Photos of Britain’s streets on Saturday night show an almost deserted central London amid the coronavirus outbreak, but revellers still showed up for a night out in Leeds.
With the Prime Minister announcing the Covid-19 virus spread as ‘the worst public health crisis for a generation’ and urging those with symptoms to stay indoors, the capital was decidedly quieter than normal this weekend.
The usually buzzing nightlife areas of Piccadilly, Soho and China Town, saw only a fraction of their usual visitors, many of whom can be seen wearing protective masks.
People sit on the steps of Piccadilly Circus in London, on a quiet Saturday night after the Prime Minister said that Covid-19 ‘is the worst public health crisis for a generation’
The government’s top scientist warned that up to 10,000 people in the UK are already infected. Pictured: A nearly empty Chinatown, London, Saturday night
A man pushes a woman on a trolley through Soho, London, on unusually quiet streets. Defence sources told The Mail on Sunday that Army units were stepping up their training for public order roles
Last night France became the latest country to announce the closure of all non-essential public shops and venues after 91 deaths from the virus.
This follows the example of Italy which has been on lock down since Monday as the coronavirus death toll tops 1,000.
Although Britain is yet to take this measure the government has said it plans to deploy troops at hospitals and outside supermarkets as the epidemic worsens and panic grips the public.
In preparation for the worst-case scenario, defence sources told The Mail on Sunday that Army units were stepping up their training for public order roles.
A women crosses the street in China Town, London, as some venues choose to close amid the coronavirus outbreak
A couple dine alone in a restaurant in Soho as many choose to stay in following government warnings
A man and a woman walk through quiet Chinatown wearing masks in central London on Saturday night
Teenagers pose for a photo while wearing masks in Piccadilly Circus, London,on Saturday
Two women cross the street wearing masks in Piccadilly Circus, London
A man in a mask on the Millenium bridge, central London, Saturday, where weekend crowds usually fill the area
A man in a mask in Piccadilly Circus, London. Britain is yet to take the same measures as France and Italy and has not closed public venues
The government has said it will deploy troops at hospitals and outside supermarkets as the epidemic worsens and panic grips the public. Woman wears mask in Piccadilly Circus, London
A Deliveroo rider wears a mask in Chinatown, London, after the food delivery service started offering contact free drop offs where riders drop food to your door step
Two pedestrians cross the street wearing masks in Piccadilly Circus, London, after shopping
Mass crowds still gathered to watch A1’s Paul Marazzi, Christian Ingebrigtsen, Ben Adams and Mark Read (left to right) perform at Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, west London
Meanwhile in Leeds, pub-goers who were unwilling to miss the annual Otley run, a pub crawl consisting of sixteen bars, were seen in their fancy dress – with several wearing hazmat suits.
Traipsing around three miles from Far Headlingley, north of the city, to The Dry Dock on the edge of the city centre revellers are encouraged to enjoy a drink at every bar en route.
The tradition is usually undertaken by Leeds university students, who have been cautioned to take precautions against the spread by washing their hands – the university plans to teach all its lectures online from March 16.
Sespite pressure to put the UK on a lockdown University students still attended the annual the Otley run in Leeds, west Yorkshire
Some of the Otley runners chose to dress in hazmat suits as fancy dress while out on the route
The Otley runners were out in force in Leeds with some celebrating an early St. Patrick’s Day
If cases of the virus continue to rise in the UK the Royal Logistics Corps are set to be used to escort food convoys.
The Royal Army Medical Corps is also poised to build tented field hospitals next to care homes.
Troops trained in chemical, biological and nuclear warfare will deep-clean empty public buildings in case they need to be turned in to hospitals or morgues.
In Ireland a lot of St. Patrick’s Day parades have been cancelled and some pubs have closed despite the upcoming celebration
Students wear skimpy outfits as they enjoy the annual celebrations, putting coronavirus fears aside
Elsewhere in Europe social gatherings have been cancelled and public venues closed
Soldiers would also be stationed outside supermarkets where startling scenes unfolded the country on Saturday as desperate shoppers gutted food and toilet roll aisles.
Britons are stockpiling as they prepare to bunker down in self-isolation after the the government issued new guidelines, advising anyone with a cough to stay at home for a week.
And whole families will be told to isolate themselves if just one member falls ill with coronavirus, the Sunday Telegraph reports.
Out on the town: Students wore elaborate costumes and outfits as they stepped out to visit multiple bars in one evening in Leeds on Saturday
A man carries a woman during the lengthy Otley run which usually visits sixteen individual venues