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Live Reporting

Laura McDaid, Ali Gordon, David Wilson and Eimear Flanagan

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

    That's all from the live page for tonight.

    We'll be back tomorrow morning with more news and reaction, but in the meantime, from all of us here at the BBC News NI digital team, good night and stay safe.

  2. Clap for our Carers: NI applause for health workers

    People across Northern Ireland have taken part in a UK-wide applause of thanks for health workers helping in the fight against coronavirus.

    Here's a snapshot of how it played out in towns and cities across NI.

    Video content

    Video caption: Clap for Carers: Northern Ireland pays tribute to healthcare workers
  3. Field hospitals to be built in NI

    First Minister Arlene Foster has said the Northern Ireland executive needs to make provisions for more hospital beds.

    Earlier today, the Department of Health released its plans to deal with an expected surge in coronavirus cases.

    It said its modelling suggested the current hospital estate "may not have sufficent capacity to provide critical care to the number of patients who will require it".

    "We are therefore moving immediately to develop large regional, temporary, respiratory hospitals."

    On BBC NI's The View Mrs Foster said the public would expect the executive to make those provisions "in quick time".

    She added: "Some may be in buildings that are already there and they will be re-purposed into hospitals."

  4. Bins advice to people with symptoms

    With coronavirus, bin collection can be potentially dangerous for council workers.

    That's why Belfast City Council is appealing for anyone who is self-isolating to seal tissues in a separate bag from other waste and do not leave it out for collection for at least 72 hours.

    The council also said it would be helpful if people wanted to throw soap and water over their bins.


    The council has suspended the collection of blue and brown bins for the foreseeable future to maintain staff social distancing.

  5. A proud community

    Bessbrook residents came out loud and proud, in support of the NHS staff working under the increasing pressure caused by Covid-19.

    View more on twitter

    Meanwhile, in Downpatrick...

    View more on twitter

    Blake McCaughey, who is being treated at Craigavon Area Hospital, showed his appreciation too.

    View more on twitter
  6. Health minister's children clap for carers

    Health Minister Robin Swann's children Freya and Evan showed their appreciation for health workers outside their home in Kells earlier.

    View more on twitter
  7. NI coronavirus cases by council area

    A total of 241 cases of Covid-19 have been detected so far in Northern Ireland.

    There were 32 new confirmed cases and three more deaths today.

    This chart shows the detection figures by council area.

    However, it's important to note that at yesterday's Stormont briefing, Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride warned that the spread of the virus is a lot wider than statistics indicate and that there are, in fact, "many thousands" of cases across Northern Ireland.

    Coronavirus cases in Northern Ireland
  8. A view from above - a big thank you from Belfast

    This was the scene over Belfast at 20:00 GMT on Thursday as the city sent a loud and clear message to NHS staff on the frontline of the fight back against Covid-19.

    View more on twitter

    Belfast's first citizen, Lord Mayor Daniel Baker, showed his appreciation for the sacrifices made by health staff in the grounds of Belfast City Hall, which was illuminated in blue in tribute to the NHS.

    View more on twitter
  9. Queens team print protective face masks

    Researchers at Queen's University Belfast are using 3D printers to help provide protective gear for NHS staff here.

    It's the work of Dr Eneko Larrañeta, Dr Juan Dominguez-Robles and Dr Dimitrios Lamprou from QUB's School of Pharmacy.

    face mask

    They've used the 3D technology to produce twenty masks that will be given to Belfast Trust staff.

    "The masks can be produced relatively low-cost and we are providing these as a donation to the NHS in these crucial times," Dr Lamprou says.

    The team say they'll continue producing the face shields.

  10. Ten further deaths in Republic of Ireland

    It brings the total to 19

    In the Republic of Ireland, 10 more people diagnosed with Covid-19 have died, bringing the total to 19, while a further 255 new cases have been detected.

    The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus now stands at 1,819.

    Coronavirus case information for Republic of Ireland
  11. Learning to bin our throwaway culture

    Many public services have been curtailed during the coronavirus pandemic, including Belfast City Council's bin collections. Only black bin waste is being collected by its staff at present, so how should we cut down on our household waste?

    Prof John Barry from Queen's University has some tips for tackling our throwaway culture.


    We should "try and minimise the amount of food that we're buying that comes in packaging," Prof Barry told BBC Newsline.

    "Try and buy as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible because even though some of these are obviously perishable you can cook them and freeze them."

    He also advised younger people to talk to their grandparents about how to reduce waste, although presumably by phone in these socially-distant circumstances.

    Prof Barry said today's grandparents will "remember a time before our high-consumption lifestyles and we can learn a lot from how people lived, particularly in that period".

  12. Clap for our Carers

    National applause for coronavirus health workers

    People across the UK have taken part in a national applause of thanks for health workers helping in the fight against coronavirus.

    The public has been asked to follow strict regulations and stay at home.

    Video content

    Video caption: Clap for our Carers: National applause for coronavirus health workers
  13. Free public transport for health staff

    Northern Ireland's healthcare workers will be able to travel for free on public transport from tomrorow.

    "These are individuals, who are working day after day, are putting themselves in the frontline to save lives and look after some of the most vulnerable members of our community," Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon says.

    buses in belfast depot

    "They do this for each and every one of us and it is only right that we do what we can, no matter how small, to support them."

    Translink bus and rail services will operate a further reduced frequency timetable from Monday, the minister has also confirmed.

    "The timetable changes will ensure continued public transport coverage across Northern Ireland, so that our essential workers can continue to travel at peak times," she says.

  14. A message from one emergency service to another

    Police officers at Waterside PSNI station in Londonderry showed their appreciation for their colleagues in the NHS.

    View more on twitter
  15. Minecraft offers lessons for free


    Minecraft is making its educational worlds available for free, to help pupils no longer able to attend school because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The 12 digital lessons will be available to download until the end of June.

    They include tours of the International Space Station and the inside of a human eye, which "can be played on your own, or with parents or friends".

    The worlds offer creative writing and puzzles as well as build challenges.

    Read more here.

  16. Church bells to ring as sign of solidarity

    The bells of Holy Cross church in north Belfast are to be rung at noon tomorrow as a sign of hope and solidarity amid the coronavirus crisis.


    Community worker Brian McKee said the idea came after a request from a man in the nearby Shankill area and another from a parishioner.

    "The bells are in some way tapping into people's need to find some kind of hope," he said.

    "The streets are empty, there's a lot of silence around let's get out there at 12 o'clock tomorrow, ring the bells, make them a sign of hope."

    "People are angry, confused, they're lost, they need hope, they need meaning."