A nationwide shutdown was declared last night as the government tried to stem the number of deaths and rise in the people contracting respiratory conditions brought on by the ‘pea-souper’ fog covering the country.
More than 3000 people are reported to have died from lung failure, hospitals are turning new patients away, and the accident and emergency services are grounded by the fog. In some places visibility is down to a few metres.
Doctors claim that most of the deaths were caused by respiratory tract infections from hypoxia and as a result of mechanical obstruction of the air passages by pus arising from lung infections caused by the smog.
The government plans to introduce emergency legislation to restrict the use of dirty fuels in industry and banning black smoke.
Shops across the country are closed, roads are deserted and local councils have been instructed to keep the street lights on during the day time, until the fog clears.
Theatrical performances, concerts and live events have been cancelled. In some cinemas, the thick fog seeped under doors resulting in the cancellation or abandonment of films as visibility decreased in large enclosed spaces. Almost all outdoor sports events have been affected.
The public are advised to stay at home, and to only use smokeless fuel for heating. The National Metrological Office believes the fog is a result of burning peat, coal and wood for home heating and industrial manufacturing processes in British factories.