Boris Johnson has urged people to stop non-essential contact with others as the Government response to the coronavirus pandemic escalates.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the first daily Covid-19 press conference, where he issued the latest advice on the coronavirus situation.
In a dramatic escalation of the Government’s response, Mr Johnson said even those without symptoms needed to take extra action.
Mr Johnson said ‘if you or anyone in your household’ had one of the two symptoms – a high temperature or continuous cough – ‘you should stay at home for 14 days’.
“That means that if possible you should not go out, even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise and in that case at a safe distance from others,” he added.
“Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.
StokeonTrentLive has created a dedicated group on Facebook for COVID 19 (coronavirus) updates. Join for sensible, accurate and informed updates – click here.
“You should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.
“This advice about avoiding all social contact is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions.
“We want to ensure that this period of shielding, this period of maximum protection, coincides with the peak of the disease and it is now clear that the peak of the epidemic is coming faster in some parts of the country than in others.”
Advising people to work from home where possible, Mr Johnson also said by the weekend, groups particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 will be asked to stay at home for 12 weeks.
He said: “In a few days time, by this coming weekend it will be necessary to go further and to ensure those with the most serious health conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks.
“Again, the reason for doing this in the next few days rather than earlier or later is that this is going to be very disruptive for people who have such conditions.”