An NHS hospital worker said they have been threatened with eviction by a landlord who is scared he will catch coronavirus from tenants, a charity has said.

The worker is one of tens of thousands of renters who could lose their homes during the Covid-19 outbreak if the government does not move quickly to protect them, Shelter warned.

It estimates more than 50,000 households could face eviction through the courts over the next six months but this number could increase.

The charity said an NHS hospital worker anonymously contacted its web chat service on March 11. They told the housing adviser their live-in landlord was scared of contracting the virus from tenants and said "they've all got to go" unless a cure is found in weeks.

Shelter wants the government to amend laws to halt all possession orders and bailiff warrants.

Earlier on Wednesday, Boris Johnson promised to protect private renters from eviction due to the spread of coronavirus by bringing in legislation.

But he said: "It is also important as we legislate that we do not simply pass on the problem, so we'll also be taking steps to protect other actors in the economy."

Meanwhile, self-employed Daryl Woodley, 32 from Kirdford, West Sussex said he feared being unable to pay his rent and support his girlfriend and five children.

He told the PA news agency: "We are all in isolation due to four of the children having at least one of the symptoms.

"I run my garden and home maintenance business around my children but have had to cancel all the work I have booked in for the next two weeks due to isolation.

"However, customers are starting to worry and are looking further ahead and cancelling other works booked in. This is due to being in the vulnerable group, and also just the uncertainty of what's going on.

"As I work by myself for myself, I am very worried that this could spell the end for my business."

Although the family receives Universal Credit and his girlfriend has statutory sick pay, this does not cover a potential shortfall.

"We are massively out of pocket with no real sign of help from the Government," he said.

"I think the Government should be seriously considering rent payment holidays as with the mortgages, but with some form of cover for the landlords so that they are not incurring additional costs, and a universal basic salary for everyone should lockdown take place."

Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: "Tens of thousands of renters face being turfed out of their home in the next six months if the Government fails to act quickly. We need a wholesale and complete halt to all evictions while the coronavirus crisis unfolds.

"Right now, there are people all over the country who don't know how they'll pay their rent this month, let alone the next three. People are panicked about how they will reduce contact or self-isolate if they lose their home.

"We're already hearing daily from terrified renters being threatened with eviction by irresponsible landlords, including vital NHS workers. This cannot be allowed to happen.

"The Government has stepped in to support mortgagees and it must now act decisively to help renters survive the current storm. It must legislate immediately to halt all eviction proceedings during this period of social disruption.

"This is an absolutely necessary emergency public health measure to keep people safe and in their homes."

There are more than 20 million renters in England, and nearly three-quarters are thought to have no savings, while 1.5 million households are headed by someone over 65, Shelter said.

The charity said almost a fifth of advice calls answered by its helpline in England and 15% of web chat conversations on March 17 were related to coronavirus.

Other concerned renters who contacted Shelter included a tenant who said they had been evicted without notice while on holiday in Italy.

They said the landlord was worried they would catch the virus.

Another renter's landlord has given them and another four tenants notice to end the tenancy due to Covid-19, Shelter said.