Coronavirus live blog as it happened: PM says 12 weeks to turn tide against virus as vaccine trials due for mid-April
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We will be providing live updates until 7pm.
Coronavirus live blog, March 19
Last updated: Thursday, 19 March, 2020, 17:15
- China is reporting no new domestic cases in the country
- UK schools will be shut down from Friday, with many major exams cancelled
- The number of cases worldwide has surpassed 200,000
Queen and Duke of Edinburgh relocate to Windsor Castle
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have travelled to Windsor Castle amid the coronavirus epidemic.
The pair travelled separately, the Queen driving accompanied by one of her pet corgis and the Duke via helicopter.
How about some good news?
The last couple weeks have been on the bleak side - so here are a couple feel good stories:
The National Trust have opened their gardens and parklands to the public for free during the outbreak.
Find your nearest garden here.
Elsewhere, a man in Masham, North Yorkshire has offered his chalets to the homeless and needy for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.
Maps detailing the coronavirus outbreak
The data team at JPIMedia have been tirelessly updating their series of intereactive maps detailing the spread of coronavirus.
You can take a closer look at them here.
CMO: 'People can die directly and indirectly during an epidemic'
Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty said people can die directly and indirectly during an epidemic.
He said: "People die in these epidemics... for two reasons. They die directly of the infection, unavoidably, best medical care, sadly this is still going to happen for some people.
"But also they can die because the health service they are in is overwhelmed and therefore there's an indirect death because there's a difference between what could happen with health and what we were able to provide in this situation."
On reducing the peak of the infection, he added: "It has an additional advantage, if you let an epidemic run its full course you get what's called overshoot where more people get infected than you would need if it were to run at a lower peak.
"Actually by lowering the peak you reduce the overall number of people who will get the infection."
English football suspension extended
The suspension of all English football has been supended until April 30.
Premier League, EFL and WSL fixtures had originally been posponed until April 3.
The FA also said that this season can be extended indefinitely.
Two Scottish prisoners test positive for Covid-19
Could the UK go into lockdown?
Yesterday Boris Johnson refused to rule out locking down London as coronavirus continued to spread around the capital.
Alex Nelson looked into the likelihood of a UK lockdown which you can read here.
Man arrested for coughing on security guards and claiming to have Covid-19
A man suspected of shoplifting has been arrested after coughing on store staff and claiming to be infected with Covid-19.
West Midlands Police said a 57-year-old man was held on suspicion of theft and assault in Dudley on Thursday afternoon.
Officers were called to Dudley High Street after several people reported a man coughing on shop staff who had suspected him of stealing.
In a statement, a force spokesman said: "The man, who is from Dudley and has suspected mental health issues, has been taken into custody and will be questioned in due course.
"Those affected have been given appropriate advice and referred to the non-emergency NHS helpline for further support and guidance."
UK interest rates cut to 0.1%
UK interest rates have been cut from 0.25% to 0.1% as the government tries to nurse the conomy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic
Interest rates are now at their lowest in history.
Co-op hiring 5,000 new staff
The Co-op has created 5,000 temporary store-based jobs for hospitality workers laid off because of the coronavirus outbreak.
It has said that it will simplify its recruitment process so applicants can start in days.
Weddings limited to five people in England
The number of people attending church weddings during the coronavirus crisis should be limited to the legal minimum of five - the priest, the bride and groom and two witnesses - the Church of England has said.
Benefit claimants no longer need to attend jobcentres
People receiving benefits will not be required to attend Jobcentre appointments for at least three months, the Department for Work and Pensions announced.
Claimants will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the Jobcentre in person are suspended from Thursday as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
People can still make applications for benefits online if they are eligible, the DWP said.
Jobcentres remain open, and will continue to support people who are not able to use phones or online methods.
Queen releases statement
The Queen has released a statement praising the work of scientists, medical practitioners and emergency staff.
She said: "As Philip and I arrive at Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty.
"We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them.
"At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation's history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal.
"We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals - today and in the coming days, weeks and months.
"Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part."
Boris Johnson set to start his daily press briefing
The Prime Minister is set to hold his daily press briefing.
Stay tuned for updates