London, Mar 13 (PTI) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday backed a charity-led initiative to declare March 23 as a National Day of Reflection, marking the one-year anniversary of the day he declared a national stay-at-home lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson backed charity Marie Curie's plan for a minute's silence at 1200 GMT (1730 IST) in memory of all the lives lost to the pandemic, with people encouraged to light up their doorsteps in the night as prominent buildings and landmarks across the country are also illuminated.
'This has been an incredibly difficult year for our country. My thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones, and who have not been able to pay tribute to them in the way they would have wanted,” the Prime Minister said.
“As we continue to make progress against the virus, I want to thank people for the sacrifices they continue to make, and hope they can look forward to being reunited with loved ones as restrictions are cautiously eased,' he said.
Other senior politicians have also given their support to the event, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford planning to participate in the Day of Reflection.
On March 23, 2020, the total number of recorded deaths linked to the deadly virus in the UK was at 335 – a total which has now hit 143,259.
“There are still tough times ahead, as the death toll continues to rise. This annual day will give us all time to pause and think about this unprecedented loss we're facing, and support each other through grief in the years to come,” said a statement from the Marie Curie charity, which offers support for terminal illnesses.
Alongside the minute's silence and doorstep vigil, the day will also see community-led activities take place, such as virtual assemblies, choirs, services and yellow ribbons being wrapped around trees.
A series of free online talks organised by the Good Grief Festival will also take place, featuring experts, bereaved families and celebrities. PTI AK CPS