BORIS JOHNSON has announced the UK will sink £210 million into developing a coronavirus vaccine following today's conference call meeting with G20 world leaders.
The PM joined Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and China's leader Xi Jinping for crunch talks on a global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Saudi Arabia's King Salman hosted the talks as nations rally to find a unified response to the snowballing crisis, which has killed more than 23,000 people and infected at least 520,000 worldwide.
Mr Johnson will also give £40 million to fund research into developing treatments, £23 million on research into new tests and £50 million on a global campaign to highlight the importance of hand washing.
So far, Britain has put £544 million from the international aid budget into the world's fight against the deadly disease.
Following the call, Mr Johnson said: "While our brilliant doctors and nurses fight coronavirus at home, this record British funding will help find a vaccine for the entire world.
"UK medics and researchers are at the forefront of this pioneering work.
"My call to every G20 country and to governments around the world is to step up and help us defeat this virus.
"In the meantime, I want to repeat to everyone that they should stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives."
My call to every G20 country and to governments around the world is to step up and help us defeat this virus
In a joint statement, the G20 pledged a "transparent, robust, coordinated, large scale and science-based global response" to the crisis.
The G20 leaders said: "Tackling the pandemic and its intertwined health, social and economic impacts is our absolute priority."
King Salman called for an "effective and coordinated" response from the world's leaders to "restore confidence" in the economy as entire countries are shut down.
On trade, he urged the G20 to "send a strong signal" to ensure the normal supply of good s and services.
It comes as the UK's death toll rose to 578, an increase of 113 in 24 hours.
The Chancellor told "deeply anxious" self-employed Brits he had a "coherent, coordinated and comprehensive plan" to safeguard them as he announced the government's latest broadside in the battle against Covid-19.
Speaking alongside Mr Johnson in Downing Street Mr Sunak pledged to support the UK's five million Brits who work for themselves.
He said the "unprecedented" scheme "targeted at those who need it the most" and assured self-employed workers "you have not been forgotten."
But the new support will take weeks for cash to reach them and won't be up and running before June.
Mr Sunak said: "The government will pay self-employed people, who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus, a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last 3 years, up to £2,500 per month.
"Open for at least 3 months across the UK, I will extend if necessary.
"95% of people who are majority self-employed will benefit from this scheme.
Today's announcement comes less than a week after Mr Sunak vowed the government would subsidise 80 per cent of workers' wages up to £2,500 a month if they are laid off during the pandemic.
Staff who lose their jobs would have to be kept on the payroll and put "on furlough" by their firm to take advantage of the scheme.
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It comes as police started using checkpoints to stop vehicles and ask drivers if their journey is essential during the coronavirus lockdown.
Cops across the UK have been asking drivers today where they are going and why they are going there.
Police checkpoints were seen across Devon today, where officers quizzed drivers on their journeys and whether they were "essential".
And cops have been handed new powers to fine Brits up to £1000 for breaking rules for being outside their homes from TODAY.
Officers will aim to slow the spread of coronavirus by asking people to go indoors and will be authorised to use force if they refuse.
The number of fatalities in the UK has risen by 113 since yesterday, the largest 24-hour climb since the deadly bug first hit the UK in January.
A total of 9,849 are now confirmed as infected with Covid-19 in Britain – up from 9,529 by the end of yesterday – after another 320 tested positive across the UK.
According to Public Health Wales the total number of coronavirus deaths in Wales is now 28, with 741 confirmed cases.
Northern Ireland recorded three more deaths today, with the number of confirmed cases in the country rising by 32 to 241.
Scotland's overall death toll is 25, with 894 cases – up from 719 yesterday.
But up to 50,000 people may already have the deadly bug in Scotland alone, the country's chief medical officer warned today.
Catherine Calderwood said: "This is a very significant underestimate of the number of cases in Scotland.
"We're probably looking at the order of 40,000 to 50,000 people in Scotland who are now infected with coronavirus."
There are now fears that half of the UK population may have already contracted the virus. as only hospital patients are now being routinely screened.
London remains the worst-hit area with around 3,000 cases – with around one in three positive tests coming in the English capital.
Experts have predicted that the worst of the virus will peak by Easter, in three weeks time.
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