Covid-19 is so dangerous that without drastic action it will “overwhelm the NHS”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said as he warned that more “extreme measures” may be needed to protect lives in the future.
Mr Johnson promised help for families and businesses hit by the financial impact of coronavirus measures, saying it would be delivered with a “profound sense of urgency”.
Boris Johnson said that if the country follows scientific advice “we know that we will beat it” and that “we have the resolve and the resources to win the fight”.
Boris Johnson has said the Government will do “whatever it takes” to support the economy through the coronavirus outbreak.
“We must act like a wartime government and do whatever it takes to support our economy,” he told a Downing Street press conference.
“We support millions of businesses and tens of millions families and individuals through coming months.
“The Government must and will act with a profound sense of urgency.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said an “unprecedented package” of government-backed loans worth £330 billion would be made available.
He said the Government will “be bold” in its support for the economy.
He said: “This struggle will not be overcome by a single package of measures or isolated interventions.
“It will be won through a collective national effort, every one of us doing all we can to protect family, neighbours, friends, jobs.
“This national effort will be underpinned by Government interventions in the economy on a scale unimaginable only a few weeks ago.”
Mr Sunak added: “The Government will stand behind businesses small and large.
“I can announce today an unprecedented package of Government backed and guaranteed loans to support business to get through this.
“Today I am making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees, equivalent to 15% of our GDP.
“That means any business who needs access to cash to pay their rent, their salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able to access a Government backed loan or credit on attractive terms.
“And if demand is greater than the initial £330 billion I’m making available today, I will go further and provide as much capacity as required.
“I said whatever it takes, and I meant it.”
Mr Sunak announced homeowners would get a “three-month mortgage holiday” if they are suffering difficulties due to the outbreak.
He said: “For those in difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will now offer a three-month mortgage holiday so that people will not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage cost while they get back on their feet.