Police are set to be given powers to arrest any coronavirus patients who fail to self-isolate.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has revealed a series of measures the Government is looking to take in a bid to halt the spread of Covid-19.
Emergency legislation is being drawn up to deal with the pandemic and prevent the healthcare system from being devastated as part of the “delay phase” operation.
And the plans include allowing officers to detain anyone with the infection.
Under the proposals, bars, restaurants and shops – apart from supermarkets and pharmacies – could close while over-70s will be asked to stay indoors for up to four months.
The news comes after Spain, Italy and France have all taken similarly drastic steps to protect people.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hancock said: “We are going to take the powers to make sure that we can quarantine people if they are a risk to public health, yes, and that’s important.
“I doubt that actually we will need to use it much because people have been very responsible.”
The emergency powers will be set out on Tuesday before the legislation is outlined in a Bill due to be published on Thursday.
Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth asked for reassurance from the Government about some of the “very stringent powers” ministers hope to introduce.
The death toll in the UK has now risen to 21 while the number of people to have tested positive for the disease reached 1,372.
Ministers were also considering following Scotland in banning gatherings of more than 500 people to help stem the spread of the virus and reduce the burden they heap on public services.
Follow our new Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire coronavirus news Facebook group for all the latest key updates here.