UK couples who do not currently live together should either accept that they can't see each other in the coronavirus lockdown, or "test the strength of their relationship" and move into the same property.
That's according to advice from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to put the UK into full lockdown this week.
Speaking during a digital press conference at Downing Street on Tuesday (March 24) evening, Dr Jenny Harries reiterated that people from one household should not be meeting with those living in other households, however they are related.
She explained: "The principle is that we want people to stay in their household units primarily. The reason for that is because if you have an infection you are very close with your family members, so your risk of exposure to the virus is pretty similar usually across the family.
"We almost expect another member of the family to get that unless they’re applying very, very stringent precautions.
"So if two individuals – two halves of a couple – are currently in separate households, then ideally they should stay in those households."
Speaking further, Dr Jenny said that the only other option is for them to move in together.
Test the relationship
She continued: "The alternative might be that for quite a significant period going forward they should just test the strength of their relationship and decide whether one wishes to be permanently resident in another household.
Test really carefully your strength of feeling and stay with the household either together or apart.
"The issue here is that we do not want to have people switching in and out of households. It would defeat the purpose of the reduction in social interactions and would allow transmission of disease.
"So perhaps test really carefully your strength of feeling and stay with the household either together or apart. But keep it that way while we go forward. Because otherwise we will not all be working towards achieving our outcome."
Health secretary Matt Hancock then appeared to agree with the advice, as he said: "There you go. Make the choice and stick with it."
The PM announced the new measures in a special broadcast on Monday (March 23) evening.
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