The government has ordered all pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants and bars to close and said it will help pay workers' wages as the fight against the coronavirus in the UK continued on Friday (March 20).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged members of the public to stay at home as he ordered the mass closures across the country.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an "unprecedented" intervention for workers and guaranteed that the government would pay up to 80 per cent of their wages during the crisis.

Speaking from Number 10 Downing Street, Johnson ordered cafes, pubs, nightclubs, theatres, gyms and leisure centres should close their doors on Friday night to slow the spread of Covid-19 and prevent the NHS coming under unsustainable pressure.

He added that they can still provide take away services in order to help people get access to food and drink services remotely.

The Prime Minister said the measures were needed to reduce "unnecessary" social gatherings by 75 per cent in order to have an impact on the infection rate.

"The speed of our eventual recovery depends entirely on our collective ability to get on top of the virus now and that means we have to take the next steps on scientific advice," he said.

"And following our plan we are strengthening the measures announced on Monday.

"We need now to push down further on that curve of transmission between us."

He was followed by Chancellor Sunak who said he was establishing a coronavirus job protection scheme to help employers hit by the outbreak.

He said that they would be able to apply to HM Revenue and Customs to cover 80 per cent of the wages of staff they keep on up to £2,500 a month.

Sunak said: "Our planned economic response will be one of the most comprehensive in the world".

He added: "To all those at home, right now anxious about the days ahead, I say you will not face this alone."

It followed criticism that his £350 billion emergency support package for the economy earlier this week concentrated on businesses but did little for their staff.

The announcement came after scientists advising the Government warned that restrictions to control the spread of the virus will need to be in place for most of a year - at least.

The Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling said while the severity of measures could fluctuate, "stricter" measures would need to be enforced for at least half of the year in order to keep cases at a level the NHS can cope with.

These could include school closures and social distancing for everyone, while less restrictive measures include isolating cases and households.

It comes as a further 39 people in England were confirmed to have died after testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK death toll to 177.

Sunak said:

"Any employer in the country,