23:45 GMT31 March 2020
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    The Chancellor of the Exchequer vowed to provide aid to UK businesses in order to avoid their collapse amid the spread of the coronavirus across the nation.

    Higher public spending and borrowing in the United Kingdom as a means to fend off the impact of coronavirus on businesses will leave Britain facing a 'wartime business situation', Robert Chote, head of the Office for Budget Responsibility, told lawmakers on Tuesday.

    Recalling the UK's budget deficit during the WWII, Chote stressed that "now was not the time for the government to be squeamish about higher debt".

    The statement comes as finance minister Rishi Sunak is expected to unveil new measures to help the economy later in the day.

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on the nation to avoid public gatherings and non-essential travel and limit the number of social contacts as he revealed the government's measures to curb the spread of the virus on Monday.

    The UK health authorities previously warned that as many as 80 percent of the country's population may contract the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) by spring 2021.

    As of Monday, there are 1,395 confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection in the UK, according to the WHO. The total death toll stands at 35.

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