UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the coronavirus is the “biggest threat (Britain) has faced for decades”.
“You must stay at home,” Mr. Johnson told Britons in a speech on Monday evening.
In a raft of new measures to stem the spread of covid-19 in the island-nation, the prime minister announced restrictions on movement, including shopping only for basic goods and a ban on gatherings.
Police will be given powers to enforce restrictions, including by fines, he said.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Monday that the coronavirus pandemic was “accelerating”, .
It said 350,000 confirmed cases worldwide now existed, with nearly 15,000 deaths and almost 100,000 recoveries.
335 people with the virus have died in the UK alone.
In Italy, the epicentre of the disease, deaths dropped for a second day in a row as Europe’s worst-hit country entered a tougher lockdown.
In Spain, the country with the second highest number of cases in Europe, the death toll passed 2,000 on Monday.