The Road to Lockdown: How Britain Went From Coronavirus Light-Touch to National House-Arrest


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed the country under effective house arrest Monday evening, the latest development in the country’s fight against coronavirus which has ranged from the simply sclerotic to the outright authoritarian.

Speaking to the nation on Monday evening, Boris Johnson ordered the public to stay at home except in a small number of circumstances, including infrequent trips to buy food, visits to the doctors, and essential work travel. The United Kingdom also banned public gatherings of more than two people, and empowered the police to enforce these rules.

The British government’s road towards what some critics have described as “putting the country under house arrest” has taken several twists and turns, with the Johnson administration and its expert advisers having taken a comparatively lax approach towards the coronavirus pandemic. The nature of the response started slow, now reaching apparent fever-pitch in shutting down the country in a

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