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Coronavirus news – live: UK issues urgent new measures to work from home and avoid travel to prevent pandemic spread, as EU shuts borders

The Independent logo The Independent 16/03/2020 Jon Sharman


In pictures: Coronavirus outbreak (Photos)

Boris Johnson has urged everybody in the UK to work from home and avoid pubs and restaurants so the NHS will be able to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

The prime minister gave his first daily briefing to the public after chairing an emergency Cobra meeting to decide new measures to tackle Covid-19 in Britain. Thirty-five people have died and there are 1,543 confirmed cases, though it is believed up to 10,000 people have already been infected.

It came as doctors warned coronavirus could not be contained in Europe after a decade of intensive care cuts, and countries across the continent took increasingly strict steps to fight it. Spain, Italy, Bulgaria and Hungary have all clamped down on citizens’ movements and Germany has introduced a string of border controls, while the EU is considering closing its borders to all non-essential foreign travel.

Worldwide, central banks including the US Federal Reserve have made emergency rate cuts to shore up tumbling stock markets in moves similar to those taken after the 2008 financial crisis. In the US, New York City has shut all public schools and ordered bars, restaurants, theatres and other venues to close from Tuesday, as have the states of New Jersey and Connecticut. Globally, 6,513 people have died and 169,000 have been infected.

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