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Boris Johnson orders pubs, restaurants and cafes to close across the UK from midnight tonight

There are more than 3,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK.

Image: PA

UK PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson has said the UK government is telling pubs, cafes, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, leisure centres and gyms to close from tonight to fight coronavirus.

“The speed of our eventual recovery depends entirely on our collective ability to get on top of the virus now and that means we have to take the next steps on scientific advice,” he told the daily Covid-19 press conference.

“And following our plan we are strengthening the measures announced on Monday.

“We need now to push down further on that curve of transmission between us.

“And so following agreement with all the … devolved administrations, we are collectively telling cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can and not to open tomorrow.

“Though, to be clear, they can continue to provide take out services

“We’re also telling nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres to close on the same timescale.”

Johnson said the government would be continually assessing the situation around pubs and cafes and other requested closures “to see if we can relax any of these measures”.

He added: “You may be tempted to go out tonight and I say to you please don’t, you may think that you are invincible – but there is no guarantee that you will get it.

“But you can still be a carrier of the disease and pass it on.”

He added: “We want you as far as possible to stay at home.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he agreed with the decision to shut pubs, restaurants and other public spaces.

“I want to make a direct appeal to everyone: Act immediately on the expert advice,” he tweeted.

“If you ignore this, people will die as a result.”

Workers’ wages

Chancellor Rishi Suna said the government will pick up “most of” the wages of workers.

He said: “I have a responsibility to make sure that we protect, as far as possible, people’s jobs and incomes.

“Today I can announce that in the first time of our history, the Government is going to step in and help pay people’s wages.

“We’re setting up a new coronavirus job retention scheme. Any employer in the country small or large, charitable or non-profit, will be eligible for the scheme.

“Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll rather than being laid off.

“Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month – that’s just above the median income.”

 Sunak said “our planned economic response will be one of the most comprehensive in the world”.

He added: “To all those at home, right now anxious about the days ahead, I say you will not face this alone.”

Communities minister Deirdre Hargey said she is working to relieve the hardship and negative impact of coronavirus on people and their wellbeing, with actions from “building early flexibility in our social security system” to ensure people in need the help they require.

Ms Hargey revealed there has been an increase in demand of 300% of the social security system, adding resources are being adjusted to cope with demand.

She also announced that her department is providing £200,000 of match-funding to Community Foundation NI’s (CFNI) Coronavirus Community Fund.

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