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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    That's all from us at the BBC News NI live page for today.

    We'll have another page up for you tomorrow morning to keep you across all the latest developments.

    Take care and good night.

  2. How the homeless are coping during the pandemic

    Kris is a Big Issue vendor and has been homeless for 10 years.

    With the streets of London almost empty, he can’t sell his magazines and the Big Issue has been forced to rely on online donations.

    What is being done to help those left stranded by the lockdown?

    The BBC used equipment to make this report allowing us to maintain social-distancing.

    Video content

    Video caption: How the UK's homeless are coping during the coronavirus pandemic
  3. Major UK supermarkets bring in safety measures

    Major supermarkets in the UK are bringing in measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including limiting the number of people in stores and floor markings to help customers maintain a safe distance while queuing.

    Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and the Co-Op are among those to implement changes, including extra hand sanitisers in stores for staff and customers to use, cleaning products to wipe down baskets or trolleys and putting up protective screens at checkouts.

    Stores have also asked people to try to arrive throughout the day, rather than first thing in the morning, and to pay by card.

  4. Swapping GAA jerseys for NHS protective gear

    Last week the 750 employees at the County Tyrone sportswear firm O’Neills were told they were being temporarily laid off as orders disappeared.

    oneills factory

    On Wednesday, the Strabane factory was back in operation making protective clothing for medical workers.

    You can read more here

  5. How staying at home can stop coronavirus

    Staying at home to keep people safe can be a difficult concept to grasp, especially when you are feeling fit and healthy yourself.

    BBC health reporter Laura Foster looks at the statistics which show just how much of a difference it can make when it comes to taking pressure off health services and saving lives.

    Video content

    Video caption: UK lockdown: why does staying at home stop coronavirus?
  6. Department publishes Covid-19 advice letter

    It will be sent to 40,000 vulnerable patients

    The Department of Health has published a template of the letter which GPs will be sending to 40,000 people identified of being at risk of severe illness, if they are infected with Covid-19.

    View more on twitter

    It advises that the “safest course of action” is to stay at home and avoid all face-to-face contact for 12 weeks, with the exception of carers and healthcare workers.

  7. Halfords boss defends decision to remain open

    Bicycle and car parts retailer Halfords has defended its decision to keep shops open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Its Autocentre garages and mobile vans remain open, with plans for "partial store coverage" across its 446 shops.

    Boss Graham Stapleton said the chain had "an essential role to play in keeping the country moving".


    Halfords drew criticism after it said it would keep some stores open after being named by the government as an "essential provider of services".

    #BoycottHalfords was trending on social media on Tuesday.

    Some Twitter users cited concerns over a lack of protection for on-site workers.

    Read more here.

  8. Plea to stop spreading virus after death of 21-year-old in England

    Elderly people and those will underlying health conditions are most at risk from the coronavirus, but young people are not immune from its threat.

    A 21-year-old woman from England who had no underlying conditions died after contracting Covid-19, her family has said. Chloe Middleton, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, died last week.

    Chloe Middleton

    Ms Middleton's family has urged the public to heed safety advice. Her sister, Amy Louise, said it was "about time people took this seriously, before too many people end up in this devastating position".

    Read more from our colleagues in Buckinghamshire: Coronavirus victim, 21, 'had no health issues'

  9. Manufacturing firms still need job retention clarity

    Responding to a tweet by SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone about businesses wanting clarity on the government's job retention scheme, Manufacturing NI says 'there is none'.

    View more on twitter
  10. Coronavirus: Wednesday's key developments

    lab testing

    If you're just joining us, here are some of the key developments today:

    • Seven people with the virus have now died in Northern Ireland
    • The Public Health Agency confirmed that as of 11:15 GMT on Wednesday, there were 37 new confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in Northern Ireland, bringing the total to 209
    • Michael McBride, the chief medical officer warns there are "many thousands" of Covid-19 cases across Northern Ireland
    • Dr McBride said there will be more deaths to come
    • Health Minister Robin Swann said the executive is pushing ahead with plans for a "volunteer army"
    • A new centre in Derry to assess people with suspected coronavirus opens at Altnagelvin Hospital
    • The first and deputy first ministers tell employers they must have social distancing measures in place
    • Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the UK can get on top of coronavirus in the next 12 weeks thanks to the measures that have been put in place to combat it
  11. One in four Irish Covid-19 cases linked to health workers

    At the start of this week, almost a quarter of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Republic of Ireland were associated with health staff, officials have said.

    Healthcare worker with Covid-19 test

    The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has issued a detailed breakdown of the figures as they stood at midnight on Monday 23 March.

    Of the 1,164 cases confirmed at that stage:

    • 283 cases (24%) were associated with healthcare workers
    • 305 cases (26%) had been hospitalised
    • 39 of those in hospital were in intensive care
  12. Police suspend firearm licensing services

    New firearms applications in Northern Ireland will not be processed because of "the unprecedented challenges presented by Covid-19," the PSNI say.

    Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd says renewal applications will be prioritised but the processing of first time applications and licence variations has stopped.

    guns on rack

    “While these changes are necessary, members of the public can be assured we will continue to prioritise issues of personal protection to ensure we keep people safe," he says.

  13. Coronavirus: Two more deaths in Republic of Ireland

    There have been two more coronavirus-related deaths in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the total to nine.

    Latest figures from the Department of Health also revealed a further 235 new coronavirus cases, meaning there have been 1,564 confirmed cases since the outbreak began,

    ROI coroanvirus stats

    Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said the two patients who died were a man and a woman from the east of the country.

    The woman had an underlying health condition.

  14. MOT exemptions for four-year-old cars

    Temporary MOT exemptions to allow four-year-old cars to stay on the road are to be issued, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon says.

    Before the coronavirus outbreak began, temporary MOT extensions were being given to all cars except four-year-old ones, due to a backlog in the MOT system caused by unsafe equipment at centres.

    As four-year-old cars had never been through an MOT, extensions could not be granted.

    However, the minister has now extended that initiative in the wake of MOT centres being shut down.

    mot centre

    “From tomorrow, four-year-old cars will be given a temporary exemption certificate for six months from the date that their MOT test should have been due," the minister says.

    Issuing the certificates will take time, she says, but the PSNI has agreed to "exercise its discretion under the law" in the interim.

    The minister says work in ongoing to allow for issuing certificates to taxis that require PSV tests.

  15. 'Use public transport when needed'

    Translink is asking people to only use public transport if they need to - and they're asking passengers who do need to use services to stay two metres apart.

    View more on twitter
  16. Farmers worried about Covid-19 'can avoid TB testing'

    The Ulster Farmers' Union says it's been told by the Department of Agriculture that farmers do not have to carry out tuberculosis testing if they have concerns about Covid-19.

    UFU deputy president David Brown says his office has been "inundated by calls from farmers who are extremely concerned" about the risk of transmission during testing.


    "If they cannot arrange for an alternative person to present their animals for a TB test, they can reschedule without worrying about the implications of the test being overdue," Mr Brown continued.

    “There are numerous UFU members who want to test livestock to clear the disease from their herds and have the test scheduled because they want it done before summer grazing.

    "Enabling TB testing to continue where farmers are supportive of it, will help to maintain the integrity of the food chain.”

  17. McDowell says US restaurants are trying to keep up staff wages

    Golfer Graeme McDowell says his two Florida restaurants are doing their best to compensate all staff in the short term after they were forced to close.

    "We have two pretty successful restaurant businesses going and all of a sudden we are closing our doors and barely have enough money to keep them alive for the next two or three months," he says.

    Graeme McDowell

    "I think we are pretty much paid up through to the end of this month and I think all insurance and benefits for all our staff are paid up through the end of next month. But cashflow becomes an issue, I mean how long can we sustain this?

    "It tunes me into how big this is financially and the impact this is going to have on society," he says.

    Read more.

  18. 'Most will not know they have virus'

    We've heard a lot about how people can carry coronavirus and not have any idea - but, earlier, a Queen's Unversity professor underlined just how insidious the virus can be.

    Prof Ultan Power, of the department of experimental medicine at Queen's University Belfast, says that large numbers of people could be carrying the virus without displaying any symptoms


    "Our latest evidence with regard to Covid-19 spread suggests that upwards of 60% of individuals have either no symptoms - and these are infectious individuals - or have very mild symptoms," Prof Ultan Power told BBC Talkback.

    "People are walking around perfectly OK and they're capable of spreading the virus."

    The professor, from the university's department of experimental medicine, said healthcare workers should treat all patients, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms, as if they have the virus.