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Live Reporting

Joshua Cheetham, Francesca Gillett, Shamaan Freeman-Powell, Suzanne Leigh, Kelly-Leigh Cooper, Yaroslav Lukov, Max Matza, George Bowden, Kevin Ponniah, Sean Fanning and Hugo Bachega

All times stated are UK

  1. 'Be responsible when you shop and think of others'

    Environment Secretary George Eustice pleaded with UK shoppers not to panic-buy at the UK government's daily coronavirus update.

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: 'Be responsible when you shop and think of others'
  2. Iranian province 'has more deaths from alcohol poisoning than virus'

    Paul Brown

    BBC Monitoring

    An Iranian man wearing a face mask sprays alcohol on the hands of another man. Photo: March 2020
    Image caption: Iran's is one of the world's worst-hit countries

    More people have now died in Iran's Fars province from alcohol poisoning while trying to protect themselves from the coronavirus than from the disease itself, Iranian media report.

    Mohammad Javad Moradian, the director of the province's emergency services centre, told Isna news agency that Covid-19 had killed 13 people in Fars, while 66 have died after drinking industrial-strength alcohol.

    A persistent rumour in Iran claims that drinking alcohol helps protect individuals from contracting the virus.

    Iran has now confirmed 20,610 cases and 1,556 deaths from the disease.

  3. What did we learn from latest UK briefing?

    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice has urged Britons to stop panic buying - saying there is more than enough food for everyone.

    • Mr Eustice urged people to be responsible when they shop but stopped short of saying rationing would be needed to keep shelves stocked
    • The British Retail Consortium's Helen Dickinson said retailers would implement policies that would make the most difference to the vulnerable
    • NHS England's Stephen Powis said shoppers should think of NHS staff before buying more than they need
  4. Will there be ration books?

    Asked whether he can rule out rationing or ration books, Mr Eustice says supermarkets are best placed to put restrictions on product lines.

    He adds there is no shortage of food. "We think it is better that individual retailers or retailers together make judgements" regarding restrictions on any particular product.

  5. Powis: Guidance is for you to follow

    Prof Powis says that the advice around social distancing is for us all to follow - not somebody else.

    "Your action will save somebody's life - it is as simple and as stark as that," he says.

  6. Eustice: Spike in demand is similar to Christmas

    "The food supply chain is used to dealing with spike in demand," Mr Eustice says, as he likens the recent surge in demand to that experienced in the run-up to Christmas.

    Asked about the availability of farm labour, Mr Eustice says that there will be increased UK food production from May - and staff will begin to move around to facilitate that.

    "We anticipate we will be able to supply the labour to ensure we continue that harvest," he says.

  7. Eustice: UK customers should 'calm down'

    Mr Eustice says there is no shortage of food production, adding that more food is arriving daily.

    He said: "The crucial thing is that we need people to calm down and only buy what they need and to think of others when they are purchasing."

    UK Environment Secretary George Eustice
  8. Dickinson: Retailer policies will make most difference

    Ms Dickinson says that big retailers will only introduce policies like restrictions if they believe they will make the most difference to help out vulnerable shoppers.

    Head of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson
  9. Eustice: Retailers will decide limits on purchases

    Asked if he can rule out state-backed rationing, Mr Eustice says all of the major retailers are working together and exercising their own judgement when it comes to placing item-limits on the number that can be purchased by shoppers.

    He mentions toilet roll as an example of where a product is now subject to restrictions. Mr Eustice says he believes retailers are best-placed to consider such restrictions.

  10. Powis: Cough and fever still most common virus symptoms

    Prof Powis is asked about suspected new symptoms - the loss of smell or taste from Covid-19. But he says that the most common symptoms are a raised temperature or fever and a persistant dry cough.

    You can read more about the symptoms of coronavirus here.

  11. Eustice: £1bn of extra food bought in UK

    Asked whether more pressure has been placed on supermarkets by the decision to ask pubs and bars to close, Mr Eustice says "there has already been a significant switch in the past three weeks to people switching to supermarkets".

    He says the further step of closing public venues will help the NHS - he says that decision will only cause a small increase in demand.

    He estimates that £1 billion of extra food has been brought into homes that has yet to be consumed.

  12. Powis: Please help out NHS staff

    Stephen Powis of NHS England issues a plea on behalf of his health service colleagues for people to shop responsibly so that they can buy essentials after they finish work.

    "It is critical by not stockpiling, by leaving those supplies for others too" that health workers can get access to those supplies as well.

  13. Dickinson: Be considerate when buying food

    Helen Dickinson of the British Retail Consortium says there has been a whole list of issues raised with government which have been quickly solved - including restrictions on food delivery times.

    She adds that the PM Boris Johnson wants to underline the message for everyone to be considerate in what they buy - and to think about others in the community.

  14. Eustice: Respect food shop workers

    Mr Eustice adds: "We need every citizen in this country to play their part too."

    He says everyone must respect rationing measures in place in some stores and respect food shop workers.

  15. Eustice: We all have a role to play

    Mr Eustice says we all have a role to play to get through the crisis together. He outlines government measures such as ending restrictions on deliveries.

    He adds that supermarkets are taking on more staff to ensure shelves are stocked.

  16. Eustice: Be responsible when shopping

    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice

    Mr Eustice begins by asking people to be responsible when they shop.

    "Buying more than you need means that others may be left without," he says.

    "As you shop think of those who are finishing their late shifts and need to pop to their local shops."

  17. Eustice begins UK daily news briefing

    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice has begun today's daily news briefing at Downing Street.

    He appears alongside the chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson, and Stephen Powis, national medical director at NHS England.

  18. Latest developments ahead of UK briefing

    Ahead of the latest Downing Street daily news briefing - due to begin at 14:00 GMT - here's a reminder of the key coronavirus-related developments in the UK:

  19. Retail chief to appear at UK news conference

    The chief executive of the British Retail Consortium - which represents many UK retailers - is to appear alongside the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice at the UK daily news conference shortly, our political correspondent Nick Eardley reports.

    Helen Dickinson could speak about efforts by national retailers to keep supplies flowing after panic buying - and moves by big grocers to hire many more staff.

  20. UK government holding talks with supermarkets

    Shoppers look over empty shelves at a Tesco supermarket in London

    The government is to hold talks with supermarket bosses about keeping supplies in stock and overcoming panic buying which is taking place across the UK amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    Supermarkets have seen their shelves stripped of essential items such as toilet rolls, hand sanitiser, paracetamol, meat, fruit and vegetables.

    The stockpiling has led to supermarkets introducing limits on the amount of some items sold, with golden shopping hours introduced to help the elderly and NHS and care workers.

    Stores are also taking on thousands of temporary and permanent workers to deal with the increased demand from the Covid-19 crisis.

    The government will speak to leading supermarket chains on Saturday to see what the authorities can do to ensure the shelves remain stocked and the supply chains can cope with the demand.