Boris Johnson said the Government is telling pubs, cafes, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, leisure centres and gyms to close from tonight to fight coronavirus.

The Prime Minister called on a 'national effort' to try to defeat COVID-19 to avoid 'unnecessary social contact' and 'we will be able to save lives'.

He said: "As we make this sacrifice we can see the effect on the country.

"We will do everything to defeat this disease.

"I am confident the UK economy will bounce back and we are strengthening our measures to push down and flatten on the curve of transmssion between us.

"These steps are temporary.

"We are collectively telling cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can and not to open tomorrow.

"Though they can continue to provide take-out service.

"We are also telling nightclub, theatres and cinemas and leisure centres to close on the same time."

He urged people not to go out tonight to stay safe.

Meanwhile, chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the 'economic interventention he was announcing today was unprecidented in the history of the British state'.

Their plan was 'most comprehensive in the world'.

He announced a package that will see the government pay up to 80 per cent of  wages - or up to £2,500 a month - for people who are not working be kept on payroll.

Under the Coronavirus job retention scheme he said: "Any employers in the county - small or large, charitable or non-profit will be eligible for the scheme.

"Employers will be able to contact by HRMC for a grant to cover the wages of people who are not working that are furlowed and kept on payroll rather than being laid off.

"It means that workers in any part of the UK can retain their job even if their employer cannot afford to pay them.

"Today I can announce that for the first time in our history the government is going to step in and help to pay people's wages.

"We are now closing shops restaurants and bars. Those steps are necessary to save lives.

"We know these measures will have a significant economic impact."

He added: "Our ability to come through won't just be down to what governement or businesses do, this will be judged by the acts of kindness we show to each other - the small businesses who does everything they can not to lay off their staff, the student who does a shop for their elderly neighbour, the retired nurse who volunteers to cover shifts at her local hopsital. 

"When this is over and it will be over we want to look back on this moment and remember the many small acts of kindness done by us and to us

"We want to look back on this time and remember how we thought first of others and acted with decency.

"We want to look back on this time and remember how in the face of a generation defining moment we undertook a collective national effort and we stood together. It's on all of us."