The Prime Minister has announced new measures to combat coronavirus, including closing schools until further notice to help slow the spread of the disease.

  • Previously the scientific advice was that we should keep schools open, but this has always been a balanced judgement and kept under constant review.
  • Now the advice has been updated and we will close schools for the vast majority of pupils from Friday until further notice. In order to allow health and other critical workers to continue working, their children, and those who are vulnerable, will continue to be able to attend school. 
  • Closing schools for the vast majority of pupils will help in our efforts to suppress the upward trend of the virus, as will continuing to look after the children of key workers who will be a critical part of our fightback against coronavirus.

Today, the Government will publish the Emergency Coronavirus Bill – which will protect life and the nation’s public health and ensure NHS and social care staff are supported to deal with significant extra pressure.

  • The measures in the Bill are temporary, proportionate to the threat, will only be used when strictly necessary and will be in place for as long as required to respond to the situation. The Bill will be introduced to Parliament today and scrutinised by MPs. 
  • Measures include allowing recently retired NHS staff and social workers to return to work without any negative repercussions to their pensions. Paperwork and administrative requirements will be reduced to help doctors discharge patients more quickly when appropriate, to free up hospital space.
  • Volunteers will have extra employment safeguards – benefiting more than 3 million people who already volunteer in health and care settings and bolstering the NHS’s capacity to respond to the virus.
  • Changes to councils’ duties under the Care Act will enable them to prioritise people with the greatest care needs and make the best use of the adult social care workforce. 
  • By planning for the worst and working for the best we will get through this, but this is a national effort and we must all work together ‒ from businesses prioritising the welfare of their employees, to people thoroughly washing their hands.

We are supporting renters and landlords who may be impacted by coronavirus – so that everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time. 

  • No one who has been impacted by coronavirus should have to worry about getting back on their feet – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.
  • These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage. Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started, and  extending the three month mortgage payment holiday to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus. 
  • These measures will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they needs at this very difficult time.