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Live Reporting

Edited by George Bowden

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye

    Thank you for joining us for coronavirus updates today.

    They were written by Alex Therrien, Becky Morton, George Wright, and Jennifer Meierhans, and edited by George Bowden and James Clarke.

    We will have more updates for you tomorrow, have a good evening.

  2. Re-cap: Main developments in the UK and around the world

    A woman has a Covid test in India

    We're drawing our live coverage of today's coronavirus developments in the UK and around the world to a close, thanks for joining us. Here's a re-cap:

    • The Philippines and Australia are the latest countries to limit the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab in younger people
    • It comes after the UK medicines regulator said under-30s in the UK will receive an alternative to the AZ jab due to its link to very rare blood clots
    • The health secretary says the UK has more than enough supply of the Pfizer and Moderna jabs to offer instead
    • And the sister of a man who died from a blood clot after having the AZ vaccine has urged people to keep having the Covid jab
    • Scotland has recorded more than 10,000 deaths linked to Covid-19 since the outbreak began last March
  3. African Union drops plans to secure vaccines from India

    A man receives a vaccine dose in Soweto

    The African Union (AU) has dropped plans to secure coronavirus vaccines from the Serum Institute of India and is instead exploring options with the US drug maker, Johnson & Johnson.

    The head of Africa's Centres for Disease Control, John Nkengasong, says reliable supplies of vaccines were vital - and Indian restrictions on exports have complicated things for Africa.

    He says the AU has already signed a deal for up to 400 million single dose jabs from Johnson & Johnson.

    India's Serum Institute is licensed to make global supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab but Delhi has commandeered stocks to deal with surging infections.

    Nkengasong says the AU's decision has nothing to do with the possible link to blood clots in rare cases involving the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will still be supplied to Africa through the UN's Covax scheme.

  4. Ban on over-65s visits out of care homes 'dropped from guidance'

    Woman looking out of a care home window

    Restrictions preventing people in residential care over the age of 65 in England from taking trips outside the home appear to have been dropped from government guidance.

    John's Campaign, which fights for relatives to have better access to their loved ones while they are in care, launched a legal challenge last week over the rule.

    Campaigners branded the guidance "discriminatory" and spoke of their "anger and heartbreak" at being apart from loved ones who, despite being vaccinated, had "no hope of visits out".

    The "visits out of care homes" guidance on the government's website, that was updated on Wednesday, now has no reference to an age restriction.

    It is understood the change was not in response to any campaign, but part of the ongoing review of guidance.

    John's Campaign said it would "continue to press" the government to drop rules which mean anyone who leaves a care home must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

  5. Scotland's 'mistake' in not protecting elderly from Covid

    Jeane Freeman

    The Scottish health secretary has told the BBC that her government "made a mistake" in failing to protect elderly people during the pandemic.

    In an interview for the podcast Political Thinking with Nick Robinson, Jeane Freeman says: "We didn’t take the right precautions to make sure that older people leaving hospital going into care homes were as safe as they could be and that was a mistake."

    There have been more than 10,000 covid related deaths in Scotland, a third of which occurred in care homes.

    In the first wave of the pandemic, more than 1,300 elderly people were discharged from hospitals to care homes in Scotland before a testing regime was in place.

    The Scottish Conservative leader, Douglas Ross says the Scottish Government’s mistakes had “cost lives”.

    Read more here.

  6. Sunderland Airshow cancelled again due to pandemic

    Crowds at Sunderland airshow
    Image caption: The airshow usually attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators

    One of Europe's largest free annual airshows will be cancelled again this year due to the pandemic.

    The Sunderland Airshow - said to be Europe's biggest - was called off last year and will be postponed once more over Covid fears.

    Hundreds of thousands of people attend the three day event - which is normally held in July - with aircraft performing displays over the North Sea.

    Fiona Brown at Sunderland City Council said the news was "disappointing" but safety was "paramount". It follows the cancellation of the air show in Blackpool.

    Read more here.

  7. 1-in-5 workers at elderly care homes have not had a vaccine

    Care home worker

    Around one-in-five workers at older adult care homes in England have not received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine, new figures show.

    Data from NHS England shows that 78.9% of eligible staff had been given a first jab by 4 April - compared with 94.1% of eligible residents.

    This is up on the last set of figures which showed that by 14 February 69% of eligible staff at older adult care homes had received a first dose.

    NHS England sent out a survey with a deadline of 5 March "to improve understanding of why some social care staff have not come forward for vaccination".

    Suggested reasons included concerns around fertility, side effects of the vaccine, the time taken to develop the vaccine and religious reasons.

  8. Why white US evangelicals are ‘hesitant' to get Covid jab

    Video content

    Video caption: Why white US evangelicals are ‘hesitant' to get Covid jab

    In the United States, a person's willingness to get vaccinated against Covid-19 varies by religious affiliation.

    White evangelicals are the least likely demographic to get the vaccine, the Pew Research Centre has found.

    Psychologist Jamie Aten told BBC World News that for some people Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy could stem from political views or a sign of tribalism in the same way that some people refuse to wear masks.

  9. Remembering some of the people in Scotland lost to Covid

    Rod Moore
    Image caption: Rod Moore was "always happy, joking around all the time"

    More than 10,000 people in Scotland have now died with coronavirus. The BBC has written about some of those who have lost their lives.

    Rod Moore spent 40 years with the ambulance service, working as a technician, a paramedic, a trainer and then in managerial roles before returning to the front line and the job he loved.

    The football fan from Falkirk was married to Clare for 31 years and they had a son, Craig.

    "He was my best friend, he was always happy, joking around all the time, he was so funny... he made me laugh every day," Clare told BBC Scotland.

    And he was so close to their son "you wouldn't have got a sheet of paper between them", she added.

    Although they were not able to see Rod for four weeks while he was treated in hospital for Covid, they we allowed one final visit to say goodbye before he died on 21 November, aged 63.

    Read more tributes here.

  10. Cameroon to probe 'embezzlement' of Covid-19 funds

    Killian Ngala

    BBC News, Yaoundé

    President Biya
    Image caption: President Biya had given "the high instruction" that an investigation should be carried out

    Cameroon's President Paul Biya has ordered an investigation into the use of Covid-19 funds following allegations of financial embezzlement.

    Human Rights Watch raised concern last month about what it called the "scant transparency" in the management of funds, although transparency was a pre-condition for getting loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to tackle the pandemic.

    In April 2020, the health minister announced a $105m (£76m) response plan. The following month, the IMF approved a $256m emergency loan to help finance it.

    In October, it approved a further loan of $156m to finance the health system and help businesses and households affected by the pandemic.

    The IMF now wants accountability on the use of these funds.

  11. England takes 5.5m rapid Covid tests in a week

    Woman taking lateral flow test

    Some 5.5 million Covid rapid lateral flow tests were taken in England in the week to March 31, according to the latest NHS Test and Trace figures. That's down from 7.1 million in the previous week.

    By contrast, 996,728 laboratory (PCR) tests were conducted in the same week. It is the first week since the seven days to September 30 last year that fewer than a million PCR tests have been carried out.

    Lateral flow tests give results within 30 minutes, while PCR tests are processed in a laboratory.

    Everyone in England will be given access to two rapid coronavirus tests a week from Friday.

  12. Rare blood clots: What you need to know

    Blood clot

    Investigations are taking place into whether cases of a rare type of blood clot are connected to the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

    The link between the vaccine and these rare clots - known as CVSTs - is not yet proven but experts say evidence is "firming up".

    So how do the clots happen and how can you tell if you have one?

    Our health reporter Smitha Mundasad explains more here.

  13. When will I get the Covid jab?

    In the UK, those most at risk from Covid-19, including front-line health and social care staff and older people, were offered the vaccine first.

    The jab is now being offered to over-55s in England and Scotland, over-50s in Wales and over-45s in Northern Ireland, as well as over-16s with some underlying health conditions which increase their risk from the virus.

    After this, younger people will be vaccinated in order of age and the government says it is on track to offer all adults a first dose by the end of July.

    You can read more about the vaccine rollout here.

    Graphic showing the vaccination priority list in the UK
  14. Holiday bookings boom for vaccine hotspots

    Caroline Davies

    BBC transport correspondent

    Beach in Malta
    Image caption: Malta has proved popular over the weekend, according to EasyJet

    Several travel companies have reported increased bookings and interest in countries with strong Covid vaccination programmes.

    Tui said that week on week, it has seen bookings for Florida increase by 220%, Jamaica by 70% and Portugal by 200% .

    The firm's top three countries for bookings remain Greece, Spain and Turkey.

    EasyJet said that Malta - where 42% of adult have had a least one dose of a vaccine, according to the country's health minister - and Israel proved popular over the weekend.

    British Airways said it has seen increased in interest in trips to the US, Caribbean and UAE.

    You can read more about when we might be able to go on holiday abroad here.

  15. Blood clot victim's sister urges people to get Oxford-AstraZeneca jab

    Neil Astles
    Image caption: Neil Astles died on Sunday, weeks after being vaccinated

    The sister of a man who died from a blood clot on the brain after having the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine says she "strongly believes" people should keep having the Covid jab.

    Neil Astles, 59, a solicitor from Warrington, Cheshire, died on Sunday. He was vaccinated on 17 March.

    Pharmacist Alison Astles told the BBC that doctors were "99.9% sure" the clot was due to the jab.

    But she said he was "extraordinarily unlucky" and the risk was "very low".

    On Wednesday, UK vaccine advisers recommended healthy under-30s in the UK should be offered an alternative Covid vaccine to the AstraZeneca jab due to the evidence linking it to rare blood clots.

    Read more here.

  16. Call for police protection at Covid test centre

    Maltby Test Centre

    Staff at a coronavirus testing centre should get police protection after they were attacked by young people throwing rocks, an MP says.

    The Maltby test site near Rotherham had to close early after staff came under fire by "local youths", police say.

    Local MP Alexander Stafford has described the attack as "an absolute disgrace" and is calling for police to establish a base at the centre to deter criminals.

    South Yorkshire Police say several youths have been identified and spoken to about recent attacks at the site.

    We've got more on this story here.

  17. Should I take aspirin with my Covid jab?

    Your questions answered graphic

    For anyone not already prescribed aspirin by a doctor, Prof Beverly Hunt, medical director of Thrombosis UK, strongly advises against this.

    "We know if you take aspirin and you don't need to take aspirin, the benefits aren't very good," she told the BBC.

    However, anyone who has already been prescribed aspirin by a doctor should continue to take it before their jab, says blood specialist Prof Adrian Newland.

    Anyone on anti-coagulant medicines (such as Warfarin) - or people who have clotting disorders - should speak to their doctors before having the jab, he says. They should also let vaccinators know about any blood thinning medications.

    We've answered more of your questions about the coronavirus vaccine here.

  18. Buses in England to return to pre-pandemic levels as lockdown eases

    A woman at a bus stop

    Bus services in England should return to pre-pandemic levels by Monday, according to industry body CPT.

    Passenger levels were at about 40% just before Easter, says CPT, which represents the bus and coach sector.

    But companies are expecting more people to be travelling as lockdown measures ease further from 12 April, with shops and outdoor hospitality reopening.

    In Wales services are at 80% of normal levels, while in Scotland they are at 95%, according to CPT.

    A spokesman says: "The industry will be closely monitoring passenger demand as restrictions ease to ensure that services are at a level that allows passengers to travel safely."

    Read more here.

  19. Wuhan marks one year of lockdown ending

    Kerry Allen

    BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst

    Vendors arrange vegetables in Wuhan on Thursday
    Image caption: Vendors arrange vegetables in Wuhan today

    Today, people across China are marking a year since the central city of Wuhan ended lockdown.

    For the Chinese people, this was one of the most powerful and emotional moments of the country’s Covid-19 outbreak. People today are revisiting footage of a city clock tower striking midnight, symbolising that the city’s 11 million people were safe enough to leave their homes for the first time.

    Wuhan was the original epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. There were more than 50,000 confirmed cases in the city, more than half of China’s total cases.

    People there spent 76 days in full lockdown in order to control the outbreak. On 23 January 2020, Wuhan closed its borders and people were ordered to stay within their homes. The city, which has a population of 11 million people, became a ghost town.

    But today, state media is full of footage showing the city’s streets returning to their former vitality. Praise is being given to people for staying in their homes during a period of great uncertainty.

    The lockdown had a significant impact on people’s mental health.

    A psychology professor tells Xinhua: “When the epidemic was at its worst, we answered more than 300 calls a day.”

    And other specialists have warned there needs to be continued attention in the city with regards “feelings of uncertainty, PTSD haunting front-line medics, and discrimination against former Covid-19 patients”.

  20. 'AstraZeneca jab safer than driving to work'

    A woman driving

    Getting a coronavirus vaccine is safer than driving or cycling to work, a UK government scientific adviser says.

    Professor Stephen Reicher says having a Covid-19 jab is "actually one of the safer things you do in the day".

    The risk of developing a rare blood clot is about four people in a million who receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said.

    Prof Reicher, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours, tells BBC Radio 4's World at One: "Something like 30 or 40 people drown in the bath every year, something like 1,000 people die falling down the stairs, something like 200 die from choking on their breakfast, and that's many, many more deaths than we get from these vaccines.

    "So actually taking the vaccine is actually one of the safer things you do in the day, it's definitely safer than cycling or driving to work. So these are incredibly rare events."