THE UK Government has made clear it will enforce a greater lockdown in public areas across UK if people do not follow medical advice to stay at home and self-isolate.

With emergency legislation set to be passed at Westminster – and with the consent of Holyrood – later this coming week, Robert Jenrick, the UK Communities Secretary, signalled ministers would be prepared to look at “other options,” ie taking even more stringent measures, to ensure people do not gather in public places in high numbers.

This follows people over the weekend flocking to the seaside, parks and popular destinations such as the Highlands.

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The new powers would give police the power to detain suspected carriers of the virus for a month and impose £1,000 fines for refusing to take tests. More court hearings could take place by video while the Border Force could temporarily suspend operations at airports and other transport hubs if there are insufficient resources to maintain border security. While the Government wants the powers to last two years, MPs on all sides are calling for a six-month or a year's review.

Ahead of the daily Downing St press conference this afternoon, Mr Jenrick said: "We want to live in a free society where we can continue to go about activities whilst following the medical advice. But this isn't a game, it is very serious."

He told Sky News's Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: "People need to follow that advice. If people don't follow that advice, then, clearly, we'll have to consider other options but none of us want to go down that route."

The Secretary of State pointed out people could still go out for walks and take exercise but they should stay away from others.

"Lots of people sat out together in parks or on beaches; that isn't sensible. We strongly discourage that," he said, later adding: "This is on all of us. We all have to play our part now."

Jeremy Corbyn echoed the minister’s point, saying: "We are all the front line now and I do urge people to listen, listen, listen to the advice you're given.

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"Don't closely associate with people, don't go places where there's going to be big crowds, make sure you're not part of a big crowd."

His Labour colleague Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, which is accounting for around four in 10 of the UK deaths, also made a heartfelt plea for people to stay at home.

Declaring “extraordinary times mean extraordinary measures,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “Unless people stay at home, unless people stop using public transport - unless it’s essential - unless people stop interacting with each other, more people will die,” adding: “Please, please, please stop mixing, say at home.”

Conservative backbencher Jeremy Hunt, the former Health Secretary, who now chairs the Commons Health Committee, said: "If everyone does what the social distancing measures require, if we do what the Prime Minister said, if we don't visit our mother for Mother's Day, all those kinds of things, then we have a chance of avoiding the terrible impact on the health system that we saw in Italy.

"So, it's all to play for, it's absolutely possible still, just, to avoid what we've seen, but everyone is very, very worried and the virus is growing still very fast and it's very, very disappointing when people don't obey the simple instructions that are being given out.”

He added: "It's not your own life you're risking necessarily but you could be risking someone else's life."

It has been suggested Britain is two weeks behind Italy in the infection rates, where the death toll has rocketed to 4,825; 800 Italian deaths were reported on Saturday alone.

This morning it was announced the death toll in Wales has risen by seven to 12, bring the overall UK total to 240. More deaths are expected to be announced across the rest of the UK later today.