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UK lockdown announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson amid coronavirus spread

Gatherings of more than two people are banned.

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Boris Johnson UK lockdown

UK PM Boris Johnson announced a British lockdown.

Screenshot by Corinne Reichert/CNET
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

The United Kingdom has announced a lockdown starting Monday night to slow the spread of the coronavirus. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people must stay home, with gatherings of more than two people banned unless they're from the same household. All nonessential stores and most public places must close. It comes after the UK closed down pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants last week.

"From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction: You must stay at home," Johnson said Monday evening. He added it's critical to stop the disease from spreading between households. "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."

People are allowed to leave their homes only to shop for basic necessities "as infrequently as possible"; exercise outdoors once a day, like running, walking or cycling, which can only be done alone or with other members of your household; provide for any medical need, like helping a vulnerable person; and travel to and from work, "but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home."

Weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies -- apart from funerals -- are banned.

The police will have the power to enforce these rules, including through fines and dispersing gatherings. Johnson said all nonessential places and stores -- including clothing stores, electronic goods stores, places of worship, libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms are all closing.

"Parks remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed," he said.

The restrictions will be under constant review and will be looked at again in three weeks, he said, when they may be relaxed.

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