OLDHAM Council bosses have announced measures put in place to protect the borough's residents from the coronavirus.

Following the government’s decision on Wednesday, all the borough’s schools will close from today (Friday, March 20) until further notice for all pupils, except for children of key workers and the most vulnerable.

GCSE and A Level exams due take place in May and June will not be sat.

The individual schools will be in touch with parents and guardians about the next steps.

Council staff and the local NHS are working closely with Public Health England and partners across Greater Manchester to ensure people can be suppored and safeguarded, especially the most vulnerable, and provide the right advice, the local authority said.

"Plans are in place to ensure vital services continue to be delivered in case of a reduction in staff and potential increases in demand over the coming days and weeks," a press release said.

"We are also encouraging people to access services online, rather than coming into our public customer service areas, which will help prevent the disease spreading.

"If you ring our call centre please be aware that it may take longer than usual to answer your call as we are prioritising some issues over others."

Some buildings that are usually open to the public will be closed, services delivered in alternative ways and events cancelled, in line with government advice.

The changes include:

• Oldham Library and Lifelong Centre; Crompton Library; Delph Library; Failsworth Library; Lees Library; Royton Library; Uppermill Library will remain open so residents can access services. All other libraries will temporarily shut, and any organised events and sessions are cancelled.

• Closure of the Local Studies and Archives Centre, 84 Union Street.

• Prioritisation of general rubbish and waste collections.

• Cancellation of the Sunday Car Boot at Tommyfield Market.

Council leader Sean Fielding said: “As a council we have a duty to protect our residents and unfortunately the Coronavirus is a threat to everyone in the borough and our workforce.

“Given the choice we’d obviously have liked to have kept all services running as normal, but these are clearly unprecedented times and we have to follow government advice to help stop the disease spreading.

“Please continue to listen to public health advice rather than rumours on social media and protect yourself and your family and friends from sickness.

“Everyone can play their part and look out for your neighbours, especially if they vulnerable.

“If you can, volunteer. Look out for opportunities through Action Together – who now more than ever are relying on community support to help those most in need.

“One of Oldham’s strengths is its people and if we continue to work together then we will get through this.”