PRIME Minister Boris Johnson called time on pubs, bars and restaurants yesterday, ordering their closure in the the bid to fight the continuing spread of coronavirus.

The government also announced it would pay up to 80 per cent of workers wages, and that business rates for the hospitality industry would be abolished this year.

Leisure centre, theatres and gyms should also close, said Mr Johnson.

"The whole purpose of these businesses is to bring people together," said the Premier. "But the sad thing is that for now, at least physically, we need to keep people apart."

Speaking at Downing Street, yesterday, he also said the government would review the situation each month to see if they can relax the measures.

"Some people may be tempted to go out tonight (Friday) but I say to them please don't," said the Prime Minister. "You may think you are invincible but there is no guarantee that you will get mild symptoms. And you can still be a carrier of the disease and pass it on to others."

Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a raft of measures to help businesses survive financially. These included paying 80 per cent of wages for UK workers up to £2,500 a month.

He urged employers to look at government support before laying off workers.

Directly addressing businesses, Mr Sunak said: "The government is doing its best to stand behind you, and I am asking you to do your best to stand behind our workers."

Meanwhile, nine people in the BCP Council area have now been confirmed as having the Covid-19 virus.

Across the Dorset Council area there are seven confirmed cases.

Yesterday a further 39 people who tested positive for coronavirus in the country died.

NHS England confirmed the patients were between 50 and 99 years old and had underlying health conditions.

The total number of confirmed reported deaths in England, at the time of going to press, was 167.

The government has also now published a list of key workers whose children will continue to be cared for at school.

Nemos Nursery in Poole, which usually takes children aged from three months to five years, is just one of many nurseries to receive authorisation from Ofsted to increase its age group, so it can open up and help as many key workers as possible with childcare.

BCP Council has joined forces with local community groups to help support vulnerable people through the crisis.

They have launched the 'Together We Can' initiative.

Council leader Vikki Slade said: “We are wholeheartedly committed to ensuring our most vulnerable residents are supported and kept as safe and well as possible in these difficult times.

"We have already seen a wide range of grassroots support instigated in the wake of the coronavirus and it’s fantastic to see all the offers of community support that has come forward. The principles behind the ‘Together We Can’ community response is to nurture this goodwill and ensure it is fully supported.

"We are working quickly to mobilise in a way that protects residents from both the effects of the virus, and from the more negative effects of the necessary social distancing that are being implemented to limit the spread of the disease. As part of the launch of ‘Together We Can’ we are calling on all those people wanting to help to get in touch with us.

"Together we can get through this.”

Supported by Community Action Network – a charity that offers support to over 2,500 voluntary and community groups across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – the ‘Together We Can’ community response will, according to the council, work through existing local neighbourhood structures, voluntary groups, and local councillors to 'ensure all three towns have access to support, advice, and practical help'.

Paying wages of workers up to 80 per cent so employees can be put on furlough rather than laid off, lending unlimited sums of money, interests free for 12 months, abolishing business rates all together this year of you are in hospitality, retail and leisure, providing cash grants for small businesses

Chancellor said appealed directly to businesses to