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Live Reporting

Ciara Colhoun, Ali Gordon, Michael McBride and Edited by Colm Kelpie

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night!

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

    We'll be back again tomorrow morning to keep you across all the day's developments.

    It's the weekend but the virus won't take time off so please remember: stay safe, keep your distance and wash your hands.

    Be more Caleb and John Cosgrove! Thanks to mum Lisa for the pic.

    Rainbow in the window
  2. HSE: Product testing 'on all PPE shipments'

    The Health Service Executive in the Republic of Ireland has been responding to claims that some PPE equipment which was bought recently was not been suitable for use.

    It said its infection prevention and control clinical experts have been undertaking product testing on all shipments received in order to assess quality and suitability.

    Some staff had claimed that some PPE that has arrived from China in recent days was not fit for use.

    “We are very grateful to our Chinese partners for facilitating us and we look forward to receiving further quantities of materials from this source over the coming weeks," a HSE spokesperson said.

  3. First Minister says there is a 'unity of purpose'

    First Minister Arlene Foster has said there is a "unity of purpose" among the executive to save lives.

    She was speaking after Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill criticised the response of the Department of Health to the crisis.

    Arlene Foster

    At the daily Stormont briefing, Ms O'Neill also stressed that ministers were working together.

    A total of 48 people have died with coronavirus in Northern Ireland, with 904 confirmed cases in the region.

    Mrs Foster highlighted the fact that a surge in cases was expected between 6 April and 20 April.

    She said it was very important that "regardless of all of the other bits of noise", public health messages still got out.

    Mrs Foster added: "So be under no illusion and let me say again, we are very much united in that unity of purpose in saving lives."

    More on this story here

  4. Air Ambulance decision 'not taken lightly'

    We heard earlier about the decision to temporarily suspend the Air Ambulance helicopter service in Northern Ireland.

    Air Ambulance NI has tweeted more details on the announcement below.

    Health Minister Robin Swann said the decision to suspend the service was "not taken lightly".

    View more on twitter
  5. Dogs could be put down, animal charity warns

    An animal charity has warned that dogs may have to be put down as a result of the crisis.

    Assisi Animal Sanctuary has shipped 2,000 dogs from Northern Ireland to England over the last 13 years to be rehomed, but those plans have been put on hold.

    Chief Executive Officer Nigel Mason explained that before the introduction of the scheme thousands of dogs were euthanised because "they had nowhere else to go".

    Dog behind fence

    The sanctuary put a stop to that system, but due to the outbreak, those dogs can no longer be taken overseas.

    "We can’t guarantee that we can save every dog," he added.

  6. Coronavirus in NI: Today's key developments

    If you are just joining us, it was a day when it was confirmed that 12 more people had died with the virus in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours - the highest daily total so far.

    A further 130 people tested positive for the virus.

    There were a further 22 Covid-19-linked deaths in the Republic of Ireland over the last 24 hours - bringing the total to 120.

    Latest figures showed a further 684 people with the virus died in the UK, bringing the total to 3,605.

    Below are some of the other key developments in Northern Ireland:

    • Finance Minister Conor Murphy has confirmed that an order for personal protective equipment (PPE) from China was not completed
    • NI is to receive over five million items of PPE including goggles, aprons and masks from Great Britain
    • First Minister Arlene Foster stressed a "unity of purpose" among ministers after Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill criticised the Department of Health
    • The first Northern Ireland testing site for health staff will go live this weekend at the SSE Arena car park, with tests from County Antrim firm Randox being used in the initiative
    • A consortium including Queens University Belfast and Ulster University has been set up to scale up diagnostic testing in Northern Ireland
  7. Nichola Mallon thanks essential service workers

    The Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, has thanked Translink and NI Water staff for the essential service they are carrying out during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    In a video posted to Twitter, the minister thanked Translink staff for "keeping our busses and our trains running so that key workers and healthcare workers can get to and from work".

    She also praised staff at NI Water for ensuring people "have access to safe, clean drinking water and treatment of wastewater."

    "We will get through this if we work together," she adds.

    View more on twitter
  8. Coronavirus 'does not respect borders', says NI secretary of state

    Brandon Lewis has praised County Antrim company Randox for manufacturing Covid-19 testing kits.

    Health Minister Robin Swann said on Friday that NI's first NHS coronavirus staff testing site will go live this weekend at the SSE Arena car park in Belfast.

    Kits from the diagnostic company will be used for the testing.

    View more on twitter
  9. Irish abroad? 'Come home!'

    The Republic of Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs says "options are reducing rapidly" in terms of commercial flights landing on Irish soil.

    View more on twitter
  10. Belfast GP calls on Department of Health to change PPE guidance

    Sara Girvin

    BBC News NI

    Dr Louise Douglas

    A Belfast GP has appealed to the Department of Health to change guidance around the standard of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) available to healthcare workers in Northern Ireland during the Covid 19 outbreak.

    Dr Louise Douglas is concerned with the protective apron healthcare workers are being provided with.

    The World Heath Organisation (WHO) recommends that workers wear a long-sleeved gown.

    Dr Douglas says the standard-issue apron leaves part of her scrubs exposed to the virus.

    “The staff are the most valuable resource in the NHS. You could go out and buy 100,000 ventilators and open up one million beds, but if you do not have your staff healthy, then it’s pointless," she says.

  11. Football league issue guidance to NI clubs

    The Northern Ireland Football League has issued guidance to clubs that have been financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

    In a statement, the NIFL said the general guide aims to assist member clubs and "signpost potential support" during the crisis.

    However, the organising body stressed that this is for "general guidance only" and clubs are also encouraged to use all government guidance and support available to them.

    View more on twitter
  12. Website set up for pregnant women during Covid-19

    A new website has been launched by the Public Health Agency for women who are pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic.

    It contains general advice and guidance, as well as information on what is happening in local maternity units.

    Pregnant woman

    To find out more visit NI Maternity.

  13. NIFRS appeal to farmers to stop controlled burnings

    Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has appealed to farmers to not carry out controlled burnings.

    In a tweet, the service said there has been a reduction in the number of frontline firefighters available to respond to emergencies.

    The NIFRS appealed for farmers' support during this challenging time.

    View more on twitter
  14. 'Ease the burden on bin collectors'

    People here are being urged to take simple steps to ease the burden on bin collectors as restrictions on public life continue.

    "During this pandemic we must do all we can not to intensify the burden on our public health services," Environment Minister Edwin Poots says.

    houshold bins

    "By recycling correctly, putting your waste in the right bin and not dumping unwanted waste we can all play our part - it’s that simple," he says.

    Mr Poots says maintaining critical services like bin collections is an Executive priority.

    "These men and women not only help protect our environment and public health but play a vital role in keeping the supply chain functioning," he added.

  15. Council opens £50,000 community support fund

    Derry and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) has opened a support fund of £50,000 to community groups responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    In a statement, DCSDC said the funding will assist with the "delivery of support" and "bolster vital community services".

    The money is part of a £280,000 Resilience Programme package of advance funding announced by the council last week.

    Grants of £1,000 to £2,500 are available to the community groups.

    Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Michaela Boyle, urged local groups to avail of the support and welcomed the funding as "pressure on these community networks continues to grow".

    View more on twitter
  16. Air Ambulance helicopter service temporarily suspended

    Air Ambulance NI and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service have temporarily suspended the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service.

    They say that the "difficult decision" took effect from 19:00 BST.

    They say the temporary suspension is "to free up key clinical staff to be redeployed to use their specific skills and expertise in critical care during the current public health emergency".

    The decision will be reviewed on "an ongoing basis with all parties committed to recommencing the service immediately when the staff can be reallocated".

    Air Ambulance service
  17. Avoid 'beaches or beauty spots' at weekend, says PSNI

    Causeway Coast and Glen PSNI has appealed to the public to avoid "popular beaches and beauty spots" at the weekend.

    In a tweet, the police service said it is asking everyone to respect social distancing regulations.

    The PSNI said do not travel if it is not necessary and to "use common sense" so that we can "all maintain a safe social distance."

    View more on twitter
  18. Church donates £50,000 of PPE to hospital

    Tandragee Free Presbyterian has donated £50,000 worth of personal protective equipment to Craigavon Hospital.

    Clerk of session and DUP councillor, Lavelle McIlwrath, said: "Our committee felt that this was an unprecedented situation and with Craigavon hospital on our doorstep then it was only right and proper that we should help practically where we could."

  19. Concern in Republic over nursing home 'clusters'

    The Republic of Ireland's chief medical officer has said there is concern at the number of clusters of coronavirus cases identified in nursing homes.

    care homes

    "We have identified a range of measures, working with the HSE," Dr Tony Holohan said.

    "We need to see continuous actions being taken to reduce the risk of transmission in nursing home and long-term residential facilities."

  20. Western Trust chief reflects on paediatric services plan

    Earlier, we posted that Western Health Trust chief executive Dr Anne Kilgallen said paediatric services are already experiencing staff shortages due to Covid-19.

    The trust has now posted a clip of Dr Kilgallen reflecting on the regional plan to consolidate and secure paediatric services during the expected Covid-19 surge.

    View more on twitter