Coronavirus is spreading in the UK and a major epidemic is expected.
A worst case scenario could see 80% of people infected if nothing is done.
What is the UK now doing about coronavirus?
On Monday, Prime Minster Boris Johnson announced significant new measures:
Anyone with a fever or persistent cough should stay at home for seven days if they live alone or 14 days if they live with others. Anyone who lives with someone displaying coronavirus symptoms should also stay at home for 14 days. People who have to isolate themselves should ask others for help
Everyone should stop non-essential contact with others. This is particularly important for people over 70, those with underlying health conditions and pregnant women
People should work from home where they can
People should avoid places like pubs, clubs and theatres. This applies especially to those in London which is “a few weeks ahead” of the rest of the UK
People should stop all unnecessary travel
By the weekend, those with the most serious health conditions should be largely shielded from social contact for 12 weeks
The government says its previous advice also remains, everyone should regularly wash their hands and avoid contacting the NHS unless it’s essential.
These measures, according to the government, will delay the spread of the epidemic so that the NHS can cope with demand and save lives.
Could schools close and public gatherings be banned?
The government has other powers it could use to protect people from infection:
Stopping big gatherings
Troops supporting the emergency services
Police focusing on the most serious crimes and maintaining public order
New legal powers to make people stay in quarantine
Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have the power to make some of their own decisions.
For example, Scotland has issued official advice to cancel gatherings of more than 500 people. Northern Ireland has said that when schools close it will be for at least 16 weeks.