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Coronavirus Kent: Prime Minister tells pubs and restaurants to shut

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told pubs, cafes and restaurants in to close tonight "as soon as they reasonable can" and not to open tomorrow.

Nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, gyms, and leisures centres have also been given the same guidance as part of government efforts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

Boris Johnson speaking at Downing Street
Boris Johnson speaking at Downing Street

"The whole purpose of these businesses is to bring people together but the sad thing is for now physically we need to keep people apart," he said during his daily briefing at Downing Street.

Mr Johnson stressed food outlets were free to continue offering takeaway services.

"We will review the system each month to see if we can relax any of these measures," he said.

"Some people maybe tempted to go out tonight and I say please don't.

"You may think that you're invincible but there is no guarantee you will not get mild symptoms and you can still be a carrier for the disease and pass it onto others.

Parents tell KMTV about the impact of school closures

"As far as possible we want you to stay at home, that's how we can protect our NHS and save lives.

"I know how difficult this is and how it seems to go against the freedom-loving instincts of the British people.

"The more effectively we follow the advice that we are given the faster this country will stage both a medical and an economic recovery."

The Prime Minister's were made only hours after it was announced the first person in Kent has died of Covid-19 just hundreds of schools across Kent were closed "until further notice".

It came as Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced further huge measures aimed at protecting jobs.

The government is setting up a job retention scheme and employers can get a grant to cover most wages, in a bid to head off what would otherwise be mass redundancies.

The government yesterday announced it was trialling drugs that could save the lives of people infected with the coronavirus.

The first was discovered at Maidstone studios on March 2, while the second was someone known to the person involved in the first case.

Across the UK more than 2,600 people have been infected with the virus leading to 72 deaths - with the government's chief scientific adviser earlier saying 20,000 coronavirus fatalities would be a "good outcome" given the seriousness of the outbreak.

ANALYSIS

by political editor Paul Francis

"It has been a week which has seen politicians reaching for alternative words to convey the stark reality of the corona crisis and falling short.

"If anyone was still in doubt that the country is facing an unprecedented challenge, today confirmed it.

"The chancellor Rishi Sunak made an extraordinary pledge to pay the wages of millions of workers provided their employers kept them on the payroll.

"The proposal to pay 80% of wages up to a limit of £2,500 underlines just how serious a threat the coronacrisis is to an increasingly fragile economy.

"The latest step in the battle against the virus has seen the government effectively ordering pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants to pull down the shutters tonight for an indefinite period.

"The decision will have a huge impact on parts of the county - Canterbury for example - and is another blow to Kent’s tourism sector.

"No-one knows when the crisis will end and at what cost; the only certainty is that we are in for a very long haul before the country returns to any sense of normality.

"And it is that lack of certainty that is most pernicious and anxiety-inducing.

"The UK, like other countries, is moving to a lockdown that will fundamentally change the way we live and constrain everyday activities on an unimaginable scale.

"Unprecedented may have been over-used but there are few other ways of describing the crisis - and things may get worse before they get better."

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