On Thursday, April 16, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab announced that the current lockdown measures in place for the United Kingdom will be extended for at least the next three weeks to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Stay-at-home measures were originally introduced on Monday, March 23. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has instructed British citizens to only leave their homes to shop for necessities, engage in one form of exercise per day alone or with members of one's household, satisfy medical needs (i.e. to provide care or help an individual vulnerable to COVID-19), or to travel to and from work when teleworking is not possible. Johnson cautioned that police forces may issue fines and disperse gatherings of people refusing to adhere to the orders.
All nonessential businesses and public venues have been ordered to close, all public gatherings of more than two people have been prohibited (excluding people living together), and all social events have been canceled, excluding funerals.
To date, health officials in the UK have confirmed 103,093 cases of COVID-19, with 13,729 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.