A series of strict new measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak have been announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In a televised address, he said a "moment of national emergency" meant staying at home was necessary to protect the NHS and save lives.
When are people allowed to leave their homes?
Mr Johnson said people would only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons:
- Shopping for "basic necessities", as infrequently as possible. People should use delivery services, where they can
- Medical reasons, to provide care, or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work, but only if it is "absolutely necessary"
- People are also being told not to meet friends or family members who do not live with them.
What other new measures are there?
- Shops selling "non-essential goods" including clothes and electronics stores will be closed immediately
- Libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship will also close
- Gatherings of more than two people (excluding people who live together) will be banned
- There will be no weddings or baptisms but funerals will be allowed
- Parks will remain open but people are only to go out to exercise once a day
All of the new measures will last for three weeks from 23 March before being reviewed.
Councils will also play a role. Licensing, environmental health and trading standards teams will be used to make sure that local businesses follow the rules.
The Local Government Association says that "anyone who sees a business breaching government closure restrictions should report it to their local council so it can investigate and take appropriate action".
What about non-food shops and laundrettes?
Some other types of non-food retailers are also allowed to stay open, according to government guidance:
- Petrol stations
- Bicycle shops, home and hardware shops
- Car rentals
- Pet shops
- Corner shops and newsagents
- Post offices
- Laundrettes and dry cleaners have also been given an exception and are allowed to remain open.
If a customer visits one, they need to ensure they stick to the social distancing rules.
What about online deliveries?
Customers should still be able to receive deliveries placed online.
Where deliveries can go ahead, customers are asked to keep 2m away from delivery staff at all times.
What about takeaways?
People can still use takeaway shops and delivery companies, according to the government's guidance.
However, customers must not eat or drink while waiting for their food.
Is exercise allowed?
People are still allowed to go outside for exercise - including walking, running or cycling.
However, this can only be done on your own, or with the people you live with.
Can I still take my car for an MOT?
Garages are allowed to remain open under the new restrictions.
MOTs for lorries, buses and trailers have already been suspended for up to three months. The government says these vehicles must be maintained and kept roadworthy.
MOTs for cars, motorcycles and light vans are under review.
Driving tests in England, Scotland and Wales have been suspended for up to three months from 21 March 2020, except for critical workers. All practical driving tests are suspended in Northern Ireland until 22 June 2020.