The Prime Minister Boris Johnson explained tonight that unless everyone ‘pulls together’ the NHS will be overwhelmed. If too many people become seriously unwell at the same time many more people will die.

He said that it is vital that we slow the spread of the disease.

Tonight he announced that we must all stay at home, and that these new rules come into effect immediately. People throughout the UK can from now only leave their homes for limited purposes. These rules will be in place for at least three weeks.

You are allowed to go shopping (as infrequently as possible) for necessities, you may exercise once a day alone or with members of your household, any medical care for yourself or for a vulnerable person you care for, and travelling to and from work but only if your job cannot be done at home and it is absolutely necessary.

You should not meet family members who do not live in your home. You should not meet friends – and if they ask you then the Prime Minister advises that you should say no.

He urged that everyone uses food delivery services as far as possible. All shops which do not sell essential goods will now close.

If you do not follow these simple rules, the police will have all the powers they need to enforce them, for example to disperse gatherings or impose fines.

The police will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public, and all social gatherings, except funerals. We are closing all places of worship, libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms.”

In a serious tone, Mr Johnson said: “There are no easy options. If we do not do this then more lives will sadly be lost.

“With the time that you buy by simply staying at home, we can turn the tide on this invisible killer.

“In this fight each and every one of us is enlisted to save our NHS and many thousands of lives.

“I urge you to stay at home protect our NHS and save lives.”

Earlier today the Foreign Secretary advised that any British people who are still abroad, or people who normally live here, should return to the UK now.

The advice includes these points:

  • all British travellers abroad who are usually based in the UK advised to return now 
  • international travel is becoming highly limited with the further closure of air routes, land borders and domestic restrictions introduced daily 
  • British travellers should contact their tour operator or airline now. Commercial flight options are still available at present 

All British tourists and short-stay travellers currently abroad should return to the UK where and while commercial flight options are still available.

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