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Live Reporting

Jude Sheerin

All times stated are UK

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

    And with that we are going to pause our live coverage for the day. Thank you for joining us - and our teams in Asia will be starting up a new report for Friday soon.

    Here's a roundup of the day's biggest stories.

    • EU finance ministers agreed a €500bn (£440bn) rescue package for hard-hit European countries. The French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, hailed the agreement as the most important economic plan in EU history
    • Confirmed coronavirus cases around the world almost at 1.6 million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University
    • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care, although he remains in hospital. The prime minister was said to be "in extremely good spirits"
    • UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was "too early" to lift physical distancing restrictions
    • New data showed that one million Canadians lost their jobs in March, while the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the world faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s
    • The economic fallout from coronavirus could increase global poverty by up to half a billion, Oxfam warned
  2. Melania Trump promotes masks

    First Lady Melania Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to promote the use of face masks as a way to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

    "As the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] continues to study the spread of Covid-19, they're recommending that people wear cloth face coverings in public setting where social distancing measures can be difficult to maintain," she said in a video.

    "Remember, this does not replace the importance of social distancing," she says.

    First announcing the new CDC guidance last week, President Trump said he would opt out of the voluntary advice.

    "You do not have to do it," he said. "I don't think I'm going to be doing it."

    View more on twitter
  3. Fauci 'What we're doing is working'

    Dr Fauci at the White House briefing on 9 April

    Dr Fauci, the face of the US coronavirus response, says that while the death toll continues to climb, there's proof that social distancing measures are having a positive effect in the US.

    "Every day seems to be a record" in terms of death toll, Dr Fauci says. But we're seeing a "dramatic decrease in the need for hospitalisation".

    "That means what we're doing is working, and therefore we need to continue", he says.

    Earlier on Thursday, Dr Fauci revised an earlier model predicting 100,000 to 200,000 American deaths as a result of the virus outbreak, saying it "looks more like 60,000".

  4. Trump hands mic to VP Pence

    After speaking for just over 20 minutes, Trump leaves the White House briefing room, turning the podium over to Vice-President Mike Pence.

    Pence says the US is now testing 100,000 Americans each day and that the administration is "working around the clock to increase that number".

    "We continue to see signs of stabilisation, we are close to the peak," Pence says.

    The vice-president also says that the hospital ship deployed to New York, the USNS Comfort, and the Javits Center, recently converted to help with hospital overflow, are not being fully used.

    Physicians and military personnel are now being deployed to other hospitals across New York City to relieve pressure, Pence says.

    "There are signs of progress and hope abounds," he says. "It's working, America."

  5. Trump: Drug company has found 'promising new virus treatment'

    Trump says that drug company Pfizer has found a "promising new treatment" that might prevent the virus from replicating. Clinical trials for the treatment are to begin "very soon".

    "They have great feelings for this particular therapy," Trump says, adding that 19 therapies or treatments are currently being tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    Trump says that 2 million tests are being carried out in the US, before repeating his claim that the US has "the best testing system in the world".

    Asking if the US needed more widespread testing before re-opening the economy, Trump demurred, saying it was not possible to test the entire US population.

    "Do you need it? No. Is it a nice thing to do? Yes," he said. "We're talking about 325 million people and that's not going to happen, as you can imagine."

    The US has ramped up testing in recent weeks - although its number of tests per capita still lags behind that of South Korea.

  6. Trump 'continues to pray' for Boris Johnson

    Trump tells Americans he is pleased that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care.

    "That's a tremendous statement," he says. "And we continue to pray for him and his fast recovery."

    Johnson has been moved out of intensive care but remains in hospital. His spokesman said he was in "extremely good spirits".

  7. Rapid-fire tests: how do they work?

    The White House announced earlier today that everyone in the room for Trump's daily briefing will be given a test for Covid-19 - with results generated within minutes.

    Earlier this week, Trump touted these new, rapid testing kits as a potential game-changer for hospitals.

    "It's a five-minute test so people can get their results back very quickly," he said.

    Some rapid tests work by finding fragments of genetic material from the coronavirus to find a current infection. In practical terms, this means a healthcare worker can use a swab to take a sample from a patient's nose or throat. This sample is magnified and replicated in a toaster-sized machine to see if the virus is present.

    Another type of rapid testing is also in development: an antibody test. These blood tests can reveal whether someone had Covid-19 in the past, even after that person has recovered.

    A positive test result shows that a person has previously been exposed to the virus, and developed the antibodies to fight it.

    Top US health expert Dr Anthony Fauci said on Thursday that antibody tests would become available to Americans "very soon".

    Raychel Lewis, cell culture technician, setting up equipment to test COVID-19 samples from recovered patients at Mirimus lab on 8 April, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York City
    Image caption: Different types of rapid-fire tests are being developed throughout the US
  8. Trump begins daily presser

    President Donald Trump has taken the stage with the White House coronavirus task force to begin their daily briefing.

    Follow along here for updates and watch live on our site.

  9. To cut or not to cut? That is the question

    These unprecedented times have resulted in unprecedented actions... men resorting to cutting their own hair.

    The UK lockdown has meant the closure of barber shops, leaving many struggling with the choice of "going DIY" or just letting nature take its course.

    BBC Wales reporter Nick Palit opted the former, but with guidance from Edward Rees, a hairdresser from Carmarthenshire.

    Check out the end result.

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: How easy is it to cut your own hair?

    Of course, you might be more of a Donie Anderson type - he took a more rustic approach to the issue by using the old-fashioned sheep shears.

    Please do not try this at home.

    View more on twitter
  10. 'We wanted to take it slow... and then coronavirus happened'

    Join three different couples in three very different situations for a weekend as they navigate love and dating under lockdown.

    Video content

    Video caption: How dating and love continue for three couples during the coronavirus lockdown.
  11. South African politicians to take big pay cut

    Cyril Ramaphosa

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and ministers will take a pay cut of a third for the next three months as the country battles with the coronavirus outbreak.

    The senior politicians will donate the money to help those worst affected by the pandemic, the president said, urging business leaders to do the same.

    He also announced that the country is to extend its nationwide lockdown until the end of April.

    “Unless we hold to this course for a little longer, the coronavirus pandemic will engulf, and ultimately consume, our country,” he said in a live address to the nation.

  12. Stay away, urge UK tourist hotspots

    Britain's tourist hotspots have all pleaded with people not to visit them for the Easter weekend.

    People in the UK are only meant to travel for essential reasons.

    Judy Pearce, the council leader of South Hams in Devon, told the BBC: "Normally we love seeing people but not this year. What is there not to understand?

    "It is not necessary travel to come to your second home. Devon and Cornwall have done well to keep the virus out largely, but people will bring it."

    Police have been stopping cars with more than one person from driving into Cumbria and the Lake District - and ordering them to do a U-turn and go home if they do not have a legitimate reason for travel.

    And a roadblock has been set up on one of the main routes to the coast in west Wales.

    View more on twitter
  13. EU ministers agree virus rescue package

    EU finance ministers have agreed a €500bn (£440bn) rescue package for European countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The chairman of the Eurogroup, Mario Centeno, announced the deal, reached after marathon discussions in Brussels.

    The French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, hailed the agreement as the most important economic plan in EU history.

    The package includes support for governments via the European Stability Mechanism, support for companies through the European Investment Bank and support for workers via the European Commission’s new programme known as Sure.

    However the ministers fell short of accepting a demand, by France, Spain and Italy, to share out the cost of the crisis by issuing so-called corona bonds.

    Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected that idea of mutual debt, stating that she didn’t believe there should be a “common liability for each other’s debt, given the current state of the political union in the EU”.

  14. Coming up: Trump delivers daily briefing

    US President Donald Trump will soon take to the podium for his daily update on Covid-19.

    The White House announced today that everyone in the room for the daily briefing will be given a rapid Covid-19 test, with results expected before the start of the briefing.

    The US has more than 452,500 confirmed cases to date with more than 16,000 deaths.

  15. Food banks in US and Canada stretched beyond capacity

    An aerial view from a drone shows vehicles lining up to receive food provided by the food bank Feeding South Florida on 6 April, 2020 in Sunrise, Florida

    Food banks across Canada and the US are buckling under the weight of surging demand, just as social-distancing orders have cut down on both donations and volunteers.

    • In Sunrise, Florida, aerial photographs captured a miles-long row of cars waiting to receive food from Feeding South Florida. The organisation says it has seen a 600% increase in the number of people asking for food amid widespread layoffs and furloughs. So far, the organisation is on pace to deliver 2.5 million meals each week across the state
    • Feeding America - the largest network of food banks in the US - has predicted a $1.4bn shortfall over the next six months
    • Food Banks Canada has announced a "special appeal" fundraising campaign - hoping to raise an additional CAD$150m - enough to support the current level of the public’s use of food banks for 90 days
    • Toronto officials said this week that more than 40% of the city's food banks had been shuttered because they were without the manpower to keep them running. Even before the virus outbreak, almost one in five Toronto households experienced food insecurity - a number expected to rise as the country faces record unemployment
    Colonel Gent Welsh and Staff Sergeant Amber Barker both from the Washington Air National Guard, and volunteer Vira Sayenko, help distribute food at the Nourish Pierce County food bank
  16. World's first coronavirus film set for release

    Believe it or not, a movie has already been made about coronavirus.

    "Corona: Fear is a Virus" - which will be available on streaming platforms later this month - is about seven people trapped in a lift and the chaos that ensues when one of them starts to cough.

    Director Mostafa Keshvari started the film after the outbreak in China but before it became a global pandemic.

    Film critic Noah Gittell says it might be too soon for people to process the trauma but adds there is nothing unethical about releasing a coronavirus film now.

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Is it too soon for a movie about it?
  17. Sweden's approach ‘completely wrong’, says Norwegian official

    People eating at a restaurant in Stockholm in April
    Image caption: There is no lockdown in place in Sweden

    Sweden is one of the few European countries to avoid a full lockdown. While social distancing is in place, schools remain open across the country, as do bars and restaurants. You can read more about it here.

    That approach has come in for some criticism, at home and abroad. On Thursday the assistant director of Norway’s Directorate of Health, Espen Rostrup Nakstad, said the Swedish plan was “completely wrong”.

    He told newspaper VG that countries that initially adopted a “braking strategy” would have to quickly switch to stronger measures to contain any spread.

    But Anders Tegnell, the chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s Public Health Agency, has defended his country’s efforts.

    “Norway chose the general strategy of closing as much as possible… to gain some respite,” he told Norway’s public broadcaster NRK.

    “We are trying to do the same, but have accepted that closing the community is not the solution.”

    As of Thursday, Sweden has reported 793 dead in total – rising from 687 on Wednesday – with over 9,000 confirmed cases in all. Norway has reported 88 deaths and 6,160 confirmed cases.

  18. UK minister defends visiting parents during lockdown

    UK Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has defended visiting his parents during the coronavirus lockdown - as reported in The Guardian.

    In a tweet he said: "For clarity - my parents asked me to deliver some essentials - including medicines.

    "They are both self-isolating due to age and my father's medical condition and I respected social distancing rules."

  19. In pictures: the UK claps for its carers

    Clap for Carers in Harrogate
    Image caption: People opposite the new Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate turned out to applaud
    Belfast Clap for Carers
    Image caption: People in Belfast clapped from their front gardens
    Clap for carers in Northampton
    Image caption: In this Northampton street, they brought out the percussion
    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Chancellor Rishi Sunak
    Image caption: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Chancellor Rishi Sunak joined the applause
    Clap for carers in Enfield
    Image caption: Hannah, 9, joined the noisy celebrations with a pan and a wooden spoon in Enfield, north London
    Clap for Carers on the Thames
    Image caption: RNLI staff also showed saluted the carers from their lifeboat on the Thames near St Thomas' Hospital
  20. Merkel offers 'cautious hope' for Germany

    Angela Merkel

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the "slight flattening" of the country's coronavirus curve offers some "cautious hope".

    The number of confirmed infections in Germany rose by 4,974 in the past 24 hours to 108,202, climbing for the third straight day after four previous days of drops. There have been 2,107 deaths.

    Merkel said: "I can say that the latest numbers on the spread of the virus give reason for cautious hope.

    "The curve is flattening slightly. And the number of those infected is going slightly down. We can be very happy about that."