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Live Reporting

Fiona Murray, Ali Gordon, Ross McKee, Michael McBride and Niall Glynn

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

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

    We'll be back again tomorrow morning from 07:00 BST to keep you across all the latest developments.

    Remember to stay safe, keep your distance and wash those hands.

  2. The View: "No scenario" where Army will be needed for policing, says Chief Constable.

    Speaking to Mark Carruthers on The View this evening, the Chief Constable was asked about staffing levels.

    Simon Byrne said the PSNI is monitoring the issue but said he is confident by putting officers on 12-hour-shifts they can continue to respond to calls.

    Mr Byrne said, despite a lot of speculation, they are not "anywhere near" having to call in the Army to assist the police service.

    "I do not conceive of a scenario were the PSNI will have to rely on military support to keep our service going."

    Mark Carruthers
  3. The View: Chief constable says no need to change policy

    Speaking to The View, Chief Constable Simon Byrne highlighted a number of issues facing the PSNI during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Mr Byrne said the vast majority of the public are adhering to social distancing measures and there is no need to alter the current policing stance.

    He said: "There is no need for change from the engage, educate and advise model as of yet".

    The chief constable said spit and bite guards to protect officers from "cough attacks" are only issued to specialised staff members and have not, to date, had to be used.

    Simon Byrne
  4. UUP leader rejects O'Neill comments

    Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken has responded to Michelle O'Neill's remarks on The View.

    He said Health Minister Robin Swann and health service staff "had been responding magnificently to the unprecedented challenge".

    Mr Aiken accused the deputy first minister and Sinn Féin of trying to gain political advantage "rather than joining together with the rest of the Executive’s political parties to do what is best for us all".

    Steve Aiken
  5. The View: O'Neill says PPE situation unacceptable

    Speaking on The View, Michelle O'Neill was also critical of the approach to supplying PPE equipment.

    She said: "We have Robin on one hand saying we’ve adequate supply at this moment in time of protection equipment, however that’s not the reality on the ground."

    The deputy first minister said she had spoken to many doctors and nurses who said they did not have scrubs and were "fearful to go to work".

    She said: "These are people we’re going to be relying on through the most difficult of times we’ve ever been through and these people are afraid to go to work. That’s not acceptable."

  6. O'Neill voices criticism of health department

    Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill has criticised Stormont's Department of Health's handling of the crisis saying it has been "too slow to act."

    Speaking to The View, which is about to start on BBC One NI, Ms O'Neill called for increased testing.

    She said: "Slavishly following the Boris Johnson model, which has been too slow to act, has meant we are not as prepared as we could be, at this moment in time."

    Ms O'Neill said she wants "unity in the Executive" but said she was sure the public would prefer she "shape things into the way they should be" by following World Health Organisation advice to "do more testing".

    The show is on BBC One NI at 22.35, immediately after BBC Newsline.

    Michelle O"neill
  7. Confirmed global Covid-19 cases pass one million

    More than a million cases of coronavirus have been registered globally, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University - another grim milestone as the world grapples with the spreading pandemic.

    More than 51,000 people have died and more than 208,000 have recovered, according to the university's figures.

    The US accounts for the most cases; Italy the highest death toll.

    The disease, Covid-19, first emerged in central China three months ago.

    Though the tally kept by Johns Hopkins records one million confirmed cases, the actual number is thought to be much higher.

    Read more

    Healthcare workers
  8. Cancer patients moved at City Hospital

    Catherine Smyth

    BBC News NI

    All cancer patients at Belfast City Hospital Tower Block will be moved to facilitate the creation of the Nightingale Hospital.

    In a statement, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said they will be moving "all patients who have had chemotherapy treatment in the Tower Block" to the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre.

    The centre is a separate facility on the Belfast City Hospital site.

    Belfast City Tower Block
  9. Stormont turns blue for NHS

    Parliament Buildings turned blue tonight, and will do so every Thursday as a mark of gratitude and appreciation for those working in the NHS and other public services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    View more on twitter
  10. Sunday trading restrictions in Belfast to be relaxed

    Mark Simpson

    BBC News NI

    Belfast city centre

    Sunday trading restrictions in Belfast are to be relaxed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

    The City Council is temporarily allowing an extra three hours of shopping to help healthcare staff and vulnerable people.

    Starting this weekend, large stores and supermarkets will be able to open at 10:00 BST, rather than 13:00 local time, to help key workers.

    It is not known how many will stores will take advantage of the relaxed restrictions.

    A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said the arrangement will be in place from 5 April until further notice, with the exception of Easter Sunday, "to facilitate shopping for essential items for healthcare staff and vulnerable people".

  11. Social work graduates 'being fast-tracked into employment'

    Catherine Smyth

    BBC News NI

    The chief social worker here says this year’s social work graduates are being fast-tracked into employment to alleviate pressure during the Covid-19 crisis.

    Retired social workers are also being asked to express any interest in returning to work.

    Sean Holland says the Department of Health is working to ensure new or returning staff are supported in their roles.

    Sean Holland

    In a letter to all social work staff here Mr Holland said it’s vital urgent operational decisions aren’t delayed even if senior staff are unavailable.

    He said managers will be expected to make decisions particularly where there is an immediate threat to health or safety.

    Mr Holland also urged social workers to try not to become overwhelmed and stressed during this time.

  12. Not all heroes wear capes (but often they wear scrubs...)

    Nurse Liesel Radcliffe Nihell came home from a busy shift in Newtownards to three cheers from her three biggest supporters - her children, Beth, Rowen and Myah.

    Beth, Rowen and Myah Nihell
  13. A rainbow of support as people 'Clap for Carers'

    For the second time, people took to their doorsteps, balconies, windows (and from wherever else they are isolating...) to 'Clap for Carers'.

    View more on twitter

    People were out in full force in west Belfast...

    Clapping in west Belfast

    And Brookeborough, Bailey the cat showed his support too...

    Bailey the cat
  14. Emergency services join applause for carers

    Cheers and applause rang out across Northern Ireland again as people showed their support for those on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic.

    While many members of the public took to their doorsteps to 'clap for carers', blue lights were flashing in Belfast...

    View more on twitter

    ...and in Strabane as those on the emergency services applauded the workers doing their best, and potentially risking their lives, too.

    View more on facebook
  15. 109 people in intensive care in Republic of Ireland

    There are currently 109 people in intensive care in the Republic of Ireland with Covid-19, the country’s health minister has said.

    Simon Harris said 25 people who were in intensive care with coronavirus have been discharged, and 14 have died.

    Simon Harris

    In a live video, posted on Twitter, Mr Harris said that community transmission has accounted for 60% of the virus’ spread.

    But he said he was pleased with the public’s response to limiting the spread and that “the track Ireland is on is the right one”.

    There are now 3,849 confirmed cases in the country.

  16. Piper ready to make some noise for health workers

    People are again being asked to go to their front doors tonight and show their appreciation for those health workers on the frontline.

    One Bangor woman, Regina Pendleton, will be making plenty of noise with her bagpipes.


    She'll be playing Scotland the Brave in tribute to the courage of the workers.

    "It's to keep everybody patient and smiling whilst this unprecedented situation goes on," she told Evening Extra.

    "So it was just to make more loud noise and fill the air full of music."