Queen protects herself against coronavirus
The Queen has been pictured wearing white gloves while handing out awards at Buckingham Palace in London, as coronavirus fears grip Britain.
The 93-year-old monarch took the precaution on Tuesday (local time) as the UK draws up drastic plans to combat the killer virus.
Pictures taken just last month show the Queen shaking hands without gloves at a similar event.
The gloves stood out because they were longer than the type that she usually wears.
And they were somewhat impractical as she has to fasten awards to recipients clothes during the ceremony, where dozens of prominent Brits were recognised.
One of the last times she performed a knighting ceremony wearing gloves was in 1954 when she recognised Air Marshal Claude Pelly with a knighthood in Yemen.
Buckingham Palace refused to confirm that the gloves were a coronavirus precaution, but has said that they were following health guidelines.
There have been 51 cases of coronavirus diagnosed in the UK so far, with fears that up one in five workers could catch the illness.
The UK Government released a 28-page battle plan that includes bans on public events and school closures.
Elderly people are particularly at risk of complications if they catch the illness, explaining the Queen's decision to be prepared and wear gloves.
The Pope has also been tested for coronavirus, but the result was negative, as elderly world leaders who have contact with the public were considered at higher risk.
However, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to continue shaking hands, saying that it would not spread the virus.
"I continue to shake hands. People must make up their own minds but … our judgment is that washing your hands is the crucial thing," he said.
Prince Charles, 71, followed Mr Johnson's lead, shaking hands with people at the Royal College of Music's awards ceremony in London.
Meanwhile, Prince William, 37, and Kate, in Ireland for a tour, also pressed the flesh with well wishers as they kept calm and carried on.
Kate, 38, was dressed in green at the start of their three-day tour, which included a meeting with Ireland's premier Leo Varadkar.
Some offices across the UK have now put out pump containers of hand sanitiser in the hope of preventing the spread of the virus, while some schools have already been closed.
England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said early on Wednesday Australian time: "As of 9am this morning, 12 further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19.
"Eight patients had recently travelled from Italy, one from Germany, one from Singapore, one from Japan and one from Iran. The patients are from London, Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Bury, Wirral, Greater Manchester, Humberside and Kent. All are being investigated and contact tracing has begun.
"The total number of confirmed cases in England is now 48. Following previously reported confirmed cases in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, the total number of UK cases is 51."