readers can vote in our poll on whether trade talks should be paused amid Covid-19. It comes after it was announced on Thursday that EU negotiators will not travel to London next week for the second round of meetings.

In a joint statement, the UK and the EU said they were looking at “alternative ways” of continuing the negotiations, including video conferencing.

The statement said: “Given the latest Covid-19 developments, UK and EU negotiators have today jointly decided not to hold next week’s round of negotiations in London, in the form originally scheduled.

“Both sides are currently exploring alternative ways to continue discussions, including if possible the use of video conferences.”

The talks, which began in Brussels earlier this month, are due to switch between the British and Belgian capitals.

The UK officially left the EU on March 31 and is in a transition period with the bloc until the end of 2020 to allow the two sides to strike a trade deal.

Boris Johnson has previously insisted he will not push back the deadline.

The Prime Minister is adamant he wants a comprehensive trade agreement in place by the end of the year.

But the coronavirus crisis has led to calls to rethink the timetable.

It comes as 596 people in the UK have been infected and 10 have died.

Meanwhile, deaths in Europe’s worst-hit country, Italy, have topped 1,000.

Italy is on lockdown, with all shops except pharmacies and food stores closed.

Countries around the world have cancelled flights to Italy and restricted Italians from entering.

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And in a dramatic move, US President Donald Trump has imposed a 30-day ban on travellers from European countries in the Schengen border-free travel area.

Elsewhere in Europe, Norway closed all schools, nurseries, universities, gyms, swimming pools and buffet restaurants, as well as banning sports events.

It has also called for people to limit their use of public transport and to work from home where possible.

French President Emmanuel Macron declared the pandemic France’s worst health crisis in a century as he announced school, university and day-care closures from Monday.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa ordered for schools and universities to be shut down.

And he put limits on the number of people in nightclubs, restaurants and shopping centres at any one time.

The country’s football league was also suspended.

Belgium’s interim prime minister Sophie Wilmes said on Thursday that excluding pharmacies and food stores, shops will be open only during the week.

In Denmark, schools and universities were closed and indoor events with more than 100 participants were banned.

Irish premier Leo Varadkar has also sent students home.

Meanwhile, nurseries and schools are being closed across Germany.

In Spain, Parliament was temporarily suspended and its deputy prime minister was in self-isolation after his wife tested positive for the virus.

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