Coronavirus hazmat protest outside Downing Street as Boris shamed over pandemic response


Several members of the group sat on the ground outside the gates of No10 while others held a banner that read “Pause the system”. The action comes just hours before the Prime Minister is due to hold his first daily televised briefing on the epidemic following widespread criticism. Armed police in the grounds of the compound looked on as activists hung biohazard tape on the railings and staged a peaceful protest.

Campaigners from Pause the System are demanding the government implement strict measures to prevent Covid-19 spreading across the UK, by closing schools, halting all non-essential business and ushering in a system of social distancing.

The group are also calling on leaders to tackle the threats of future pandemics emerging from the climate crisis and factory farming.

Spokesman Dan Kidby said “Universal basic income, full statutory sick pay, and the pausing of mortgages and rents, ensures that everybody in society can be truly cared for, and get the financial support they need.

Eight protesters marched down Whitehall during rush hour on Monday to draw attention to the fact that the UK has not followed other European countries in imposing stringent measures to try to contain the virus and prevent it from spreading.

Last week Mr Johnson resisted calls to close educational institutes including nurseries, schools and universities.

Pause the System wants to see the UK be put into lockdown to proactively respond to the epidemic which has seen 1,391 Britons infected.

Thirty-five people in the country have so far died of the viral disease.

The group believes the government has so far failed to step up to the mark when it comes to responding to the crisis which Mr Johnson called “the worst public health crisis for a generation”.

Pause the system claims that the government is not taking necessary action to help protect UK citizens.

The has three key demands for the government.

They want leaders to order citizens to follow a policy of social distancing by cancelling non-essential public gatherings and events.

They also want testing for Covid-19 to be made more easily available and private clinics to be brought into public ownership.

Secondly, the campaign wants the government to provide universal basic income and sick pay for all Britons and pause all mortgage and rents until the crisis has blown over.

They argue that such measures are needed to “ensure vulnerable and marginalised members of society are taken care of”.

And thirdly, they want the government to address the effects of climate change and factory farming on pandemics.

In a statement, Pause the System said: “The government must act to reduce emissions to net zero, halt biodiversity loss, as well as ban factory farming and the trade of animals.”

Spokeswoman Kerri Waters added: “The science is clear, unless we act now on climate breakdown and end factory farming disastrous pandemics will be commonplace.

“Covid-19 has shown us how vulnerable our society is to the threat of pandemic and we need to take every necessary measure to protect us in future. This means changing our whole system.”

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