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All Church of England churches close in London during coronavirus outbreak

by Ruth Sax

In London all Church of England churches and buildings have closed their doors to prevent further spread of coronavirus.

The Church said it has made the descison to "demonstrate how important physical distancing is in saving lives."

It comes five days after public worship was suspended across the country and replaced by many churches with online services.

In a joint statement, the Bishops of London, Southwark, Chelmsford and Rochester said: "Sadly, London is ahead of the rest of the country in seeing a steep rise in the number of those falling sick with Covid-19."

"We have all heard the strong calls from the mayor and the prime minister not to leave home unless it is essential, and not to use public transport unless we have to.

"If our attempts to distance ourselves physically from one another and prevent the spread of infection are not effective, more people will die.

"In light of this, the time has come, in London, not only for us to suspend public worship, but for us to close our church buildings entirely.

"In doing this we demonstrate how important physical distancing is in saving lives," they said.

The Church of England said national guidance on the closure of churches and the holding of baptisms, weddings and funerals was under constant review.

They warned that closures elsewhere may also be necessary in future.

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