Public told to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres and work from home
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned people they "must avoid all unnecessary social contact" as the growth of coronavirus cases is set to reach its peak.
They are being urged to work from home and avoid pubs, clubs, and theatres in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, which has infected at least 1,543.
The government earlier stated anyone with a high temperature or a new and continuous cough should stay at home for 14 days, but the Prime Minister says this no longer goes far enough.
"According to SAGE (The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts), it looks as if we are now approaching the fast growth part of the upward curve and without drastic action cases could double every five or six days," he said during a briefing at Downing Street.
"If you or anyone in your household has one of those two symptoms then you should stay at home for 14 days.
"That means, if possible you should not go out - even to buy food or essentials."
"If necessary you should ask for help from others for your daily necessities."
The most vulnerable in society are being asked to self-isolate for up to 12 weeks to help slow the spread of the disease and give the NHS the chance to cope.
So far, 35 people in the UK have died, 1,543 have tested positive and 42,562 have been tested but do not have coronavirus.
More by this authorJeremy Ransome