Boris Johnson thanks 20,000 former NHS staff returning to service - Sunday as it happened

29 March 2020, 07:48 | Updated: 29 March 2020, 21:21

Boris Johnson speaks to Cabinet from home after being diagnosed with Covid-19
Boris Johnson speaks to Cabinet from home after being diagnosed with Covid-19. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said 20,000 former NHS staff are returning to the service to help in the battle against coronavirus.

On Monday, Mr Johnson announced gatherings of two or more people outside are banned, and Brits are largely confined to their homes to try and stem the spread of the disease.

It is feared the UK could see its peak of infections in three weeks time.

Earlier today it was confirmed 1,228 people have died from the virus, and over 19,000 have tested positive.

In a letter to the nation, Boris Johnson has said 'things will get worse before they get better' and urged everyone in the UK to remain in their homes during the 'national emergency'.

He said:"If too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to cope.

"This will cost lives. We must slow the spread of the disease, and reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment in order to save as many lives as possible."

Mr Johnson himself is currently in self-isolation inside Downing Street after testing positive for Covid-19.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also tested positive.

Northern Ireland - which has so far seen15 deaths - yesterday granted authorities powers to fine anyone who does not follow social distancing rules up to £5,000.

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