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Live Reporting

Niall Glynn and Ross McKee

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight and stay safe

    It was a day when Northern Ireland reached its highest daily death toll of 18.

    But it also saw people here again show their appreciation to frontline workers.

    We'll be back in the morning with more of the latest news. Goodnight and stay safe.

  2. Today's key developments

    Corona swabs

    We thought it was time to reflect on some of the key developments today in relation to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Northern Ireland and beyond.

    The deaths of 18 more people in hospital in Northern Ireland with Covid-19, is the highest rise in deaths in a 24-hour period since the outbreak began, bringing the total to 158.

    Forty-three people have died in the Republic of Ireland after being diagnosed with Covid-19, the highest figure reported in a single day.

    It means the total number of deaths there is now 486.

    Other key developments include:

    • Health Minister Robin Swann has asked the Northern Ireland critical care network to review whether families can be allowed to visit patients in intensive care
    • Teachers in NI will predict the grades they think pupils would have achieved in cancelled GCSE, AS and A-level exams
    • The PSNI says anyone travelling from home for exercise if they do not need to is in breach of lockdown restrictions
    • Lockdown restrictions in the UK will continue for "at least" another three weeks
    • People across NI have shown their appreciation for healthcare workers by clapping and sounding horns
  3. Predicting grades 'vindication for teachers'

    Reaction is still coming in to the announcement that teachers in Northern Ireland will predict the grades they think pupils would have achieved in cancelled GCSE, AS and A-level exams.

    That has been welcomed by the Ulster Teachers' Union who said it was a vindication of its members.


    “For too long education has been blighted by endless, overly bureaucratic assessment and box ticking, leaving teachers’ professionalism increasingly undermined," the union's Stephen McCord said.

    “For years now we have pleaded for a return to a system where our expertise and professionalism is recognised when it comes to pupil assessment.

    “It is ironic then that it’s taken this crisis to show what we knew all along, that teachers are more than capable of this, without recourse to overblown bureaucracy and the endless testing which in fact robs young people of other invaluable educational activities and for many sucks the joy from the classroom."

  4. Healthcare workers in Enniskillen show their respect

    Julian Fowler

    BBC News NI

    Staff at South West Acute Hospital

    Frontline workers at the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen were joined by other emergency services as they showed respect and sympathy for those who have died with Covid-19 and their families.

    It was also their chance to show appreciation to the local community for their efforts to observe social distancing measures and self-isolate, which is helping to protect the NHS in the fight against coronavirus.

  5. Hospital staff say thank you

    Staff gathered outside Lagan Valley Hospital to say thank you to the public for their support - with a little help from a fire engine.

    View more on twitter
  6. PSNI chief constable praises NHS staff

    PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne has paid tribute to NHS staff and urged the public to continue to observe social distancing regulations.

    View more on twitter
  7. Shipyard siren hails healthcare workers

    BBC NI weather presenter Barra Best has highlighted this tweet by Joel Neill of the shipyard siren in Belfast hailing healthcare workers.

    View more on twitter
  8. Derry factory horn blasts out for the NHS workers

    Last week the Harland and Wolff shipyard horn was sounded in tribute to NHS workers during the coronavirus crisis.

    Not to be outdone, this week the horn at Ebrington Factory joined the cacophony in the north-west.

    The horn at the former shirt factory sounded out again across the city just as it did in years gone by.

    View more on twitter
  9. Gary Lightbody's foundation makes charity donations

    A charity set up by Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody has made £10,000 donations to a number of charities "whose services are under increasingly high demand" due to the coronavirus crisis.

    View more on twitter
  10. Scientists 'trying to manage expectations'

    Earlier today Prof Neil Ferguson from Imperial College - a scientist advising the government - said a "significant level" of social distancing would be needed until a vaccine was found.

    "I think what they're trying to do is manage expectation," consultant virologist Dr Chris Smith told Evening Extra.


    "People have complied very well for the most part with these very draconian measures and now they're asking people to do that more.

    "If you ask people to do it for another couple of weeks and they say actually it's going to be another couple of weeks, another couple of weeks, people are going to lose the will to live, they're not going to want to comply.

    "By saying to people you're going to have to plan for a long-term set of measures here, if we do start to lift things sooner people will feel rewarded.

    "I think this is the strategy they're taking, they don't want to dangle this carrot then snatch it away."

  11. 'I wasn't able to give her a kiss'

    The Westminster Health Secretary Matt Hancock has decided that one family member may now be permitted to be at the bedside of a dying relative.

    However, that will not be the case in NI.

    Ruth Burke, 82, died three weeks ago and her family were not permitted to be with her. Her daughter, Brenda Doherty, told BBC Newsline that if her family had had to pick one family member it would have been very difficult.

    "Jennifer, my sister and I would both have wanted to be there.

    "I wouldn't have wanted her missing out and she wouldn't have wanted me missing out. We would have wanted to do it together and that's the hard thing because if you have a big family - how do you decide?" she said


    She said covid funerals are something families will have to deal with for years to come especially as they were not permitted near the coffin until it was in the ground.

    "The one real thing is not to have been able to give her a kiss in her coffin," she said.

    She said while it is a time for reflection it is also a time to look forward.

    "My Mum deserves a good send off and it has been postponed," she said.

    "I hope someday we can all, as a country, come together to celebrate the lives which have been lost as well as honour all those who have been on the frontline."

  12. Deadliest day for Covid-19 deaths in the Republic of Ireland

    Forty-three people have died in the Republic of Ireland after being diagnosed with Covid-19, the highest figure reported in a single day.

    It means the total number of deaths is now 486.

    One death that was previously reported, has been de-notified, or is no longer a Covid-19 related death.

    The number of additional cases of the virus diagnosed in the Republic is 629.

    In addition, a further 95 cases of coronavirus were confirmed from the backlog of tests at the laboratory in Germany.

    This means the total number of additional cases is 724.

  13. Belfast City Centre display projects support for key workers

    Messages of support for key workers are being projected onto the façade of Ulster University at York Street every evening from 9pm to midnight.

    Visual display projected at Ulster University

    Professor Raffi Folli of Ulster University said: “Our York Street campus is in the heart of the city and we were keen to be involved in recognising all of the key workers who are at the heart of our community.

    "We want to thank them and let them know that we are committed to playing our part in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus outbreak.”

  14. Factory horn to sound across Derry

    Millennium Bridge

    The Ebrington Factory Horn will be sounded across Londonderry tonight at 8pm in honour of the NHS and all front-line staff.

    The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Michaela Boyle, says the sounding of the horn is "a poignant and heartfelt gesture that will resonate with the people of the city and district".

    It is hoped the horn will be heard by thousands of people across the city.

  15. Fund for sports clubs increased as 350 apply

    A fund for sports clubs facing financial difficulty due to the pandemic has been increased from £500,000 to £750,000.

    Three hundred and fifty sports clubs and organisations have applied for help through the Dept for Communities Hardship Fund for Sport since the scheme was launched on Monday.

    It aims to provide assistance through a £2,000 grant to sports clubs and organisations to assist with essential overheads and the costs of maintaining their facilities during the Covid-19 lockdown.


    "The level of demand for the scheme is exceptional and shows that there is a significant need across the sports sector at this time," Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey said.

    "The funding will go a long way to ensuring that clubs and organisations continue to exist, that facilities are maintained and that the sector is ready when the lockdown restrictions start to be relaxed.”

  16. Port operator says 'inaccuracies' in P&O claims

    The operator of the docks at the Port of Liverpool has said there are some "inaccuracies" in a claim from P&O Ferries which said its Liverpool to Dublin service has been "indefinitely delayed" after its vessel was prevented from leaving the English port.

    The company said Peel Ports presented the ferry company with a sudden demand for payment of almost £600,000.

    However, Peel Ports, the owner of The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company rejected those claims.

    A spokesman said: “The Port of Liverpool plays a vital role in many critical supply chains from all over the world.

    "Customers who refuse to pay their bills put these other supply chains at risk. Any decision to detain a vessel is always taken as a last resort and only when there is a significant debt to repay.


    "While we understand that we are in unprecedented times, the UK Government has announced multiple financial interventions that will support companies with short-term funding issues as a result of Covid-19."Other ferry services from Liverpool to both Dublin and Belfast continue to operate, with multiple departures per day and spare capacity."