Downing Street says people are allowed to buy whatever they want from shops that remain open, after concerns that police are overstepping lockdown powers.
Some police forces have warned shoppers against buying “non-essential” items.
No 10 also said people can use their gardens as they wish, after a video showed police confronting a family for letting their children play outside.
Meanwhile, the PM’s father said he must “rest up” after leaving intensive care.
Boris Johnson, whose recovery from coronavirus is “at an early stage”, waved his thanks to staff at St Thomas’ Hospital in London as he was moved to a ward last night, Downing Street said.
A further 866 people have died in hospitals in England after testing positive for coronavirus, NHS England announced.
In Scotland, 48 more people have died, in Wales there were 29 more deaths, and in Northern Ireland there were 10.
Asked about suggestions that police were patrolling the supermarket aisles to see what people were buying, Downing Street said people were allowed to buy whatever they wanted from shops permitted to be open.
“We set out a list of shops which could remain open and if the shops are on that list then they are free to sell whatever they have in stock,” the prime minister’s official spokesman said.
Police in Cambridge had to clarify a social media post – since deleted – by an “over-exuberant” officer who suggested they were monitoring aisles of “non-essential” goods in supermarkets.
“The force position, in line with national guidance, is that we are not monitoring what people are buying from supermarkets,” they said.
On Thursday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was “not appropriate” for police to be checking people’s supermarket trolleys after Northamptonshire Police threatened to introduce the measures.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley said the force would consider roadblocks and searches of people’s shopping if the public did not follow the rules. He later called his remarks “clumsy”.
With South Yorkshire Police also having apologised for a “well-intentioned but ill-informed” officer who told a family not to play in their own front garden, Downing Street said people could use their gardens as they choose – as long as they are with members of their household.
The government is seeking to reassure the public about the lockdown rules as it stresses the measures are working to reduce the spread of infection and the number of people admitted to hospital.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has been accused of breaching the rules on travel, but Downing Street said it was “confident” he complied.
The government has advised against travel to second homes – and urged people to distance themselves from elderly relatives.
Mr Jenrick has said he was delivering essentials to his parents, including medicines, which is allowed under the rules, and his family consider Herefordshire to be his primary home.
No 10 said ministers sometimes had “no option” but to travel to work from Whitehall and Mr Jenrick “has been doing important work in London on safeguarding the vulnerable”.
In other developments:
- A 460-bed Nightingale hospital facility for the North East is to be opened at an industrial estate in Washington, Tyne and Wear
- A doctor who appealed for personal protective equipment (PPE) has died after contracting coronavirus
- The Foreign Office has chartered 12 more flights to bring more than 3,000 stranded Britons back from India from Monday
- EU finance ministers have agreed a €500bn (£440bn) rescue package for European countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic
- Concerns have been raised by a senior official in the NHS that children with illnesses unrelated to Covid-19 are going to hospital too late and coming to harm as a result
- Universities across the UK have warned some institutions will go bust because of the outbreak
- Online sales of Easter eggs are surging as UK consumers turn to the internet during the lockdown
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