Follow government advice and COVID-19 pandemic will be over quicker, Britons told.
The health secretary says the government may have to take more “draconian” measures if people don’t follow the advice.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “The more people follow the public health advice, the quicker we will be through this and the quicker we will be back to normal.”
He also said: “Embracing social distancing measures will help the UK avoid difficult situations like those seen in Italy, where hospitals are overwhelmed with gravely ill patients.”
Mr Hancock added: “If people follow the advice, we’ll get through this quicker and we won’t have to enforce these draconian enforcements that we’ve seen in other places in Europe.”
Around 1.4 million people classed as vulnerable will be contacted by the NHS from Monday and told to self-isolate, Mr Hancock also revealed.
“People in those categories should be shielded and should take themselves away from all social contact from Monday onwards,” he said.
“We appreciate that is a really big ask and really difficult, but again it’s for people’s own protection, to protect others and protect the NHS.”
The health secretary said the government would set out what conditions this will apply to.
Mr Hancock continued: “Many of these people have pre-existing health conditions and so will be very worried right now, and I understand that, and they’ll need very specific sets of action – for instance, how do you go about still getting your chemo if you have cancer whilst also social-distancing?
“If you have cancer it’s particularly important to stay away from other people, but you also of course have got to keep going with your chemotherapy.”
Mr Hancock added: “These are some of the most difficult and challenging cases so we’ll be getting in contact with them, but if people think that they are on this list and don’t receive a communication from the NHS, then they also need to get in contact.
“So that is under way, the money was announced for it yesterday. A combination of money to the NHS and money to councils because they’ve got a very big part to play in keeping people safe.”
Boris Johnson took to live televison to ask Britons to avoid pubs, clubs, restaurants and theatres, in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
But there have been reports of people not heeding the government’s advice.