London goes into lockdown

  • London is heading for lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic surges across the city.
  • All bars, restaurants, cinemas and gyms will be closed across the UK from Friday.
  • 40 London Underground Stations have been closed.
  • Hospitals report a "critical incident" as the number of coronavirus cases surge in the capital.
  • 18 more people died of the coronavirus in London in the past 24 hours.
  • Downing Street denies any plans to prevent people from leaving or entering the city.



London is going into "lockdown" to prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Friday that all pubs, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres would be closed across the UK from Friday.

Further London-specific restrictions have yet to be announced.

However, the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed on Wednesday that the UK government are developing plans for "stringent measures" for the city, which would be announced imminently.

A Downing Street spokesperson on Thursday denied the government has any plans to restrict movement in and out of the city, or that limits would be placed on how many people could leave their homes.


The UK's bars, restaurants, gyms, nightclubs, leisure centres, and cinemas will all be ordered to close down tonight following a surge of coronavirus cases across Britain.

"Following agreement between all the four nations of the United Kingdom, all the devolved administrations, we will be telling cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can and not to open tomorrow..." Johnson told a press conference on Friday afternoon.

"We're also telling nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, gyms, and leisure centres to close on the same timescale."


He added that restaurants would still be allowed to provide takeaway services.

Johnson said he was reluctant to impose restrictions that "go against the freedom-loving instincts of the British people."

However, he added: "We will get through this. We will get through it together, and we will beat this virus."


There had been reports that such controls could be applied only to London, as the number of coronavirus cases in the capital city has risen faster than in the rest of the UK.

As of Friday morning, there were 3,983 confirmed coronavirus cases and 177 deaths across the UK. London had more than 1,000 cases.


However, the broader lockdown came amid experts' predictions that the UK could be just two weeks behind the level of pandemic seen in Italy.

Eighteen deaths from the virus were recorded at London hospitals in the past 24 hours alone, with Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow declaring a "critical incident."

A senior director at one London acute trust told the Health Service Journal that the crisis in London was escalating faster than anticipated.

"Given we're in the low foothills of this virus, this is f---ing petrifying," the senior director said.

The latest move could be followed by tougher action if the crisis escalates, UK government sources have told Business Insider.

A representative for Johnson on Thursday denied some of the previously reported details about plans for a London-specific lockdown.

"There are no plans to close down the transport network in London, and there is zero prospect of any restriction being placed on travelling in or out of London," the representative said.

They also said that reports that there would be limits on the number of people allowed out of their homes at any time were "not true" and that there were "no plans" to use the army to maintain public order.

In the press conference on Friday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a series of measures to protect businesses and their employees from the impact of the pandemic.

Sunak said the government would use grants to pay 80% of the salaries of Brits still on payrolls but forced out of work — up to £2,500 a month — to prevent them from losing their jobs.

He also announced that the value-added tax would be deferred for the next quarter, meaning businesses will not have to pay the VAT until the end of June at the earliest.

The UK government has also injected more money into the welfare state by increasing both the universal credit and the working tax credit by £1,000 a year. Sunak said this would help more than 4 million households nationwide.

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