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London on lockdown in bid to stop spread of new coronavirus

Shopping streets in Central London were almost deserted on Tuesday after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a three-week halt to all non-essential activity.

The government told most stores to close, banned gatherings of three or more people and said everyone apart from essential workers should leave home only to buy food and medicines or to exercise.

At Mile End Underground station in East London people seemed to be heeding the advice to stay home.

Only a few people arrived to take Underground trains and buses were mostly empty.

Victoria Park in East London remained open and runners took advantage of the early morning sunshine, making use of their only allocated outing to exercise.

Despite this, public transport in parts of the city was still busy on Tuesday morning.

The UK has reported 6,650 cases of COVID-19 and 335 deaths.

Most patients who contract the new coronavirus develop only mild symptoms and recover after about two weeks.

But the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by those with no visible symptoms.

For older adults and people with underlying health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

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