The Queen has addressed the United Kingdom on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic tonight.
In a pre-recorded address, the monarch told the nation that ‘better days will return’ after the coronavirus outbreak – which has now claimed nearly 5,000 lives across the UK.
Aside from the annual Christmas speech Queen Elizabeth II has only issued four similar speeches during her 68-year reign.
In the address the Queen said: “I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time.
“A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the lives of us all.
“I want to thank everyone on the NHS front line, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles, who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all.
“I am sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times.
“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.
“That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country.
“We will succeed – and that success will belong to every one of us.
“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.
“But for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.”
A total of 4,934 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in the United Kingdom with 47,806 cases confirmed across the country – although due to limited testing the actual number will be far higher.
At least 41 people have died at the UNHM hospitals – Royal Stoke University Hospital and Stafford County Hospital – along with 19 at the Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – which includes Crewe’s Leighton Hospital.
There are 106 confirmed cases in Stoke-on-Trent and 534 in Staffordshire – with the latter being the second highest figure in the Midlands.
Across the border in Cheshire East there are 171 confirmed cases.
Worldwide there have been more than 1.2m confirmed cases of COVID-19 across 224 countries and territories.
More than 67,000 people have died – while another 252,944 are confirmed to have recovered.
British Nationals are being advised against all but essential overseas travel.
All pubs, bars, cafes and gyms in the country are closed after Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed further social restrictions last Monday – with people only allowed out of their homes to buy essential supplies, for medical emergencies, to exercise once a day and for work if they cannot work from home.
Most schools are shut and open only to the children of designated key workers – with Michael Gove saying school attendance is down to about two per cent.
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