France will close all its schools and universities from Monday amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the country's President Emmanuel Macron has announced.

People over the age of 70 and with health conditions have been urged to stay home to stave off the virus, which has killed 48 people as of Thursday evening.

Local elections due to be held in the country on Sunday will go ahead, despite the pandemic, Mr Macron said in his address to the nation.He confirmed public transport services will continue to run.

His announcement comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK would now be moving from the "contain" to "delay" phase in a bid to slow down the spread of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson made announcement's about the UK's future virus strategy on Thursday. Credit: PA

Up to 10,000 people in the UK could already be infected with coronavirus, the government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned at the Thursday afternoon briefing.

Scotland has prohibited mass-gatherings, south of the border the advice is different, with Number 10 declining to impose such measures from England and Wales. The FTSE 100 has suffered its worst days since Black Monday in 1987.

Northern Ireland has confirmed there are now 20 cases there. Two new detections of the virus were returned on Thursday.

The Republic of Ireland will close all schools and universities, alongside museums and tourist attractions

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know

The picture in Denmark is less than colourful as a country-wide lockdown was imposed. Credit: Unsplash

On the continent, Italy said more than 1,000 people had died from the Covid-19 virus. France's southern neighbour is the worst affected country in Europe, with hospitals struggling to cope with the sheer number of cases.

Unprecedented measures have been announced by Rome to quell the spread of the virus. The nation has been put on lockdown in a bid to stop fresh cases from emerging, with schools and restaurants shuttered.

Denmark has announced similar measures; with all schools and universities shutting down from Friday amid the outbreak. The Scandinavian peninsula nation has said it has detected more than 500 cases of Covid-19.

Donald Trump's Wednesday evening announcement grounded flights from Europe from Friday eveing. Credit: AP

Across the Atlantic, Donald Trump has announced a grounding of all flights from Europe as of Friday evening - with the UK and Ireland exempt. The announcement caused confusion, and brought criticism of a lack of leadership from the 45th White House resident, as ITV News Washington Correspondent writes.

New York’s governor announced he is sending the National Guard to scrub public places and deliver food in a New York City suburb that is at the centre of the nation’s biggest known cluster of infections.

In Washington state, where 19 of its 24 deaths have been connected to a Seattle-area nursing home, Governor Jay Inslee announced new rules for screening health care workers and limiting visitors at nursing homes.

And in California, thousands of restless passengers stuck on a cruise ship hit by the coronavirus waited their turn to get off the vessel and head to US military bases or their home countries for two weeks of quarantine.