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Home / World News / If Britain PM Boris gets coronavirus, this minister will take over

If Britain PM Boris gets coronavirus, this minister will take over

Johnson has put Britain in a lockdown as he announced sweeping curbs on everyday activity including the banning of any gatherings of more than two people who do not live together.

world Updated: Mar 24, 2020 07:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, London
Two children watch British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's press conference on Monday as the spread of coronavirus disease Covid-19 continues in Hertford.
Two children watch British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's press conference on Monday as the spread of coronavirus disease Covid-19 continues in Hertford. (Reuters Photo)

Downing Street on Monday announced that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is well, but if he were to fall ill in the coronavirus pandemic, foreign secretary Dominic Raab will take charge of the UK government.

The announcement came in the context of growing numbers of deaths and cases, with London accounting for 2,200 (117 in Westminster) of the nearly 5,700 cases across the country. There have been 281 deaths so far.

In the Johnson cabinet, Raab is the foreign secretary as well as the first secretary of state, which makes him next in line in a situation in which the prime minister is unable to carry out his duties.

More on Covid-19:

Your guide to staying safe

Editorial: Time to prepare for Stage 3

How difficult it is to maintain 1-metre distance

How coronavirus is different from seasonal flu and common cold

Johnson, meanwhile, put Britain in a lockdown as he announced sweeping curbs on everyday activity including the banning of any gatherings of more than two people who do not live together.

As well as instructing the public to “stay at home” for all but a few exceptions, Johnson said he was ordering shops that don’t sell essential goods, such as food and medicines, to close immediately.

In as somber an address to the nation as any prime minister has arguably delivered since World War II, Johnson said it was critical to prevent the virus from spreading between households and that police would be authorized to break up gatherings of more than two people from different households in public in order to deal with the “biggest threat this country has faced for decades”.

Under the measures which Johnson did not term as a lockdown, people will only be allowed to leave home for a few “very limited purposes” to relieve the pressure on the National Health Service, Johnson said.

These include shopping for basic necessities “as infrequently as possible,” one form of exercise a day done alone or with household members, medical reasons or travelling to work that cannot be done from home or that is “absolutely necessary.”