Kingston Council (RBK) announced on Tuesday (March 17) it was closing all leisure, youth and adult learning centres starting tomorrow (March 18).

It is taking the measures in order to combat the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus after central government advised all residents to avoid communal spaces in their heightened response to the virus.

Council Leader Liz Green also stipulated key elements of official advice aimed at keeping residents in the borough safe from the worst impacts of the disease, which can be fatal.

"With new guidance from the Government now impacting all of us in our everyday lives, we’re putting measures in place to make sure we’re supporting residents and keeping critical services running.

"It’s vital that we’re all following the latest health advice from the NHS - stay at home if you have a high temperature and a new, continuous cough, self-isolate for 7 days if you have symptoms, and any other individuals in the household should now self-isolate for 14 days too.

"There are also clear guidelines for people over 70, pregnant women and people with underlying health issues not to travel.

"And for all of us to limit our social interaction and avoid travelling. This is a situation that’s changing all the time so keep yourself updated by checking the government website," Cllr Green said on Tuesday evening.

Regarding RBK's decision to close council-run communal spaces in the borough, she added:

"We are doing everything we can to keep critical services running. However, this does mean that some services will need to stop or be run in different ways to free staff up to deliver services for vulnerable people.

"Starting from tomorrow, some services will be closed for the foreseeable future.

"This includes all leisure centres, youth centres, Kingston Adult Education, Kingston Music Service, Kingston Museum and the History Centre.

"Activities run out of children's centres will stop but the buildings will remain open to provide essential services and there may well be changes to library opening hours and services.

"These changes will enable us to keep the core services of the council running and support the people who need us most. This is changing all the time so we will be posting regular updates."

Meanwhile, RBK said it would be taking steps to help people who wanted to support the borough's most vulnerable during the crisis, promising to share those measures in the coming days:

"We know there are lots of people keeping an eye out for their neighbours and coordinating local activities.

"This is fantastic and we will help facilitate this.

"We’ll be looking at how we can support as many residents as possible to volunteer and ensure we’re reaching as many people as possible across the borough while keeping everyone safe. As soon as I have more details we will share them," Cllr Green said.

While there have only been two confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Kingston so far, more can be expected in the coming days.

That's after the government estimated that "around 55,000" people across the UK likely have the disease at present, despite there being only 1,950 confirmed cases, of which 409 were announced on Tuesday.