Boris Johnson announced the sweeping changes tonight in a historic speech that will change the lives of everyone in Britain.
The Prime Minister revealed Brits must now only spend time with one other person on the day the death toll rose to 335.
He 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.”
The new laws included:
- All non essential retailers closed down. Except for food shops, pharmacies, pet shops, hardware shops, petrol stations, newsagents, banks and post office
- No gatherings in public of more than two people, but this does not include people you live with.
- All parks remain open but communal play and services shut
- All places of worship shut except funerals
- No gatherings in public of more than two people
The PM explained people should not leave home unless it was necessary, and even ruled out socialising.
He said: “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.”
No10 aides said it is highly likely to be extended into May and possibly June unless virus fatalities substantially fall.
The police are being given emergency new powers to enforce the draconian bans, initially with on the spot fines of £30.
Cops will begin issuing them to non-compliers as soon as new laws can be rushed through the Commons, probably by Thursday night.
Data about the public’s movements over the weekend revealed far too few were complying with the PM’s demands for everyone to stay two metres apart.
It follows in the footsteps of other European countries who cracked down on movement to battle the virus.
Chancellor Angela Merkel introduced the same measures in Germany, with breachers also hit with fines.
France has imposed some of the tightest controls in Europe on people’s movements for the past six days.
Italy banned travel within the country in yet another attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
It came as:
- An 18-year-old was thought to have become the youngest victim of the virus in Britain as the number of deaths in the UK rose to 335
- There are growing fears that Britain is on a similar trajectory to Italy – scene of the world’s worst outbreak – where the death toll passed 5,000 over the weekend
- The PM warned the NHS could be “overwhelmed” in the same way as the Italian healthcare system has been, if the spread of the virus in the UK is not curbed
- Trains were taken under government control this morning – with Brits able to get a refund on unused season tickets
- All McDonalds branches will be closed from tonight – along with Nando’s, Costa Coffee, John Lewis, Primark and Timpson
- Ministers will bring forward emergency laws to the Commons tonight giving the PM sweeping powers to fine people who don’t isolate
On Friday night, the PM ordered pubs and restaurants to close as part of efforts to encourage people to stay at home to fight the spread of Covid-19.
However many have remained open for takeaway service, leading to queues and groups of people sitting at cafes with outdoor tables.