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McDonald’s has temporarily suspended dine-in services in the UK as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country.

The decision involves closing the seating areas at McDonald’s locations and switching to the takeaway, drive-thru and delivery-only services temporarily.

The move comes after the government issued guidance on social distancing to stop person-to-person transmission of the disease, which has already killed 71 people in the UK.

McDonald’s UK and Ireland CEO Paul Pomroy said: “The wellbeing of our employees, customers and suppliers remains of the greatest importance to us and these changes are designed with you all in mind.

“We have not taken this decision lightly and will continue to review this over the coming days.”

The post added that toilets and handwashing facilities at the locations will remain open, while dine-in or table service and children’s play areas will be closed.

McDonald’s also decided to implement ‘no-contact’ deliveries where all Drive Thrus and McDelivery orders via Uber Eats and Just Eat will involve no physical contact between customers, employees and couriers.

Additionally, the restaurant chain increased cleaning procedures at the restaurants to ensure food safety and reduce infection risk among the employees.

In the UK, McDonald’s has more than 1,270 restaurants.

Earlier this week, McDonald’s implemented a similar strategy in the US, restricting business to online orders, drive-thru and walk-in services.

Globally, the Covid-19 death toll has reached 8,000, with the number of confirmed cases increasing to approximately 205,000.