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Coronavirus: Prime minister says London is ahead of the UK in terms of the spread of Covid-19

PUBLISHED: 17:26 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:21 17 March 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at a news conference inside 10 Downing Street. Picture: PA/Simon Dawson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at a news conference inside 10 Downing Street. Picture: PA/Simon Dawson

PA Wire/PA Images

People are being told to avoid, pubs, clubs, theatres and to start working from home “where they possibly can” following the first government televised press conference on the coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a media briefing on coronavirus. Standing with him are chief medical officer Chris Whitty (left) and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. Picture: PA Video/PA WirePrime Minister Boris Johnson at a media briefing on coronavirus. Standing with him are chief medical officer Chris Whitty (left) and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. Picture: PA Video/PA Wire

Boris Johnson gave the first daily update on the coronavirus outbreak at a press conference today (Monday, March 16).

Mr Johnson said London appeared to be “a few weeks ahead” of other areas and urged people in the capital to pay special attention to the measures - including home working - suggested by the government.

The prime minister said the nation must immediately avoid all “non-essential travel and contact” and move to whole household isolation.

This means people should self-isolate for 14 days if they live with anyone who has symptoms, including a high temperature or a new cough.

From Tuesday, the government will no longer be supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers and by the weekend groups particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 will be asked to stay at home for 12 weeks.

Mr Johnson said: “We want to ensure that this period of shielding, this period of maximum protection, coincides with the peak of the disease and it is now clear that the peak of the epidemic is coming faster in some parts of the country than in others.

“And it looks as though London is now a few weeks ahead.”

The Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the latest measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 would have a “big effect”.

“This is not a series of small interventions. You would anticipate that this could have a dramatic effect to reduce the peak and to reduce death rates,” he said.

“They are not easy but they are important and they will have the effect if we all do it.

“This is a matter for us to take accountability to make sure we help each other, protect ourselves and protect the NHS.”

Sir Patrick said other measures may be necessary - including school closures - at some point.

“Those things need to be done at the right time,” he said.

As of March 16, at 9am, there were 171 new cases across the UK.

This is from 3,826 recent tests, 44,105 tests taken all together with 35 total deaths, (same as Sunday March 15).

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