Coronavirus: Queen Elizabeth assures world British royal family 'ready to play our part'

Queen Elizabeth.
Queen Elizabeth. Photo credit: AAP.

Queen Elizabeth says the British royal family is "ready to play our part" in protecting the United Kingdom and ensuring loved ones are kept safe amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a statement released on Friday morning, the British monarch confirmed she and Prince Philip had travelled out of London to Windsor. The UK's capital is currently bracing for lockdown with train services being closed and the government drawing up plans to see businesses also close and gatherings restricted.

There are currently more than 2600 coronavirus cases in the country, with 104 deaths.

The Queen said her family had been "advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within".

The vulnerable the Queen references would be the elderly who have been proven to be most at risk to the respiratory illness. Over the last week, the Queen has cancelled a number of public engagements, while her granddaughter Princess Beatrice has been forced to scale back her upcoming wedding. 

The Queen acknowledged the many scientists, medical practitioners and support services instrumental in trying to stem the virus' spread and said she was reminded that "our nation's history has been forged by the people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal".

"No more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to pay as individuals, today and in the coming days, weeks and months." 

She said people will have to find new ways of communicating and ensuring loved ones are safe.

"I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part."

Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday that the Queen had agreed to postpone the planned state visit by Japanese Emperor Naruhito in June.

The virus, which has now infected more than 220,000 people worldwide, is primarily spread through droplets in the air after someone sneezes or coughs. However, it can also be contracted by touching surfaces where the illness is present, according to the World Health Organization. The length of time the virus stays alive on surfaces is unknown at this stage, but some viruses can remain active for days.

Queen Elizabeth has been the British monarch since 1953. During World War II she worked as a mechanic and military truck driver.

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