A "MAJOR" incident has been declared across the county after the coronavirus crisis escalated.

Chief constable Anthony Bangham from West Mercia Police declared the major incident across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford and said officers were helping those in need.

He said: “Today, in the light of further developments at both a national and local level, and taking full account of the announcement yesterday evening by the Prime Minister, I wanted to reassure the communities of West Mercia that we will continue to work hard to keep you safe and support you through the coming weeks.

“We are working with our partners across local authorities, emergency services, health and local charities to ensure we provide, not only an effective policing service, but a range of other services and support mechanisms for our communities, particularly for the vulnerable and those most in need.

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“This is a national emergency and we have now taken the decision, along with our partners, to declare this as a major incident across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford.

“Like everyone, we as an organisation, are also feeling the impact of the COVID-19 virus. However, please be assured that we are taking effective steps to mitigate this impact to ensure essential activities and services are maintained.

“Following the Prime Minister’s announcement we are working with Government and policing colleagues at a national level to fully understand and see how best these new measures will be enforced should this be required.

"But I want to reassure our communities that any action will be carried out in a professional and proportionate manner."

On Monday evening (March 23) - prime minister Boris Johnson announced the whole country is now required to remain indoors.