Coronavirus: The United Kingdom unites in the face of illness, death and economic collapse

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In London, one of Europe’s largest cities, life, for the most part, is on hold.

The nearly empty streets, however, make it easy to spot human interactions, such as a man offering rough sleepers containers of food from a brightly painted cart attached to his bike.

“I have seen so many acts of kindness during this pandemic so far,” said Lawrence Speelman, standing with his face covered on a warm, sunny afternoon.

Speelman isn’t working right now, but he is busy.

He’s taken to delivering meals for the charity Food for All and he coordinates all of the drivers and riders crisscrossing the city.

The charity makes and distributes more than 5,000 meals daily to anyone in need.

“I am currently on furlough, as many people are, and I am trying to do something meaningful with my furlough time,” said Speelman.

It was on the evening of April 23 when Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a sweeping lockdown across the United Kingdom.

“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,” said Johnson during a televised address.

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In the months since, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 254,000 people in the U.K., and of those who have tested positive, more than 36,000 have died.

In the face of an unprecedented threat to public health, people in the U.K. are worried, but they are finding reasons to be optimistic.


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