The government is reportedly set to order the closure of all non-essential shops in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The decision to close all stores except for supermarkets and pharmacies is being discussed at an emergency Cobra meeting today and is expected to be announced at this evening’s government press conference, the Telegraph reported.
Boris Johnson is expected to make the announcement today but the move will reportedly come into effect tomorrow.
The government has already ordered the closure of all bars, restaurants, clubs and pubs and asked the public to practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
However images over the weekend of packed streets and parks, particularly in London, caused alarm.
MPs are debating the government’s emergency legislation today, which will include powers to allow recently retired NHS staff to return to work, court hearings to take place by phone or video, and funeral arrangements can be fast-tracked.
The bill will also give unprecedented powers to law enforcement agencies to detain people if they show coronavirus symptoms, and impose a £1,000 fine if they refuse to take a test.
Speaking on Sunday at Number 10’s daily news conference, the prime minister called on people to act “responsibly” and practice social distancing.
“If we can’t do that then, yup, I’m afraid we’re going to have to bring forward tougher measures,” he said.