Over-70s urged to consider self-isolating for 12 weeks.

Boris Johnson has told Britons to avoid unnecessary social contact and to work from home where possible. The prime minister also urged entire households to self-isolate for 14 days if anyone has a new cough or fever.

The new measures were announced as the number of confirmed UK coronavirus cases reached 1,543. The chief scientific officer said the UK could be “on the cusp of” a significant increase in cases.

New government advice

The prime minister said the measures would be disruptive. He urged Londoners to pay particular attention to the new measures, as London is “several weeks” ahead of other areas of the country.

  • Stop all non-essential social contact, including trips to restaurants, pubs and theatres.
  • Work from home where possible.
  • Stop all non-essential travel.
  • Anybody in a household where someone has symptoms (cough, fever) should stay at home for 14 days. People should rely on others to bring them supplies where possible. People can leave for exercise but should keep at a safe distance from others.
  • Those with underlying health issues should be shielded from non-essential contact by staying at home for 12 weeks. Those over 70 should consider doing the same.
  • Mass gatherings will no longer be supported by emergency services

The chief medical officer said social isolation practices could last “weeks to months, maybe longer” and that people should be prepared “for the long haul”.