Last night, the Prime Minister has instructed the British people to stay at home – to protect the NHS and save lives.
You can read the full text of the PM's announcement here.
The essential point is that everybody really, really needs to make every possible effort to stay indoors for three weeks, going out only for food and medicine.
Every interaction in a shop, with your family and even with doctors and nurses puts you - and others - at risk.
Life will not feel normal. This will be difficult. It is not, and must not be, business as usual.
Please, if at all possible, just stay at home.
The main points from the PM's statement are:
You are being asked to do this for these reasons:
- 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. So, it is vital to slow the spread of the disease.
- From today, the British people must stay at home. 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 very limited purposes.
- With the time you buy – simply by staying at home – we are strengthening our NHS, increasing our stocks of equipment, accelerating our search for treatments, and buying millions of testing kits that will enable us to turn the tide on this invisible killer.
- At this time of national emergency: stay home, protect our NHS and save lives.
What you must do: stay at home
The full guidance on last night's announcement can be found here.
You must stay at home, only leaving 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 immediate household;
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person;
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home, and if you are at work, you must exercise social distancing measures.
The PM also announced that all non essential shops must close. The full guidance on the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises, as part of further social distancing measures can be found here. This list is definitive. If businesses are not identified as having to close, they do not have to. But everyone who can in other walks of life should work from home.
Please understand: it is necessary to avoid people coming into contact with people. Please therefore sit down with the guidance, and your aim should be to see how you can comply with it, not to try to find ways around it.
Outside of people you live with, meetings of more than two people will be banned and all places of worship will also be closed except for funerals.
Police will have the power to issue on the spot fines to anyone meeting others without good reason.