Boris Johnson stressed that there was “no prospect” of stopping the capital’s public transport or telling Londoners that they could not go to work amid fears that a lockout was going to to be imposed.
The Prime Minister said there is evidence that Londoners heed advice on social distancing, but did not rule out that ministers take more drastic action if necessary.
Johnson was acting to allay fears in the capital on Thursday after a day earlier, he said nothing had been left out when asked if the city would be closed.
The spread of the disease and the number of deaths it causes are at their most aggressive in London, experts claiming that there are weeks to go before other regions in terms of Covid-19 progress.
The Prime Minister admitted that there had been a “misunderstanding” about his plans but excluded the application of certain draconian measures.
“There is no prospect that we want to stop public transport in London or stop the underground or buses,” he said during his daily coronavirus press conference.
He added that the ministers “are not going to tell people that in any case” they cannot go to work “if they really need it”.
“We are going to want people to avoid gatherings where they can spread the disease, we are absolutely determined to do so. If it becomes necessary to do more to guarantee this, we will certainly do so, ”he added.
Evidence that social distancing works in London comes from the retail and hospitality industry as well as from Transport for London (TfL), said the Prime Minister.
But in some areas, he added, there is evidence to suggest that respect for advice is “very uneven”, with some still socializing in bars and restaurants.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman also said there were “no prospects” of restrictions on people traveling to or from London.
So far, about four in ten coronavirus-related deaths in the UK have occurred in London, according to calculations by the PA news agency.
Of the 137 deaths in the UK, 56 were recorded by hospitals or NHS trusts based in the capital.
TfL has previously stated that up to 40 London Underground stations which do not interchange with other lines could be closed, but transport must continue to support key workers.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the PM met on Thursday for talks that were said to be positive and commercial, the two recognizing the massive scale of the crisis they were facing.
Khan suggested that further restrictions could be imposed on Londoners when he implored them to follow advice.
In a direct message to the people of the capital, he said: “I cannot say it clearly enough: people should never travel unless they absolutely have to.
“The scientific advice on this is very clear: Londoners should avoid social interaction unless absolutely necessary, which notably means avoiding the use of the transport network.”
Senior government officials have insisted that the type of travel ban measures imposed in France and Italy will not come to the United Kingdom.
“There will be no time when border guards will stand around London to say” you cannot enter or leave, “said a source.
“It’s not the kind of country we are.”
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