Queen urges nation to work together as one
The Queen has urged the country to unite and said every individual has an important role to play in the coming days and months to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
She said the UK is “entering a period of great concern and uncertainty”, but added that the country’s “history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one”.
Her message to the nation came as the total number of people who died from coronavirus rose to 137 on Wednesday afternoon. Around four in 10 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK so far have been in London.
The statement was released after the Queen and Prince Philip left Buckingham Palace for Windsor Castle.
The message follows extraordinary advice from the UK government that the public avoid all unnecessary contact and travel and stay away from pubs and theatres, following expert modelling which suggests the approach could cut the estimated coronavirus death toll from 260,000 to 20,000.
“We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them,” the Queen said.
The guidance for social distancing was followed by more stringent measures to tackle the epidemic, which include the closure of all UK schools to staff and most pupils from Friday afternoon until further notice. Wales was first to announce the measure, followed closely by Scotland and Northern Ireland, before the prime minister confirmed the move would be nationwide.
She added: “At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal.”
The Queen praised the work of scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services staff, but she warned that everyone now has a vitally important part to play in the coming months.
“Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe,” she said. “I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.”