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Live Reporting

Michael Sheils McNamee and Colm Kelpie

All times stated are UK

  1. Thank you for joining us - we'll be back tomorrow

    And with that we are going to pause our live coverage for today. Thank you for joining us. Our morning team will be starting a new report tomorrow (Easter Sunday) morning at 09:00 BST

    Here is a reminder of some of today's developments:

    • The Public Health Agency has confirmed another 15 people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died in NI. It is the highest daily death toll here so far and brings the total number of deaths here since the outbreak began to 107.
    • Two formal requests for assistance from the Army have been made by Health Minister Robin Swann, a decision Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill said was taken "unilaterally".
  2. 8,928 confirmed coronavirus cases in ROI

    With the latest German figures included, there are now a total of 8,928 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland.

    Regarding the 33 deaths reported today, 25 had an underlying health condition, Ireland's Department of Health said.

    The median age was 82.

  3. BreakingFurther 33 Covid-19-linked deaths in ROI

    There have been a further 33 coronavirus-linked deaths in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the death toll there to 320.

    The country's Department of Health said there has been an additional 533 cases as of 13:00 local time today confirmed by Irish laboratories, and 286 by a laboratory in Germany.

  4. Do not put off seeking treatment for cardiac conditions - Western Trust

    An important health message from the Western Trust.

    It has advised the public not to put off seeking treatment if they think they are experiencing a common cardiac condition like a heart attack.

    “We have noticed that the number of patients coming to hospital with common cardiac conditions such as heart attacks has fallen away dramatically and this is a pattern that has been seen in all regions affected by the Covid-19 outbreak," said Dr McGlinchey, the consultant cardiologist at the Western Trust.

    A woman holding her chest

    “We think that patients are avoiding seeking medical attention for their complaints because of the public advice given or perhaps because of a fear on being exposed to Covid-19 if they attend the hospital.

    "We want to assure patients that there are excellent treatment options available for treating common cardiac conditions."

  5. Testing backlog cleared by end of next week, says Irish government

    The testing backlog in the Republic will be cleared by the end of next week, the Irish government has said.

    Addressing the media on Saturday afternoon, the country's health minister Simon Harris said between 25,000 and 30,000 tests had been sent to Germany and "well over" half of the results had been returned.

    Simon Harris

    "To be very clear to the Irish people, it is our hope, our expectation, and our plan, that by the end of next week any backlog in the allocation of testing will be addressed," he said.

    "We want to move to a place where people can get their test results within 48 hours."

  6. Has the NHS got enough PPE?

    Healthcare worker wearing PPE

    The British Medical Association (BMA) has said supplies of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) are "dangerously low" in some parts of the UK and staff are at risk.

    But the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said there is enough of this "precious resource" to go around, as long as it is used within the guidelines.

    So who is right? BBC News online's health editor looks at the arguments.

  7. UK daily death toll over 900 for second day

    The UK has recorded 917 new coronavirus deaths, taking the total number of people who have died in hospital with the virus to 9,875.

    For the second day in a row, the UK's daily death toll exceeded 900. On Friday there were a record 980 deaths.

    People are being urged to enjoy a 'stay-at-home Easter' amid lockdown, despite warm weather in much of the UK.

    People standing in a park with face masks on

    The UK-wide figures, which are accurate as of 17:00 BST on Friday, do not include those who died in care homes or the community.

    In Scotland 47 more deaths were reported on Saturday, while 36 were reported in Wales and 15 in Northern Ireland.

    Read the full story here.

  8. People Before Profit object to calling in Army

    The decision by Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann to ask for Army assistance during the coronavirus crisis has been criticised by People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll.

    Mr Carroll said he was concerned the move "may open the door to a security or military-led approach to deal with a health pandemic".

    Gerry Carroll

    Mr Swann has formally requested Army help to distribute Personal Protection Equipment and to plan a second Nightingale hospital in Northern Ireland.

    But Mr Carroll said: "If soldiers want to join the volunteer effort and take up roles as health workers, ambulance drivers, porters, cleaners etc., then this could of course be welcomed. But they should not be uniformed, and must be under the direction of the NHS at all times.

  9. PM needs 'time and space' to recover from Covid-19 - Patel

    Boris Johnson's last public appearance before going into hospital

    Home Secretary Priti Patel has said Prime Minister Boris Johnson needs time and space to recover from Covid-19 before he returns to work.

    Mr Johnson is said to be making "very good progress" in hospital, having moved back into a ward after spending three nights in intensive care.

    Ms Patel led today's government briefing on the Covid-19 crisis and was asked what Cabinet thinks about when the prime minister should get back to work.

    "We want him to get better and he needs the time and space to rest, recuperate, and recover," she replied, but did not indicate timings.

  10. Republic of Ireland's '2km from home rule largely obeyed' - gardaí

    Gardaí (Irish police) checkpoint near Irish border

    The vast majority of the Irish public are obeying Covid-19 restrictions, including a rule that they should not travel more than 2km (1.2 miles) from home for exercise, a senior garda (Irish police) officer has said.

    However, Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey said some cyclists are continuing to take long journeys and some motorists are attempting to drive to the beaches.

    He warned people to stop travelling excessive distances to shop and gave an example of one man who drove from Tipperary to Limerick to buy a trampoline.

    Read more here.

  11. Online child abuse area of concern during pandemic - Patel

    Ms Patel has spoken about a changing picture of crime in the United Kingdom amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    Having highlighted the major problem of domestic abuse, she said fraud and online child abuse were also areas of concern.

    She said fraud totalling £1.8m had taken place since the start of the outbreak.

    On an increase in online child abuse, she said perpetrators are "seeking to exploit the fact that more and more young people are at home and online".

  12. Measures announced to combat domestic abuse

    Home Secretary Priti Patel has used this afternoon's daily Downing Street coronavirus update to announce a number of measures to tackle domestic violence.

    In her briefing, she said there had been a 120% increase in calls to the national domestic abuse helpline.

    "For the victims of these crimes, home is not the safe haven that it should be," she said.

    Priti Patel at the afternoon briefing

    She announced that a £2m fund would be put towards services to help smaller domestic abuse charities provide support.

    This would be done mostly through online means, and would involve a partnership with technology company Fujitsu.

    Ms Patel also called for the "amazing compassion and community spirit" which has emerged during the coronavirus outbreak "to help those that are trapped in the sickening cycle of abuse".

    To do this, she said the government was launching an emblem of a hand print embossed with a heart, which she called on the public to display online and in the windows of their homes.

    It is the first time Ms Patel has fronted the government's daily coronavirus briefing.

  13. 'We must be prepared to do the uncomfortable to save lives ' - SDLP

    Calling for Army assistance during the Covid-19 crisis has proved controversial among some Stormont parties but the SDLP's Dolores Kelly has signalled her support for the move.

    She said "extraordinary measures", including military involvement in the distribution of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) or hospital construction, may be needed to prevent deaths.

    The SDLP's policing spokeswoman issued her statement after Health Minister Robin Swann confirmed he had made two formal requests to the Army for help with PPE and planning another Nightingale hospital.

    Dlores Kelly

    Sinn Féin and People before Profit have objected to Mr Swann's move but Ms Kelly said it "would be wrong to pick a partisan fight over emergency measures necessary to save lives".

    “No one wants to see soldiers on our streets. The memory of that time is still raw for many people and many communities across Northern Ireland," Ms Kelly said.

    "But we are in the middle of a global public health emergency. That means all of our options have to be on the table and political leaders must be prepared to do the uncomfortable to save lives."

    The SDLP MLA added there should be "no additional security role" for the Army and the PSNI should remain in charge of policing during the pandemic.

  14. See how the global pandemic is unfolding

    The scale of the pandemic is difficult to comprehend. As it stands, more than 1.7 million people have been infected by coronavirus and at least 103,000 people have died.

    Behind those grim statistics are people whose lives have been tragically cut short by the virus.

    To help you make sense of the pandemic, how it is spreading and where it is concentrated, we've put together a visual guide.

    Included in that guide are the graphics below, which give a sense of how the pandemic has developed.

    Coronavirus graph
  15. NI doctor says PPE is not being wasted

    A leading Northern Ireland doctor has rejected any suggestion that medical staff are over-using Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

    Dr Tom Black, chair of the British Medical Association in Northern Ireland, was speaking after Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned on Friday that PPE should only be used where it was most needed.

    "There's enough PPE to go around, but only if it's used in line with our guidance. We need everyone to treat PPE like the precious resource that it is," Mr Hancock said.

    Dr Tom Black

    Dr Black, who helped to set up NI's Covid centre, told BBC News NI: "I think we are using our PPE appropriately, we have to use different PPE for different clinical scenarios.

    “We have to make sure that we use our PPE in the proper way, because we know that we’re the healthcare workers that will be left without it if we use it inappropriately.”

    He added: “The last thing we want to see is doctors or nurses and healthcare workers coming to harm because there isn’t the right type of PPE or sufficient stock of PPE."

  16. NI's overall coronavirus death toll reaches 107

    On Saturday, Northern Ireland marked a grim coronavirus milestone as the number of deaths reached triple figures.

    Covid-19 statistical graphic

    A total of 107 people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died here, according to the latest figures from the Public Health Agency.

    A further 128 positive cases have also been confirmed in the daily update, meaning 1,717 people have been infected here in total.

  17. It's a fine day but don't get fined

    The Police Service of Northern Ireland have stepped up patrols over this Easter weekend in a bid to ensure the public are obeying lockdown restrictions.

    From Good Friday onward, officers warned they would be issuing £60 on-the-spot fines to anyone found to be ignoring the guidelines.

    Today, pet owners in some western beauty spots felt the long arm of the law.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  18. BreakingAnother 15 people with Covid-19 die in NI

    The Public Health Agency has confirmed that another 15 people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland,

    It is the highest daily death toll so far and brings the total number of deaths here since the outbreak began to 107.

    View more on twitter
  19. BBQ weather but be careful

    Thinking of enjoying the good weather with a barbecue in the garden?

    The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to follow its safety advice after there was a huge rise in the amount of fires in the home last month, compared to March 2019.

    View more on twitter