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Live Reporting

Edited by James Clarke

All times stated are UK

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  1. Thanks for joining us

    That's all from us today.

    Today's coverage has been brought to you by James Clarke, Becky Morton, Hamish Mackay, Doug Faulkner and George Wright.

    Thank you for joining us.

  2. Round-up from around the globe

    People not adhering to social distancing norms as they waiting  in front of a vaccine centre to receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in India

    We're wrapping up our coverage for the day, thanks for joining us. Here's a round-up of some of the latest developments from around the world:

    • It has reported 332,730 new cases, setting a world record high for a second day running. Deaths were numbered at 2,263 in 24 hours
    • Families are left pleading for their relatives who are desperately ill, with some patients left untreated for hours. Crematoriums are organising mass funeral pyres
    • Japan has announced emergency Covid measures in Tokyo and three other areas in a bid to curb rising infections, just three months before the country is set to host the Olympics
    • Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed a non-working period next month to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the country
    • Australia has implemented a snap three-day lockdown in the city of Perth after Covid-19 escaped from a quarantine hotel housing international travellers infected with the virus
    • Bollywood composer Shravan Rathod has died shortly after testing positive for Covid-19.
    Chart showing coronavirus situation around the world
  3. Friday's UK headlines round-up

    Passengers are escorted through the arrivals area of terminal 5 towards coaches destined for quarantine hotels, after landing at Heathrow airport

    We'll be bringing our live coronavirus coverage to a close shortly, but here is a reminder of what has been happening across the UK today:

    • The first people to arrive in the UK from India since the country was placed on the travel "red list" have entered hotel quarantine
    • British and Irish nationals, as well as those with residence rights, may still enter the UK but must isolate for 10 days
    • People in Wales will be able to have a drink inside a pub or restaurant from 17 May after First Minister Mark Drakeford brought forward the relaxation of rules amid falling cases
    • In Northern Ireland close contact services, such as hairdressers, have reopened and driving lessons have resumed as restrictions begin to ease
    • More surge testing is to begin in the Highgate and Bordesley area of Birmingham after a case of the South Africa variant was discovered, the Department of Health says
    • The chances of becoming infected by Covid fall sharply after a first dose of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines, a UK study finds
    • It comes as the UK vaccination programme passes the 45 million doses given mark, with more than 11.6 million people so far receiving both jabs
    • Amid the Covid pandemic UK government borrowing has reached its highest level since World War Two, reaching £303.1bn last year.
  4. Woman fined £500 for Covid-breach balloon launch

    Vicki Hutchinson
    Image caption: Vicki Hutchinson admitted organising the event in breach of lockdown rules

    A woman who organised a balloon launch in memory of her father-in-law in November has been fined £500 for breaching coronavirus rules.

    Vicki Hutchinson had refused to pay a £10,000 fixed penalty for holding the gathering of more than 30 people.

    She was summonsed before Peterlee magistrates, where she admitted the offence, and had to pay £135 costs.

    The launch in Horden, north-east England, was held in memory of Ian Stephenson, 58, who died with coronavirus.

    Outside the court Hutchinson says: "Yes I did break the law, yes I did release balloons, but at the time, when you lose someone, you don't think, do you?"

    Read more.

  5. When can I go on holiday abroad?

    People going on holiday

    As we've reported throughout the day, surging Covid cases in India mean travel between it and the UK has now effectively been banned.

    And while travelling to anywhere outside the UK for the purposes of tourism is also still banned, the rules will be easing in the near future.

    So, when can people in the UK go on holiday and where will you be allowed to go?

    The BBC explainers team has compiled this handy guide for anyone dreaming of warmer climes.

  6. Isle of Man over-18s urged to come for vaccine

    A vaccination about to be given

    Isle of Man residents who are 18 and over are being told they risk waiting up to two months to receive the first dose of a Covid vaccine if they do not register for one by 10 May.

    From that date, the vaccination programme will be strongly focused on delivering second doses.

    A slow-down in vaccine deliveries means the roll-out of first doses will be "severely restricted" during the period, the health department says.

    Health Minister David Ashford says take-up in younger age groups is currently "a concern".

  7. Many Italian restaurants and bars to reopen next week

    Rome restaurant

    Restrictions on many businesses, including restaurants, bars and cinemas will be relaxed in most Italian regions from Monday.

    The move comes as the government slowly rolls back Covid restrictions in less-affected areas.

    Fourteen of Italy's 20 regions, including Lazio, centred on Rome, and Lombardy centred on Milan, will be made moderate-risk yellow zones, the health ministry says. Orange and red are the strictest levels.

    Bars and restaurants will now be able to offer service outside, while cinemas, theatres and concert halls will also be able to reopen with strict rules on attendance. They have been closed since last October.

    Italy, which has registered the second highest number of Covid deaths on the continent, reintroduced tough restrictions late last year when a second wave of cases spread through the country.

  8. PM defends care home isolation

    A care home worker with a resident in a wheelchair

    During a visit to a farm in Derbyshire the prime minister defends the self-isolation policy in care homes.

    "I really appreciate people's frustrations about some of the restrictions that are still in force and I know how difficult it can be," Boris Johnson says.

    "We have taken steps to ensure people can go and see their elderly relatives in care homes, we've increased the number of people who can go to see elderly relatives.

    "But don't forget, and I know that it seems a long time ago now, but don't forget how bad that epidemic was in our care homes - it was a huge number of lives that we lost."

    He says the country is advancing "down the steps of the roadmap" and says the government hopes people can "get back to life as close to normal as possible".

    "At the moment, as I look at the numbers today, there's no question it continues to look very promising, but we've got to remain prudent and stick to the road map," he says.

  9. Austria to reopen restaurants and hotels next month

    Sebastian Kurz
    Image caption: Sebastian Kurz

    Austria plans to ease its Covid restrictions on 19 May, allowing restaurants, hotels and theatres to reopen their doors for the first time in almost half a year.

    The government announcement comes despite concerns about high infection rates.

    "The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter," Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tells a news conference.

    Kurz accepts the loosening of lockdown will increase infections, but adds accelerating the vaccination drive means hospitalisations will not necessarily increase.

    There are currently more than 2,000 infections a day in Austria, which has a population of eight million. More than 10,000 people have lost their lives to the virus nationally.

  10. India arrivals begin UK hotel quarantine

    People arrive in the UK

    The first people to arrive in the UK from India since the country was placed on the travel "red list" have entered hotel quarantine.

    British and Irish nationals and those with residency rights must isolate in approved accommodation for 10 days after rules changed overnight.

    India has seen a second wave of infections, with shortages of medical oxygen, and a new virus variant. Amid desperate scenes, some patients have been left untreated for hours.

    On Friday, India reported 332,730 new cases of coronavirus, setting a world record for a second day running. Deaths were numbered at 2,263 in 24 hours as crematoriums organise mass funeral pyres.

    Passengers from one of the first scheduled commercial flights to land in the UK from India since the red list changed were seen being escorted to government-approved hotels at London's Heathrow Airport on Friday afternoon.

    TV chef Romy Gill returned from India before the travel rules changed on Thursday and is isolating in a hotel in Bristol. She praised the UK government's handling of the rules for those returning from the country.

    "I was in India last November and what has been done now is completely different," she said. "I think the [UK] government is doing what they should have done ages ago."

    Mukti Mulligan

    But some have spoken of their struggle to leave India amid restrictions on travel and widespread flight cancellations.

    Mukti Mulligan, from London but currently in Goa, told BBC Asian Network: "Even now a number of my friends are isolating, stuck in bed, most of them are not tested," he said. "Almost certainly a vast majority have got Covid.

    "We're talking about under 40s, mostly in their 20s and 30s. Pretty much everyone is affected in some way or another."

    Read more here.

  11. Hints masks could be ditched for the summer

    Rachel Schraer

    BBC Health Reporter

    A woman stands in front of an underground station sign wearing a face covering

    There is optimism around government that England is on track to lift Covid restrictions according to the roadmap, with hints masks could be ditched over the summer.

    Cases are falling – one in 610 people in the UK have the virus compared with one in 500 last week.

    And advisors have struck a hopeful note about the success of the vaccine programme, stressing current variants are not a major threat to the effectiveness of the jab.

    There’s expected to be some kind of uptick in cases as the rules ease – what’s not clear is how big it will be, and what impact that will have on hospitalisations and deaths with the protection of the vaccines.

    But there is an expectation that some of the precautions such as masks and social distancing, if eased over the summer, may have to be brought back in the autumn to prevent a winter surge.

  12. Benefits of AstraZeneca jab continue to outweigh risks - EMA

    Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine vial

    The European Medicines Agency (EMA) says the benefits of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine continue to outweigh the risks of rare blood clots, with the benefits of having the jab increasing in older age groups and in areas with higher levels of infection.

    Peter Arlett, the EMA's head of data analytics and methods task force, says the shot is "highly effective at preventing infection, and therefore hospitalisation and death".

    The medicines regulator is publishing nine graphics to show the impact of the vaccine on hospitlisations, intensive care admissions and deaths for different levels of virus exposure.

    "The benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks and the work we introduce today puts these very rare blood clots into the context of Covid hospitalisations prevented, intensive care admissions prevented, and deaths prevented," he says.

  13. Canada cases could double by end of April, experts warn

    Woman wearing a face mask to protect him from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) walks past a Canada goose (Branta canadensis) in an empty shopping mall parking lot in Markham, Ontario
    Image caption: Ontario is battling a third wave of the virus

    New daily cases of coronavirus in Canada could almost double to more than 15,000 from 8,600 by the end of the month unless stricter measures are put in place, health officials say.

    The warning comes as new coronavirus variants spread through the country.

    "Elevated case counts and severe illness trends remind us we are still in a right race between vaccines and variants and our actions matter," says Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam.

    Provinces including Ontario are battling a third wave of the virus. Critics have accused the government of not acting quick enough to deal with the new variants and of taking too long to roll out vaccines.

  14. Nearly two-thirds of 45-49-year-olds vaccinated

    Sir Simon Stevens

    While we are on the subject of vaccines NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens says nearly two-thirds of people aged 45 to 49 have had their first vaccination, in just over a week since bookings opened to them.

    "The NHS has reached another medically important milestone this week with more than eight in 10 people aged 75 and over already having received both doses of the vaccine," he says.

    "And as Maggie Keenan, the first person to get a Covid-19 jab outside of clinical trials, told me recently, everyone should 'go and get it' when offered this life-saving vaccine."

  15. Significant developments with China’s vaccination drive

    Kerry Allen

    BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst

    Medical workers check the personal information of soldiers and soldiers on a mobile vaccination vehicle before vaccination in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province

    China has now administered 211 million vaccine doses, only eight million fewer doses than the US. There is some expectation by next week, China will have surpassed the US and have administered more vaccine doses than anywhere else in the world.

    Four different vaccines have currently been approved in China for public use, all of which have been developed within the country.

    However, others are on the way; it is possible that another vaccine co-developed by German’s BioNTech may become available within the country “before July”.

    According to the national Global Times newspaper, “the Fosun Pharma/BioNTech vaccine will be the first foreign-developed Covid-19 vaccine that China will import”.

    Meanwhile, Chinese firm CanSino is set to begin vaccine trials next week using an inhaled vaccine candidate. Global Times said last month an inhaled vaccine would “be a less painful and more accessible” alternative to an injection, “especially for children and vulnerable people”.

    China’s main vaccines, Sinopharm and Sinovac also may soon receive authorisation from the World Health Organization to be included in the Covax global vaccine distribution programme.

    According to the independent South China Morning Post, Chinese vaccines are in the “final stage of the WHO approval process”. Review meetings to discuss both are set for 3 May. They have been hindered to date by insufficient data on the elderly and people with underlying health condition, given that China has prioritised vaccination among people aged 18 to 59.

  16. UK passes 45 million vaccine doses given

    The UK vaccination programme has now given more than 45 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

    As of Thursday 33,388,637 first doses had been given across the UK, a daily rise of 139,986.

    There have also been 11,623,671, a daily increase of 431,070, according to the latest figures.

  17. BreakingFurther 40 Covid deaths reported in UK

    A further 40 people have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test in the UK, the latest government figures show.

    It takes the total by that measure to 127,385.

    There has also been an increase of 2,678 cases.

  18. Lockdown lip fillers: 'My lips went black'

    Megan Lawton, Newsbeat reporter

    Angel's lips after having a filler

    Like lots of businesses across the UK, cosmetic clinics reopened their doors last week in England - offering treatments such as dermal fillers and botox.

    But many people, impatient to obtain their dream look, opted to have procedures during lockdown so they could more easily recover at home.

    The UK's register of accredited practitioners says it has led to a rise in patients requiring corrective work now clinics have reopened.

    Angel whose name we have changed, is one of those patients.

    The 22-year-old told Radio 1 Newsbeat she decided to get lip fillers from someone who had "a good presence on Instagram" and was recommended by a friend.

    But Angel says the procedure was painful and she felt blood "dripping down my face". Within two days her lips "were black".

    Read more.

  19. India: ‘The worst humanitarian crisis I’ve witnessed'

    A narrative of Indian exceptionalism led people to believe they were more immune to Covid-19, the director of the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy says.

    Dr Ramanan Laxminarayan says it resulted in people taking fewer precautions and allowed the virus to spread rapidly in the country.

    The country avoided a crisis last year due to a lockdown but when it was lifted the virus returned, he tells BBC World News.

    Video content

    Video caption: India: ‘The worst humanitarian crisis I’ve witnessed’
  20. Trial outdoor cinema screenings postponed

    People at an outdoor screening

    Outdoor cinema screenings that are part of a national pilot scheme exploring how mass events can take place safely have been postponed.

    The Luna Cinema in Liverpool was due to host the viewings, without social distancing, for the next three days.

    It was recently targeted by anti-vaccine activists for taking part in the trial, even though attendees do not have to show proof of vaccination.

    Organisers say the delay is due to "circumstances beyond our control".

    Three screenings will now take place near the city's Exhibition Centre between 14 and 16 May.

    They are part of the nationwide Events Research Programme, through which scientists will examine the risk of coronavirus transmission from attendance at stadiums and venues.

    A Liverpool comedy club previously pulled out of a pilot event after it received abuse following inaccurate reports that it was to be a trial for vaccination certification.