THE HEALTH secretary has said people can go to their place of work if they cannot operate from home, amidst fresh confusion over coronavirus restrictions.

Matt Hancock's comments come as concerns have been raised by construction workers and the Scottish Trades Union Congress, among others over a lack of clarity over the shutdown measures.

CBI Scotland said firms and workers in Scotland were seeking "urgent clarity" over the definition of 'essential workers'.

The number of UK deaths rose to 422 on Tuesday, a rise of 87 in one day.

The lockdown measures which are in place for at least three weeks, tell Britons to only leave home to go to work "where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home".

Mr Hancock, who led yesterday's daily Downing Street briefing - which saw reporters asking questions over video-link - said people whose jobs have not already been shut down by the government measures to date should continue to work but should only be travelling to a workplace "where that work can't be done at home".

He said those who cannot work from home should go to work "to keep the country running".

He said construction workers - many of whom work outdoors - could and should continue to go to work as long as they are able to remain two metres apart at all times.

"The judgment we have made is that in work, in many instances, the 2m rule can be applied," he said.

"Where possible, people should work from home and employers have a duty to ensure that people are more than 2m apart."

Some have argued his commentary diluted from the Prime Minster's historic Monday lockdown address to the nation.

But the First Minister said building sites should close - unless it involves an essential building such as a hospital. Nicola Sturgeon said it was for employers to make decisions about who is going into work and it should not be left to employees to "anguish over". She said if staff cannot work from home, employers should ask themselves whether their business is "essential" to the fight against coronavirus.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress issued on Tuesday what it said was a "stark warning" after being inundated with complaints from workers about companies keeping open for non-essential work and insisting staff be present for work even while business was suspended.

It warned employers that they could find themselves in implied breach of contract and face future constructive dismissal claims if judged to be endangering workers.

The STUC, which has 37 affiliated trade union members, said that with government advice making clear that only essential work should continue, the burden of proof would be on the employer to prove they had acted reasonably.

The STUC also said that employers have a statutory duty to risk assess for Covid-19, and to put in place a safe system of work.

STUC general secretary designate Rozanne Foyer said: “While many employers have acted swiftly and correctly too many have not. This has caused general confusion and real alarm. Union offices across Scotland have been inundated with calls from members. Meanwhile the STUC is fielding questions by the minute from worried workers."

Earlier some workers were seen mingling close together after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that people should stay at home, with social gatherings banned.

Under the new restrictions imposed by the Johnson administration, people can leave their homes only for very limited reasons such as going to supermarkets for vital supplies or for exercise once a day.

The unprecedented peacetime restrictions, which will last at least three weeks, are intended to stop the state-run National Health Service (NHS) being overwhelmed.

But social media images showed London Underground railway trains were packed with commuters. There were also complaints that the advice was confusing or did not go far enough.