UK coronavirus: restaurants, pubs and gyms to close; government to pay 80% of wages of those not working

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Boris Johnson holds a news conference with The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and the deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries. Photograph: Reuters

Evening summary

  • All cafes, pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants, gyms, leisure centres, nightclubs, theatres and cinemas must close tonight, Boris Johnson announced as the government brought in stronger measures to enforce social distancing.
  • The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the government would for the first time step in and pay people’s wages, as he launched an unprecedented economic rescue plan. The government will cover 80% of the salaries of retained workers up to £2,500 per month, and defer the next quarter of VAT payments due from businesses. He also outlined £6bn of extra support for the welfare system.
  • Social distancing may be needed ‘for at least most of a year’, scientists advising the government said in evidence made public today.
  • EasyJet announced it would ground the majority of its aircraft fleet from Tuesday 24 March, as the number of passengers collapsed in recent weeks.
  • The UK death toll rose by 40 in 24 hours. The total number of confirmed coronavirus-related deaths in the UK now stands at 177. There have been 167 such deaths in England, six in Scotland, three in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.
  • Pupils whose GCSE and A-level exams were cancelled will receive calculated grades by the end of July, the Department for Education announced.

That’s all from us for today on the UK side – and what a day it’s been.

But the global coverage of the pandemic continues over on our worldwide coronavirus blog, which you can continue to follow here.

Coronavirus live updates: global cases top quarter of a million, as Italy sees biggest daily rise in deaths

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 UK restaurants, pubs and gyms to close because of coronavirus, says Johnson – video

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