Couples Told To Move In Together Or Stay Apart During Lockdown
Couples are being urged to either live together or stay apart for the duration of the coronavirus lockdown.
In his address to the nation on Monday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in no uncertain terms that nobody should visit any household other than their own, so that we can slow down the spread of coronavirus.
But many couples were left unsure where that left their relationships. Could they visit their other half?
Clarifying the new rules during a press conference on Tuesday, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries said the answer is, sadly, no.
She went on to say that people would have to "make [their] choice and stick with it" - so, basically, either live with your other half or stay away from them.
Explaining compliance was essential for the lockdown to work, and alleviate the strain on the NHS, she said that travelling from home-to-home to see a partner increased the chances of the virus spreading, even if both individuals felt like they were fit and healthy, and didn't have any symptoms.
"The principle is that we want people to stay in their household units, primarily," she said.
"The reason for that is if you have an infection you are very close with your family members, so your risk of exposure to the virus is pretty similar, usually, across a family.
"We almost expect another member of the family to get that unless they apply very, very stringent precautions. So if you're two individuals, two halves of a couple in separate households, ideally they should stay in those households."
She suggested: "The alternative might be that for quite a significant period going forward they should test the strength of their relationship and decide whether one wishes to be permanently resident in another household.
"What we do not want is people switching in and out of households, it defeats the purpose of their deduction in social interaction and will allow transmissions of disease.
"So perhaps test really carefully your strength of feeling, stay with the household, either together or apart, but keep it that way while we go forward, otherwise we will not all be working towards achieving outcome".
While there are very few exceptions to the staying at home rule, the government has confirmed that children travelling between separated parents will be allowed to visit both as normal.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast yesterday morning, Cabinet Officer Michael Gove said that travelling between two different homes should be "kept to a minimum", but confirmed it was allowed.
"It is the case that children under the age of 18 can see both parents," he said. "It is the case that there can be that contact.
"One of the things I'm anxious to do is make sure we minimise social contact. But... children under the age of 18 can see both parents."
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