Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation to outline the new restrictions which have been put in place as many were not following guidelines on social distancing over the weekend.
Police will have the power to hand fines out to anyone who leaves their home for anything other than to buy food and medicine, exercise or go to work, if it’s absolutely essential.
From midnight, all shops selling non-essential goods will be closed and gatherings of more than two people from different households will be banned.
The tighter restrictions on people’s movements came as the UK death toll hit 335 and the first cases emerged of medical staff being struck down with Covid-19.
Under the new restrictions, places of worship, libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be closed.
Parks will remain open, but groups will be dispersed, and all public ceremonies, except for funerals will be banned.
The only permitted reasons for leaving the house will be shopping for basic necessities “as infrequently as possible”; doing one form of exercise a day alone or with members of your household; getting medicine or going to the doctor; providing care or help to a vulnerable person; and travelling to work “only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home”.
Police officers will have the powers to enforce the rules, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
The Prime Minister said the measures would be reviewed after three weeks, and relaxed “if the evidence shows we are able to”.