Queen Elizabeth II addresses COVID-19 outbreak in rare public statement

Queen Elizabeth II has recorded a rare, televised address in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"Her Majesty The Queen has recorded a special broadcast to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in relation to the coronavirus outbreak," Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

The address to the nation was televised at 8pm on Sunday (local time) - 7am on Monday in New Zealand.

The speech, recorded at Windsor Palace, encouraged resolve and unity amid the UK's escalating outbreak of the virus and thanked frontline workers for their efforts.

The Queen, 93, rarely addresses the nation aside from her annual message on Christmas Day. In the past, Her Majesty has only recorded rallying speeches in times of crisis or celebration.

The last was the Queen's Diamond Jubilee message in June 2012, which marked the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne. In April 2002, the Queen addressed the death of the Queen Mother, one day before her mother's funeral. In September 1997, the Queen spoke in a live broadcast regarding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and in February 1991, the Queen made a statement at the time of the first Gulf War.

Watch the address above.