The monarch is calling on citizens to 'protect the most vulnerable' in their communities
The Royal Family vowed to play their part in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by heeding advice to change their ‘normal routine’ in response to the global health crisis.
Queen Elizabeth, 93, and her husband Prince Philip, 98, proceeded with their Easter retreat one week early, as officials in London consider the option of a partial lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the city.
The royal couple arrived at Windsor Castle ahead of schedule amid growing concerns over the impact of the pandemic, particularly on the elderly.
“We know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty,” the Queen said in a statement.
“We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them.”
The monarch urged citizens to “focus on the common goal” of ending the crisis. “At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one,” she said.
“Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge.”
The Queen also lauded the efforts of frontline workers – emergency responders, healthcare practitioners and scientists – for their ‘expertise and commitment’.
“Now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals – today and in the coming days, weeks and months,” she said. “You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.”
Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, has also called on the public to follow the principle of social distancing, or avoiding physical contact especially in crowded areas.
The government said it is weighing the possibility of enforcing stricter measures if people continue to ignore the advice.