Coronavirus live blog: latest as Chancellor announces loans worth £330 billion to support businesses

Follow the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in our live blog below

Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 9:33 pm

Scroll down and read our coronavirus live blog as it happens.

Before you do that here are some articles offering practical advice

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a press conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus pandemic with chief medical officer Chris Whitty and Chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance in Downing Street after he had taken part in the government's COBRA meeting on March 16 (Photo: Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

We will be providing live updates until 5pm.

Coronavirus live blog, March 17

Last updated: Tuesday, 17 March, 2020, 11:54

PM advises to "avoid" pubs, clubs, the office, and all unnecessary social contact and travel

Idris Elba becomes the latest celebrity to test positive for the virus, as Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson leave hospital

France imposes 15-day lockdown and deploys 100,000 police to enforce it

Publicans seek clarity over venue closures

A group representing the UK pub industry is seeking assurance from the government after the Prime Minister told the public to "avoid" pubs yesterday.

They fear that sales will fall so drastically in the wake of the advice that jobs and livelihoods could be at significant risk.

Without the government announcing "official" closures of pubs, clubs and other public venues like theatres, those business are unlikely to qualify for valuable insurance payouts.

The British Beer and Pub Association say they face an "existential crisis", unless the government announce a "meaningful" support package in the form of tax breaks.

Susannah Reid self-isolates

Good Morning Britian co-host Susannah Reid has announced this morning that she is self-isolating after one of her children developed a "persistent" cough.

Appearing on the show via video link, the presenter said she immediately though, "‘I can’t go into work’ and work with you guys for 14 days."

One user on Twitter joked, "that's the most Piers Morgan has ever let you speak on the show."

Reid's response? "Will now be broadcasting from home on a regular basis..."

WHO special envoy "welcomes" new UK measures

A World Health Organisation special envoy on the coronavirus welcomed Boris Johnson's decision to advise greater social distancing to tackle the pandemic.

Dr David Nabarro told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The thinking about the possibility of further more severe outbreaks coming later was perfectly valid, however as it became clear how quickly the virus has been advancing in other European countries a shift in position was absolutely right.

"I'm really pleased this has happened. And I would like to stress that in every other country positions are having to be shifted as we know more about the outbreak.

"We are just dealing with something that's so new with so many things we don't know that we have to be prepared for a change in tack from time to time even though it's distressing."

Khan: advice on school closures "could change"

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said advice on school closures could change.

He said: "The advice is that it makes very little clinical difference in relation to closing schools but that advice may change in relation to what we do know is some teachers may be pregnant, others may have underlying health issues, a child may have a persistent cough or temperature which means mum, dad, carer decides to withdraw the child."

He added: "I wouldn't be surprised if, over the course of the two weeks before Easter, Government advice changes."

Stricter measures not introduced "too late"

England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer has insisted the stricter measures to tackle the coronavirus had not been introduced too late.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam told the BBC: "We are following the science very carefully and consider the measures we announced yesterday have been announced at the right time - not too early and certainly not too late.

"We don't rule out taking further measures if these are necessary but much of this depends on how the next two weeks play out."

New measures to tackle coronavirus could last "several months"

Prof Van-Tam could not rule out the strict measures having to last for a year but predicted they will last at least "several months".

He told Today that more people will encounter the coronavirus and become resistant with so-called herd immunity, but said "that will take time".

"But, yes, you're absolutely right that we can't say how long this will need to go on for," he said.

"I don't know if it could be a year yet. I think we are too far out to make those kind of predictions but I certainly think it could be several months."

David Miliband criticises lack of international co-ordination

Former foreign secretary David Miliband has criticised a lack of international co-ordination to tackle the coronavirus and warned that Brexit and Donald Trump "multiplies the dangers".

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Miliband said: "I'm afraid it speaks to the age that we're in that there really is no international co-ordination of an effective kind at the moment - it's each country for itself and often it feels like each family for itself.

"That, of course, heightens the danger."

He warned of President Trump dropping the US's traditional leading role and the UK not having a place at the EU table because of Brexit.

"That multiplies the dangers," said Mr Miliband, who is now chief executive of the International Rescue Committee.

He said China sees itself as the leader now and highlighted a case from private industry where a Chinese businessman is sending face masks to Italy.

"So you are seeing a shift in the balance of power, a vacuum, if you like, being filled, and that's obviously got long-term consequences," he said.

Commuters stay home in London

London's Euston station is still running trains, but there are noticeably fewer passengers on the concourse as commuters stay home.

A hand-written sign urged passengers to "stand together" - presumably not literally.

What to expect from today

Yesterday's focus was understandably on the first of Boris Johnson's daily press conferences, in which he announced stricter measures on controlling the coronavirus.

Today's focus will be on the economic impact of the virus, and how the government will respond to calls to support struggling businesses throughout the outbreak.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to host a conference later, where he is expected to announce an economic rescue package.

Idris Elba reveals positive test

Yesterday actor Idris Elbra revealed that he had tested positive for coronavirus. 

The Wire and Luther actor implored members of the public to self-isolate if they feel ill or "feel like you should be tested". 

He added: "We live in a divided world right now, we can all feel it, but now's the time for solidarity, now's the time for thinking about eachother."

Odeon Cinemas have all closed

Odeon cinemas have all closed following government guidance issued on coronavirus.

They tweeted: "Following Government guidelines Odeon cinemas are closed until further notice.

"If you have pre-booked tickets online these will be refunded automatically."

Association of British Insurance issue statement on coronavirus

The Association of British Insurance (ABI) have released a statement saying that standard business interruption cover does not include forced closure by authorities

Their statement reads: "Irrespective of whether or not the Government orders closure of a business, the vast majority of firms won’t have purchased cover that will enable them to claim on their insurance to compensate for their business being closed by the Coronavirus.

“Standard business interruption cover - the type the majority of businesses purchase - does not include forced closure by authorities as it is intended to respond to physical damage at the property which results in the business being unable to continue to trade. 

“A small minority of typically larger firms might have purchased an extension to their cover for closure due to any infectious disease. In this instance an enforced closure could help them make the claim, but this will depend on the precise nature of the cover they have purchased so they should check with their insurer or broker to see if they are covered.”

Cineworld and Picturehouse follow Odeon in closing

Cineworld and Picturehouse has announced the closure of all its cinemas across the UK starting from Wednesday, 18 March.

A statement said the decision was made in light of the current coronavirus outbreak and recent UK government advice.

Cineworld Group CEO, Mooky Greidinger said: "At Cineworld and Picturehouse we are committed to providing safe and healthy environments for our employees and guests and have therefore made the difficult decision to close our cinemas in UK and Ireland until further notice.

"We deeply value our cinema-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving everyone again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters and the best of independent films and content."

Maps detailing the spread of Covid-19 across the UK

The team at Yorkshire Evening Post have collated a series of coronavirus maps, updated daily with the number of confirmed cases in each local area across the UK.

Take a look at them here 

Mobile networks reporting "severe outages"

The Independent are saying that EE, O2, Vodafone, Three and GiffGaff are reportedly suffering from "problems and connectivity issues."

O2 have responded to the claims, staing: "Our technical teams are investigating. We apologise for any inconvenience."

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