Boris Johnson has said that Londoners must pay particular attention to Government advice and avoid all non-essential social contact because of coronavirus.
This afternoon, the PM said that everyone should avoid all non-essential contact with others, start working from home where possible, and avoid pubs, clubs and bars.
The Goverment says it does not think it will be necessary to force closure of venues such as theatres, but that it is giving “very strong advice” for them to close.
Mr Johnson said we are approaching a fast growth phase of the disease, with cases expected to double every five days unless drastic action is taken.
The PM said the problem is particularly serious in London, which is “several weeks” ahead of the rest of the country in the development of coronavirus.
“Londoners must pay special attention to what we are saying about non-essential contact, avoiding pubs, restaurants and working from home,” he said.
Those who are over seventy, are pregnant, or have underlying health conditions are especially recommended to avoid unnecessary contact.
Londoners are also being advised to avoid non-essential travel. The government is also recommending whole household isolations, if anyone in your family have symptoms, for two weeks.
From this weekend, the vulnerable will be advised to isolate from unnecessary contact for twelve weeks, the PM also said.
The government is keeping the issue of school closures under review.
“We think at the moment, on balance, it’s much better if we can keep schools open for all sorts of reasons,” he said. “But I appreciate this is something we need to keep under review.”
Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has told reporters that we are about three weeks behind Italy in terms of development of coronavirus.
These measures are also expected to last “a significant period of time” warns chief medical officer, Chris Whitty.
“What we are announcing today is a substantial change in the way we want people to live their lives,” added Mr Johnson.
He said this is a change that has not been seen for years, saying he has not seen one in his lifetime.
“I haven’t seen anything like it in my lifetime,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve seen anything like it in peacetime.”
This article will be updated with more details as we have them.