Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Britons to stay at home as he announced a series of measures which put the UK essentially under lockdown for at least three weeks.
Despite many people following the guidance set out by the government over the last week, the Prime Minister said it was now time to go further in order to save more lives and reduce the pressure on the NHS.
In measures unprecedented outside of wartime, people may only leave their home to go shopping for basic necessities as infrequently as possible, a single form of exercise a day, any medical need, or to go to work if it is not possible to work from home.
Groups of more than two people in public have been prohibited, and all shops selling non-essential goods, libraries, places of worship, gyms and playgrounds have been closed.
All social events, such as weddings and baptisms, have also been suspended – with the exception of funerals.
Failure to comply will result in dispersal of gatherings and fines where necessary.
Johnson said these measures will be kept under review, but that these will be in place for at least three weeks.
He said that Britons are obliged to stop the spread of the disease, protect the health service, and save lives.
“I know, as they have in the past so many times, the people of this country will rise to that challenge and we will come through it stronger than ever,” he said.