The UK is now in lockdown in the fight against the coronavirus, meaning everyone has to stay at home and will only be allowed to leave for reasons like shopping for basic necessities or for exercise.
Britons will only be able to go out for exercise, like for a walk, a run or cycling, once a day under the draconian measures announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Gatherings of two of more people are banned, except for members of your own household.
People should go to the shops for essentials like food or medicine as infrequently as possible, the PM said, and should not go out to see friends or family members who do not live at their house.
People can also leave the house for any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, or to go work – but only if this is absolutely necessary as a result of being unable to work from home.
Speaking shortly after Johnson, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the measures “amount to what has been described as a lockdown”.
Addressing the nation on Monday night, the Prime Minister said: “Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.
“And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.
“To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.
“So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease.”
He thanked the “huge numbers” of citizens who complied with social distancing guidance but said “the time has now come for us all to do more”.
Johnson continued: “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 allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
* shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
* one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
* any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
* travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
He added: “You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say no.
“You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.
“You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine — and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.
“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
“To ensure compliance with the government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately:
* close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship;
* we will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with;
* and we’ll stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.”
Both the UK and Scottish governments plan to publish emergency legislation in the coming days to give teeth to the police to enforce these rules.
The Prime Minister said the government would review the restrictions again in three weeks.
He advised infrequent shopping and urged people use food delivery services wherever possible.
Speaking in Edinburgh, Sturgeon said people should go to the shops for essentials no more than once a day.
She said: “I am not going to sugercoat it in any way. Coronavirus is the biggest challenge of our lifetime.”
She said the new measures are “not done lightly”.
“Stay at home – that is the message I gave yesterday and I am reinforcing that message now,” the First Minister said.