Prime Minister Boris Johnson was warned of imposing a lockdown similar to Italy's if members of the public continue to flout advice on self-isolation and social distancing. 

Addressing a Downing Street press conference yesterday, Mr Johnson issued a final warning to the UK where he observed communities across the country gathered in parks and public areas over the weekend.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also hit out at such groups, saying that government advice was "not optional" and that parks and beaches "shouldn't be full". 

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon says 'parks should not be full' and don't gather for weddings or other celebrations

Mr Johnson said that parks and other open spaces were crucial for both physical and mental well-being but noted: “If people can’t make use of parks and playgrounds responsibly, in a way that observes the two-metre rule, then, of course, we’re going to have to look at further measures.”

“I don't think you need to use your imagination very much to see where we might have to go and we will think about this very very actively in the next 24 hours.”

“We need to think about the kind of measures we've seen elsewhere; other countries that have been forced to bring in restrictions on people's movements altogether.

“Now, as I say, I don't want to do that. It's so important that pleasure and that ability[to enjoy open spaces] is preserved but it can only really be preserved if everybody acts responsibly and conforms with those principles of staying apart from one another and social distancing.

"If we can't do that then, yup, I'm afraid we're going to have to bring forward tougher measures."

After Boris Johnson ordered cafes, restaurants and pubs to close at the weekend, Nicola Sturgeon recognised that a "small minority" refused to comply in Scotland, warning in her speech yesterday that in doing so, they were putting "lives at risk".

She said: "Let me be blunt; in doing so, they put lives at risk. My message to them is: close now. We will have emergency powers in days to force you to close and we will use these powers if we have to".

Police Scotland has been granted powers to enforce closures on pubs across the country. A compulsory closure under the Licensing Scotland Act will see venues closed for up to 24 hours, but can be repeated if necessary. 

READ MORE: Police Scotland granted powers to shut down open pubs amid COVID-19 outbreak

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, Police Scotland’s lead for coronavirus, said: "I am aware that a small number of public houses are intent on defying this instruction and have indicated that they will remain open until legally ordered to close.

“This is absolutely reckless and endangers not only the lives of customers, but wider communities, in an extremely fast moving and unprecedented situation where both the health and safety of the nation is at stake.

"Therefore, I have obtained further legal advice today and Police Scotland will now instruct officers to serve emergency closure orders on any licensed premises which refuses to comply on the grounds of the threat posed to public safety.