Coronavirus daily - Tuesday, March 24

Tuesday 24th March 2020 7:55 am
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the nation on Monday ()

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POLICE in Surrey and Hampshire are this morning finalising plans on how to enforce the Government’s stricter new anti-virus measures.

Boris Johnson announced a ban on public gatherings of more than two people in a televised statement on Monday evening.

The prime minister also ordered people to leave their homes only under a list of "very limited purposes", including just one form of exercise a day.

And ordered the immediate closure of shops selling non-essential goods.

Anyone flouting these rules, he said, faces a potential fine and being ’moved on’ by police.

Both Surrey and Hampshire police forces have confirmed they are in discussions with central government regarding how to best enforce the new rules.

Surrey Police assistant chief constable Dave Miller said: "Tonight the Government announced further restrictions on public life to slow the impact of the coronavirus, prevent death and to further protect the resources of the NHS.

"The Prime Minister has also announced that new powers will be given to the police and local authorities as part new legislation to support this national effort.

"We are working with the Government through the national police body to consider how these new rules can be most effectively enforced.

"The majority of people are already making real sacrifices to save lives and we urge everyone in Surrey to follow the advice that is designed to keep us all safe."

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman added: "Following the Prime Minister’s announcement this evening on the latest measures to be introduced to limit the spread of COVID-19, we are working with the government and other agencies to consider how these new rules can be most effectively enforced.

The Farnham Coronavirus Co-ordination Group, including representatives of local support groups, councils, charities, the Herald and other organisations, met for a second time on Tuesday morning via video conferencing app Zoom.

At the meeting, hosted by Farnham Maltings' director Gavin Stride, it was confirmed that a central helpline, co-ordinating Farnham's relief efforts and signposting those in need of support to local volunteer groups and charities, will be launched at 9am this Thursday.

The group is fully compliant with data protection and safeguarding laws, and is actively supporting smaller volunteer groups across the town area to put the right checks in place and reduce the risk to vulnerable clients.

As well as signposting those in need to relevant support services, the group's volunteer base will also be able to deliver groceries and prescriptions. Further details will be released in due course, online at www.farnhamherald.com and in this Thursday's print edition.

The Farnham helpline - to be run out of the Maltings initially, and then remotely - will work on a 'cascading' basis; with Surrey County Council's helpline (0300 200 1008) directing relevant local requests to the Farnham group, which will then draw on a database of volunteers – many of which have already joined an array of support groups across the area.

Town and parish councils are also co-ordinating relief efforts elsewhere in the Herald area, with East Hampshire-based charity Community First set to launch a similar helpline later this week.

As of Monday, some 335 people have died with the COVID-19 virus in the UK, while 135 have made full recoveries.

An additional 967 people in the UK tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, taking the total number of cases to 6,650.

In Hampshire, 171 people have now tested positive, and 69 in neighbouring Surrey.

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