Schools in England are to close from Friday for all pupils with the exception of the most vulnerable and the children of key workers, the Prime Minister said on Wednesday.
"I can announce today, that after schools shut their gates from Friday afternoon, they will remain closed to most people, from further notice", the PM said.
In his third daily press briefing since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Boris Johnson said exams will not take place and that nurseries and private schools are being asked to shut as well for an unspecified period of time.
He also said that the National Health Service (NHS) will have to continue functioning and therefore an exception will be made to essential workers, like police and food delivery, and medical staff in order to prevent putting pressure on parents employed in the service.
Johnson also advised parents not to leave children with their older grandparents as the elderly are among the most vulnerable to the virus.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, stressed that schools are not a dangerous location for children but that the measure would "knock down" transmission.
Vallance also noted that testing should take place away from hospitals and Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said that a form of home-based testing should be introduced.
Amid observations than Londoners had not bee sufficiently following government advice to self-isolate, the Prime Minister said he would not hesitate to bring in further and tighter measures if necessary.
In response to a question regarding whether the Brexit transition period, which formally ends on the 31 December of this year, will be extended, Johnson said he has "no intention" of changing current legislation which rules out prolonging the process.
It was announced earlier on Wednesday by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams that schools would be closed in both countries.
On Monday, Boris Johnson called for "social distancing" measures to take place, avoid unnecessary social contact, and for all those who could to work from home.
The briefing by the Prime Minister comes as the total coronavirus cases in the UK reaches 1,950 and 60 deaths. An increase of 407 from Monday.