In the daily coronavirus press conference this afternoon, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a swathe of new measures to help businesses.
Among these was an "unprecedented" wage aid package, where the government will fund 80 per cent of workers' salaries where they would otherwise be laid off. This will be up to £2,500 a month, and is the first time a British government has ever announced such a measure.
He also announced that businesses would defer the next quarter of VAT payments and raise Universal Credit payments by £1,000 a year.
Prior to the chancellor's statement, the PM announced that bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes would all be closing "as soon as possible" from tonight, and urged patrons not to go out tonight . He said that the overnment wanted people to "stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives".
The global Covid-19 death toll has now passed 10,000, confirmed cases are expected to pass 250,000 shortly, and Italy has experienced another sharp rise in deaths after 627 people died in the country today.
The next Leaders Council coronavirus update will follow in the morning.