Coronavirus UK news live: Latest updates
The number of people who have died after contracting coronavirus in the UK has risen to 144, the Department of Health has said.
It comes as the number of confirmed cases rose by 643 to 3,269 on Thursday.
A further 29 people are confirmed to have passed away in England over the past 24 hours, according to NHS England.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces are putting 20,000 troops on standby to help with the coronavirus emergency as schools around northern Lincolnshire and the whole of England prepare to close on Friday afternoon.
Up to 20,000 service personnel are to form part of a Covid Support Force, the Defence Secretary has announced.
Around 10,000 troops are held at “higher readiness” in case of a civil emergency, and this figure will be doubled in the effort to support public services following the coronavirus outbreak.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the dramatic move to close schools at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon as the battle to contain the spread of coronavirus takes another big step.
The Government had already announced other measures to slow the rate of infections around the UK including urging people to avoid social contact at pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas leading many of these venues to either close temporarily or adapt their business to cope with the changes.
Today, emergency legislation will be published to tackle to outbreak which is expected to include measures such as allowing police officers to detain and quarantine people suspected of being infected with Covid-19.
Meanwhile, supermarkets have been putting in place tougher rules to clamp down on panic buying including limiting purchases of certain in-demand items such as soap, toilet roll and hand sanitiser.
This morning, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the Government was looking at “what extra measures” can be taken to slow the spread of coronavirus, amid speculation of a London lockdown.
The Education Secretary told BBC Breakfast: “It is an evolving situation, we’re constantly looking at the scientific and medical advice.
“Every step that the Government has taken over the last few weeks has been about addressing the core issue about the spread of this virus and the Government will always be looking at what extra measures it can do to slow that down.
“But, as the Prime Minister stated, currently there aren’t plans to do that but you’ve got to keep these issues continuously under review.”