Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written to all households across Britain to urge them to heed the Government’s coronavirus guidance and stay home wherever possible. The letter will be delivered to 30 million homes in the coming days, reaching all 66 million residents in Britain.
Alongside the letter, residents will receive a leaflet outlining the Government’s advice.
There will be clear explanations of symptoms and handwashing guidance as well as rules on leaving the house, self-isolating with symptoms and shielding vulnerable people.
Mr Johnson is currently self-isolating after being diagnosed with COVID-19 late on Thursday night.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed he also had the disease, and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty is also isolating after showing symptoms of the virus.
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How much does Boris Johnson’s letter to the nation cost?
The letter and leaflet are being sent as part of the Government’s public information campaign on coronavirus.
The Government said that the letter will cost around £5.7 million ($7.1 million) to print and distribute to the UK’s 66 million residents.
The letter reads in part: “We know things will get worse before they get better.
“But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal.
“I want to thank everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus, in particular, the staff in our fantastic NHS and care sector across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“It has been truly inspirational to see our doctors, nurses and other carers rise magnificently to the needs of the hour.
“Thousands of retired doctors and nurses are returning to the NHS – and hundreds of thousands of citizens are volunteering to help the most vulnerable.
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“That is why, at this moment of national emergency, I urge you, please, to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
Coronavirus cases have grown rapidly across the UK in recent days, with 19,522 cases nationwide. Of these, 1,288 have died.
The NHS will open three new hospitals to tackle the growing cases in the coming weeks.
The Nightingale hospitals will open in London’s ExCeL Centre, Birmingham’s NEC Arena and Manchester Central Complex.
The London hospital will have up to 4,000 beds with an initial capacity for 500 beds with ventilators and oxygen.
Both the Birmingham and Manchester hospitals will have up to 2,000-bed capacity each, with 500 beds each initially.
The news of three new hospitals came as NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens revealed the NHS has freed up 33,000 beds across existing NHS hospitals for coronavirus patients.
The 33,000 beds is the equivalent of 50 new hospitals.
Sir Simon said: “It will take a monumental effort from everyone across the country to beat this epidemic, but the NHS is mobilising like never before to deliver care in new ways, to thousands more people – starting with the opening of the first NHS Nightingale in London later next week.
“These are extraordinary steps the NHS is taking, and clinicians, managers and military planners are working day and night to create, equip and staff these hospitals from scratch and prepare for the surge that is likely to be coming.
“While we continue to pull out all the stops, we do need the public to play their part.
“Every single person in this country can make a difference by following the medical advice to the letter – stay at home, wash your hands, which will help stop the virus letting rip and will therefore save lives.”
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