Kent Police have warned residents against gathering in groups today (March 24) in line with the government's strict measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday (March 23), the government instructed residents to stay at home and only leave for essential work, food or an hour of exercise.

Any meetings of more than two people can be dispersed by police while the measures are in place, and Kent Police warned residents Tuesday that they would face dispersal and fines if they flouted the new rules.

"We are in an unprecedented public health emergency and we want the people of Kent to do their bit in preventing the spread of the coronavirus," Chief Constable of Kent Alan Pughsley said.

"The majority of people are following the advice but we’ve had reports in Kent of unnecessary gatherings and in those instances officers have reminded those in attendance of their personal responsibilities and the public health guidance.

"The latest direction from the Government means that those who refuse to disperse could face further action such as fines and once we have the detail of how that works we will follow that to the letter here in Kent," he added.

The number of UK deaths from Covid-19 coronavirus rose to 422 on Tuesday, up 87 from Monday's total.

"I understand that there will be some people who see the new restrictions as frustrating and inconvenient but I cannot stress enough how important it is that people following the advice being given – stay at home and help us help the national effort," Pughsley said.