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Live Reporting

Edited by Claudia Allen

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all for now

    We're pausing our live coverage, but it won't be long before our colleagues in Asia take over from us in London.

    Although some countries are easing their lockdowns, the pandemic is still growing at a fast rate globally. The World Health Organization has reported the biggest rise in new coronavirus infections in a single day.

    The other top stories on Wednesday are:

    • A super cyclone has made violent landfall in eastern India and Bangladesh, but coronavirus restrictions are making mass evacuations very difficult and hampering relief efforts
    • From Thursday, it will be compulsory to wear a mask in Spain inside and outside where social distancing is not possible
    • The World Bank warns 60m more people could be pushed into "extreme poverty"
    • All 50 US states have now partially lifted lockdown, and guidelines on how to re-open have been released by the CDC
    • Brazil's health ministry has approved two controversial anti-malarial drugs to treat Covid-19 despite a lack of evidence for their efficacy; the country has the fourth largest number of cases in the world
    • Sweden will review its medical treatment in care homes, after it was revealed patients were not being given oxygen
    • And, if you have a couple of minutes, watch this video looking at how Britain’s Jewish community has been disproportionately affected - it lost "beacon of light" 20-year-old Yechiel Yosef Rothschild last week

    Our team of journalists based around the world and in different timezones write this live coverage.

    Today they have been: Claudia Allen, Claire Heald, Joel Gunter, Patrick Jackson, David Walker, Georgina Rannard, Joshua Nevett, Tom Gerken, Yaroslav Lukov, Ben Collins, Emlyn Begley, Francis Keogh, Gavin Stamp, Joseph Lee, Paul Seddon, Robin Levinson-King, Aparna Alluri, Yvette Tan, Saira Asher, Andreas Illmer.

    Thanks for reading!

  2. How do you keep people apart in a disaster rescue?

    Jessica Murphy, BBC News, Toronto

    California fire fighters battling a fire in Canyon Country north of Los Angeles on October 25, 2019
    Image caption: Fire fighters will have to adjust how they work amid the pandemic

    Officials across North America are grappling with planning for floods, wildfires, hurricanes, severe heat waves and other extreme weather events this summer alongside the pandemic.

    The considerations necessary are wide-ranging, from managing already strained resources to sourcing extra protective equipment and figuring out the logistics of safely evacuating at-risk populations - even how to cajole evacuees, who might be fearful of catching the virus, from their homes.

    This week, 10,000 residents were evacuated in Michigan after two dams collapsed following days of heavy rain.

    Governor Gretchen Whitmer, noting the city of Midland in the US state could see historic high water levels, said: "To go through this in the midst of a global pandemic is almost unthinkable."

    Read more.

  3. Protests in Spain as state of emergency extended

    Demonstrators bang pans as they take part in a demonstration against the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis, on 20 May 2020, in Alcorcon, near Madrid
    Image caption: People banged pans in the street in protests against Spain's coronavirus measures

    Protestors in Spain have continued their nightly banging of pots and pans as the government extended the national state of emergency for the fifth time. Spaniards against the coronavirus restrictions register their dissatisfaction with the country's left-wing minority government every day at 21:00 local time.

    The state of emergency has been extended for a further two weeks. Shops have begun to open in most of the country apart from Barcelona and Madrid, but travel between provinces remains limited.

    Spain is one of the hardest-hit countries by coronavirus and had one of the strictest lockdowns, with children kept indoors for six weeks. Nearly 28,000 people have died from Covid-19.

    On Thursday, new rules about wearing face masks come into force. It will be compulsory for everyone to wear a mask indoors and outdoors where social distancing is not possible - the exemptions are children under six and people with health conditions, including asthma and anxiety. But children aged three to five are still encouraged to wear face coverings.

    A demonstrator bangs a pot as he takes part in a demonstration against the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis, on 20 May 2020, in Alcorcon, near Madrid
    Image caption: Spain renewed its state of emergency on Wednesday for the fifth time
  4. Under lockdown, photographer finds inspiration in backyard squirrels

    Squirrels go "shopping" in Nutzy's country market

    With their studio closed to the public, Daryl Granger and his wife Karen found inspiration for their next project close to home - in their own backyard.

    The couple own and operate RoseLe Studio in Simcoe, Ontario in Canada.

    Before coronavirus, RoseLe studio specialized in staged photographs that made its subjects look like characters in a movie. So building an elaborate miniature grocery store for squirrels wasn't too big a stretch.

    His biggest challenge was keeping the set out of the reach of his two dogs.

    Daryl Granger and his wife set the stage for a squirrel photo shoot in their backyard

    Mr Granger told the BBC he got the idea by sitting in his backyard with "lots of downtime".

    "Wow we have a lot of squirrels here!" he said.

    With peanuts acting as both bait and props, it didn't take long for the squirrels to catch on.

    "They have all different personalities. You can tell we have a pushy one!" he said.

    "I love the interaction they have with one another... You can totally see the story."

    Squirrels go "shopping" in Nutzy's country market
    Squirrels go "shopping" in Nutzy's country market
  5. CDC releases reopening 'blueprint' for US businesses

    Dr Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaking at the White House in April
    Image caption: Dr Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaking at the White House in April

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released detailed guidelines for establishments beginning to reopen in the United States.

    The 60-page document is the most comprehensive produced by the US government and includes suggestions for specific settings such as schools, restaurants and mass transit systems.

    President Donald Trump has said that the US needs to move forward with lifting restrictions and the guidelines will aid communities as they look to reopen their economies.

    As we reported earlier, all 50 states have allowed some businesses to reopen, with some acting before meeting federal guidelines.

  6. Restoring hope in the London community worst-hit by virus

    Michael Buchanan

    Social Affairs Correspondent, BBC News

    Anwar Hussain Oli, Dr Louisa Rajakumari and Dr Yusuf Patel
    Image caption: Anwar Hussain Oli, Dr Louisa Rajakumari and Dr Yusuf Patel are among those who have died

    Newham in east London has the highest death rate from coronavirus in England and Wales.

    For much of April, one of its residents, Ghouse Fazaluddin, was consumed by one thought: "We couldn't just stand back and watch our dead be buried in mass graves."

    Using his background as a telecoms project manager, he set to work.

    A WhatsApp group was created and volunteers from the Jamia mosque in Newham, east London, where Mr Fazaluddin is a trustee, were recruited.

    The task in hand was essential, but grim.

    There had been so many deaths that a backlog of bodies had built up and people were required to prepare each person for burial.

    Mr Fazaluddin says: "The common goal was, we cannot forget our deceased, we cannot just leave them to be buried without the ritual washing that takes place, and that people's dignity, the dignity of the deceased, was preserved."

    Read more on Newham

  7. Getting England's schools back is a big test for the government

    Laura Kuenssberg

    Political editor

    A cloakroom with a few bags on pegs is seen at Marsden Infant and Nursery School in Marsden, near Huddersfield, northern England on May 18, 2020

    Inside Downing Street there is an acute awareness that the gradual move out of the lockdown is going to be much more complicated than slamming the doors in the first place.

    That's the case both in terms of creating plans and policies that give people enough reassurance to take tiny steps to start to get back to normal, only weeks after the peak of a terrible disease, and trying to do so without taking on too much political water, when the consensus that shaped the start of the crisis has already started to fray.

    And the ongoing tussle over England's return to schools is perhaps the first big test.

    Read more from Laura.

  8. Brazil authorises use of controversial anti-malarial drugs

    President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro talks to supporters of his government who waited for him outside the Palácio do Alvorada  pandemic on 20 May, 2020 in Brasilia
    Image caption: Brazil currently has the third largest number of cases in the world

    Two controversial anti-malarial drugs have been approved for use in coronavirus patients by Brazil's health ministry. No conclusive evidence exists that the two drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, are effective in treating Covid-19.

    Patients will need to sign a waiver recognising the potential side effects.

    In March Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro claimed on social media that hydroxychloroquine was totally effective in treating the virus - Facebook and Twitter later deleted his posts for spreading fake news.

    On Monday US President Donald Trump announced he had been taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure.

    But the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the drug has "not been shown to be safe and effective".

    "We need larger, high-quality randomised clinical trials in order to better evaluate their effectiveness," says University of Oxford's Kome Gbinigie, author of a report on anti-malarial testing for Covid-19.

    There are risks of serious side effects from the drugs, affecting the eyes and the heart among other organs.

  9. Pandemic controls hamper Cyclone Amphan response

    Members of National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF) remove a branch of an uprooted tree after Cyclone Amphan made its landfall, in Digha, near the border between the eastern states of West Bengal and Odisha, India, May 20, 2020
    Image caption: Indian emergency workers in masks cleared fallen trees in Digha

    Coronavirus restrictions have been hampering emergency and relief efforts in eastern India and Bangladesh where a super cyclone has made violent landfall, killing at least 15 people as it lashed coastal communities with ferocious wind and rain.

    Cyclone Amphan uprooted trees and toppled homes in both countries, including in the Indian city of Kolkata in West Bengal.

    Nearly 3m people were evacuated - most of them in Bangladesh - before the storm hit.

    Covid-19 and social-distancing measures have made mass evacuations more difficult for authorities, with shelters unable to be used to full capacity.

    The storm is expected to have caused deadly storm surges although its winds have now weakened.

    Read more.

  10. Evening UK update

    Coronavirus update logo

    If you're just joining us, a very warm welcome to our continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Here are the latest stories from the UK this evening:

    1. Boris Johnson says the UK will have a "world-beating" contact-tracing system from 1 June
    2. Family members of non-British NHS support staff and care workers who die with coronavirus can stay in the UK permanently, it has been announced
    3. There's to be a new taskforce to help get live sport and creative industries in the UK back on their feet
    4. Derby-based aerospace firm Rolls-Royce has announced it is cutting nearly a fifth of its workforce worldwide and warned it will take "several years" for the airline industry to recover from the coronavirus pandemic
    5. If you're in need of some life-affirming viewing during this pandemic, watch the moment a couple who have been married for almost 72 years are reunited after weeks apart

    Read the full evening briefing here.

  11. Maximum lockdown fines rise to £1,920 in Wales

    Police on patrol in Tintern
    Image caption: Police chiefs want fines in Wales to be the same as England

    Maximum fixed penalty notices in Wales for breaching lockdown will rise to £1,920, the Welsh Government has confirmed.

    First Minister Mark Drakeford has faced calls to raise the penalties to deter breaches.

    Initial fines will remain at £60, but will double for each subsequent offence up to the sixth occurrence.

    But Plaid Cymru police and crime commissioners say calls to match England's higher fines structure - starting at £100 - have been rejected.

    Individuals who do not pay the notice could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

  12. South Africa deaths 'to soar' in coming months

    Miners wearing masks in South Africa during the coronavirus pandemic
    Image caption: Miners are among the key workers who have been allowed to carry on in South Africa

    At least 40,000 people could die with coronavirus in South Africa by the end of the year, scientists have warned.

    The projections were made by a modelling consortium set up to help government planning over the outbreak and assume that tough restrictions will be eased from 1 June, as President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced.

    The curbs - which include a ban on alcohol and tobacco sales - have been credited with slowing the spread of the virus, with 17,200 cases and 312 deaths reported so far, way less than the figures in Spain, which has a smaller population.

    While President Ramaphosa has said lockdown regulations would be eased from "level 4" to "level 3" from early June, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said that according to the World Health Organization, South Africa is not yet ready for level 3 because infections continue to rise every day.

    The opposition party is taking the government to court, arguing that the stringent regulations are unwarranted and the ban on alcohol and tobacco sales should be lifted.

  13. Bolivian health minister investigated over ventilators

    Women outside a bank in El Alto, Bolivia, on May 18, 2020

    Bolivia's health minister is being investigated over the purchase of overpriced ventilators for Covid-19 patients.

    Marcelo Navajas and four other officials are being questioned by police about the purchase of some 170 ventilators from a Spanish firm.

    The health ministry allegedly paid around $27,000 (£22,000; €25,000) for each ventilator, when their real price was reportedly $10,000-$12,000.

    Mr Navajas earlier told leading Bolivian newspaper La Razon the purchase had been "transparent".

    The Latin American country has reported 4,481 cases of coronavirus and 189 deaths.

  14. Macau police reject Tiananmen massacre vigil

    Police in Macau - a special administrative region of China - have rejected a request to hold an annual Tiananmen Square massacre vigil, citing concerns over the coronavirus, local media report.

    It will the first time in 30 years that the vigil will not take place, according to Macau Business.

    The group that organises the vigil, the Democratic Development Union (DDU), said it would challenge the decision in court.

    Macau, a former Portuguese colony and a near neighbour of Hong Kong, has not had any new cases of Covid-19 for 41 days, reports say.

    Vigils are held annually in Macau and Hong Kong to commemorate the victims of Tiananmen Square.

    The victims were students and workers who, in 1989, occupied Beijing's Tiananmen Square in a massive pro-democracy protest. Many were killed in a brutal clampdown by the communist authorities.

    On Tuesday, Hong Kong authorities extended social-distancing measures until at least 4 June, throwing plans for mass gatherings to mark the occasion into doubt.

    A candlelit vigil to mark the Tiananmen Square massacre in Hong Kong
    Image caption: Thousands of people gather annually for mass candlelit vigils in Hong Kong and Macau
  15. Britons enjoy hottest day of year so far

    Many people were pictured basking in the hot weather at Bournemouth beach in Dorset on Wednesday
    Image caption: Many people were pictured basking in the hot weather at Bournemouth beach in Dorset on Wednesday
    Broadway Market, in Hackney, north east London
    Image caption: There were plenty outside in the sunshine in Broadway Market, in Hackney, east London
    Woman playing frisbee
    Image caption: People in England are now allowed to play socially distanced sports outdoors

    People across the UK have been enjoying glorious sunny weather, with the country recording its hottest day of the year so far.

    Temperatures reached 27.8C (82F) near London's Heathrow Airport, and sunbathers across England enjoyed new-found freedom following the slight easing of virus lockdown restrictions.

    Cars from "all over the country" were reported in traffic gridlock in north Devon on Wednesday, police said.

    While Northern Ireland has also seen some modest changes to its lockdown, restrictions in Scotland and Wales regarding enjoying the outdoors have not been eased.

  16. NHS England official cautions against buying antibody tests


    People have been cautioned against using coronavirus antibody tests being sold by some retailers.

    NHS England's medical director Prof Stephen Powis said experts were "evaluating" antibody tests, which aim to show if someone has already had the virus.

    Such tests are not yet available through the NHS, but some are being sold commercially.

    "I would caution against using any tests... without knowing quite how good those tests are," said Prof Powis.

    Read more here.

  17. All 50 US states make steps toward reopening

    A man lining up shirts outside a shop
    Image caption: Shops have started to reopen in Florida

    After Connecticut lifted some restrictions today, every US state has now partially reopened after a two-month shutdown.

    There are huge differences between how different states have reopened, with Maryland allowing outdoor areas like beaches to reopen, while Georgia residents can get a haircut and Oklahoma is allowing people to get tattoos.

    The District of Columbia is yet to announce its reopening.

    There have now been more than 92,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the United States.

  18. Tourism and abattoirs - the latest from Europe

    A worker disinfects beaches in Greece
    Image caption: From 15 June, seasonal hotels will start reopening in Greece

    Greece restarts its tourism industry and Germany cleans up its abattoirs. Here’s the latest from Europe:

  19. Is it hay fever or coronavirus?

    Can hay fever give you a cough? Do you get a temperature with hay fever? How do I know if I have coronavirus or hay fever?

    The Royal College of General Practitioners is warning people not to mix up the symptoms of coronavirus with hay fever.

    Here, BBC health correspondent Laura Foster explains how you can tell the difference.

    Video content

    Video caption: Hay fever or coronavirus: The symptoms compared
  20. Being in prison during a pandemic

    BBC OS

    A prison in Massachusetts being cleaned during the coronavirus pandemic
    Image caption: A prison in Massachusetts being cleaned during the coronavirus pandemic

    Around the world, many short-term inmates have been released early or temporarily to help contain the spread of Covid-19 in prisons.

    Jessica Vicsik, 25, was one of those released temporarily from Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Michigan, US, on 15 April.

    “It’s a nightmare in there," she told BBC OS. "We can’t go in or out. The guards, doctors and nurses come in and out every day, and that’s how we were getting [Covid-19]. They didn’t start wearing protective equipment for a couple of weeks.

    “We pregnant women – four of us were trapped inside with no doors open, no windows, and it was affecting us. I was told it’s so much worse out here, which it is because there’s a lot more people and it’s open. But at the same time, that’s our family. We know where our people are going – we don’t know where they (the guards) are going.”

    In response, a representative for the facility said: “The CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines said people did not have to wear masks at the beginning of this outbreak. When the guidance changed from the federal government, we provided every prisoner and every prison employee with three masks and required they wear them every day.

    "We have also done mass testing at nearly every prison in the state and by the end of this week we will have tested every prisoner in the state, making us the first state in the country to do so.”