LONDON (Reuters) – 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. [nL8N2AW1MY]

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.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Kate Holton, Writing by Kylie MacLellan, editing by William James

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