The following announcements have been made regarding stranded British travellers, a voucher scheme for school children eligible for free school meals and the supply of personal protective equipment.
The government has reached a landmark agreement with airlines to fly back more stranded British travellers from abroad, ensuring airlines can continue to operate and bring people back home safely.
- We know that British tourists are finding it difficult to return to the UK because of the unprecedented international travel restrictions that are being introduced – often with little or no notice.
- That is why we have agreed a partnership worth up to £75 million with airlines to ensure they keep as many commercial routes open as they can, whilst also chartering flights for countries with no commercial routes, allowing stranded British travellers to return back to the UK safely.
- This will help get the tens of thousands British nationals abroad back home – protecting them from Coronavirus and making sure the most vulnerable are not left stranded.
Today the government is launching a national voucher scheme for children eligible for free school meals, ensuring that no child goes hungry as a result of our measures to tackle the Coronavirus.
- As part of our action to slow the spread of the Coronavirus and save lives, we have instructed all schools to close except for vulnerable children and those of vital workers – but we want to make sure that other children are not adversely affected because of this.
- That is why the Government is supporting the 1.3 million children who would normally receive benefits-related free schools meals. Schools can continue to provide meals for collection or delivery, or if they are unable to do so they will be able to provide families with vouchers worth £15. They can be redeemed online via a code, or sent to families directly as a gift card and used at supermarkets across the country.
- This will ensure that every child can continue to access healthy and nutritious food during this difficult time.
We have delivered millions more pieces of equipment to NHS staff, so that everyone who needs personal protective equipment can get it. We have established the national supply distribution response team, supported by the Armed Forces, to deliver equipment to people who need it the most.
We have delivered 170 million FFP3 masks, surgical masks and other PPE equipment:
- 23 million surgical face masks
- 42.8 million gloves
- 13.7 million aprons
- 182,000 gowns
- Almost 10 million items of cleaning equipment
- 2.3 million pairs of eye protectors
Every single GP practice, dental practice, and community pharmacy has had a PPE delivery. All care homes, hospices, and home care providers have, or will shortly have, a delivery.
Stay at home
You must stay at home, only leaving for the following very limited purposes:
- Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible.
- One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your immediate household.
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
Protect the NHS
You must stay at home to protect the NHS:
- The NHS only has a limited number of doctors, nurses and specialist equipment.
- We are working around the clock to increase NHS capacity.
- The more people who get sick, the harder it is for the NHS to cope.
- We must slow the spread of the disease so that fewer people are sick at any one time.
You must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. The police will have the powers to enforce the following restrictions:
- Dispersing gatherings of more than two people in public, excluding people you live with.
- Issuing fines to anyone who does not comply with these rules.
- Closing shops that are not essential, as well as playgrounds and places of worship.