People all over the world are being told to stay at home in unprecedented lockdowns to try and stem the infection rate of the coronavirus COVID-19 that has killed more than 21,162 people globally.
A 21-year-woman has died after contracting the coronavirus, according to her family, who are now urging people to adhere to government advice and stay home.
Governments in western Europe, the US and Australia have had to strengthen policies after young people massed together last weekend. Lockdowns, in the sense that people are told to stay at home 24 hours a day, are now in place in India, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, France, and South Africa. Social distancing, with fines and even jail sentences is also in place in most countries.
Chloe Middleton’s mother Diane wrote on Facebook: “To all the people out there that thinks it’s just a virus please think again. Speaking from a personal experience this so-called virus has taken the life of my 21-year-old daughter.”
Chloe Middleton’s aunt, Emily Mistry wrote (since deleted): “My beautiful, kind hearted 21 year old niece (Chloe) has passed away from Covid-19. She had no underlying health issues.”
“My loved ones are going through the most unimaginable pain, we are shattered beyond belief. The reality of this virus is only just unfolding before our very eyes. Please, please adhere to government guidelines.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on a TV address to the country: “You must stay home,” as he imposed the most stringent restrictions on its population seen in the UK since the end of World War II.
“I must give the British people a very simple instruction: you must stay at home,” Johnson said. “Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.”
“People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes,” Johnson said, listing four reasons for which people can go outside; shopping for basic necessities, doing one form of exercise a day, providing medical services, or going to work if it is absolutely vital.
“That’s all. These are the only reasons you should leave your home. You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say ‘No’. You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.
“If you don’t follow the rules, the police will have the power to enforce them” by breaking up public gatherings and issuing fines, the UK Prime Minister added.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier said that citizens who fail to practice government-advised social distancing measures were “very selfish”. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo described people gathering in parks as a “mistake”, “arrogant” and “insensitive”.
Dr Nick Coatsworth, an infectious disease expert who is part of a panel advising the Australian government on the coronavirus pandemic, said: “Every Australian has to be their own policeman and woman now. When we are hurting, because of these measures, we are hurting because we need to flatten the curve, and when that curve flattens, every Australian will be able to look at it and think ‘well, I contributed to that’.”
A reminder to all Albertans that now is not the time for social gatherings and if you must go out, practice social distancing.
— Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) March 22, 2020
John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, reports that 21,162 people have died globally with Spain reporting another 700 deaths due to coronavirus in the past 24 hours and Italy another 683 new deaths. The coronavirus is active in 173 countries.