Calls for better support for homeless shelters and food banks amid coronavirus outbreak

Volunteers working in food banks and homeless shelters in the UK say they need more "guidance" and "support" as the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

Those helping the vulnerable and homeless told ITV News they fear they will not be able to continue running services if restrictions - like an Italian-style lockdown - are brought in.

It comes as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK rose to more than 1,300, with 35 deaths from the virus.

An emergency night shelter in Leicester with 15 beds in a communal room.

Salma Ravat, manager of One Roof Leicester - an emergency night shelter - fears the spread of coronavirus could close the service.

"If it gets any worse and there's mass shutdown and we're all told to start working from home and not go out then we can't actually open the shelter," she said.

"Therefore our guests haven't actually got anywhere to go - they could potentially end up on the streets which for us is just really worrying."

Ms Ravat said she and her volunteers need "guidance around what to do" should further measures be introduced to limit the spread.

Queues of shoppers formed at supermarkets around the UK as the country entered the delay phase of its coronavirus response. Credit: PA

Charity FareShare has similar concerns.

The group delivers surplus goods to more than one million vulnerable people but says stockpiling has limited their supply.

Simone Connelly, from the charity, says the group could see the number of vulnerable people in need of supplies double.

"This could become a real emergency... and if the number of people we need to support doubles, we need the Government to recognise that and to support us."

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Charity Action Homeless says it is already feeling the impact of knock-on effects from the coronavirus outbreak with fewer supplies than usual to offer to those in need.

One food bank user in Coventry told ITV News he's worried a lockdown could "leave people hungry".

Myles Phelan said: "It would be worrying if people can't come out to get food [from a food bank] because there will be people going hungry".

On Tuesday Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced £3.2 million of emergency funding to help rough sleepers self-isolate to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The funding, available to all local authorities in England, will reimburse them for the cost of providing accommodation and services to help rough sleepers self-isolate.

Supermarkets have started limiting the number of 'essential items' customers are allowed to buy. Credit: PA

The warnings come as the Government announced that people over-70 could be instructed to stay in strict isolation at home or in care homes for four months, under a "wartime-style" mobilisation effort likely to be enforced within the next 20 days.

It is part of a series of measures being prepared by the prime minister, health secretary, chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser to prevent the health service from "falling over" amid the pandemic.

The UK is now in the"delay phase" of its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Under the plan, the Government is recommending those with mild coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate for seven days.