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Live Reporting

Amy Stewart, Chris Andrews and Judith Cummings

All times stated are UK

  1. Take care

    We're ending our live coverage for the night.

    It's been a busy day in which a grim milestone was passed as the number of global deaths in the coronavirus pandemic topped 100,000.

    Stay with the BBC news website for more developments overnight - we'll be back here with minute-by-minute updates tomorrow morning.

    Until then, stay home and stay safe.


  2. How things stand

    Here's a round-up of recent developments in the coronavirus pandemic:

    • Three people were issued with £60 fines by the PNSI on Friday for breaching restrictions
    • More than 300 NI businesses have offered to help produce personal protective equipment with orders placed for 75 million items
    • 2,500 small manufacturing firms in Northern Ireland will now qualify for a £10,000 coronavirus support grant
    • More than half of those who have died after testing positive for Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland were nursing home residents
    • The global death toll has now passed 100,000
  3. Don't ignore guidance

    Ards and North Down Borough Council, a district with many beaches and country parks, has tweeted to urge people to stay away from popular areas and stay at home.

    View more on twitter
  4. Leaving Cert exams will take place in RoI

    The Republic of Ireland’s equivalent to A-level exams will not take place until late July or August, RTÉ has reported.

    Ireland's Department of Education says it will provide more detail on the Leaving Certificate examinations in early June.

    school pupils sitting exams

    Junior Certificate exams, taken when pupils are about 15, are being cancelled this year.

    They'll be replaced with assessments and exams during the next school year.

    The department says it is acting on National Public Health Emergency Team advice.

    Schools in the Republic of Ireland closed on 12 March until further notice.

  5. 'Deadly resurgence' if curbs lifted too early

    Lifting coronavirus lockdown measures too early could spark a "deadly resurgence" in infections, the World Health Organization chief has warned.

    Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries should be cautious about easing restrictions, even as some struggle with the economic impact.

    woman in face mask

    He said there had been a "welcome slowing" of the epidemics in some European countries.

    But there was an "alarming acceleration" in other countries, he added, including in Africa.

    Globally there are 1.6m cases of coronavirus and reportedly more than 100,000 deaths.

    You can read more here

  6. No balls, please

    The suspension of all football activities in the Republic of Ireland due to the coronavirus crisis has been extended until 5 May.

    The Football Association of Ireland made the announcement following directives from the Irish government.


    The FAI said the decision to extend the cessation order was taken in the best interests of players, coaches, volunteers, supporters and staff.

    "This decision will be monitored on an ongoing basis," said an FAI statement.

  7. Dental scheme deluge

    More than 1,000 applications have been made to a financial support scheme here to help dentists during the pandemic.

    The Department of Health has received a total of 1,170 applications to the Coronavirus Financial Support Scheme for General Dental Practitioners

    dentist chair

    Health Minister Robin Swann says the scheme was put in place because routine dental practice has been suspended “to protect the safety of both dental staff and the public".

    “In response, I established the support scheme to ensure that urgent dental care can continue to be provided throughout Northern Ireland during the pandemic and that full services can resume as soon as possible thereafter,” he says.

  8. Teachers' union warns about dangers online

    Spending more time on devices during the pandemic could mean children are more exposed to increased online risk, a teachers' union is warning.

    Jacquie White, of the Ulster Teachers’ Union, says there are concerns children “might be innocently drawn into dangerous online situations”.

    kids on laptop and tablet

    “It’s more important than ever for parents and carers to have regular conversations with their children about what they’re doing online and for children to know that they can and must come to them with any concerns,” she says.

    The Department of Education has launched the Safer Schools app providing advice on helping children stay safe online.

    More info is also available here

  9. Small businesses qualify for grant

    Clodagh Rice

    BBC News NI business correspondent

    Two thousand five hundred small manufacturing firms in Northern Ireland will now qualify for a £10,000 coronavirus support grant, the economy minister has confirmed.

    The grant was originally being paid to firms that qualify for small business rates relief with a rateable value of less than £15,000.

    Small manufacturing firms did not qualify because they are covered by a different rates relief known as industrial derating.

    Companies which had previously applied to the scheme received an email confirming eligibility, saying the earliest date to expect payment is 22 April.


    More than 14,000 payments have already made to businesses who applied for the £10,000 grant.

    Read the full story here.

  10. Apple and Google team up

    Leo Kelion

    Technology desk editor

    Apple and Google are jointly developing technology to alert people if they have recently come into contact with others found to be infected with coronavirus.

    They hope to initially help third-party contact-tracing apps run efficiently.

    google and apple covid 19 app

    But ultimately, they aim to do away with the need to download dedicated apps, to encourage the practice.

    The two companies believe their approach - designed to keep users, whose participation would be voluntary, anonymous - addresses privacy concerns

  11. Nursing home residents hardest hit

    A total of 288 people who had tested positive for Covid-19 have now died in the Republic of Ireland.

    According to national broadcaster RTÉ, more than half of those who died were residents of nursing homes.

    View more on twitter
  12. What can police fine you for?


    The police have warned people in the UK not to head out over the Easter Weekend.

    In Northern Ireland, the PSNI says spot fines will be issued to those breaking the rules.Three such fines were issued on Friday.

    The PSNI has also set up a new webpage where people can report instances of flouting social distancing restrictions.

    But what does the law say about the police's extra powers?

    Read our guide from BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani.

  13. NI's 'great effort saving lives'

    Queen's University virologist Dr Ultan Power describes the UK's coroanvirus-related death rate as worrisome, but says a "great effort" in Northern Ireland is making "a big difference and saving lives".

    View more on twitter

    There have been 92 coronavirus-related deaths in Northern Ireland and 1,589 confirmed cases.

    He compares NI's death rate to that of South Korea, which has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic.

  14. 'Protect 600 patients'

    Sometimes the worst of times bring out the best in us.

    Yasemin Adali, a Turkish epidemiology student in Belfast, decided that rather than return home during the Covid-19 outbreak, she would stay and volunteer to work in the Covid diagnostics lab.

    She told Evening Extra when her government had asked if she would like to stay or come home, she decided to stay in Belfast

    "I saw an email asking for laboratory volunteers," she said.

    View more on twitter

    “Before the email I was panicking, like everybody," she said.

    "After I saw the email I thought: ‘This is my job. I am a biologist and I can be helpful. This is a chance.'

    “I’ve stayed here because if you diagnose one patient, you can protect 600 patients, because one person can secrete the disease to another 600 patients.

    Yasemin, who said she loved living in Belfast, admitted it was currently a lonely experience as most other students had returned home, but she was thankful to be able to stay in touch with friends and family via social media.

  15. New guidance for domiciliary care workers

    The Department of Health has published updated guidance for domiciliary care providers in Northern Ireland.

    The guidance provides advice to trusts and independent providers on supply of PPE and staffing arrangements.

    It includes:

    • The provision of a buffer stock
    • Connecting independent providers with PPE suppliers
    • Supporting staffing arrangements

    Chief Social Worker Sean Holland said: “Domiciliary care plays a vital role in helping people to live as independently as possible.

    "During this pandemic it is essential that we do everything we can to support it. That is why we have issued this new guidance."

    The Guidance can be found here.

  16. Birthday 'pawty' in County Meath

    These are uncertain and frightening times for many but we've seen so many acts of kindness and human interaction, even if it is at a safe social distance.

    Here's one example: Gardaí (Irish police) in County Meath made a surprise birthday visit to dog lover Sean Cox with Grisley the police dog, and neighbours sang happy birthday.

    View more on twitter
  17. Relatives can't be with dying patients

    A particularly cruel aspect of Covid-19 is that victims' families cannot be with them in hospital rooms in their final moments due to the risk of them also becoming infected.

    Earlier, retired GP Dr John Kyle called on the Department of Health to give loved ones personal protective equipment (PPE) to allow them to spend time with dying relatives.

    However, the department said that would not be possible.

    View more on twitter

    Relatives have been assured that “no one will die alone” as a nurse will be with them.

    Grief counsellor Bridget Molloy told BBC Evening Extra that this would be hard for nurses as you “do not have to know the person to feel grief that comes with death”.

    “Watching someone die can be painful. It can be very painful for anybody, especially if you're a nurse. You may be on a shift in a ward and must sit with five or six people and who do you bring that home to?” she said.

    She added that for the family it was good that there would be “some level of comfort to the dying person”.

  18. Friday's breakdown


    If you're just catching up on the latest in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, here are some of today's key developments: