A VIRTUAL trip to the zoo may be just what some families need as the country comes to the end of its first week on lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Chester Zoo announced that it would close its doors to the public from March 21, in line with government guidance on large gatherings and social distancing, but have announced a virtual trip to the zoo will be shared on the attraction’s Facebook page throughout the day on Friday, March 27.

A Chester Zoo spokesman said: “As you cannot come to the zoo right now, we will bring the zoo to you!

“Join us live from 10am when we will be throwing open our 'virtual gates’. So, break up the boredom of being at home and, for the first time ever, enjoy a whole day of animal antics, live from your sofa.”

People can ‘visit’ the zoo live from 10am on Friday morning and will tour various habitats every hour until 4pm.

The full schedule of videos are as follows:

10am: Red pandas

11am: Rothschild's giraffes

12pm: Asian elephants

1pm: Butterflies

2pm: Sun bears

2.30pm: Sumatran tigers

2:45pm: Humboldt penguins

4pm: Aquarium

At the time of closure, a spokesman said: “Following Government advice on social distancing, Chester Zoo will close its gates to visitors for the foreseeable future.

"How long this will be for, we simply do not know, but we really hope it plays a part in slowing down the spread of this awful virus.

"Rest assured, that our incredibly dedicated animal experts, including zookeepers, vets and scientists will continue to ensure that the animals at the zoo enjoy the same levels of care and attention they receive all year round.”

The zoo confirmed that teams will be working from home where possible and will continue fighting to give a brighter future for endangered species all around the world.

The spokesman continued: "With the continued worldwide concerns associated with coronavirus, the zoo is closely following the very latest Government and World Health Organisation (WHO) advice. As a world-class organisation we are, of course, taking every precaution for both staff and animals under our care.

"Our expert teams have always had a strict set of biosecurity measures in place given that we are home to so many rare and precious species. Our conservationists will continue to ensure that the animals enjoy the exact same levels of care and attention they receive all year round.”