Pics: Empty Streets of London as Government Considers Enforcing City Shutdown

Members of the public wear surgical masks to protect themselves from coronavirus on March 17, 2020 in London, England. The Prime Minister announced the UK is entering the "delay" phase of emergency planning for the Covid-19 crisis. Schools will not be closed at this time although they have been asked …
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London, one of the busiest cities in the world, has become reminiscent of a scene from a science fiction movie as streets empty after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urges Britons to stay at home and self-isolate because of the coronavirus pandemic.

During a televised coronavirus update on Wednesday, Prime Minister Johnson would not rule out enforcing a shutdown of London, which is the worst affected region in the country, saying: “We’ve always said that we are going to do the right measures at the right time.”

“Actually I think a lot of people are taking a real heroic effort to comply with the advice we’ve given but as I’ve said tonight, and in the past few days, we keep everything under continuous review and we will not hesitate in bringing forward further and faster measures where we think that is necessary,” Johnson added.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph reports that sources speaking to the newspaper from the London mayor’s office expect a formal shut down within days. A source close to Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “We expect a shutdown of London, but nobody in central Government is saying when that will be or what form it will take.

“The Prime Minister is saying we need to go faster and further, and there is a spike of cases in London which is running ahead of the country — but what that actually means, the Mayor’s office doesn’t yet know because Downing Street hasn’t said.”

Even without a government-mandated lockdown, much of the major hubs of the capital already appear abandoned. Some of the English capital’s biggest tourist attractions such as the Queen’s official residence, Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square are almost completely deserted.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 18: A handful of pedestrians and tourists walk past Buckingham Palace on the day that Queen Elizabeth II is set to move to Windsor Castle in a bid to avoid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on March 18, 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

A picture shows phone boxes on a quiet street in Westminster in London on March 18, 2020, amid the coronavirus outbreak. The British government will on Wednesday unveil a raft of emergency powers to deal with the coronavirus epidemic, including proposals allowing police to detain potentially infected people to be tested. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Pedestrians cross a quiet Millennium Footbridge across the River Thames in London in the mid-morning on March 17, 2020 after the UK government announced stricter measures and social distancing advice to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 17: A Chinese girl who confirmed she was wearing a face mask, to protect from the Coronavirus, poses for her friend at horse guards on March 17, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Pedestrians walk through Trafalgar Square in central London on March 17, 2020. – Britain on Tuesday ramped up its response to the escalating coronavirus outbreak after the government imposed unprecedented peacetime measures prompted by scientific advice that infections and deaths would spiral without drastic action. As a result of the outbreak, all events in London’s Trafalgar Square, including upcoming celebrations for St George’s Day, Vaisakhi and Eid, were cancelled until further notice, and the National Portrait Gallery will also close its doors until further notice from March 18. (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised Britons to undertake “social distancing” to prevent the spread of the China-origin COVID-19, telling them to “avoid pubs, clubs, theatres, and other such social venues”. As a result, many of London’s museums appear much as they do when closed, while the streets of the city’s theatre district are empty.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 17: A quieter than usual British Museum on March 17, 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 17: A quieter than usual British Museum on March 17, 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Pedestrians walk in front of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in central London on March 17, 2020.(Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 17: A small number of pedestrians are seen on Shaftesbury Avenue at what would normally be approaching rush-hour on March 17, 2020 in London, England.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Johnson also asked Britons to work from home where possible, resulting in London’s transport system carrying a fraction of its average passenger load.

LONDON, – MARCH 18: Commuters make their way through Waterloo Station on March 18, 2020, in London, England. People have been encouraged to work from home and socially distance themselves due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Few commuters travel on the metro train during the morning rush hour time of 0830 from Clapham North to central London on March 17, 2020. – Britain stepped up its response to coronavirus, recommending household isolation, home-working and an end to mass gatherings to try to stem an accelerating outbreak. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

And even places of worship, including the neo-Byzantine Catholic Westminster Cathedral, are attracting few visitors.

TOPSHOT – A single worshipper wearing a surgical mask sits on a pew in Westminster Cathedral in central London on March 17, 2020.  (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

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