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Live Reporting

Edited by Jude Sheerin

All times stated are UK

  1. That wraps up our live coverage for today

    Thanks for following our live coverage. We'll be back tomorrow with more.

    Here are Wednesday's key developments:

    • Global Covid-19 cases have passed the two million mark; there have been 133,572 deaths
    • Two of the US' biggest cities, New York and Los Angeles, may ban large gatherings, like concerts and sporting events, until 2021
    • In the UK, close family members will be allowed to say goodbye to loved ones dying with coronavirus "wherever possible" under new coronavirus guidelines, the health secretary has said
    • Nations in the G20 group of top economies have agreed to suspend debt payments owed to them by 77 of the world's poorest countries
    • China has closed one of its temporary Covid-19 hospitals, which was built in days
    • France has revealed its death toll has now risen to 17,167, though the number of hospitalisations is down for the first time
    • Germany has announced plans to slowly ease restrictions, with some shops possibly opening as early as next week
    • The head of the World Health Organization said he regretted the decision by the US to withdraw funding
    • South Korea's parliamentary vote kicked off this morning, with some 43.9 million eligible voters

    Today's live coverage has been brought to you by: Vicky Bisset, Sophie Williams, Michael Emons, Saj Chowdry, Doug Faulkner, Sean Fanning, Deirdre Finnerty, Ritu Prasad, Boer Deng and Jude Sheerin.

  2. Trump says 'we'll see' about 'Wuhan lab' theory

    President Trump was asked by a reporter about claims that Covid-19 had originated in a virology lab in Wuhan and then passed on through the wet market via a lab employee.

    Trump responded: "I don't want to say that, but I will tell you more and more we're hearing the story and we'll see. We are doing a very thorough examination of this situation that happened."

  3. Trump: 'There's death in having a closed country'


    Trump is asked about the dangers of re-opening the country while the pandemic is ongoing.

    "There's also death involved in keeping it closed," Trump says.

    The president says mental health is a concern, and suicide hotlines "are exploding" as people lose their jobs.

    Drug addiction is also a problem, he says, and claims that people who didn't take drugs before doing so now because "they have no money coming in".

    "Other than the money we're getting them," he adds, referring to the economic stimulus cheques from the government. "We've opened up the coffers...we're helping people, which is why I wish the Democrats would help us a little bit."

    Trump says that the re-opening process will happen in partnership with the state governors, "as they see fit".

  4. Trump: 'fat beautiful cheques' with my name will make people happy

    When asked about why his name was on relief cheques, President Trump said he "didn't know too much about it."

    The cheques are being sent to millions of households in America struggling financially because of Covid-19.

    He said people will be "very happy" to get a "big, fat, beautiful cheque and my name is on it."

    Trump said he understood that his name on the cheque was not "delaying anything."

    The Treasury was forced to deny claims on Wednesday that Trump's signature was slowing down its issuance of the cheques. Two senior government tax officers had previously told the Washington Post the move would probably lead to a delay.

    It is the first time a US president's name will appear on a federal government handout.

    Critics have accused the president of playing politics, using the financial aid to boost his reputation in an election year.

    Trump signs a funding bill to combat the coronavirus outbreak
  5. Agriculture secretary: 'US food supply safe'

    The US agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue has joined Trump at today's briefing.

    He says the nation's food supply remains safe during the pandemic.

    "To Americans who may be worried about access to good food because of this I want to assure you: American food supply is strong, resilient and safe," Perdue says.

    He adds that the supply chain has "shown tremendous agility" in moving from restaurant to retail settings.

    The comments come as reports of grocery workers and food producers falling ill have been making headlines. Smithfield, a major pork producer, was forced to shut two US plants this week after workers tested positive for coronavirus at its facilities.

    Perdue ends by reminding employers to follow the Centers for Disease Control's best practices to keep employees "safe and healthy".

  6. Birx: 'As a country, we are improving'

    Response co-ordinator Deborah Birx

    Dr Deborah Birx, one of the leaders of the White House task force, says the US has a low fatality rate compared to other nations.

    She notes that there are nine states with fewer than 1,000 Covid-19 cases and fewer than 30 new cases each day.

    "We are looking at states and metro areas as individual areas," she says.

    "We see as a country, we are improving."

    But she cautioned that to keep improving, people must continue to follow social distance guidelines.

    Even after "generalised guidelines" are offered by the White House at the federal level, "each of these governors and these mayors will have to make they can do what's best for their communities," she says.

  7. Trump: 'We'll be the comeback kids, all of us'

    Trump speaks at Rose Garden

    Trump says he spoke with top leaders in various fields, including healthcare, technology, finances, hospitality, and agriculture.

    He says they underscored the need for more protective equipment coming in, robust testing, strong supply chains and good infrastructure.

    "We'll be the comeback kids, all of us," Trump says. "Tomorrow's going to be a very big day, we're gonna be speaking with the governors."

    He says the re-openings will be "safe" and "strong" - and soon.

    "We want to get our country back," Trump says. "We're gonna do it soon."

  8. Trump warns he 'could adjourn Congress'

    The US Capitol is seen in Washington, DC

    President Trump threatened to adjourn both chambers of Congress after accusing Democrats of holding up his nominations, preventing federal government positions from being filled.

    Adjourning Congress, he argued, will allow him to make recess appointments.

    "We have many many positions that are understaffed because we can't get approval," he said. He said the appointments needed to be filled to "assist with the coronavirus crisis".

    "We have to do what we have to do," he said. "We need people for this crisis." However, he did not give any examples of coronavirus-related positions that have been left unfilled.

    Trump has appointed some 200 judges to the federal judiciary, with the Republican-held Senate confirming the jurists on a procedural express lane.

    It is a judicial revolution - more than a quarter of all currently sitting federal appeals court judges have been appointed by this president.

    With the US Congress so dysfunctional, these judges’ rulings will still be shaping US policy on everything from gun control to abortion and voting rights for a generation after Trump leaves office.

  9. Trump: WHO 'knew what was going on'

    Trump again vented his frustrations with the World Health Organization (WHO), saying: "I have a feeling they knew exactly what was going on".

    He says they erroneously criticised his decision to close US borders to China.

    "Tragically, other nations put their trust in the WHO and they didn't do any form of ban," Trump adds. "You see what happened to Italy, you see what happened to Spain, you see what happened in France."

    He calls it a "horrible tragic mistake - or perhaps they knew".

    "I'm sure they didn't know the gravity of it, but perhaps they knew."

    The US president's decision to pause funding for the international organisation has drawn scrutiny and scepticism.

    Our Reality Check team has fact-checked Trump's claims about the WHO here.

  10. Trump lists protective gear delivered

    Trump says the federal government has developed and delivered:

    • 39.4m N95 respirator masks
    • 431m gloves
    • 57m surgical masks
    • 10.2m gowns

    He says 100m masks have been distributed to date and 500m more have been ordered.

    Trump also announced that General Motors has officially finished its first medical ventilator, produced in just 11 days in Kokomo, Indiana.

    Healthcare workers across the US have grappled with a shortage of protective equipment since the pandemic began.

  11. White House will issue reopening guidelines tomorrow, says Trump

    President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence step into the Rose Garden

    President Trump says tomorrow his administration will announce new guidelines for re-opening "various states".

    The vast majority of Americans are currently under social distancing restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19.

    "It's very exciting," the president says.

    He said that the US has administered 3.3 million Covid tests-- a figure equivalent to about 1% of the US population.

  12. Briefing starts

    The White House briefing has just begun and President Trump is now delivering his remarks.

    Earlier today, the president held several calls with a number of industry leaders, including healthcare, sports, technology, agriculture, labour, defence, energy and banking groups, to discuss re-opening the nation.

    This week's previous briefings have made headlines with the president's frustrations with the media, the nation's governors and the World Health Organization.

    Watch our livestream of the briefing here.

  13. Why has New York City's death toll suddenly surged?

    The governor says that deaths outside of care facilities may have been missed

    New York City's death count has spiked to more than 10,000 after authorities added 3,778 people who likely succumbed to Covid-19, but died without being tested.

    Firefighters and paramedics had been recording drastic increases in deaths at home around the city, assumed to be caused by the virus.

    The new figures, from the city's Health Department, mark a 60% rise in deaths.

    In terms of per-capita death rate, New York City has now outpaced Italy - the country with the highest death toll in Europe.

    So what does this mean in terms of calculating the US death toll? Read the full story here.

  14. Los Angeles weighs ban on concerts, sports until 2021

    A person wearing a mask walks past the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood

    The nearly four million residents of Los Angeles, California, may not be allowed to attend any concerts or sports events until 2021, the mayor told CNN.

    Mayor Eric Garcetti said large gatherings with over 1,000 people will likely be banned until next year due to the pandemic.

    Covid-19-related deaths are on the rise for the second consecutive day in Los Angeles County.

    The county's health director said 42 people died on Wednesday and over 400 new cases were confirmed.

    The mayor's comments echo California Governor Gavin Newsom, who said on Tuesday: “The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine."

  15. Day of the jackal in Tel Aviv


    A near-deserted park in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv has been taken over by jackals. In normal times joggers, cyclists and families would flock to Hayarkon Park, but with coronavirus, human visitors are now scarce, making way for dozens of jackals, which are now wandering the park by day as well as night.

    Zoologist Yariv Malichi told AFP that although the animals feel more comfortable without people, they have come to depend on visitors' rubbish for food and that is now increasingly hard to find because of the lockdown.

  16. Hundreds infected on French aircraft carrier

    A French Navy handout of sailors coming ashore from the carrier
    Image caption: Sailors have been brought ashore and placed in quarantine

    Last week the French defence ministry announced 50 sailors aboard its flagship, the Charles de Gaulle aicraft carrier, had come down with coronavirus symptoms. Authorities sent a medical team to test them and to prevent a major outbreak on the ship.

    Now, the ministry has announced that at least 668 sailors have tested positive from the carrier and an escorting frigate, the Chevalier Paul - with only two-thirds of test results in. The ministry said 31 sailors are in hospital.

    Charles de Gaulle was on deployment in the Atlantic as part of a Nato exercise. But once the first sailors showed signs of the virus the vessel was ordered back to its base at Toulon.

    Nearly all the confirmed cases so far are sailors serving on the nuclear-powered carrier. All the ships are now being disinfected, the ministry said.

  17. Manchester United pay tribute to NHS

    As a gesture to those working in the NHS as they treat patients during the coronavirus outbreak, Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium has lit up three appropriate letters of the club's name.

    It has earned the congratulations of a former United defender.

    View more on twitter
  18. How big is the problem in care homes?

    Some of the questions asked by journalists during Wednesday's daily UK coronavirus briefing focused on care-home workers and residents who are at risk or been affected by Covid-19.

    So how big is the issue? And is it possible to get accurate figures about the scale of the problem?

    BBC News has provided information to some of the pertinent questions, such as:

    • How many deaths have there been in care homes?
    • How much PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) do social care staff have?
    • How many tests are being carried out in care homes?

    Read more here.

    Graphic showing where coronavirus deaths have occurred in England and Wales
  19. Trump Covid-19 briefing to begin

    The White House' daily Covid-19 briefing is due to begin shortly.

    This week, briefings have made headlines not for updates to the pandemic in the US, but for President Donald Trump's comments on the media, his own authority to re-open the nation and his frustrations with the World Health Organization.

    Read analysis by the BBC's Jon Sopel, who attended Monday's briefing, here.

    And read our Reality Check team's fact check of Trump's WHO critique here.

  20. Banksy shares new artwork amid lockdown

    Famous street artist Banksy has revealed new artwork on his Instagram page.

    He captioned the image "my wife hates it when I work from home".

    The picture shows his trademark rats wreaking havoc in the bathroom.

    View more on instagram

    Little is known about the artist. His identity has never been revealed.

    He began spray-painting trains and walls in his home city of Bristol in the early 1990s.