BRITONS over 70-years-old will be told “within the coming weeks” to stay at home to protect them from Coronavirus.

As of yesterday, 1,372 people had been confirmed as positive in the UK, and 35 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has warned that over-70s and will need to remain at home for an extended period.

With five confirmed cases of the virus in the BCP Council area, Cllr Lesley Dedman said the council will be issuing new advice based on government guidelines this week.

The independent councillor and BCP portfolio holder for adult social care and health is urging elderly Dorset residents to do their shopping online and have it delivered to their homes.

She adds that they should ask friends or relatives who do not have a health condition to help them.

Cllr Dedman said: “My message to people who have to self-isolate is it is important to eat well and stay hydrated. You should keep in touch with friends and family.”

She also condemned the increasing problem of people panic buying.

Cllr Dedman added: “I am absolutely appalled by panic buying because it deprives the rest of us.

“It is a knee jerk reaction. It’s a ridiculous reaction to something that has not happened yet.”

Meanwhile, the government has faced increasing pressure to do more to combat Coronavirus after the UK death toll rose to 21 on Saturday.

All reported deaths have been to older people or those with underlying health conditions.

The health secretary has not said when the new requirements would begin but has warned that government measures “will disrupt the ordinary lives of almost everybody in the country in order to tackle this virus”.

The minister has compared the global pandemic to World War Two, adding that, despite the Blitz, the UK “pulled together in one gigantic national effort”.

Wartime-like measures will call for car makers to produce medical equipment and convert hotels into hospitals.

Mr Hancock has said car manufacturers, weapon makers and army suppliers would be asked to change their production lines to make ventilators for use in hospitals treating coronavirus.