Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: UK extends nationwide lockdown and other coronavirus-related measures through at least May 7. Travel, business disruptions to continue.

This alert affects United Kingdom

This alert began 16 Apr 2020 17:37 GMT and is scheduled to expire 07 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Coronavirus-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 7
  • Impact: Business disruptions, public transport reductions; increased security

Summary
Authorities in the UK announced on April 16 that they would be extending existing restrictions - including the country's nationwide lockdown - through at least May 7 as part of the effort to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities are instructing citizens, residents, and travelers to continue to remain in their homes, except when performing essential tasks. Residents may leave their homes to shop for basic necessities, to attend to medical needs, or to travel to and from their places of employment in instances where remote working is not possible. Residents may also engage in one outdoor exercise period per day, provided they so so alone or with members of the same household,

Nonessential businesses have been under an indefinite closure order since the evening of March 20. Restaurants, cafes, and pubs may operate only for carry-out service. Additionally, the London Underground (Tube) network remains partially closed. Other public transport services, including buses, have also been reduced.

Major airlines, including British Airways (BA) and Ryanair (FR), have canceled hundreds of flights due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Higher demand is possible for flights on airlines operating parallel routes. Further flight cancellations and schedule changes could be announced at short notice.

All schools, universities, and kindergartens remain closed until further notice, with the exception of certain institutions providing care for the children of critical workers. Further restrictive and preventative measures are likely in the coming days. There have been more than 103,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 13,700 deaths from the virus in the UK as of April 16.

Background and Analysis
The measures implemented by the UK are similar to actions taken by other European governments in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Arrive at the airport early to prevent your seat being reallocated to a standby passenger. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Department of Health and Social Care: www.gov.uk

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Transport for London: www.tfl.gov.uk