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Live Reporting

Georgina Rannard, Matt Cannon, Deirdre Finnerty, Ritu Prasad, Boer Deng, Mal Siret and Jim Todd

All times stated are UK

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  1. Thanks for following our live coverage

    We are pausing our live page coverage for the day, but we'll be back later on Saturday.

    Thanks for following all the latest updates with us.

    Here are some of the most noteworthy developments of the day:

    • President Trump said the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had recommended that face coverings should be worn in public to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 - but added that he would not be wearing one
    • New York state had its highest increase in deaths for one day - at 562, bringing the total to 2,935
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that if countries rushed to lift restrictions it could prolong the crisis
    • The UK government urged people to stay at home over the weekend, with warm weather expected
    • Spain overtook Italy for the first time for the number of confirmed cases, but the overnight death toll fell from the previous day
  2. US briefing concludes

    Trump seen at briefing

    The White House task force briefing has concluded.

    Here are the key takeaways:

    • US health officials now recommend all Americans wear masks in public, but the president emphasised that it was a voluntary request and he himself would not wear one
    • The US is continuing to work on better testing, particularly with the goal of a finger-prick test that can determine if somebody has already had the virus or is asymptomatic
    • As many Americans lose their health insurance along with their jobs, many questions regarding how the federal government will cover costs for individuals and businesses remain unanswered, despite Mr Trump's assurances that the administration is responding well and help is coming
  3. Trump: 'Election will happen'

    The Covid-19 pandemic is occurring during a US presidential election year - and when asked whether anything would change because of the virus, the president empahsised: "The general election will happen on November third."

    He dismissed the idea of holding votes through post, rather than casting ballots at polling stations, in order to continue to mitigate coronavirus risk.

    "It should be you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself," he said. "It shouldn't be mail-in voting."

    He added that "all sorts of bad things can happen" in the mail, claiming that voters would cheat, and said he strongly endorsing voting with a picture ID.

    Voting-by-mail or in-person policies are determined state-by-state. While some allow absentee voting for those unable to come to a polling station, others have stricter guidelines.

    A number of states are currently looking into possibly expanding absentee voting in November due to the pandemic.

  4. Dramatic impact if there is another NYC - Birx

    Dr Birx said that if another metropolitan area had an outbreak like New York City, "it can dramatically change not just the models, but the reality of the impact of the virus on Americans".

    President Trump then added that "hundreds of thousands of people are going to die" based on the current models.

    "Those are projections, I hope that they're wrong."

  5. Uninsured can sign up for Obamacare

    US health chief Alex Azar has said that providers will be reimbursed for providing anyone who is uninsured with Covid-19 tests - and that recently uninsured individuals should also turn to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) health insurance exchanges to apply for new coverage.

    These health insurance plans have been slowly dismantled and attacked by the administration during Mr Trump's presidency.

    Mr Azar also pointed out that those living in states that had expanded Medicaid, the federal health plan for low-income Americans, were likely already covered.

    Medicaid expansion - another part of Obamacare - has also often been criticised by Republicans, and most of the states that refused to do so are conservative-leaning.

  6. How many asymptomatic Americans?

    Dr Deborah Birx, one of the leaders of the White House task force, was asked about how many Americans may be asymptomatic with Covid-19 - she said this was a "very big question".

    Dr Birx said they were working on creating tests to track this and to figure out who might have resistance to the virus now.

    "We want tests to be like what we use for HIV, Malaria," Dr Birx said. "That's our dream assay because it's a finger prick."

    Dr Birx added that they have asked the military to test all the sailors on board the Roosevelt aircraft carrier, which is seeing a Covid-19 outbreak, in order to get at "this critical issue".

    "If the first responders already knew they had it and had protective antibodies ...then it's a different dialogue," she said.

    "I just want to make clear there's 150-plus countries working on this collectively together. It's devastating for every single country. When we get through this, we can go back and look at what happened, where, and what does this epidemic look like."

  7. Trump defends allowing cruise ships to dock in Florida

    The president is asked about the decision to allow two Holland America cruise ships - one of which had confirmed Covid-19 patients on board - to dock in Florida.

    "Do I not take them in, or do I save lives? I decided to take them in", Mr Trump said, adding: "Nobody else would take the ships.

    "We could've let them float aimlessly into the ocean, but we had to let them in. It's about helping people."

    He added that there were "many Americans" and Canadians on board.

    US President Donald Trump
  8. Trump blames Obama for lack of pandemic prep

    Pressed by a reporter over why the US was not more prepared for the pandemic, Mr Trump blamed the Obama administration, saying "the shelves were empty, we had no ammunition or medical supplies".

    He also claimed he inherited "broken" tests, though it is unclear what he meant as the previous administration would not have developed such tests.

    "I always knew that pandemics are one of the worst things that could happen," Mr Trump said.

  9. 'Me protecting you and you protecting me'

    US surgeon general Jerome Adams says new evidence that a "significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms" or are able to "transmit the virus to others before they show symptoms" spurred the change in the official mask recommendation.

    "The task force recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, where social distancing measures can be difficult to maintain", Mr Adams said, noting that this includes grocery stores and pharmacies.

    He emphasised that it was still essential to maintain six feet of social distancing space to slow the spread of the virus.

    "This is all about me protecting you and you protecting me."

    Mr Adams also said that those who opt to wear a mask should always remember to wash their hands first.

    "You don't want to put on a face covering with a dirty hand. Do not touch your face while you are wearing the face covering because you can take germs from the surface and bring it to your face", he said.

    The top doctor also issued a plea for Americans to leave medical-grade masks for the frontline workers.

  10. Flattening the curve - with masks and without

    Tara McKelvey

    BBC News, Washington

    The president spoke about officials with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and their recommendation that people wear facial masks when they go out.

    He said that he will not be wearing a mask, however.

    In this way, he shows his attitude towards the CDC’s efforts to combat the virus: he is willing to announce their advice from a podium, but he is not willing to follow it himself.

    He has long downplayed the severity of the disease, and today, too, he showed he does not take all of the recommendations from federal officials as seriously as many would like.

    He spoke about the disease in a room where people were practising social distancing, another one of the recommendations from the federal officials.

    Before the pandemic, dozens of reporters crowded into the room; today, as in recent days, there are 15, sitting several feet apart.

    The journalists, as well as the president, are trying to find ways to flatten the curve, but they have different ways of interpreting the guidelines.

  11. Trump will keep energy companies in 'good shape'

    Mr Trump met with energy companies earlier on Friday. He said he will work to keep these companies - hit by a drop in oil demand due to the pandemic - remain afloat.

    The president said oil giants may store their excesses in the US strategic reserve, the government-owned supply of emergency crude oil.

    Mr Trump added these companies have "really kept America going for a long time", and "for all the good" they do, the administration would keep them in "good shape."

  12. Trump prohibits medical supply exports

    Mr Trump said he will be prohibiting the export of "scarce medical supplies by unscrupulous actors".

    The Homeland Security Agency and Emergency Management Agency will "work to prevent the export of N95 masks and other personal protective equipment," he said. "We need these items immediately for domestic use."

    The president said the US government has also taken custody of thousands of masks and other gear that was being "hoarded" and would be distributing them to states.

    Mr Trump also said that the Javits Center in New York City, which was recently converted into a hospital, will be manned by the National Guard.

  13. BreakingHealth officials advise masks, Trump won't wear one

    President Donald Trump has announced the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends that Americans use non-medical, cloth face coverings to help prevent the spread of the virus.

    "From recent studies we know that the transmission from individuals without symptoms is playing a more significant role in the spread of the virus than previously understood," Mr Trump said.

    "With the masks, it's going to really be a voluntary thing," he emphasised. "It's voluntary, you do not have to do it. I don't think I'm going to be doing it."

    He notes the CDC is not recommending the use of medical-grade masks, as those should go to health care workers.

  14. US secret service's job gets tougher

    Tara McKelvey

    BBC News, Washington

    Secret Service agents have a tough job under normal circumstances – keeping the president safe – but now in the age of pandemic, their work is even more challenging.

    White House officials recently announced a new policy for the 18 Acres, as the agents call the White House compound (that’s the size of the land where the White House is located): people who come within six feet of the president are now being tested for the virus. This rule does not include journalists, apparently, since I breezed into the West Wing this afternoon for a briefing without a formal test to see if I am infected (my temperature was checked, twice, however).

    Still, those who work for the White House are doing their part to contain the spread of the virus. One of them wore a mask as he straightened out the backdrop for the president and White House officials during the briefing.

    The Secret Service agents are always on high alert, and now others in the West Wing are, too.

  15. White House briefing begins

    President Donald Trump has begun the daily coronavirus task force briefing.

    He's joined today by Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the US House of Representatives.

  16. The day's key developments in the UK

    Here are some of the day's most significant developments from the UK:

    • A further 684 people with the virus have died in the UK, bringing the total to 3,605 - a total which is now higher than the official death toll in China
    • A 4,000 bed emergency field hospital has opened in London, while plans for two more have been announced - in Bristol and Harrogate
    • Staying home is "not a request", Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned - as warmer weather is forecast over the weekend
    • Two nurses have died with coronavirus in the past 24 hours - with England's chief nurse urging the public to "stay at home for them"
    • Health officials have called on patients to volunteer to take part in three new clinical trials looking at how existing drugs could be used to treat the virus
    • Meanwhile, the Queen will give a televised address to the country on Sunday, Buckingham Palace has announced
    • And Boris Johnson will carry on self-isolating after continuing to display mild symptoms of the coronavirus
  17. Locked down but partying

    People have found creative ways to have fun while adjusting to the new normal online.

    We spoke to some Americans who are still hanging out with their friends with virtual movie nights, digital happy hours and birthdays on video messaging platforms.

    Video content

    Video caption: Celebrating a birthday party by video chat
  18. Coming up: Trump daily briefing

    US President Donald Trump is due to hold his daily coronavirus task force briefing shortly.

    The number of cases in the US has risen to over 266,000, with nearly 7,000 deaths.

    Earlier, the White House announced that anyone who is to come into close contact with President Trump will have to take a rapid Covid-19 test first.

  19. Rwandan soldiers accused of raping women during lockdown

    A Rwandan woman speaks to a soldier

    You can follow how coronavirus is affecting Africa in our dedicated African live page here.

    Here is a round-up of some of today's top stories:

    • Five Rwandan soldiers have been arrested after residents of a slum in the capital, Kigali, alleged they had raped women while enforcing a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19
    • Ugandan police are holding 165 people for breaking the curfew but there are fears they are being kept close together against social distancing advice
    • Kenyan pastors have asked the government to include churches in the list of "essential services" to allow them to remain open
    • Tanzania has extended visas for foreign nationals who cannot leave the country because of the coronavirus pandemic
    • Football legends Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto'o have condemned comments by two French doctors who suggested medical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine be used on Africans first
  20. Next UK Labour leader's pre-recorded victory message

    All three candidates have said the party must put the divisions of recent years behind it
    Image caption: Lisa Nandy, Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey were asked to pre-record a "victory" message ahead of the result

    In the UK, the Labour Party is set to announce their new leader on Saturday.

    Amid the pandemic, a special conference to unveil the winner has been scrapped.

    Instead the three remaining candidates are set to learn the outcome via email and the media.

    But before then they have each been asked to pre-record victory speeches - only one of which will be released.

    The result is expected at 10:45 BST.