Coronavirus live blog as it happened: Prime Minister tests positive for coronavirus and UK death toll rises by 181

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Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus (Number 10)
(Image: WHO)

We will be providing live updates until 7pm this evening.

Coronavirus live blog, March 27

Last updated: Friday, 27 March, 2020, 12:01

Met Police asks retired officers to return to work

The Metropolitan Police has asked retired officers to consider returning to the beat amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Commissioner Cressida Dick is writing to all former Met officers who retired within the last five years to ask them to re-join either in a paid or voluntary capacity.

Serving officers who are nearing 30 years' pensionable service are also being asked to delay their retirement.

Ms Dick said: "On behalf of London, and all the men and women of the Met, it is important that we take all reasonable steps to bolster our numbers.

"Demands on us will grow and vary over the coming weeks but I want people to know and see that the Met is here for them. We must maintain our operational resilience and continue to provide the best possible service to London.

"Police officers overwhelmingly join 'the job' to help people and to make a difference, and that desire will be as strong today as it was the very first day they joined.

"I am hopeful that these exceptionally experienced and knowledgeable former colleagues choose to come and be part of our team and support London at this extraordinary time - either as a re-employed police officer, special constable or a volunteer."

Sports Direct: 'Our emails to the Government were ill-judged'

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley has apologised for "ill-judged and poorly timed" emails to Government and poor communications to employees and the public in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an open letter, the majority owner of Frasers Group also said he has offered the company's "entire fleet of lorries" to the NHS to help deliver medical supplies and equipment.

It comes after the businessman faced fierce criticism from MPs after he tried to claim Sports Direct was an essential operator for keeping the nation fit, before performing a U-turn to close his stores.

In the letter, Mr Ashley said: "Our intentions were only to seek clarity from the Government as to whether we should keep some of our stores open; we would never have acted against their advice.

"In hindsight, our emails to the Government were ill-judged and poorly timed, when they clearly had much greater pressures than ours to deal with.

London Ambulance Service urges former workers to return

Not only are retired NHS workers and police officers being asked to return to work, London Ambulance Service has also appealed for former staff to return.

The service tweeted: "We are asking former members of our team to consider returning, if they can, to support us in helping Londoners in need.

"We're particularly keen to hear from former 111 and 999 control room team staff."

Families 'should have conversations' with elderly loved ones

Families should have conversations with their elderly loved ones now about what they would like to happen to them if they contract coronavirus, a palliative care doctor has said.

Dr Rachel Clarke told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's so important to have a conversation... where you chat to your loved ones about what you would like to happen to them if the worst befalls ... that they become infected by Covid-19."

She added: "The disease can take people over in a matter of hours. If you are very elderly, for instance, if you have lots of other underlying diseases, then it may never be appropriate for you to be put on a ventilator, for instance.

"And that means the risk of being rushed into hospital is you end up in an environment where nobody you know and love is there and actually, if you'd had the conversation in advance with your family, you might have concluded - you know what, if the worst happens I'd rather be at home, I'd rather be with my loved ones, I'd rather have them there with me."

Asda working with Government to ensure vulnerable people 'get what they need'

Asda said it will be using the Government's data on people vulnerable to coronavirus to help them get the supplies they need.

A spokesman said the supermarket is "working with Government and some of our fellow supermarkets to ensure those people who have been identified as highly vulnerable get what they need and are protected from Covid-19".

He added: "We have a dedicated team who will work with Government on the available data to support as many extremely vulnerable people as we can - whilst also continuing to ensure our stores are stocked and our deliveries are moving for millions of customers nationwide."

Thousands of people across the UK are tuning in to watch a live webcam showing peregrine falcons nesting at Salisbury Cathedral.

Viewing figures for a live stream showing the pair in their nesting box at the base of the spire have skyrocketed in recent weeks.

Phil Sheldrake, a species recovery officer with the RSPB, said there had been a 16-fold increase in views to the webcam page.

Governments asks local authorities to house homeless by weekend

The Government has asked local authorities in England to house all rough sleepers and those in hostels and night shelters by the weekend, the charity Crisis said.

The letter to homelessness managers and rough sleeping co-ordinators in every local authority is quoted by the charity as saying: "As you know, this is a public health emergency.

"We are all redoubling our efforts to do what we possibly can at this stage to ensure that everybody is inside and safe by this weekend, and we stand with you in this.

"These are unusual times so I'm asking for an unusual effort. Many areas of the country have already been able to 'safe harbour' their people which is incredible. What we need to do now though is work out how we can get 'everyone in'."

Tesco limits online shopping purchases

Supermarket Tesco are limiting the amount that online shoppers can buy per order. 

Shoppers are now restricted to a maximum of 80 items per order.

A spokesman for the supermarket said: "We know that it's difficult to get a delivery slot for online shopping at the moment due to high demand, and we ask those who are able to safely come to stores to do so, instead of shopping online, so that we can start to free up more slots for the more vulnerable."

Firefighters to deliver food and medicine, and drive ambulances

Firefighters have agreed to deliver food and medicine, drive ambulances and retrieve bodies during the Covid-19 pandemic, as former ambulance staff and police officers were urged to come back to the front line.

Under a new crisis agreement, firefighters will be able to deliver essential items such as food to vulnerable people, drive ambulances and assist ambulance staff, and collect bodies in the event of mass casualties.

Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus

A statement from Number 10 has confirmed that Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus. 

It reads: "After experiencing mild symptoms yesterday, the Prime Minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty.

"The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff and the result of the test was positive.

"In keeping with the guidance, the Prime Minister is self-isolating in Downing Street.

"He is continuing to lead the government's response to coronavirus."

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