Coronavirus: Here's what the lockdown over Covid-19 means for Portsmouth families

SOME questions were inevitably left unanswered after prime minister Boris Johnson announced a UK lockdown because of coronavirus.

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 11:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 4:16 pm

The strict measures have been made easier to understand for businesses after the government announced its list of which ones should close and which are excused.

But what does the lockdown mean for families, as the nation is collectively being told to stay at home to save lives?

See below for our summary, based on the latest government guidance.

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Commercial Road, Portsmouth on March 20. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Movement of children between separated families

Chancellor of the Duchy, MP Michael Gove, initially said on Good Morning Britain children should stay in the house they are currently in and should not be moving between households.

He has now confirmed this information was wrong.

He later tweeted: ‘I wasn't clear enough earlier, apologies.‘To confirm – while children should not normally be moving between households, we recognise that this may be necessary when children who are under 18 move between separated parents.‘This is permissible and has been made clear in the guidance.’

Meeting up with your family members

The harsh reality of these coronavirus measures means people may not be able to see their family members for extended periods of time.

Care homes and some hospitals are no longer taking visitors, at-risk groups were previously told to self-isolate and people were told not to visit their mums on Mother’s Day.

The blanket rule is every Briton is to stay at home, except from going shopping for the essentials, exercising once a day, giving or receiving care or travelling to work if necessary.

This means meeting up socially with your family members who don’t live with you is sadly forbidden.

Mr Johnson’s message also confirmed a ban on public gatherings of more than two people who do not live together.

Helping your family members with supplies

Many amazing community initiatives have sprung up as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are part of an initiative, which happens to be offering support to one of your family members, this will be allowed to continue.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt last night gave a statement to The News which also touches on what to do if you are a caregiver.

‘People should receive advice from the organisations they are working for,’ she said.

‘But caring for someone or buying goods is permitted.

‘What you should always ask is, is this journey necessary?

‘The more people who stay at home, the more lives will be saved. It is as simple as that.’

Funerals

Funerals are an exception to the government’s blanket closure rules on places of worship.

The ceremonies are the only reason places like churches and mosques are allowed to be open.

However, the government has said funerals are only to be attended by immediate families.

On this subject, there were anxieties, especially among Jews and Muslims whose faiths forbid cremation, that local authorities, in the event the number of deaths increase dramatically, will be able to use the emergency powers to disregard legal safeguards that currently prevent the cremation of human remains against the wishes of the deceased.

It came as MPs approved a Coronavirus Bill to delegate greater powers to ministers, councils, police, health professionals and coroners.

Ms Mordaunt said in the House of Commons: ‘There should be no public health reason or capacity reason why someone who wished to be buried would be cremated. I hope that's very clear.’

She added: ‘I can see no circumstance – and it certainly wouldn't be related to these powers – that somebody would be cremated against their wishes.’

Visiting a family member in prison

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed prison visits across England and Wales have been cancelled in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Inmates will be locked up most of the time and allowed out only to access to shower, use the phone or exercise – with application of social distancing principles, the union said.