The British government tells couples to 'test the strength of their relationship' and either quarantine together or stay apart during the coronavirus lockdown

  • Dr. Jenny Harries, the UK's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, told couples they should "test the strength of their relationship" and either quarantine together or stay separate during the nation's lockdown.
  • Harries clarified the government rules that people should not see anyone from another household, because it is could fuel the spread of the coronavirus — and that applies to couples.
  • As the UK continues to fight the spread of COVID-19, more extreme measures are being taken to limit human contact as much as possible. 
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British couples who do not live together have been instructed to take the leap to move in together now or agree to stop meeting up now that the government has implemented a coronavirus lockdown.

Speaking on Tuesday, the UK's deputy chief medical officer Dr. Jenny Harries reminded Brits that, under the new lockdown rules brought in on Monday, nobody should physically interact with anyone outside of their household — and that applies to couples, too.

"If two halves of the couple are currently in separate households, ideally they stay in those households," Harries said during a press conference. "The alternative might be that for quite a significant period going forward, they should just test the strength of their relationship and decide whether one wishes to be permanently resident in another household."

Some couples who live in different households may try to strike a middle ground by switching between households, but Harris warns this is dangerous and could lead to the spread of the virus, even if you are not in an at-risk group and you feel healthy. 

"What we do not want is people switching in and out of households. It defeats the purpose of the reduction in social interactions and will allow transmission of disease," Harries said.

"So perhaps, test really carefully your strength of feeling, stay with the household, either together or apart, but keep it that way while we go forward, because otherwise we will not all be working towards achieving our outcome."

Matt Hancock, the UK's Health Secretary, agreed, adding: "There you go. Make your choice and stick with it."

As the UK continues to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus — which, as of Tuesday night, had infected 8,077 people and killed 422 across the nation — Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken more extreme measures to limit human contact as much as possible.

The measures include the closure of all nonessential shops, people only being allowed to leave their homes for essentials, one outdoor exercise a day, and banning public gatherings of more than two people.

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