Coronavirus UK: Cabinet no longer meeting face-to-face as Boris lockdown laws kick in

The Boris Johnson’s select group of elite ministers traditionally meet at Downing Street every week to discuss and debate the most pressing issues at hand. Over recent weeks, COVID-19 and the accelerating spread across the UK has dominated the agenda as the Government desperately tries to bring the pandemic under control. But following the enforcement of the new lockdown measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, the Cabinet is no longer meeting face-to-face.

Instead on Tuesday, the Cabinet meeting took place using a video-conferencing service for the first time.

A picture of the meeting, featuring several ministers’ faces on the same screen, has been posted by MailOnline political editor James Tapsfield.

This shows the likes of Home Secretary Priti Patel, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and Treasury Secretary Liz Truss taking part in the virtual meeting.

They have been pictured using online meeting technology Zoom, which is already used by Australia’s biggest businesses, Government departments and universities.

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Video conferencing services for business meetings have become ever more prominent as Government advise their citizens to work from home in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Zoom offers online meetings, video webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, cross-platform messaging and file sharing.

The company has a number of high profile customers, including stock market index Nasdaq, online minicab service Uber, online ticketing firm Ticketmaster, and file hosting service Dropbox.

The Government enforced social distancing rules, telling people to put a distance of two metres between each other and to stay at home.

Last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions also wasn’t the usual rowdy affair it normally is, with just a handful of MPs joining Mr Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for the 30-minute session in the House of Commons.

But the new lockdown measures have been enforced after Britons ignored the earlier social distancing advice provided by the Government.

Over the past few days, millions of people have been seen together in busy parks and cramming onto trains during busy rush hour periods.

Speaking on Monday evening, the Prime Minister said: “Though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more.

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“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.

“Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.”

The Prime Minister added: “You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say “No”.

“You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.

“You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine – and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”

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