Coronavirus: Boris Johnson reveals you can only leave the house if you have a medical need |

Coronavirus death toll rose to 54 today, putting the current number of fatalities at 355. The government has faced increasing calls to enforce tougher measures to contain the crisis and today it appears those calls have been heeded. In an announcement this evening, Boris Johnson has instructed everyone to stay at home barring exceptional circumstances.

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Mr Johnson outlined the medical reasons that can justify you leaving the house. According to the Prime Minister, you can only leave the house if you personally have a medical need or you are caring for someone with one.

Other permissible reasons include to shop for basic necessities, to engage in exercise once a day and travelling to and from work.

In regards to the latter reason, Mr Johnson urges everyone to work from home where possible.

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PM has ordered the general public to indoors barring exceptional reasons

Boris Johnson: PM has ordered the general public to indoors barring exceptional reasons (Image: Getty Images)What else did Mr Johnson say?

Mr Johnson said that the police will be given exceptional powers to enforce the rules if they are broken. Failure to observe the rules may also result in a fine, he warned.

Cracking down further, Mr Johnson also announced that all shops selling non-essential goods will be shut down.

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The Prime Minister added that all gatherings of more than two people will be off-limits and parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

The escalation in policy comes after the PM announced on Sunday that those most at risk of coronavirus had to stay at home for 12 weeks.

Who is most at risk?

According to the NHS, you may be at a high risk from coronavirus if you:

Have had an organ transplantAre having certain types of cancer treatmentHave blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemiaHave a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthmaHave a condition that makes you much more likely to get infectionsAre taking medicine that weakens your immune systemAre pregnant and have a serious heart conditionHow do I know I have coronavirus?

The health body’s website says there are two main warning signs to watch out for: a high temperature and a new, continuous cough.

People with lung conditions, such as asthma are considered at-risk

At-risk groups: People with lung conditions, such as asthma are considered at-risk (Image: Getty Images )

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“This means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature),” explains the NHS.

What about a new, continuous cough? “This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual),” says the health body.

Can I reduce the risk of catching and spreading the virus?

The coronavirus is a respiratory infection that is spread in cough droplets.

Maintaining good hygiene standards can therefore help to reduce risk of catching and spreading the virus.

A new, continuous cough is a sign

Coronavirus symptoms: A new, continuous cough is a sign (Image: Getty Images )

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The most important step is to wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds.

It is also important to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth between washing hands.

Other hygiene tips include:

Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not availableCover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneezePut used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards