Coronavirus live blog as it happened: all UK schools closed from Friday and positive cases in UK rise by over 600

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

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 8:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 6:05 pm

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Few commuters wait on the platform during the rush hour at Clapham Common in London (Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

We will be providing live updates until 5pm.

Coronavirus live blog, March 18

Last updated: Wednesday, 18 March, 2020, 15:34

Covid-19 expert enteres self-isolation after developing symptoms

A top coronavirus expert has entered self-isolation after develoing a dry cough and a fever. 

Professor Neil Ferguson, who attended a Downing Street press conference on Tuesday tweeted: "There is a lot of Covid-19 in Westminster."

Government will issue measures to help renters "very shortly"

Business Secretary Alok Sharma told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the government will announce new measures to help renters “very shortly”.  

Sharma said: "The chancellor said very clearly yesterday at the despatch box... we are looking very actively at this, the housing secretary will be coming forward again very shortly to set out measures of how we will support renter."

The government had come under criticism for their failure to announce emergency measures for renters struggling to earn money while social distancing measures are in place.  

A reminder that the government  announced a three-month mortgage holiday for homeowners if they are suffering difficulties due to the outbreak so they will not have to pay anything "while they get back on their feet".

Glastonbury cancelled

Days after announcing their 2020 lineup, Glastonbury organisers have been forced to cancel the music festival

A statement read: "we are so sorry to announce this, but Glastonbury 2020 will have to be cancelled, and this will be an enforced fallow year for the Festival."

Brewdog launch free hand sanitiser

A number of breweries and distilleries in the UK have started to produce hand sanitisers in response to unprecedented demand. 

Brewdog announced their own punk sanitiser which will be free to those who most need it.

Interactive coronavirus maps

The data team at JPIMedia have produced a series of maps illustrating the spread of coronavirus in the UK.

You can take a closer look at them here.

Measures introduced for PMQs

Today's Prime Minister's Questions looks set to be an eerie affair.

Tory MP Michael Fabricant has said that:  "The whips have now wisely asked that in order to ensure that we follow the advice being given to the public,

"It has been decided that only people on the order paper should be in the Chamber for both Northern Ireland and Prime Minister's Questions."

Could UK be put on lockdown?

Many of you are asking if the UK will be put on lockdown like the rest of the UK.

Alex Nelson provided a no-nonsense explainer on the pressing question here.

BBC announce a 'series of changes to' output

 The BBC have announced a "series of changes to our output" to "help keep the nation informed, educated and entertained".

It said: "We will do everything we can to maintain Breakfast, the One, Six and Ten (O'Clock News) and ensure they continue to perform a vital role on BBC One."

BBC Director-General Lord Hall said: "We also will do everything from using our airwaves for exercise classes for older people, religious services, recipes and advice on food for older people and low-income families, and should schools close, education programming for different age groups.

"We will also be launching a whole new iPlayer experience for children. And of course there will be entertainment - with the ambition of giving people some escapism and hopefully the odd smile.

BBC announce a 'series of changes to' output

 The BBC have announced a "series of changes to our output" to "help keep the nation informed, educated and entertained".

It said: "We will do everything we can to maintain Breakfast, the One, Six and Ten (O'Clock News) and ensure they continue to perform a vital role on BBC One."

BBC Director-General Lord Hall said: "We also will do everything from using our airwaves for exercise classes for older people, religious services, recipes and advice on food for older people and low-income families, and should schools close, education programming for different age groups.

"We will also be launching a whole new iPlayer experience for children. And of course there will be entertainment - with the ambition of giving people some escapism and hopefully the odd smile.

Jeremy Corbyn quizzes PM on emergency measures for renters

Speaking at PMQs leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn has quizzed the PM on whether he will bring forward measures to help rime protect private renters from eviction.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "Yesterday, the Chancellor unfortunately offered nothing to the 20 million people living in rented homes, including 3 million households with children. They're worried, they're worried sick that they can't pay their rent if they get ill, lose pay or feel they need to self-isolate.

"It is in the interests of public health, of the health of all of us, that people don't feel forced to go to work in order to avoid eviction when they know themselves they may be spreading this terrible disease. So will the Prime Minister now confirm that the Government's emergency legislation will protect private renters from eviction?"

Mr Johnson responded: "I can indeed confirm that we will be bringing forward legislation to protect private renters from eviction, that is one thing we will do, but it is also important as we legislate that we do not simply pass on the problem so we'll also be taking steps to protect other actors in the economy."

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