THOSE caught out of the house without a reasonable excuse could be fined, Boris Johnson said as he unveiled the effective lockdown of the UK to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

People would only be allowed to leave home for essential shopping trips, to exercise once daily, to get medical help and for essential travel to and from work.

Mr Johnson said: “No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this.”

He added: "The way ahead is hard and it is still true that many lives will, sadly be lost."

But he said the new lockdown measures were essential to slow the spread of coronavirus and prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.The Prime Minister added: "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."

Libraries and non-essential shops, including clothes and electronics stores, would close. Outdoor gyms and play areas would also be shut.

The government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies - but funerals attended by immediate family members are allowed.

Gatherings of more than two people in public is outlawed.

Reacting to the announcement, Swindon Borough Council leader said: “The additional measures announced by the Prime Minister tonight are necessary if we are to win our battle with this COVID-19 virus, which is having such a major impact on our communities.

“I would urge everyone in Swindon to heed the Government’s advice. These are unprecedented times and we will only begin to get a grip on this fast-paced pandemic if we all play our part.

“We will do our utmost for local people by continuing to provide services as best we can, but we also need our residents to do their bit by being socially responsible and thinking of others in these challenging circumstances. Please stay at home and do your bit to keep us safe.”

The UK death toll hit 335 on Tuesday, with one new cases confirmed in Swindon last night. The number of confirmed cases in Wiltshire rose by five to 28.