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Coronavirus: Britain enters lockdown as prime minister Boris Johnson tells public 'you must stay at home'

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Britain has entered lockdown tonight after the prime minister ramped up measures to stop the coronavirus spread.

In an address to the nation, Boris Johnson tonight ordered the closure of all shops selling non-essential goods as well as playgrounds and churches.

In one of the most extraordinary statements by a prime minister in the country’s history, Mr Johnson said people must only go out for essential supplies, medical help, or to travel to work if unavoidable.

Speaking from 10 Downing St, Boris Johnson told people they 'must stay at home' (32253405)
Speaking from 10 Downing St, Boris Johnson told people they 'must stay at home' (32253405)

You will be allowed out once per day, alone or with members of your household, for exercise.

In the six minute statement the prime minister banned meetings with friends and family members you do not live with.

Weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies are also stopped, but funerals are exempt.

Mr Johnson was forced into the move after images over the weekend showed hundreds of thousands of people flouting the ‘social distancing’ guidance over the weekend.

“No prime minister wants to enact measures like this," said Mr Johnson.

”I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.

"And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business."

He added: "And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

"But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost."

Tonight Suffolk has 22 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with West Suffolk Hospital caring for two patients. The actual number of cases is likely to be higher.

From tonight, people will be allowed to leave their homes for:

  • 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 their household;
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person;
  • travelling to and from work, but only where it is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home