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Live Reporting

Edited by Jude Sheerin

All times stated are UK

  1. What's been going on in the US?

    people exercise in New York's central park

    Here's what's been going on across the US:

    • There are now close to 620,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US, and 27,760 deaths
    • The pandemic led to the US’ biggest-ever drop in retail sales in March, as states issued stay-at-home orders and many Americans became unemployed
    • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced a new order requiring residents to cover their faces in public spaces where social distancing isn’t feasible, like on public transport
    • President Trump’s name will appear on the economic stimulus cheques being sent out to millions of Americans struggling financially due to the pandemic - the first time a president’s name will appear on a federal handout
    • Actress Taraji P Henson’s free Covid-19 virtual therapy campaign, which covers the cost of up to five therapy sessions for African Americans launches today
    • Conservatives in Michigan blocked off streets in their cars to protest the governor's decision to extend a strict stay-at-home order through the end of April
    View more on twitter
  2. Hillsborough survivor dies after contracting coronavirus

    Liverpool fan Dave Roland, captured in the moving image below during the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, has died after contracting coronavirus, his family have said.

    His daughter, Michelle Hopwood, told the Liverpool Echo that Mr Roland, 65, died at the Royal Liverpool Hospital on 6 April.

    She said: "We have received so many messages from people who have explained the impact Dad had on their lives, from taking so many to their first Liverpool game standing them on a box in the Kop, to pouring out words of advice which some men are now saying changed their lives, even keeping them out of prison."

    Ninety-six men, women and children died from the disaster which happened at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April, 1989.

    Dave Roland
  3. What's happened around the world today?

    A woman wearing protection walks her dog in Santiago
    • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the number of hospitalisations were down and the death toll there has remained steady. 752 deaths have been reported in the state during the past day
    • The global number of confirmed cases passed two million, according to figures tracked by Johns Hopkins University
    • The death toll in France has now risen to 17,167. However the number of serious cases in intensive care has fallen for the seventh consecutive day
    • A second governor in Brazil has tested positive for the virus. Helder Barbalho, governor of the state of Pará, made the announcement shortly after Rio state Governor Wilson Witzel tested positive
    • Children up to the age of 11 have returned to school in Denmark. The government has become the first country in Europe to relax restrictions on education
    • Belgium's lockdown has been extended until 3 May. Cultural events such as festivals and sports have been cancelled until August 31.
  4. Coronavirus: Wednesday's key UK updates

    UK coronavirus stories that you might have missed:

    • Anti-social behaviour on the rise: Police say there have been 178,000 incidents of anti-social behaviour across England and Wales in the last four weeks - a rise of 59% on last year - with the increase likely linked to breaches of lockdown measures.
    • 'You clap for me' film celebrates ethnic minority workers: A film which celebrates black, Asian and ethnic minority key workers helping to tackle the coronavirus pandemic has gone viral.
    • Romanian workers set to arrive in UK: A farming group has chartered a plane to fly in staff from Romania so the European workers can help train its seasonal UK workforce. Grower G's Fresh has recruited 180 skilled workers who will land on Thursday.
    • 'Oldest' coronavirus patient, 106, leaves hospital: Retired shopworker Connie Titchen, a 106-year-old great-grandmother, thought to be Britain's oldest patient to recover from coronavirus, was applauded by staff as she left Birmingham's City Hospital on Tuesday after three weeks in hospital.
    Connie Titchen (left)
    Image caption: Connie Titchen (left) said she felt "very lucky that I've fought off this virus"
  5. New York mandates masks in public

    Two women in face masks walk down the Coney Island boardwalk

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced an executive order requiring people to cover their mouth and nose in public spaces where social distancing is not possible.

    "All people in public must have a mask or mouth and nose covering and they must wear it in a situation where you cannot or are not maintaining social distancing," Cuomo said, citing public transport as one example.

    It will go into effect in three days' time to allow people to acquire face coverings.

    The governor said there may be civil penalties if residents are caught violating the rule, but said he has not seen any issues with compliance.

    "You're not going to go to jail for not wearing a mask," he added.

    Earlier this month, the US Centers for Disease Control updated the national guidance to also recommend face coverings in public.

  6. Italy's lockdown puts restaurants out of business

    The coronavirus pandemic has hit Italy hard.

    As the lockdown enters its sixth week in the country, some restaurants and bars are already going out of business.

    The BBC’s Europe correspondent Jean Mackenzie speaks to owners who are struggling to see a future.

    Video content

    Video caption: Italy’s lockdown puts restaurants out of business
  7. Emirates launches rapid virus tests for passengers

    Passengers are tested for Covid-19 at the Group Check-in area of Dubai International Airport Terminal 3

    Emirates, one of the world’s biggest long-haul carriers, says it has become the first airline to conduct on-site rapid Covid-19 blood tests for passengers.

    People on its flight from Dubai International Airport to Tunisia on Wednesday were tested at a check-in area by Dubai Health Authority staff. The results were available within 10 minutes, Emirates said in a statement, without providing further details.

    “We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights,” Adel Al Redha, the airline’s chief operating officer, said.

    “This will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers travelling to countries that require Covid-19 test certificates.”

    The United Arab Emirates suspended all passenger flights on 22 March for two weeks. On 6 April, Emirates resumed some outbound flights for people wishing to leave the country.

  8. Working-at-home weather presenter drums up a storm

    His musical exploits have... drummed up more than 2m views on social media.

    BBC North West Tonight's very own weather presenter Owain Wyn Evans has caused quite a storm with his accompaniment to the BBC News theme tune, which you might recall was recently given the kitchen DJ treatment.

    He said: "When they said try working from home I didn't realise they'd expect me to do the music too."

    Watch and marvel at Owain's skilful sticks.

    Video content

    Video caption: Weather presenter drums up a storm playing the BBC News theme
  9. UK armed forces accused of ignoring social distancing

    Jonathan Beale

    BBC defence correspondent

    The armed forces have been accused of ignoring the government’s rules on social distancing.

    The BBC has learnt that sailors on board one of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers are regularly moving between the ship and travelling to households right across the UK, raising concerns among family members they could spread the coronavirus.

    Most of the crew of HMS Prince Of Wales was sent home when the government first announced the lockdown.

    But around 200 sailors on watch duty are being rotated on and off the aircraft carrier while she’s docked in Portsmouth.

    One family member told the BBC: "If everyone else is prohibited from making unnecessary journeys - so should the Navy."

    In a statement the MoD said a limited amount of movement and training was still needed to maintain critical operations.

  10. G20 delays poor nations' debt payments

    Nations belonging to the G20 group of leading economies agreed to suspend debt payments owed to them by 77 of the world's poorest countries.

    The agreement covers money that is due to be paid to G20 governments up to the end of 2020.

    The aim is to help countries deal with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Jubilee Debt Campaign group, a UK-based charity, estimated that the delay will cover $12bn (£9.6bn) of payments.

    The group understands that the payments will instead have to be made between 2022 and 2024, along with interest accrued in the meantime.

    Read more here.

    G20 leaders discuss Covid-19 during a video conference
  11. Takeaway chains in UK plan to partially reopen

    Pret a Manger

    Takeaway food chains in the UK are planning to reopen some stores closed during the pandemic.

    Pret a Manger has said it will reopen 10 stores close to hospitals in London for takeaway and delivery only and will be offering a 50% discount to NHS workers.

    Pret chief executive Pano Christou said the move "will help give frontline healthcare workers better access to freshly prepared food".

    Fast food-chain KFC has reopened 11 stores for delivery over the last week and will consider opening more but a spokeswoman said "if we can’t do it responsibly – we won’t do it all".

    Burger King is rumoured to be considering a similar move.

  12. Doubts over UK's new field hospitals

    Emergency field hospitals have been built or planned around the UK, in preparation for an expected surge in coronavirus patients.

    But as China begins to close its field hospitals in Wuhan, there are now doubts about how much the UK's sites will be needed.

    The biggest, in London, has space for 4,000 patients but has taken only a few dozen so far.

    At a site in Birmingham there are currently no patients or staff, with local hospitals so far not having requested help. Another in the north-east of England may never need to open.

    And now NHS bosses are reporting that local hospitals should be able to cope with an expected peak.

    So what is happening in local hospitals in the UK? These numbers help paint a picture of the situation:

    • About 19,000 patients being treated for coronavirus in UK hospitals
    • More than 30,000 beds had been freed in advance by cancelling non-emergency treatment
    • The number of intensive-care beds has been doubled to nearly 10,000
    • More than 2,000 of them are still available
    • NHS has paid for space in private-sector hospitals, including 8,000 beds
    Map plotting locations of UK field hospitals
  13. 'Nato should not be main responder to health crisis'

    Jonathan Marcus

    BBC Diplomatic and defence correspondent

    Nato defence ministers, meeting via secure video links, reviewed the help its members' armed forces are providing during this crisis and started consideration of the longer term implications of this upheaval.

    Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general, said that the alliance was doing its bit but that it "should not be the main responder to a health crisis". "What it should do," he stressed, "is to do what it is already doing, in support of civilian efforts."

    In the longer term he warned that one economic consequence of the crisis might be to open up key elements of national infrastructure to foreign buyers - an implicit reference perhaps to China. He stressed that the ownership of critical industries was an important element of ensuring resilience.

    Stoltenberg said the pandemic did not mean that Nato's core responsibilities as a military alliance should be changed. Existing threats like terrorism, cyber-attack and a resurgent Russia had not gone away. And while training and exercises have been curtailed, Nato operations, like its troop deployments to eastern Europe and its air policing mission in the Baltic, continued.

    Jens Stoltenberg, Nato secretary general
  14. What the WHO did - and when

    As we've mentioned, President Trump has said he will suspend US funding of the World Health Organization (WHO) while a review takes place into what he called the "severe mismanagement" of the crisis.

    The new coronavirus - as we now know it - was reported to the WHO on 31 December. Here's a quick timeline of selected WHO action in the following month:

    • 4 January: Notes the outbreak on social media for the first time, referring to it as a "cluster of pneumonia cases"
    • 5 January: Publishes first outbreak news, with "no evidence of significant human-to-human transmission"
    • 10 January: Publishes first travel advice, with "no international restrictions recommended"
    • 14 January: WHO's technical lead for the response says there may have been limited human-to-human transmission
    • 20-21 January: WHO regional experts "conduct a brief field visit to Wuhan"
    • 22 January: Field visit statement "suggests that human-to-human transmission is taking place in Wuhan"
    • 22-23 January: WHO emergency committee fails to reach consensus on "whether the outbreak constituted a public health emergency of international concern"
    • 24 January: Second travel advice published, which notes upcoming Chinese New Year but "advises against the application of any restrictions of international traffic"
    • 27 January: Third travel advice published, which advises "measures to limit the risk of exportation...without unnecessary restrictions of international traffic"
    • 28 January: Senior WHO delegation led by the director general meets Chinese leadership in Beijing
    • 30 January: Emergency committee reconvenes and declares public health emergency of international concern
  15. Do face masks work?

    More and more governments are recommending that people wear face masks.

    But the World Health Organization (WHO) says that in most cases, only people who are sick - or their carers - should use one.

    So do face masks really work?

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Do face masks actually work?
  16. Analysis: Hancock tries to reassure social care sector

    Helen Catt

    Political correspondent

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock seemed to be making a real effort to fight off claims that social care has been treated as the poor relation in this pandemic.

    There will be a recruitment drive aiming to bring tens of thousands into the profession, a roll-out of testing and a plan to try to increase the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff.

    Strikingly, he announced a literal re-badging: a care "brand" to make hardworking care staff feel as valued as those in the NHS.

    Critics may dismiss that as little more than a gimmick, but one of the big problems with social care is that it is fragmented, spread out across thousands of different providers, in thousands of locations.

    Perhaps treating it as a single sector will help.

    However Mr Hancock's efforts to put the care sector on a par with the NHS are undeniably being made several weeks into the pandemic, far behind similar drives for the NHS.

    There's likely to be scepticism too at yet another plan for PPE, and concerns around how testing and isolation will work in practice.

    One measure, though, is likely to be welcomed by all - the right for everyone to say goodbye to their loved ones.

    Despite promising signs of stabilising figures, the message from today's briefing was still that many families will have to do this yet.

  17. New York governor: Situation has stabilised

    Andrew Cuomo

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that, while his state is not out of the woods just yet, "we showed that we can change the curve".

    Total hospitalisations are down and the death toll has also remained steady, with 752 deaths in the last day.

    Cuomo also addressed what re-opening New York could look like.

    "It’s going to be a gradual increasing of economic activity in calibration with the public health standards," he said.

    The governor again called for a national strategy.

    The answer, Cuomo said, was not a repeat of the ventilator situation, where the 50 states competed against each other to buy from the private sector, with the federal government also trying to buy the same goods, but by having partnerships.

    Other key updates:

    • Around 2,000 people in New York continue to be diagnosed with Covid-19 daily
    • Cuomo announced an executive order mandating residents to cover their mouths and noses if in a public setting where they are unable to social distance, like public transport
    • Cuomo said more testing was key and that New York was working on a number of diagnostic and antibody tests
    • Cuomo said past federal legislation helped small businesses and hospitals, but "the state governments are broke" and needed help too
  18. France death toll tops 17,000

    A pedestrian wears a face mask in Paris

    France has revealed its death toll has now risen to 17,167.

    10,643 of those died in hospitals, a rise of more than 500 over the past 24 hours.

    However, the number of hospitalisations is down for the first time. The number of serious cases in intensive care has fallen for the seventh consecutive day.

    6,524 people have died in care homes, a rise from the 5,600 reported as of Tuesday. However, public health authority head Jerome Salomon said this was due to a delay in reporting over the Easter weekend.

  19. Coronavirus: sport round-up

    Tour de France riders during the final stage in 2019
    • The postponed 2020 Tour de France will now start on 29 August, following the French government's extension of a ban on mass gatherings to mid-July because of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
    • The suspension of horse racing in the UK has been extended indefinitely, the sport’s governing body has announced. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) paused the calendar on 18 March, with the suspension due to last initially until the end of April. The BHA also added there will be no racing with crowds until June at the earliest. Read more here.
    • Formula 1 faces a "difficult" decision as to when racing can start later this year, says McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl. Read more here.
    • Austria’s government said it would allow some sports compatible with social distancing like tennis and golf to resume from 1 May.
  20. Breathing aids made by Mercedes ready for UK distribution

    Fergus Walsh

    Medical correspondent

    Mercedes has completed production of the first 10,000 breathing aids for patients with coronavirus, which are now ready for distribution throughout the NHS.

    The CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device was produced in partnership with engineers at University College London. It delivers a mix of air and oxygen to the lungs under pressure, via a tightly fitting face mask.

    Unlike with a mechanical ventilator, patients on CPAP do not need to be sedated, or have a tube down their windpipe so they can continue to respond to medical staff. The devices were made at the Mercedes-AMG HPP plant in Northamptonshire, which normally makes F1 engines.

    They are being evaluated at University College Hospital and several others in London and south east England. Early data on around 40 patients, who would otherwise have gone on a ventilator, found half were able to go home within 14 days of admission to hospital.