Coronavirus latest: Boris Johnson warns of stricter lockdown rules to combat Covid-19 spread

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned households that he could impose stricter lockdown measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak as it inevitably worsens.

Mr Johnson – who is self-isolating with Covid-19 – is writing to every address telling people the closer they adhere to the social distancing rules ‘the sooner life can return to normal’.

In recent days Staffordshire Police officers have been patrolling beauty spots across the county – including the Roaches near Leek and Burslem’s Westport Lake – as people continue to flout the rules.

Stressing the “national emergency”, the letters will land on doorsteps after the number of people to have died in UK hospitals surged past 1,000, increasing by 260 in 24 hours.

NHS England’s national medical director warned that now was not the time for complacency after a study suggested social distancing could deliver a lower death toll than previously feared.

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In letters to 30 million households, Mr Johnson writes: “We will not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do.

“We know things will get worse before they get better.

“But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal.”

Mr Johnson last week offered a glimmer of hope when he said he expects the UK can “turn the tide” within three months, but a lengthier estimate for the lockdown was offered by a scientist whose research has been key in the Government’s approach.

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