Coronavirus: Queen Elizabeth takes precautions as UK is impacted by Covid-19

Buckingham Palace has announced a number of changes to the Queen's engagements

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Queen Elizabeth is to take precautionary measures as the UK ramps up its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

After Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Britons to stop all non-essential contact as the country headed towards the "fast growth" part of the virus outbreak, Buckingham Palace announced changes that will be made for the 93-year-old Queen.

The number of positive tests in the UK was 1,950 on Tuesday morning - up from 1,543 on Monday the Department of Health said. Fifty-five deaths had been confirmed.

"As a sensible precaution and for practical reasons in the current circumstances, a number of changes are being made to The Queen’s diary," the palace said in a statement on Tuesday.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 21, 2019, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waves from her car after attending the Easter Mattins Service at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. Queen Elizabeth II will retire to Windsor Castle a week early and a state visit by the emperor and empress of Japan is being reviewed due to coronavirus, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday, March 17. The 93-year-old monarch has already postponed some public engagements, and further changes are now being made to her diary in the wake of stricter measures introduced by the British government.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will retire to Windsor Castle a week early and a state visit by the emperor and empress of Japan is being reviewed due to the coronavirus. AFP

She will move to Windsor Castle for the Easter period on Thursday - one week earlier than planned and it is "likely" she will stay there beyond the Easter period.

"In consultation with the Medical Household and Government, a number of public events with large numbers of people due to have been attended by The Queen, and other Members of the Royal Family, in the coming months will be cancelled or postponed," the palace added.

Cancelled events include the annual Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel on April 9, plus three garden parties hosted by The Queen, which were due to be held at Buckingham Palace in May.

Announcements on Trooping the Colour, the 75th anniversary of VE Day and the State Visit by the Emperor and Empress of Japan will be made "in due course, in consultation with the Government".

Audiences at Buckingham Palace this week, which include one with the prime minister, will still go ahead.

Mr Johnson, who had earlier been criticised for his lenient approach compared to other European countries and parts of the world, had asked people to work from home and avoid all unnecessary journeys.

On Tuesday, he told ministers the country was "engaged in a war" against the coronavirus pandemic as the government prepared to unveil new measures to prop up the economy.