'Forces Sweetheart' Dame Vera Lynn has invoked memories of the Second World War by telling Brits to 'pull together' to beat coronavirus.
The 102-year-old, famed for singing to serving soldiers and boosting the nation's spirits with classics including We'll Meet Again, has said the UK must rekindle the spirit of the Blitz.
Today, the UK death toll from coronavirus rose to 71, with 1,950 cases recorded officially, with as many as 55,000 thought to have the bug.
Government scientists today voiced fears that 20,000 will die even with strict isolation measures being suggested.
At-risk groups including diabetics, over-70s, pregnant women and asthmatics face having to self-isolate at home for three months, while Brits have been told to avoid theatres and pubs.
Dame Vera, who is set to turn 103 on Friday, said: “In these uncertain times, I am taken back to my time during World War Two, when we all pulled together and looked after each other.
“It is this spirit that we all need to find again to weather the storm of the coronavirus. It’s important to remain positive, keep calm and follow the sensible advice provided by the Government at this difficult time.
“I am sure many people, especially the elderly, are worried about what the future may hold. I encourage you all to keep smiling through. Even if we are isolated in person, we can still be united in spirit.
“As the war showed us so many years ago, we are all stronger than we think and, however desperate things may seem today, remember that we can still be kind, we can still laugh — and we can still sing.”
Boris Johnson will face questions from MPs today on his coronavirus strategy after the Government announced an "unprecedented" £350 billion package of support to help businesses survive the crisis.
The Prime Minister and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak vowed to do "whatever it takes" to buoy the economy.
Measures unveiled by Mr Sunak on Tuesday evening included government-backed loans worth £330 billion – equivalent to 15% of GDP – to help businesses which need access to cash, and a package of tax cuts and grants worth more than £20 billion.
Warning that "never in peacetime" had the UK "faced an economic fight like this one", he also announced plans for three-month mortgage holidays for homeowners suffering outbreak-related difficulties.
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