed to make sure social distancing on trains services is safe.'

The RMT union said: 'We know that many people who are not traditionally employed, whether they are self-employed, on zero-hour contracts or in the gig economy, feel they have no choice but to go to work because of their financial situation. We therefore call on the Government to do far more to help these workers.'

Vernon Everitt of TfL said: 'To save lives, everyone must follow the Government and Mayor's instructions to stay at home and only travel if absolutely essential. Only critical workers should be using public transport, and no one else.'

The Prime Minister's shutdown will last for a minimum of three weeks and the UK's new state of emergency is unprecedented in modern history. 

Gatherings of more than two people will be banned in the most dramatic curbs on freedom ever seen in Britain in time of peace or war, as the government goes all out to stop the spread of the killer disease.

In a grim address to the nation from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: 'Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won't be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses', adding: 'I must give the British people a very simple instruction - you must stay at home'.

He said any family reunions, weddings, baptisms and other social events must be cancelled to stop the NHS collapsing under the strain. Funerals can go ahead attended by just a handful of closest relatives.

People must only leave their homes for essential supplies, medical help, or to travel to work if it is 'absolutely' unavoidable. Going out for exercise will be allowed once a day, but parks will be patrolled to make sure there is no abuse of the rules. 

Police will have powers to fine those who do not fall into line, and disperse any public gatherings, in measures to curb movement only seen during the Second World War. Historians have claimed you have to go back to 1666 to find when people were last forced to stay at home en masse, when Britons had to stay at home for 40 days to halt the spread of the Great Plague. 

The PM was finally forced into the draconian move amid fury that many people are still flouting 'social distancing' guidance, with parks and Tube trains in London - regarded as the engine of the UK outbreak - still busy despite repeated pleas.  

'Though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all - the time has now come for us all to do more,' Mr Johnson said.

'From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction - you must stay at home.

'Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.' 

London's commuters continue to keep going to work after a huge number of the workforce were designated key workers by the PM

London's commuters continue to keep going to work after a huge number of the workforce were designated key workers by the PM

Bristol Temple Meads train station as empty of rush-hour commuters and travelers at 8am the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown

Bristol Temple Meads train station as empty of rush-hour commuters and travelers at 8am the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown 

Eerie empty streets of Birmingham city centre, as a few workers venture out as the UK entered a three-week lockdown

Eerie empty streets of Birmingham city centre, as a few workers venture out as the UK entered a three-week lockdown

A picture shows an empty children's play area on Llandaff Fields in Cardiff, as community facilities like these were also closed off

A picture shows an empty children's play area on Llandaff Fields in Cardiff, as community facilities like these were also closed off

Waitrose in Kensington is open with people queuing at a safe distance outside - but online deliveries have gone through the roof

Waitrose in Kensington is open with people queuing at a safe distance outside - but online deliveries have gone through the roof

Police chief warns that crimes will have to be ignored as officers scramble to enforce draconian new coronavirus lockdown 

Police officers will have to ignore some crime in order to tackle Britain's coronavirus lockdown, Boris Johnson was warned today as officers warned that under-staffed forces will struggle to enforce draconian new movement rules.

Police Federation of England and Wales chairman John Apter said officers would have to make touch decisions about law and order as they were called upon to keep people at home as much as possible.

Fines of up to £1,000 are planned for those who flout rules announced by the Prime Minister last night putting strict limits on when people are able to leave the house, and banning gatherings of more than two people.

But senior figures have warned that the stringent measures, similar to those already in place in Italy, will be 'challenging' with forces across the UK having far fewer officers to call upon than authorities in Rome - with shortages of up to 20,000 officers.

Mr Apter told the BBC today:  It's going to be really tough and what we have to get across to the public is that as far as policing is concerned it is not business as usual.

'The normal things my colleagues, officers, would normally go to, we need to decide what it is we cannot go to any more.

'Because dealing with this partial lock-down is going to put incredible amounts of pressure on my colleagues - and they are up for this.'

 

Millions of people will receive a text from the Government today urging them to stay at home.

Ministers have agreed a deal with phone operators to send the alert carrying Boris Johnson's warning to every mobile in the country 

The government's Cobra emergency committee met at 5pm and signed off the extraordinary new restrictions - similar to those which have already been imposed across the rest of Europe.

They will last for three weeks initially - but the government's own experts have suggested the situation could take up to a year to resolve. 

The stringent limits, which came after weeks of mounting pressure for the PM to escalate the response, were welcomed across the political spectrum - in itself a sign of the unprecedented times the country is enduring. However, police officers cautioned that their task would be 'challenging'. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the rules on who was allowed to travel to work was too loose, suggesting construction employees might feel they were not covered by the ban.  

Mr Johnson spelled out just four reasons why Britons can leave their houses.  

They are: 

  • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible;
  • one form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household;
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person;
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

Who should still be going to work? London Mayor warns government's rules are too LOOSE

London Mayor Sadiq Kahn has warned that the government risks undermining its coronavirus lockdown by allowing too many people to go to work.

Boris Johnson left some wriggle room in his announcement this evening, merely saying that people should only travel to work if it was 'absolutely necessary'. 

The government laid out who was counted as a 'key worker' and still permitted to send their children to schools last week. 

But Mr Khan said the definition was too wide, and many would be confused about who was allowed to leave the house. He  said the Welsh and Scottish First Ministers agreed with him. 

'The only people that should be leaving home are those that are essential to look after us,' he told the BBC. 

He added: 'In my view the only construction workers that should be working are those that are needed for safety.'  

He said the government will be acting in three key ways to 'ensure compliance'.

  • closing all shops selling non-essential goods,​ including clothing and electronic stores, and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship;
  • stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with;
  • stopping all social events​, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals. 

Stressing that 'no Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this', Mr Johnson invoked the wartime spirit by saying he wanted to 'enlist' everyone into the battle against coronavirus.

'Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won't be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses,' he warned.

'And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.

'To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it - meaning more people are likely to die, not just from Coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.'   

Boris Johnson plunged the UK into coronavirus lockdown last night - ordering the closure of all shops selling non-essential goods as well as playgrounds and churches

Boris Johnson plunged the UK into coronavirus lockdown last night - ordering the closure of all shops selling non-essential goods as well as playgrounds and churches 

In his historic speech, delivered from behind a desk in Downing Street, Mr Johnson spelled out the reasons people could go outside.

And he added: 'That's all - these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

'You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No.

'You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.

'You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine — and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

'If you don't follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.'

Underlining the soul-searching that had gone into the announcement, Mr Johnson said: 'No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this.

'I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people's lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.

'And that's why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.

'And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

'But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.

'And yet it is also true that there is a clear way through.' 

He added: 'I know that as they have in the past so many times.

'The people of this country will rise to that challenge.

'And we will come through it stronger than ever.

'We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together.'  

A backlash has been mounting against Mr Johnson's 'relaxed' style, with warnings of a 'full-scale mutiny' among Cabinet if the lockdown was not extended, and Labour claiming his 'mixed messages will cost lives'. 

Earlier, Downing Street dodged questions about the prospect of a revolt, and said it was looking at evidence to decide whether social distancing must be enforced. 'If our analysis is that people haven't stopped their interaction then we will take further measures,' the PM's spokesman said. 

Labour's official position has shifted to insist it is time to introduce harsher 'compliance measures'. 

Jeremy Corbyn said this evening: 'The Prime Minister is right to call for people to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.

'This is the right response to the coronavirus pandemic, and one we have been calling for.

'There now needs to be clear guidance to employers and workers about which workplaces should close – and the Government must close the loopholes to give security to all workers, including the self-employed, as well as renters and mortgage holders.

'We welcome these moves and will be working to ensure everybody has the protection and security they need.'

Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: 'Measures to ensure social distancing have so far not had the necessary effect.

'These new measures are sensible, based on scientific evidence and give people clarity on the exact steps they must take to stop the rapid transmission of this disease.

'The majority of people are already making real sacrifices to save lives and we urge everyone to follow the advice that is designed to keep us all safe.

'We are working with the government and other agencies to consider how these new rules can be most effectively enforced.'

However, the chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation warned that the PM was putting officers in a difficult position, and there were 'mixed messages'.  

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said he was already seeing 'large amounts of sickness' among officers across London.

Coronavirus lockdown: Who can still go out and why?

Boris Johnson last night imposed an unprecedented lockdown on the UK and told everyone they 'must stay at home' to slow the spread of coronavirus as he set out just four instances when people can go outside.

Describing the crisis as a national emergency, he ordered families to stay in their homes except in special circumstances.

All 'non-essential' shops will be closed and public gatherings of more than two people banned. 

Mr Johnson said the measures will be 'under constant review' and will be considered for relaxation in three weeks' time if the evidence allows.

He said that 'no prime minister wants to enact measures like this' but the drastic new measures allowing people to only leave home for the 'very limited purposes' were necessary to slow the spread of the disease.

'To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it - meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well,' he added.

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