Coronavirus: Everything you need to know about Prime Minister Boris Johnson's lockdown and the extra powers given to police to make sure people comply
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tonight ordered a full lockdown, saying people must only leave their homes for essentials.
In a televised address, Mr Johnson also said he had given police extra powers to ensure people comply with the new "instruction".
Describing the coronavirus as an "invisible killer," he said: "Tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.
"If too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it, meaning more people will be likely to die not only from Coronavirus but from other illnesses as well, so it is vital to slow the spread of the disease because that is the way we reduce the number of people who need hospital treatment at any one time and save more lives and that's why we've been asking people to stay at home during this pandemic.
"Although huge numbers are complying, and I thank you all the time has now come for us all to do more.
"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.
"That is why people will only be able to leave their home for the following limited purposes:
- Shopping for basic necessities as infrequently as possible
- One form of exercise a day, for example a walk, run cycle, alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need to provide care or help a vulnerable person
- And travelling to and from work but only where this is absolutely necessary and could not be done from home.
"That's all, these are the only reasons you should leave your home.
"If you do not follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings."
He added: "No prime minister wants to enact measureslike this. I know the damage this disruption is doing and will do to people's lives and their businesses and their jobs."
Mr Johnson said the measures would be "kept under constant review" and could be changed after three weeks if the situation improved.
He said people were buying the NHS vital time by simply staying at home.
Mr Johnson concluded by thanking those fighting the virus and healthcare professionals on the frontline.
"Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together and halt the spread of this disease," he said. "We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together."