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Live Reporting

Amy Stewart, David Wilson, Chris Andrews and Colm Kelpie

All times stated are UK

  1. Take care

    That's the end of today's live coverage of the coronavirus crisis.

    Keep an eye on our website for the latest developments from around the world overnight.

    And join us here again from 07:30 BST tomorrow for more minute-by-minute updates on another day in lockdown.

    Until then, goodnight.

    Stay home stay safe sign
  2. Today's main developments

    Coronavirus test

    If you've missed the news today, here is a quick recap of the main headlines:

    • Five more people died in Northern Ireland after being diagnosed with coronavirus, bringing the total to 78
    • A staggering 938 deaths were reported across the UK
    • The Republic of Ireland confirmed 25 more Covid-19 related deaths, bring its total to 235
    • Boris Johnson's health is "improving" after two nights in intensive care, the chancellor said
    • Vocational exams have been cancelled in NI this summer due to the pandemic
  3. Who should wear face masks?

    facemaskwoman

    There has been a lot of confusion over who should be wearing face masks after a number of countries, including the US, advised their citizens to wear them in public to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    But now the World Health Organisation has re-examined the evidence and its advice is clear: only those who are sick and showing symptoms of the virus - or their carers - should use face masks.

    The UK does not advise most people to wear them, and there have been concerns that reusable cloth masks could even increase the risk of infection.

    Read more here

  4. 'Use public transport only when needed'

    Since the outbreak of coronavirus, Translink has been asking people to only use public transport if they need to - and if your journey is essential to make sure you stay two metres apart from other passengers

    View more on twitter
  5. UK's coronavirus crisis in graphics

    The latest data shows the number of confirmed cases and deaths in the UK remains lower than some other European countries.

    Meanwhile, more than half of UK deaths have been people aged 80 or older, with over 90% aged over 60.

    Look at all of today's charts and graphics plotting the rise of coronavirus in the UK.

    graph
    graph
  6. How society and journalism deals with a pandemic

    The latest episode of BBC News NI's Red Lines podcast looks at how society and journalism has responded to the coronavirus crisis.

    Mark Carruthers is joined by regulars Mark Devenport, John Campbell and Enda McClafferty, along with RTE's Legal Affairs turned-Covid-19-correspondent, Orla O'Donnell.

    View more on twitter
  7. BMA adds to calls for people not to visit family over Easter

    Many people here may find restrictions on public life especially difficult over Easter – a holiday time period normally spent in the company of family and friends.

    But the British Medical Association (BMA) in NI says it's vital we continue to observe guidelines around social distancing and essential journeys.

    easter eggs

    “We must all continue to work together to stop the spread of coronavirus and make sure our health system is able to manage and treat patients who become very unwell,” BMA chair Dr Tom Black says.

    He says that is why he is “appealing to the public not to visit family unnecessarily or see friends for the next few weeks until we have passed the peak of the outbreak".

    His BMA colleague Dr Anne Carson adds: “Please help us to help your families by staying at home.

    “This situation will not go on for ever, and we all look forward to the day when we can see our families again.”

  8. Food and medicine deliveries in NI - what you need to know

    shoppingtrolley

    If you are elderly or vulnerable and self-isolating because of the coronavirus outbreak, then getting food and medicine to your door is crucial.

    It can be difficult to know where to turn to when supermarket delivery slots are full or if you don't have a support network to call on.

    But help is available.

    Read more here to find out who you need to contact, if you need to get food or supplies delivered.

  9. NI charities to get minimum £10m - secretary of state

    Charities here will receive more than £10m as part of funding measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, Secretary of State Brandon Lewis says.

    The Chancellor announced a £750m package to keep struggling charities afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

    brandon lewis

    Mr Lewis says under the Barnett formula – used to decide how much money each of the UK nations receives - Northern Ireland charities will receive at least £10m.

    "The charity sector delivers key support to the most vulnerable in our society, and this initiative will help to ensure that they can continue to assist those who are most in need,” Mr Lewis says.

  10. Police speak to people setting up tent on beach

    Police in the north coast say they have spoken to people setting up a tent on the East Strand Beach, Portrush.

    They said they had spoken to the people in question, given them some guidance and a warning and they had gone home.

    View more on facebook
  11. NI ports and airports 'need UK government funding'

    Northern Ireland’s ports and airports need urgent funding from the UK government, the interim shadow Northern Ireland secretary says.

    Louise Haigh says the coronavirus pandemic threatens the future of regional connectivity.

    She has called for immediate government intervention.

    belfast internationa airport

    “This public health crisis must not become a long-term crisis of regional connectivity,” she says.

    The Labour MP says she spoke to airport and port representatives earlier on Wednesday and has now written to Secretary of State Brandon Lewis.

    “The message I have heard loud and clear today is that urgent support must be forthcoming from UK ministers to secure the future of airports and critical routes. It’s time for action.”

    Earlier this week, Stormont’s Finance, Economy and Infrastructure ministers outlined similar concerns to Secretary of State Brandon Lewis and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

  12. Island life during the Covid-19 outbreak

    "It's a very strange time, we would normally see hundreds of people coming over from all over the world, but with the lockdown, we are not taking any chances."

    Clyde Grobler lives on Rathlin Island with his partner Sarah and children Freyja and Jago.

    Rathlin is Northern Ireland's only inhabited off-shore island and it's famous for its seabirds.

    Mr Grobler, originally from South Africa, met Armagh-born Sarah on the island and they moved there nine years ago.

    The family are adjusting to life under lockdown, but their new normal is different again to that on the mainland.

    Read more here.

    children
  13. Advice for people with health conditions

    Coronavirus can affect anyone, but people with pre-existing health problems and older people are thought to be at greater risk of developing severe symptoms.

    If you have a long-term health condition, you may be feeling anxious.

    So here's what experts are advising.

    Coughing man
  14. How far can the coronavirus spread?

    David Shukman

    Science editor, BBC News

    spread of coroanvirus

    New computer models have simulated how people coughing can spread coronavirus in confined spaces like supermarket aisles.

    A consortium of Finnish research institutions has developed detailed animations showing how tiny droplets can drift and linger in the air.

    The research shows that a cough can produce particles which remain airborne for several minutes.

    The scientists involved say their work has not yet been scrutinised by other experts but does highlight the risks of spending time in busy places.

    Assistant Professor Ville Vuorinen of Aalto University in Helsinki had this advice for people thinking of visiting supermarkets: “First of all, don’t go there if you don’t need to go there. If you need to go there, only go as seldom as possible. And number three: stay there as short a time as possible.”

    The research may reinforce the view among many governments - from the US to Indonesia - that the public should wear face masks to minimise the risks of transmission.

  15. IFA furloughs 'number of staff'

    The Irish Football Association (IFA) has furloughed an unspecified number of staff members until further notice because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Northern Irish football's governing body said that the decision had been taken in order to protect the staff as well as the organisation.

    windsor park

    "We hope to be able to facilitate a return to work for these staff members as soon as possible," said chief executive Patrick Nelson, in a statement on Wednesday.

    In 2018, the IFA reported revenue and grant funding income of nearly £16m, and trading profits of £295,994.

    You can read more here

  16. Border checks for 'essential travel'

    Pleas have been made on both sides of the Irish border asking people not to travel.

    It comes as An Garda Síochána (Irish police force) launched a major crackdown on the movement of people over the Easter weekend.

    On the Strabane, County Tyrone and Lifford, County Donegal border today, police were checking that only essential travel was taking place.

    View more on twitter
  17. Watch: Chancellor gives update on PM's condition

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Boris Johnson is 'sitting up in bed'

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak says Boris Johnson's condition has improved after two nights in intensive care.

    Watch Mr Sunak's full update on the prime minister in the video above.

  18. In case you're just joining us...

    ... here are today's main developments in Northern Ireland:

  19. Woman jailed for coughing in police officer's face in ROI

    A 28-year-old woman has been jailed for four weeks for coughing in the face of a garda (Irish police officer), according to broadcaster RTÉ.

    She is the first person in the country to go to prison for the offence during the Covid-19 outbreak.

    Read more here.

    Garda officer
  20. 'Don't be tempted to head to parks and beaches', PSNI chief constable warns

    PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne has posted a video message on social media to urge people not to be "tempted to head to parks and beaches" and "ignore restrictions".

    "Now isn't the right time, you need to follow the rules that have been put in place," he said.

    View more on twitter

    "We will only use enforcement when it is absolutely necessary, if you are not listening and you are putting lives at risk.

    "What we do now can help slow the virus and we all have our part to play in that," he added.