AS a further person dies in the North East due to the coronavirus we bring you a Friday morning update:

• The UK death toll has risen to 144 with 3,269 positive cases confirmed

• Britain's energy suppliers have joined with the Government to launch an emergency package which ensures that vulnerable customers are able to keep the lights on through the coronavirus crisis.

• Emergency legislation to tackle the coronavirus outbreak will be published in Parliament after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the closure of schools and cancellation of exams.

• Home Bargains create £30m fund to help staff

• In response to the coronavirus covid-19 pandemic, Catholic churches in England and Wales will no longer gather for public worship. This will begin from Friday evening, March 20, until further notice.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said there are currently no plans to shut down bars and restaurants and order people off the streets but that ministers would be guided by the scientific evidence.

• Environment Secretary George Eustice has ruled out enforcing social distancing measures in supermarkets.

• Parents across the UK are set to get supermarket vouchers in place of school meals as the government orders all schools to close to the majority of students at the end of the week.

• The current shutdown of all professional football in England has been extended to April 30 at the earliest.

• Temporary changes to bus services in the North-East are being introduced by Stagecoach from Monday, following new government advice around social contact and non-essential travel to help combat the coronavirus. It said a reduced timetable will operate across the region until further notice but that critical routes will be maintained 'wherever possible'.

• A further person in the North-East has died after testing positive for coronavirus. The total number of UK deaths has risen to 137. Latest figures revealed that the coviD-19 death toll across the UK had increased by 34 since Wednesday (March 18).

• The Bank of England has slashed interest rates to 0.1 per cent. The drop from 0.25 per cent is a further emergency move due to the coronavirus pandemic and is the lowest in history.

• The Queen releases a statement saying 'we are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty.'

• In the Prime Minister's daily briefing he said: "I do think we can turn the tide in the next 12 weeks. Only if we take the steps outlined. That is vital to reduce the peak."

• Metro services are currently operating to a reduced timetable as part of measures to reduce the spread of Coronavirus and services may be reduced further next week. All additional peak hour services between Pelaw and Monkseaton or South Gosforth have already been cancelled until further notice.