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Johnson says army ready to step in if coronavirus escalates

The government published its “battle plan” for tackling the spread of coronavirus on Tuesday, including possible school closures and home working.

FILE: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) speaks flanked by Youth Justice Board Adviser Roy Sefa-Attakora (R) during a roundtable on the criminal justice system at 10 Downing Street in London on 12 August 2019. Picture: AFP

LONDON - The British army is ready to support police in maintaining public order as part of government planning for the worst-case scenario spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

The government published its “battle plan” for tackling the spread of coronavirus on Tuesday, including possible school closures and home working, as it warned as many as one-fifth of employees could be absent from work during peak weeks.

Asked during a media conference about the possibility of drafting in the army if the police force is struck by staff shortages, Johnson said: “The army is of course always ready to backfill as and when but that is under a reasonable worst-case scenario.”

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