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Live Reporting

Edited by Jude Sheerin

All times stated are UK

  1. Pausing coverage for today

    A woman with a face mask in London

    Thanks for tuning in to today's live coverage. We're wrapping things up now but before we go, here's some of the biggest stories of the day.

    • There have now been more than 2.2 million confirmed cases worldwide and 153,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University
    • China has revised its death toll in the city of Wuhan by 50%, adding a further 1,290 fatalities. The figures bring the death toll in the city to 3,869 and the national toll to more than 4,600
    • In the US, Vice-President Mike Pence said that states have enough tests to implement phase one of reopening. It comes a day after President Trump unveiled his plan to reopen the country
    • Germany has said its outbreak is now under control following a four-week lockdown. Each virus carrier in the country is infecting less than one person on average
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned countries against investing too much in antibody tests. The WHO says there is "no evidence" that having had the virus would guarantee immunity
    • France has distanced itself from US claims that Covid-19 originated in a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan. President Macron's office said there was no evidence this was true
    • A UK government scheme to release prisoners early in order to help jails cope with coronavirus has been suspended after six offenders were freed by mistake
    • A vaccine taskforce has been announced in the UK. It will bring together experts in government, industry and academia to speed up the search for a vaccine
    • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the WHO has issues that need to be inspected when the pandemic is overToday's coverage was brought to you from BBC reporters in Singapore, London and Washington DC by Owen Amos, Andreas Illmer, Krutikha Pathi, Yvette Tan, Tessa Wong, Kelly-Leigh Cooper, Alex Bysouth, Doug Faulkner, Steve Sutcliffe, Sean Fanning, Rebecca Seales, Hugo Bachega, Sophie Williams, Jonathan Jurejko, Dulcie Lee, Jennifer Scott, Lucy Webster, Jasmine Taylor-Coleman, Max Matza, Robin Levinson-King, Helier Cheung and Jude Sheerin.
  2. Trump hopes to start rallies again soon

    Trump says he hopes to get back on the campaign trail soon, and that social mitigation measures won't be required as they are in the White House press briefing room.

    Having half as many journalists in the room means his news conferences, "loses, to me, a lot of flavour", he says.

    "I certainly hope we can have rallies," he adds, saying they are "a tremendous way of getting the word out".

    He ends by calling campaign rallies, "an important part of politics actually".

  3. Trump 'listening to my gut'

    Trump says he is pleased with the US response so far. He cites his decision to trust his vice-president and "listening to my gut".

    Trump repeats his assertion that if not for his administration's actions, at least two million Americans would have died, and maybe "much more than that".

    The president's critics accuse him of trying to spin tens of thousands of US deaths as a win.

  4. Trump says China must have most virus deaths

    Trump, seen through the White House windows
    Image caption: Trump, seen through the White House windows

    Trump disputes figures suggesting the US is leading the world in coronavirus-related deaths.

    "We don't have the most-in-the-world deaths. The most in the world has to be China," he says.

    Numbers released by Johns Hopkins University say the US is leading the world in total deaths.

    But on Friday China said it had recalculated the Wuhan death toll to be 4,000 higher, after changing its counting technique.

  5. Trump targets grant to Wuhan lab

    A conservative reporter asks why the Obama administration gave a $3.7m grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where unnamed US officials have speculated in US media that the coronavirus may have leaked.

    "Why would the US have a grant like that to China?" asks the One America News Network journalist.

    Trump says: "We will end that grant very quickly."

    "Who was president then, I wonder?" says Trump, noting the grant was made in 2015.

    The Washington Post reported this week that US diplomats were concerned about safety protocols at the Wuhan lab and asked for more help.

    The French president said today there was no evidence for the Wuhan lab coronavirus origin theory.

  6. Trump defends lockdown protesters

    Trump

    Trump is asked about an accusation by Washington Governor Jay Inslee that the president was fomenting rebellion by encouraging states to liberate themselves from lockdowns. He is asked how that squares with the "sober and methodical guidance" he issued yesterday.

    Trump says of certain stay-at-home orders: "Elements of what they’ve done is too much."

    He specifically mentions Virginia, which has closed firing ranges after designating them non-essential businesses.

    Asked if he is concerned that protesters will spread the disease, Trump says: “No, these are people expressing their views.

    "I see where they are and I see the way they are working. They seem to be very responsible to me. They’ve been treated a little bit rough.”

  7. Dr Fauci: 'We had a problem from within'

    After President Trump steps out of the briefing room, top US infectious diseases doctor Anthony Fauci says totally unprompted that the government made mistakes in the early days of the pandemic.

    "No doubt, no doubt that early on we had a problem," he says referring to the initial US inability to conduct mass testing.

    He adds: "It was a problem that was a technical problem from within.

    "It was an issue of embracing, the way we have now and should have, the private sector, who clearly has the capability of making and providing tests at the level that we will need them."

    This is uncomfortable because the official who has been widely blamed for the testing setback - Dr Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control - was also on stage at the briefing.

    Dr Fauci's comment is, yet again, unlikely to endear him to the president, who never likes to admit error. Trump recently shared a retweet with the hashtag "#FireFauci".

    Dr Fauci's lack of harmony with White House talking points has triggered attacks from some Trump supporters who see him as a disloyal globalist infiltrator.

  8. Fauci: 'I tested negative today'

    Dr Anthony Fauci says people may require as many as one test every other day to be sure they have not recently become infected.

    He says he himself was tested negative today.

    "We've been hearing testing is everything and it isn't," he says, stressing that mitigation strategies tamp down outbreaks.

    Dr Fauci, the top US disease expert, points out it is not necessarily testing that contained the spread of other viruses like HIV/AIDS, but rather strict mitigation practices.

  9. 'States have the tests they need to reopen'

    Vice-President Mike Pence says states have enough test kits in supply to begin moving to phase one of the plan that the White House outlined on Thursday.

    He says that 120,000 tests are being done each day in hospitals around the US.

    But some experts have said the US will need to test millions of people daily before the nation can start returning to economic normality.

    Phase one calls for schools to remain shut and social distancing measure to stay in place. Businesses should continue teleworking and groups of 10 should remain banned.

    A medical professional collects a sample after administering a coronavirus test to a patient at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site run by ProHealth Care on April 06, 2020 in Jericho, New York
    Image caption: A coronavirus testing site in New York
  10. Trump: 'We were over-prepared' for pandemic

    Trump notes that the federal government made available 2,900 extra hospital beds for New York City, but they did not end needing the capacity at the Javits Center or the US Navy hospital ship that was sent to Manhattan.

    He says “we wanted to err on the side of caution - this is what the governors wanted”.

    “We did a spectacular job,” Trump says.

    “I think I’d rather tell you that we were over-prepared, than we were under-prepared, and that was a good faith effort by New York,” he says. These appear to be gracious comments about Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo - the two were feuding just earlier today.

    Trump has been accused by critics of being under-prepared for the pandemic. While the government took action in late January by limiting travel from China, Mr Trump downplayed the virus for weeks, and did not advise all Americans to socially distance themselves until mid March.

  11. Trump attacks 'partisan voices' on testing

    Trump complains that "very partisan and misleading voices in the media and politics" have voiced concerns about how quickly the US has scaled up testing.

    Without naming New York state's governor, who said earlier today that the federal government must move quicker to provide testing, he says that some people have been "demonstrating a complete failure to imagine the scope of the testing abilities we have brought online."

    The US got off to the difficult start with testing for coronavirus - initially it tested far fewer people than other countries, and Dr Fauci said in March that the US was "failing" on testing.

    It has since massively ramped up its testing numbers, although some business leaders have said that "vastly more testing capacity" is needed to help get the economy back up and running.

  12. New fund announced for US farmers and ranchers

    Trump begins by saying he has been speaking with faith leaders about the plan he outlined yesterday, which calls for a "phased, safe and gradual reopening of America".

    He says the guidelines provide governors with the "fact-driven and science based metrics they will need" to end lockdowns in their states.

    Trump also announces a new $19bn (£15bn) relief programme for farmers and ranchers.

    It's called the Coronavirus Food Assistance Programme, and includes $16bn in direct payments, says Trump.

    The US government also plans to purchase $3bn in food products to distribute to food banks and Americans in need.

    Trump had already announced $28bn in aid for farmers affected by tariffs, as of the end of last year.

    A worker harvest a crop in Florida City, Florida, USA, 16 April 2020
  13. Trump briefing begins

    Donald Trump is now hosting the White House coronavirus taskforce daily briefing.

    He is joined by taskforce co-ordinator Deborah Birx, top US infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci, and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield.

    Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue is also on stage.

    You can watch it live here.

  14. Trump campaign planning to restart rallies

    The Trump campaign team have confirmed they are planning to restart rallies on the campaign trail.

    However it is unclear when these rallies will start and whether they would implement social distancing. The campaign did not mention whether they would prioritise "low risk" states first.

    Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director, said: "The coronavirus will pass and the president is looking forward to getting back out on the campaign trail and holding rallies."

    The news comes a day after President Trump announced his plan to reopen America.

    The plan included guidance for governors on reopening state economies in the coming months.

  15. White House briefing soon

    The daily White House coronavirus taskforce briefing is due to begin imminently.

    It comes as President Trump feuds with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over whether the federal government is doing enough to help states fight the pandemic.

    Cuomo said on Friday that the federal government must be responsible for importing PPE and testing equipment from China, rather than each individual state.

    Trump swiftly hit back, saying Cuomo should stop "complaining" and be grateful for the federal assistance he has already received.

    On Thursday, the White House released guidelines for governors to consider when determining how to reopen their state.

    The three phases outlined by the White House call for robust testing for all medical workers - something the US has yet to accomplish on a wide scale - in order to move towards a "new normal".

  16. BreakingUK prison release scheme suspended after six freed by mistake

    Danny Shaw

    BBC Home Affairs Correspondent

    A prison officer

    A UK government scheme to release prisoners early in order to help jails cope with coronavirus has been suspended after six offenders were freed by mistake.

    The inmates were mistakenly let out of two "open" prisons - Leyhill in Gloucestershire and Sudbury, Derbyshire.

    A spokesperson for the prisons service said they were "low-risk" offenders who "returned compliantly to prison when asked to do so".

    However, the mistake is deeply embarrassing for Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, who has emphasised the rigorous checks that would take place before inmates are let out.

    The prison service attributed the release to “human error” and said processes were being changed to reduce the likelihood of it happening again.

    Up to 4,000 prisoners, who are due to be freed within two months, are eligible for the early release programme across England and Wales.

    On Tuesday officials said four had been released with “hundreds” more due to be freed this week.

    Fourteen pregnant prisoners and mothers with babies had also been freed early, by Tuesday.

  17. Sailors on infected US aircraft carrier to be tested for antibodies

    Sailors on the Roosevelt have their temperatures taken earlier this month (FILE PHOTO)
    Image caption: Sailors on the Roosevelt have their temperatures taken earlier this month (FILE PHOTO)

    The US Navy will begin antibody testing of the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier that has docked in Guam amid an outbreak of coronavirus.

    "We have scheduled the outbreak investigation to begin Monday and we are seeking crew member volunteers to provide an additional swab sample and a routine blood draw for laboratory testing," announced Navy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Bruce Gillingham, adding that crew would be asked to answer a survey.

    The ship, which includes a crew of 5,000, has been allowed to wait in Guam as the sailors quarantine in local hotels. More than 500 crew members have so far tested positive, and one has died.

    Testing for antibodies, which tries to establish if someone has previously had coronavirus, has only been created in the past week. The accuracy of the tests is still questionable, and it's unclear whether the presence of antibodies in the blood does actually indicate immunity. The BBC's James Gallagher explained more a little earlier.

  18. Perception in Latin America that Covid-19 is rich person's disease

    Katy Watson

    BBC South America correspondent

    A man in Guayaquil, Ecuador walks through the streets wearing a mask

    In Ecuador, the death toll stands at 403 but new figures from one province suggest thousands have died.

    The government in Guayas province reported 6,700 deaths in the first two weeks of April, far more than the usual 1,000 deaths there in the same period.

    The first recorded case was of an Ecuadorean woman returning from Spain.

    It backs the perception in Latin America that Covid-19 is a rich person's disease - a virus introduced to the region by affluent parts of society who had been travelling abroad.

    The high death toll is also a devastating consequence of the combination of an overburdened healthcare system and a deeply unequal society which means not everybody is able - or willing - to socially distance and stop work.

    Authorities argue they were quick to impose strict regulations and people chose to disregard measures but experts argue more could be done - and one thing that could help is testing.

    While Ecuador is not the worst offender in the region, low testing rates have made it very difficult to understand how the virus has moved through communities, some of which have been devastated by the high death toll.

    Read more about the situation in Ecuador here.

  19. Doorstep performances bring (an ode to) joy

    If you are in the UK and you thought you heard strains of Beethoven's Ode to Joy outside your home earlier, you might not have been mistaken.

    Hundreds of classical musicians and singers - from the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain - led a mass doorstep singalong to the legendary composer's most famous melody.

    Musicians of all levels, and playing any instrument, were invited to get involved in the rousing crowd-pleaser. And people of all ages, using string instruments to synthesisers, turned out in their droves.

    Here are a selection of some of the participants...

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  20. California's deadliest day

    Ninety-five people died with coronavirus in California in the latest 24-hour period, making it the state's deadliest day so far.

    Governor Gavin Newsom said that the spike was due to a few hotspots, including a nursing home in Tulare County, south-east of Fresno.

    Local media reported that the state's total death toll was expected to surpass 1,000 by the end of Friday.

    All of the losses are, of course, tragic. However, so far the death toll in California - a state of 40 million people - is a fraction of what experts predicted, the BBC's Regan Morris reports.

    Here she looks at how California kept ahead of the curve.