Brexit trade negotiations with the European Union have been cancelled as more than 200 UK and EU officials were set to meet in London on 18 March.
London and Brussels have agreed to work on plans so that officials can continue trade talks next week.
A joint EU and UK statement said, “Given the latest COVID-19 developments, EU and UK negotiators have today jointly decided not to hold next week’s round of negotiations in London, in the form originally scheduled.
“Both sides are currently exploring alternative ways to continue discussions, including if possible, the use of video conferences.”
The news comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that the coronavirus outbreak is now a global pandemic.
Boris Johnson has announced on Thursday that the whole of the “UK is now officially in the delay phase.” The government has advised that overseas school trips should now be cancelled.
The UK government’s chief scientific officer, Sir Patrick Vallance said at a press conference in Downing Street that, “it is most likely five to ten thousand people are already infected in the UK with coronavirus.”
Across Europe more than 23,000 are infected with coronavirus and more than 2,000 have died.
Public Health England (PHE) has said the total number of people across the UK with coronavirus has risen to 590 confirmed cases, an increase of 134 in 24 hours across the UK. Ten people have now been confirmed to have died.
Compared to last Wednesday there were a total of 85 cases reported. This is the largest jump in cases so far in one day across the UK since the coronavirus outbreak started in the UK.
The Italian government has announced they are to close all shops, bars, restaurants, hairdressers and non-essential company departments will close.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte further said food shops and pharmacies will remain open.
12 days ago, Italy had just 34 deaths, now the country has a death toll of 1,016 up from 827 on Wednesday, with more than 15,000 confirmed cases across the country, with almost 900 people are in intensive care wards.