Italy had 2,706 confirmed cases and 107 deaths on March 4th. They were in a nationwide lock down on March 9th. The UK had 2,626 cases and 104 deaths as of yesterday.
Similar size of population (60M vs 66M) and population densities (Italy: 206 per km sq, UK 259 per km sq).
Its hard to look at the trends in both countries and elsewhere and see anything but a total lock-down in the UK being imminent.
Italy has a higher median age (45.5 vs 40.5) which is an advantage to the UK, but such a significant portion of the population being crammed into the greater London area has to be a concern (4,542 per km sq according to google/wiki). On the other hand, London has a lower median age than the rest of the UK at 36.5.
The UK government has moved away from their "Herd Immunity" approach in the last few days and today announced schools will close except for children of health care workers and some others. I worry it is too late.
I'm very worried about the effect this is going to have in Ireland, very soon. The virus seems to grow at roughly the same rate in every area regardless of total population (I'm sure density is a factor, as are behaviours of the population). Italy was completely overwhelmed at about 10k cases and was making decisions about who received treatment not long after. Ireland has just 8% of the Italian population and likely a similar proportion of doctors/hospital beds. Will we be overwhelmed at 1k cases? 2k? We have taken some actions to slow the spread but we should still reach 1k cases over the weekend and 2k early next week unless we see a significant slowdown.
Already 140k plus people are out of work as a result of the efforts to slow this down, my sister who works in a Chinese restaurant/takeaway is one of those. We do have a social welfare safety net which will help, and the government have taken actions to ensure those out of work, or on sick leave can access welfare/sick pay as soon as possible.
The UK is about to see first hand what Italy has been dealing with, and I suspect we won't be long behind. English language media should help hammer home how serious this is for the US. Your country is larger and as a result likely has more leeway before your hospitals are overwhelmed. I hope its not too late for your government to take action.