Coronavirus briefing: UK shutdown tactics under scrutiny and global latest

By Victoria King
BBC News

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Note of optimism in the UK

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It's more than a week since unprecedented curbs were imposed on everyday freedoms in the UK, and the country's chief scientific adviser has said there are early signs the measures are making a difference. Deaths rose to 1,408 on Monday, but Sir Patrick Vallance said the number of additional patients being seen by the NHS each day was "stable" - potentially a positive indication.

However, enforcing social distancing measures is proving controversial and some police forces have received criticism for the steps they've taken, especially around people taking what are deemed to be unnecessary journeys. Police have been issued with guidance telling them to take a "consistent" approach and emphasising the importance of professionalism. One of Britain's most senior officers has told the Daily Telegraph the police must preserve "the trust and confidence of the public". Here's a reminder of the rules we're all meant to be following.

In other news, the government has launched what it calls an "unprecedented" operation to repatriate tens of thousands of Britons stranded abroad by the pandemic. Read our advice on what to do if that's you or one of your loved ones.

Families with children eligible for free school meals in England will also be able to claim weekly shopping vouchers while classrooms are out of bounds. That's on top of the food parcels the government is providing to the most vulnerable. Find out more about efforts to keep the nation fed.

Worldwide latest

Italy is the world's hardest hit country in terms of number of deaths. It has extended its extremely strict lockdown until Easter but there is some hope as the country reports a declining infection rate. Similar hopes are also being expressed in Spain. Elsewhere in Europe, Germany has reported a significant jump in cases, while Russia has also begun a lockdown of 12 million citizens in Moscow.

The BBC's Gavin Lee has been on a road trip in Europe's Schengen area to see how much the virus has affected freedom of movement on a continent so proud of its open borders.

The US has the most reported cases of the pandemic, but President Trump has insisted the country will be in "very good shape" in terms of medical equipment by the time the outbreak peaks. New York is the worst hit place in America and the state's governor says the scale of deaths there is "staggering". Hear one nurse in New York describe her struggles on the virus front line, while these graphs show what could be in store for the US.

Follow all the latest updates from around the world via our live page.

Firms struggling

Sector by economic sector, the pandemic is causing great difficulties. Restaurant chain Carluccio's and rent-to-own firm Brighthouse both went to the wall on Monday. Growers of plants, trees and shrubs say they're facing ruin due to the closure of 2,000 garden centres and nurseries. The four companies that manage ground operations at UK airports, Swissport, WFS, Dnata and Menzies, have also warned they are close to collapse, putting up to 25,000 jobs at risk. At the same time, pressure is growing on companies to improve protections for staff who fear they're being put at risk in the workplace. Employees at Amazon and at an online clothing warehouse are among those unhappy.

'I'm in coronavirus lockdown with my abuser'

By Megha Mohan, BBC gender and identity correspondent

While much of the world is on coronavirus lockdown, aid agencies have warned that domestic abuse care is as "urgent as healthcare". In the UK, calls to the national abuse hotline went up by 65% this weekend, according to domestic abuse commissioner Nicole Jacobs. And the UN has warned that women in poorer countries and smaller homes will have fewer ways to report abuse. The BBC has spoken to two women, in India and the US, who are currently under lockdown with men who have abused them.

One thing not to miss today

Listen up

In the Coronavirus Newscast, the team chew over the latest update on the UK situation. And for some escapism, BBC Radio 5 Live's Must Watch team review the big new TV and streaming shows.

What the papers say

There is much discussion about the use of police powers to enforce the UK's lockdown. The Guardian says "preventive measures should stop short of public shaming of individuals - particularly on social media platforms". The Sun thinks "a few idiots deserve fines for blatantly flouting the restrictions - but a few officious cops need reining in too". The Daily Telegraph calls the powers "draconian", but says there have been examples of the public behaving in a thoughtless and even reckless way - such as the driver stopped while out playing Pokemon Go. Elsewhere, the Metro says there's been a surge in reports of abuse directed at nurses and paramedics. The Daily Express calls for tougher sentences for those responsible. "Give Them All A Medal" demands the Daily Mirror - it's pushing for the heroism of NHS staff to be recognised with a form of campaign medal.

From elsewhere

Need something different?

Rapper Nipsey Hussle was murdered in March 2019, causing widespread shock and sadness. A year on, are we any closer to knowing who killed him? BBC Three's Ben Zand set out to unravel the mystery. Elsewhere, scientists say a simple blood test can check for more than 50 types of cancer, often before any signs or symptoms - read more. And with a lot of us having more time on our hands than usual, check out BBC Culture's review of the best books of 2020 so far.

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