Queen Elizabeth leaving London amid coronavirus outbreak

Buckingham Palace has also canceled or postponed some public royal events

UK’s Queen Elizabeth II is leaving London and heading to Windsor Castle as a precaution because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Buckingham Palace says the 93-year-old monarch will move to the castle, 20 miles (32 kms) west of London, on Thursday, a week earlier than she usually does for Easter.

The palace said it had decided to cancel or postpone public royal events with large numbers of people in the coming months but the queen will still hold her weekly audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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The British government has urged people -- especially those over 70 -- to avoid “non-essential” contact with others for 12 weeks to slow the spread of the virus, which appears to be a greater risk for the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.

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The queen’s spring garden parties, attended by thousands each year, have also been postponed. The fate of future big royal events -- including May commemorations for the end of World War II in Europe and a state visit by Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masakois -- is up in the air.

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