Dated the 23rd of March, Boris Johnson’s firmest statement to the nation regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak was watched by a total of twenty-seven million people. Making clear the strict new coronavirus restrictions, Boris Johnson’s statement was watched across BBC One, ITV, Channel 4, the BBC News Channel and Sky News. While the vast majority tuned in to the PM’s statement on BBC One, with viewership numbering at 15.4 million, the next highest audience figure was ITV’s with 5.7 million. The broadcast statement has smashed all viewership records and has become the most watched television broadcast in recent times. Prior to the PM’s coronavirus statement, the most-watched broadcast of recent years was the London Olympics Closing Ceremony in 2012, which attracted an audience numbering 24.5 million. Boris Johnson’s statement has strict measures aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, placing stringent restrictions on individuals’ lives.
The statement broadcast on the 23rd of March announced a ban on public gatherings of more than two people. The Prime Minister also insisted that people must stay at home unless absolutely necessary. Under the new rules, people are allowed to leave once to exercise, accompanied only by members of their household, while maintaining a distance of two metres from others. Travel to and from work is only permitted where “absolutely necessary” and shopping is only permitted for essential items and medical needs. All retail shops, other than those stocking essentials, were ordered to close following the statement with immediate effect.
With many people already off work, and major businesses shutting their doors, the vast majority of the public is now condemned to their homes for a three-week period. With little else to do, twenty-seven million of us happily tuned in to the PM’s address which declared a “moment of national emergency,” describing the pandemic as “the biggest threat this country has faced for decades.”