People have been urged to stay at home as Boris Johnson announced a series of dramatic measures to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Shops selling "non-essential" goods have been ordered to close for at least three weeks as the UK is hit by "the biggest threat faced for decades".

People will be allowed out of their homes for essential shopping, one form of exercise per day (alone or with members of their household), any medical needs, and for absolutely essential travel to and from work.

The Prime Minister said people should not be going shopping except for essentials such as food and medicine, urging people to limit their shopping trips and use delivery services where possible.

In a sombre statement, Mr Johnson said: "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."

A series of retailers had already announced they were closing their doors, including John Lewis and Primark.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the move would disrupt people's lives, businesses and jobs.

He said: "No Prime Minister wants to introduce measures like this, I know the damage these things are doing.

"I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. 

"We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.

"But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost."

The closure of shops was part of a wider package of restrictions which will could see people fined by the police for breaking the new rules.

Gatherings of more than two people have also been banned, along with all social events such as weddings, and christenings. 

Funerals are exempt from this ban. 

Mr Johnson also extended his thanks to the key workers who will still be required to work. 

"I want to thank everyone, supermarket staff, transport workers, carers, and our nurses and doctors

"Each and every one of us is directly enlisted in this fight against an invisible enemy. 

"We are obligated to join together to halt the spread, protect out NHS, and save many, many thousands of lives. 

"We will come through this moment of national emergency stronger than ever."