BORIS Johnson will tomorrow declare Britain has given up the fight to “contain” the coronavirus outbreak after it was declared a global pandemic.
The PM is set to say the nation has now reached the “delay” phase and put Brits on notice that they could face sweeping restrictions on their lives.
It means the public could be told to start working from home and to scale back their socialising as the country tries to get a grip on the outbreak.
Care homes could place extra restrictions on visitors to protect the elderly, who are most likely to die from the killer bug.
While any Brit with a cold, cough, sniffle or fever could be told to stay at home for a week to help halt the spread of the infection.
Mr Johnson is expected to declare the major shift as he chairs an emergency COBRA meeting at lunchtime tomorrow.
Speaking in the Commons, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Parliament will continue to sit through the crisis as he called on the nation to pull together.
He said: “”I know how worrying this is, I know people have deep concerns, I know everyone will play their part in this national effort to defeat the virus.
“The best way to beat it is for us to work together and we’ll do whatever it takes, we’ll give the NHS whatever it needs and we’ll do all that we can to keep people safe and get through this together as a Parliament and as a nation.”
Two more elderly Brits have died from coronavirus bringing the UK toll to eight tonight after the number of cases jumped to 460.
A total of 87 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours, the biggest daily increase since the start of the outbreak.
The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust said a patient in their 70s being treated for underlying health conditions had died after testing positive for Covid-19.
And the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, said an elderly patient being treated for a number of serious underlying health conditions, had also died.
Earlier, a 53-year-old British woman was reported to have died from Covid-19 in Indonesia.
She was ill with other health conditions, including diabetes and lung disease, the Indonesian government said.
London remains the most affected region with 104 cases, while the South East and South West of England have 60 and 44 positive tests respectively.
Northern Ireland is the least hit area in the UK, with 18 cases.
Eight people have now died of the disease in Britain.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) today declared the outbreak a global pandemic as 118,000 people have been diagnosed with the killer bug across 114 countries.
More than 4,300 people have died – around 3,000 of them in China – after contracting COVID-19 across the globe.
WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the medical body has “rung the alarm The World Health Organisationbell loud and clear”.
He said: “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.
“We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time. WHO has been in full response mode since we were notified of the first cases.
“We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action. We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”
Ireland confirmed its first coronavirus death after an elderly woman with an underlying illness died in hospital.
Meanwhile Barclays confirmed an employee at its Canary Wharf office tested positive for coronavirus, while there was a confirmed case of Covid 19 at the Oakridge House nursing home in Basingstoke.
It was revealed last night that Health Minister Nadine Dorries had tested positive for the deadly bug.
Dorries, Tory MP for for Mid Bedfordshire, had played a leading role in drawing up legislation to tackle the bug.
The spread of the virus is predicted to peak shortly over Easter with around 50 per cent of infections expected to come within a three-week period.
England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries has said people with flu-like symptoms would be urged to self-isolate during the peak period.
A worst-case scenario would be likely to see around 80 per cent of the population infected with thousands of deaths.
Dr Harries added most people will “feel a bit rough for a few days” but won’t need hospital treatment.
The Department of Health confirmed around 27,500 people have been tested for coronavirus since the start of the outbreak.
Testing will be escalated to around 10,000 people every day as the virus grips the nation.
At present, diagnostic facilities can perform around 2,000 tests a day but the NHS announced it was undertaking a “significant expansion”.
Professor Robert Dingwall, a public health expert at Nottingham Trent University, said: “It’s a fair assumption the peak of this outbreak will overlap with the Easter break.
“This Easter will be like no other, certainly since World War Two.
“For most people alive today, they will not have experienced anything like it before.
“There will inevitably be less travel and fewer big gatherings. Major disruption is very likely.”