Indviduals, families, workforces and employers across the UK are coming to terms with tough new government rules designed to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
In a televised statement from Downing Street tonight, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that people must now stay at home except for shopping for basic necessities, daily exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from essential work.
Shops selling non-essential goods will also be shut and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together prohibited.
The Prime Minister expressed his obvious reluctance at having to introduce the new rules but said they were essential to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to save lives.
The UK death toll from coronavirus has reached 335 and is expected to rise sharply over the coming weeks.
If people do not follow the tough new rules, police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
The Prime Minister said that it is inevitable that the death toll from COVID-19 will rise significantly, but the measures could help to reduce the impact of coronavirus, especially by easing pressure on the NHS.
The government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies – but funerals will be allowed.
The Prime Minister said the restrictions would be kept under constant review.
He said: “We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.”