THE Prime Minister says he must issue a simple instruction to the nation: Stay at home as he ordered a lockdown.

All non-essential shops, places of worship and playgrounds are to close and all gatherings of more than two people are to stop, he said.

Weddings, baptisms will also be halted. 

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We are now obliged to join together to save many, many thousands of lives, he said.

He believes the British people will rise to the challenge and save lives.

The PM said: "From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction - you must stay at home.

"Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.

"That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

- shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible

- one form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household;

- any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and

- travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

That's all - these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No.

You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.

You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine - and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

If you don't follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

To ensure compliance with the Government's instruction to stay at home, we will immediately:

- close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship;

- we will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public - excluding people you live with;

- and we'll stop all social events?, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.

Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

"No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this.

"I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people's lives, to their businesses and to their jobs."