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  1. ITV Report

Coronavirus: Region adjusts to day one of UK lockdown

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Chlöe Oliver

In one of the most extreme clampdowns ever announced by a British government, the South, South East and Thames Valley begin life with unprecedented social distancing measures.

Boris Johnson has put the UK on a three-week lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the new measures announced by the Government, people will only be allowed out of their homes for:

  • 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.

Chanice Cushion is a NHS worker in our region and is urging people to adhere to the government's strict social guidelines in order to save lives in an emotional online post. She's decided to move out of her family home to protect her family while she carries on working on the NHS front line.

Meanwhile on the roads, this was the M27 in Hampshire at rush hour, while many railway stations saw empty platforms.

M27 on Tuesday morning Credit: ITV Meridian
Train platforms noticeably empty across the region. Credit: ITV Meridian

Public gatherings of more than two people are banned and non-essential shops are closed.

As part of the new measures, police now have powers to break up public gatherings and fine anyone ignoring coronavirus lockdown rules.

However, questions remain as to how officers will monitor whether people are breaking the rules, what action will then be taken, and how much the fines will be.

These will be difficult times for all public services, police officers and our staff are not immune to the effects of the virus. As well as supporting the NHS by enforcing the Government’s restrictions, the police must still continue to prevent crime and protect the public. Whilst some crime, such as burglary and violence, is reducing due to the changes, we are vigilant for an increase in domestic abuse and criminals who will sadly seek to exploit these new circumstances. The Chief Constable and I are confident that Thames Valley Police will continue to offer the public the protection and support they deserve, but we do need the public to abide by the Government’s restrictions, and support public safety and the NHS. I am confident that the people of the Thames Valley have the common sense to do so. Remember the simple advice, stay home, save lives."

– Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley
93%
of Britons back Boris's clampdown according to a YouGov poll released today
Dover Port Credit: ITV Meridian
Tonbridge high street in Kent Credit: ITV Meridian

High streets across the region also appear quiet, as stores which are not selling essential items are forced to close.

These silent scenes are likely to become the norm as the country faces at least 20 more days under strict social guidelines.

Scene from an outlet in Ashford Credit: ITV Meridian