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Live Reporting

Edited by Vicky Baker

All times stated are UK

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  1. It's goodbye for now

    We're pausing our live coverage, but our colleagues in Asia will soon take over from us here in London.

    Today the number of confirmed cases passed five million worldwide - a far cry from January when the count was in hundreds. Almost 330,000 people have now died with Covid-19.

    The top stories on Thursday:

    • UK government data suggests around one in six people in London and one in 20 elsewhere in England have had coronavirus
    • The UK government did a U-turn on its plans to charge migrant health workers a hefty surcharge for using the NHS
    • In South Africa, a two-day-old baby has died with coronavirus - one of the world's youngest victims
    • In Latin America, the outbreak worsens. Brazil, Peru and Mexico among the four countries globally with the fastest rise in deaths
    • A catastrophe is unfolding in Yemen, charity MSF warns, where in one centre, 68 of 173 patients admitted died
    • A surge in visitors to beaches in France, the Netherlands and England temperatures rise has alarmed officials and experts
    • And in Spain the daily death toll was 48 - much lower than the worst days in the hard-hit country
    • Finally, what has your lockdown yielded? In France, two brothers building a garden den discovered two gold bars worth €50,000 (£45,000) each

    Our team of journalists around the world write this live coverge. On Thursday they were: Vicky Baker, Marie Jackson, Max Matza, Georgina Rannard, Ben Collins, Patrick Jackson, Lauren Turner, Saj Chowdhury, Kevin Ponniah, Mary O'Connor, Paul Seddon, Paulin Kola, Steven Sutcliffe, Alexandra Fouche, Joshua Cheetham, Anna Jones, Yvette Tan, Andreas Illmer.

    Thanks for reading!

  2. Oldest San Francisco gay bar forced to fold

    The oldest gay bar in San Francisco will close down permanently after 55 years due to a lack of revenue during the pandemic.

    The Stud, which has been around since 1966, will host a "drag funeral" for the bar on 31 May, according to owner Honey Mahogany.

    In mid-March, San Francisco became one of the first US cities to order residents to "shelter in place" to control the spread of the pandemic.

  3. When will I be able to go on holiday?

    Sandy beach

    As the summer holiday period approaches, many of us in the UK might be wondering when we can enjoy a getaway - at home or abroad.

    At the moment, the chances of going on a foreign holiday look unlikely. That's because Brits are being advised not to take any non-essential travel abroad, and various countries have restrictions which stop or limit foreign visitors.

    The UK is expected to introduce a 14-day quarantine period in early June for visitors and UK residents returning home from abroad, making things more complicated.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has suggested that "air bridges" could be introduced, meaning travellers from countries with low infection rates could be exempt from quarantine. But this remains uncertain.

    As for a domestic getaway, people in England are free to drive any distance to other destinations in England, like parks and beaches, but they are not supposed to stay overnight away from home (including in any second property they own).

    Self-catering cottages, Airbnb properties, and UK campsites, hotels and holiday parks will remain shut until at least the beginning of July.

  4. How long does it take to recover from the virus?

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: How long does it take to recover?

    The latest figures from Johns Hopkins University show that 1.9 million people have recovered from the virus, but the time it takes to recover can vary.

    Most people with Covid-19 will only develop mild symptoms, which usually take a week to recover from, maybe longer. But in more serious cases, it could take months, or even more than a year, to get fully better.

    BBC health correspondent Laura Foster explains recovery times and what you can do to help others.

  5. UK should have acted earlier, says leading scientist

    A member of the UK government’s scientific advisory group, known as SAGE, has told the BBC he would have liked the government to have acted earlier in the fight against coronavirus.

    Sir Ian Boyd, a professor of biology at St Andrews University, told the Coronavirus Newscast: “I would have loved to have seen us acting a week or two weeks earlier and it would have made quite a big difference to the steepness of the curve of infection and therefore the death rate."

    He suggested that the government based its initial assessment on the transmissibility of the SARS virus, which is less infectious than this coronavirus.

    He described the UK and other European countries as “a bit slower off the mark” and less prepared than countries that had experienced SARS in the early 2000s.

    "I think some politicians would have loved to have reacted earlier but in their political opinion it probably wasn’t feasible because people wouldn’t have perhaps responded in the way they eventually did," he said.

    Professor Boyd, who was the chief scientific adviser at the environment department from 2012-19, also called on ministers to stop saying they were “led” by the science as it was "slightly misleading".

  6. Anniversary couple's joy at virtual holiday of a lifetime

    Barbara and Ed Higgins
    Image caption: The couple's daughter superimposed her parents on to various locations on their holiday itinerary

    British couple Ed and Barbara Higgins, from Norfolk, England, had been due to fly to New York to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary - and sail back on a luxury cruise ship.

    But the pandemic put a stop to their plans, like those of many others.

    Their family though did not want them to miss out so, as the EDP reports, they sent an itinerary, online tours, special dinners and mocked-up photos.

    The couple said their virtual trip had "brought tears of joy to our eyes".

    Barbara and Ed Higgins in a mocked up picture of them on a cruise
    Image caption: Barbara and Ed Higgins should have been on the cruise ship in person
  7. France's poorer children staying home despite schools reopening

    Lucy Williamson

    BBC's Paris Correspondent

    French teacher Morgane Legrand wears a protective face mask
    Image caption: A teacher in Nantes, west France, and her pupils wear masks after their school reopened

    The French education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, has told the BBC that poorer children are not returning to school as much as those from wealthier families.

    He said that reopening schools was a “social emergency”, and that the lockdown had increased inequality in France. But so far, only 20% of primary school pupils have returned.

    "It’s true that children of poor families are coming less than the others,” Mr Blanquer said.

    “That’s why it was important to start in May not in June, because we know that it’s [a] step-by-step [process].”

    Last week, France reopened 40,000 primary and nursery schools, and pupils returned to some middle schools on Monday.

    It’s a voluntary process so far – a decision criticised by one mayor, who said it made things difficult for parents: “If they send [their children] to school and they get sick, they’ll feel guilty; if they keep them home and they fall behind, they’ll feel guilty. If you govern, you need to take the decision.”

    The education ministry has issued 56 pages of detailed instructions to schools on how to keep premises clean and pupils safe, in the hope of building trust with parents.

    There must be no more than 15 children in a class, no shared toys, and arrivals at the school must be timed. Older children must also wear masks.

    There is so much that’s compulsory for schools, some say, while the attendance is not.

  8. What travel to Greece looks like

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus travel: Airport tests and hotel quarantine for Greece arrivals

    The tourism industry is vital to the economy of Greece. The season begins in June and international charter flights to popular locations will resume in July, according to the country's prime minster.

    Greece has been praised for its handling of the pandemic. It has recorded 166 deaths and 2,850 confirmed cases.

    But how easy will it be for tourists to enter Greece for their holidays?

    The BBC's Quentin Sommerville arrived in Athens airport to see how things are working at the moment.

  9. How can we know if one in six Londoners has had coronavirus?

    More on that new data which emerged at today's Downing Street briefing suggesting about one in six Londoners and one in 20 people elsewhere in England have had coronavirus.

    How did those figures come about?

    Public Health England says it is carrying out a range of seroprevalence studies - where they measure antibodies in the blood of healthy people - to better understand past rates of infection across the population.

    In this case, they took 1,000 samples between mid-April and early May from each region.

    From this, they say they could make a crude estimate that between 4.5% and 13% of the population have coronavirus antibodies.

    With further statistical adjustments, they found about 17% of London adults had been infected; this compares to only 4.3% in the north-east of England.

    As antibodies can take up to four weeks to develop, it is likely that the level outside London will increase as more samples are tested in the coming weeks.

    Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said: “Early surveillance suggests that rates of infection were higher in London than the rest of the country – which is consistent with data collected through our other systems.

    "London was affected earlier and our data suggests that more of the London population became infected before the lockdown took effect."

  10. Trump claims to wear mask

    Trump holds a mask
    Image caption: "I think I look better in the mask," Trump said.

    President Trump is touring a US auto plant that has been converted to make ventilators to fight Covid-19.

    Speaking to reporters, he held up a mask and said he wore one during his tour, but is now standing in an area where is it not required. Earlier this week, a Ford company spokesperson said he would be required to do so, but he has so far never been pictured wearing one.

    "I wore one in this back area but I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it," said Trump, adding that he wore goggles as well.

    "I was tested this morning, so it's not necessary," he continued.

    Asked why the car executives accompanying him are still wearing theirs, he said: "That's their choice."

    The pool reporter travelling with Trump asked the Ford executive if he can confirm that Trump was told he did not require a mask in that part of the factory.

    The executive shrugged and said, "It's up to him".

  11. 'Relatively small' increase in UK domestic violence referrals

    Clive Coleman

    BBC legal correspondent

    In the UK, domestic violence referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) during the coronavirus pandemic have increased by 3%.

    Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill QC told the Justice Committee the increase thus far was "relatively small".

    Domestic violence represents 13.6% of CPS work.

    A report by MPs has revealed phone calls to a national domestic abuse helpline rose by 49% and killings doubled weeks after lockdown.

    If you or someone you know have been affected by domestic abuse or violence, you can find advice from the following:

  12. Longtime White House butler dies at 91

    Tara McKelvey

    BBC News, Washington

    Image caption: Wilson Roosevelt Jerman finished his career caring for the Obama family

    A White House staff member who cared for 11 US presidents has died with coronavirus at the age of 91, according to his family.

    Wilson Roosevelt Jerman joined under President Eisenhower in 1957 and was a cleaner when First Lady Jackie Kennedy approached him and promoted him to butler. Years later a photo of him appeared in Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming after he had risen to the rank of maître d'.

    His more than five decades of service have been studied by historians of African-Americans in politics.

    Like other African-American men of his generation, says Ohio State University’s Koritha Mitchell, author of From Slave Cabins to the White House, he showed dignity while serving in one of the few positions that was available to him at the time.

    She believes that he must have found it satisfying to end his career in the way that he did.

    He was working for Obama, “a dignified president who was also African American”, she says, adding: “That must have felt like a victory.”

    Read more

  13. 'Best feeling': UK woman reunited with family after three months

    Jeanette Hall hugs her husband

    A British woman who was stranded in Australia after falling ill has been reunited with her family after three long months.

    Mother-of-three Jeanette Hall, from Sheffield, England, was visiting her sister in southern Australia when she developed sepsis.

    But cancelled flights - due to the pandemic - meant there was no way to get back home.

    She missed her son's 21st but said it was the "best feeling" to finally see her husband Steve and children after flying home on Sunday.

    Read more on Jeanette's story here.

    Jeanette and Steve Hall
    Image caption: Steve and Jeanette Hall spent three months apart
  14. Watch: Health workers clap from hospital helipad

    Like many around the world, people in Britain clap weekly for hospital staff and other key workers, to thank them for their dedication and sacrifice during the pandemic.

    At south London's St George's hospital, medical workers clapped from a helipad. You can watch it below.

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: UK's ninth Clap for Carers
  15. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov 'in hospital in Moscow'

    Ramzan Kadyrov, 43, became president Chechyna in 2007
    Image caption: Ramzan Kadyrov, 43, became president of Chechyna in 2007

    Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has been flown to hospital in Moscow with suspected coronavirus, Russian media report.

    He is one of the most feared men in Russia, says our Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg.

    The authoritarian leader of Russia's Chechnya region previously fought against Moscow as a Chechen nationalist but is now a key ally of President Vladimir Putin.

    He is the latest latest high-profile Russian official to show symptoms of the virus.

    Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin only returned to work in the last few days after being treated in hospital for Covid-19.

    Russia has the second largest number of infections worldwide.

  16. Hancock: 17% of Londoners and 5% of rest of England have had coronavirus

    Matt Hancock

    Earlier, at the UK government's daily briefing, we heard news of a study which suggests that 17% of people in London and around 5% of the rest of the nation have virus antibodies.

    The new data comes as the government agreed a deal with a large pharmaceutical firm for more than 10 million antibody tests, to see if people have had the virus.

    The first in line for them will be health and social care staff, patients and care home residents.

    It's still unclear what level of immunity people develop once they have had it, but some experts hope a degree of immunity would last a year or two.

    However, there is no guarantee that having antibodies means a person will not pass the virus on to somebody else.

    At the briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said certificates were being looked at for people who test positive for coronavirus antibodies.

    "It's not just about the clinical advances that these tests can bring," he said.

    "It's that knowing that you have these antibodies will help us to understand more in the future if you are at lower risk of catching coronavirus, of dying from coronavirus and of transmitting coronavirus."

  17. Heathrow chief calls for checks on departure, not arrival

    A thermal image like that to be used during a temperature screening trial at Heathrow airport
    Image caption: A temperature screening trial began at Heathrow airport on Thursday

    Heathrow launched a temperature screening trial on Thursday for arrivals in Terminal 2, but the airport's chief executive John Holland-Kaye has called for a "common international standard" to screen passengers on departure rather than arrival.

    “Every country going into this crisis came up with their own policy for screening people. But as we come out – and we try to get people flying again – we need some consistency," he told the BBC.

    "We’re calling on the UK government to work with other governments like the US and EU to establish a common international standard, so when you’re travelling you’re confident you’ll be accepted into the country you’re going to, and will be kept safe on your journey.

    "And I think it’s important that the screen takes place at the airport on departure, rather than at your destination, because you don’t want to run the gauntlet of not knowing if you’ll be quarantined or turned around at your destination.”

  18. Schools exams to go ahead in Russia - with masks

    Russia's emergencies ministry sent disinfection equipment to crisis-hit Dagestan
    Image caption: Russia's emergencies ministry sent disinfection equipment to crisis-hit Dagestan

    Exams for Russia's final-year secondary school students will go ahead in June, President Vladimir Putin has announced. Students will be given masks, gloves and other protective equipment in the exam rooms.

    The exams were originally supposed to take place on 25 May but the education ministry postponed them. Now, citing a "decrease in coronavirus cases", Putin told officials the exams would happen on 29 June.

    Russia has more than 317,000 cases of coronavirus, the second-highest number in the world. Dagestan, in southern Russia, is said to be experiencing a "catastrophe".

  19. Trump: 'I tested positively negative'

    Trump speaks before departing for Michigan
    Image caption: Trump speaks before departing for Michigan

    US President Donald Trump has just spoken to reporters on his way to tour an automotive plant in Michigan.

    He says that he took a coronavirus test today, which came back "positively toward negative".

    He said: "I tested very positively in another sense. So this morning, yeah, I tested positively toward negative.

    "Right, so, I tested perfectly this morning. Meaning, I tested negative."

    Trump is visiting later today a Ford factory that has been manufacturing ventilators. Earlier this week a company spokesperson said the president would be required to wear a mask during the tour.

    Trump has yet to be seen wearing a face mask since the outbreak began.

    Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence have been receiving daily tests after several White House staff members tested positive.

  20. In pictures: More tributes to carers from around the UK

    Health workers in Liverpool hold up a sign thanking Liverpool
    Image caption: Health workers in Liverpool hold up a sign thanking their city
    Nun in Sunderland
    Image caption: In Sunderland, a nun heads into the street to join the weekly tribute
    Police in Leighton
    Image caption: Police officers applaud their colleagues and fellow emergency workers in Leighton, Cheshire