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Boris Johnson delivered his first daily coronavirus briefing today, telling the country that all people who have one of the two main first symptoms of the infection - a new persistent cough and a fever - should stay at home for 14 days.
He also said that if one person in a household shows the symptoms, all of the household should stay at home.
This afternoon, he addressed the country, saying that social distancing is of the utmost importance, and that pubs, clubs and restaurants should be avoided at all costs. However, he said that care homes and schools are not currently being forcibly closed, although the situation is under constant review.
He also advised that people should work from home wherever possible. He added later that social venues such as pubs and theatres should not be visited.
In the briefing, he said: "Without drastic action, cases could double every five or six days."
Recognising that the country is on the brink of the coronavirus bringing unprecedented upheaval to the UK, he also said: "Now is the time to stop all non-essential contact with others and all non-essential travel."
With the NHS already at breaking point, the Prime Minister urged people to 'only use the NHS when you really need to'.
He also cited advice he had received that the peak of the epidemic is 'coming faster in some parts of the country than others', adding that London is a few weeks ahead.
Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, added that the measures will go on for a 'prolonged' amount of time, saying that it would not be a case of this period of caution lasting for 'a few weeks'.
He added that the mortality rate is still said to be low, but that some people have no symptoms.
The CMO said that a wave of cases is heading towards the NHS, so social distancing is one of the main ways we can protect the health service - he stressed the importance of avoiding contact if at all possible.
He explained that people with chronic diseases should be shielded, as should pregnant women and people with lower immune systems.
Whitty also reaffirmed that people living in the same household as someone with coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days.
When asked by reporters about testing, Whitty added that more than 44,000 people have been tested so far, with the vast majority showing negative. He confirmed that a test is being developed that can test for those who have not shown symptoms but have had the disease.
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