People around the UK have taken part in a so-called “Clap for Carers” tribute, saluting NHS and care workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Royal Family and the prime minister joined well-wishers who flocked to their balconies and windows to applaud.

A message from the NHS on social media described the tribute as “emotional”.

Meanwhile, firefighters have agreed to drive ambulances, deliver supplies and help to move bodies if needed to aid the UK response to the pandemic.

There are about 48,000 firefighters and control staff in the UK – but hundreds are already self-isolating in relation to coronavirus, the Fire Brigades Union said.

And the union is calling for tests to be made available quickly to its members to retain safe staffing levels.

On Thursday, the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK jumped by more than 100 in a day for the first time. The death toll has risen from 475 to 578, health officials said, with 11,658 confirmed cases.

The US now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 85,500 positive tests.

In other developments:

  • The Metropolitan Police is calling for former police officers who retired in the last five years to return to the force, either as paid police constables and sergeants or as volunteers
  • UK supermarkets are to use a government database of 1.5 million vulnerable shoppers to help prioritise delivery slots for them
  • Guidance for health workers on personal protective equipment (PPE) is expected to be updated within two days after calls for clarification from frontline staff
  • The Liberal Democrats have suspended their leadership campaign for a year so the party can focus on scrutinising the government’s response to the pandemic
  • The family of a GP in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, who has died of suspected coronavirus says he sacrificed his life for his profession
  • The Department for Housing advised buyers and renters to delay moving home while measures against the virus are in place
    • A report from London researchers suggests more than 30 million lives around the world could be saved during the pandemic if countries act quickly

    In an Instagram message to mark the Clap for Carers event, the Queen said the country was “enormously thankful” to the people on the frontline of the UK’s response to the virus, which causes the Covid-19 disease.

    She said the UK was grateful “for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services”.