24th March 2020 – United Kingdom
More information coming shortly
21:08 Dow has its best day in 87 years
The Dow Jones index rallied more than 11% (or over 2000 points) for its best day on the US stock market since 1933.
Investors are hopeful that Congress will pass a $2 trillion (£1.7 trillion) stimulus package to help businesses and households weather the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The S&P 500 also rallied more than 9%, its biggest gain since October 2008.
Shares of companies likely to get help from the government saw some of the biggest gains, including Chevron, American Express and Boeing whose stock prices all jumped more than 20%
20:57 Greta Thunberg believes she had coronavirus
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has said it was “extremely likely” that she fell ill with coronavirus but has now recovered. The 17-year-old said she felt “tired, had shivers, a sore throat and coughed” after returning from a trip in Europe, so self-isolated for two weeks.
“Everyone feeling ill are told to stay at home and isolate themselves. I have therefore not been tested for Covid-19, but it’s extremely likely that I’ve had it, given the combined symptoms and circumstances,” she wrote on Instagram.
She warned people to stay at home because “our actions can be the difference between life and death” for others.
20:49 Outbreak on idyllic tourist island in Baltic Sea
The largest island in Estonia is at the heart of the Baltic state’s coronavirus outbreak, with 114 of the country’s 369 cases. The outbreak in Saaremaa is thought to have begun when an Italian volleyball team from Milan played a local club at the beginning of March. The island, which has a population of 33,000, has spent the past 10 days sealed off from the rest of Estonia.
“We’ve been living under in a constant state of emergency for the last two weeks and are aware of an imminent danger of an explosion (of cases). The situation could get much more dramatic,” Mayor Madis Kallas said.
The hospital on Saaremaa was the first in Estonia to set up a drive-in testing facility, but it has been struggling with a lack of supplies of protective gear. Patients in a serious condition have been sent to hospitals on the mainland.
20:27 France death toll passes 1,000
The death toll in France from the coronavirus has jumped by 240 in the last 24 hours to reach 1,100. That’s its biggest daily rise yet. There were 2,444 new confirmed cases in the same period, bringing the total number in the country to at least 22,300, France’s health ministry said. The death toll is likely to be higher, as those confirmed so far have only been people who died in hospital, French media reports say.
Like most other European countries, France has implemented Draconian restrictions on life to prevent the virus from spreading. The country was put into lockdown on 17 March, requiring people to stay indoors stay except for essential trips for an initial 15-day period.
But on Tuesday, France’s scientific council advised the government to extend the lockdown, saying it should last at least six weeks to suppress the virus more effectively. Health minister Olivier Véran said the lockdown will “last as long as it needs to”.
19:46 Playwright McNally dies of coronavirus complications
American playwright and librettist Terrence McNally has died of complications from the coronavirus at the age of 81, his publicist has confirmed.
McNally won four Tony Awards during his career, including Best Play for both Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class. His other works include musicals Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Full Monty and Ragtime.
Publicist Matt Polk said McNally was a lung cancer survivor who had been living with a chronic inflammatory lung disease.
McNally is survived by his husband Tom Kirdahy.
18:28 Ireland introduces new measures to curb Covid-19
New measures against the outbreak have been announced in the Republic of Ireland.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said theatres, playgrounds, clubs and gyms are to shut, while most outdoor gatherings of more than four people could be broken up by police.
And in a similar step to that taken by the UK on Monday, the Irish prime minister asked people only to leave home:
- For work if it is essential
- For essential supplies such as food
- To care for the vulnerable
- To exercise
The restrictions will stay in place until 19 April.
18:12 Chaos and calm as Jordanians queue for bread
Jordan’s government has started delivering basic goods, medicines and fuel to its population of 10 million, after announcing an indefinite curfew to deal with the coronavirus. On social media, Jordanians have shared videos of buses being mobbed in some neighbourhoods while in others, locals have queued in a safe, orderly fashion.
“It’s trial and error at a very critical time,” says Amman resident Lubna Wardeh, as she waited for a bus with supplies to arrive on her street so she can buy bread and water. “Those people who went crazy put our quarantine back at zero,” she said. A government minister praised “citizen’s discipline” for spacing themselves as they queued:
17:08 Huge jump in Italy death toll
Italy has just reported a jump of 743 deaths in the past day, bringing its death toll up to 6,820. This comes after two days of the number falling.
16:38 Health Minister Briefing
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says they are looking for 250,000 “NHS volunteers” to help national health service employees with “shopping, delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielded”
Mr Hancock says the steps outlined by the prime minister on Monday “are not requests, they are rules”. He says “everyone has a responsibility to follow those rules” and calls on the country to come together in the national effort.
A new hospital is to be established in the ExCeL centre, an exhibition centre in east London, Mr Hancock says. The new NHS Nightingale Hospital will consist of two wards and hold up to 4,000 patients, Mr Hancock says.
In response to the UK’s call for retired medics to return to the NHS, Mr Hancock says more than 11,500 have come forward, including 2,660 doctors and 6,147 nurses. He adds that more than 18,000 medical students will also join the NHS workforce.
Mr Hancock addresses a question about the clarity of government social distancing advice and on who should be going into work. He says the new rules are “crystal clear” – and quotes the four reasons why people should be leaving their homes.
England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries says people should be keeping at least two metres apart. She says employers should spread people out in their places of work, calling it “common sense”.
Mr Hancock tells NHS and social care staff they are “the frontline in the war against this virus”. He adds that he will “strain every sinew” to keep them safe. It comes after criticism that healthcare staff do not have adequate protective equipment.
There’s a question about whether boyfriends and girlfriends are allowed to meet up if they don’t live together. England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries says as a “principle” people should stay in their “household units”. Doing otherwise would help the spread of the virus, she says. She suggests couples should “test” the strength of their relationship and decide whether they want to live permanently with each other.
Asked about pictures of crowded underground trains that have emerged over the past few days, Matt Hancock says there should be more Tube services to get people to work. He says Tube services should preferably be running “in full” to help get key workers such as NHS staff into work. London mayor Sadiq Khan had earlier urged people to stop packing into the Tube, saying more people would die if they continued doing so.
Matt Hancock reveals the government has bought 3.5 million antibody tests, that will be able to tell people whether they have had the virus. “Those will come online very soon,” he says. He adds that a new testing facility has opened today in Milton Keynes. He also says 7.5 million pieces of protective equipment have been ordered for NHS staff.
16:09 UK death toll rises by 87
There have been 87 deaths caused by coronavirus in the UK since Monday, taking the total to 422 – according to the latest government figures.
14:55 India lockdown for 21 days
India, the world’s second most populous country, will introduce a lockdown from midnight for 21 days. “There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address. There have been 482 confirmed cases of coronavirus and nine deaths in India so far.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told Indians to “forget” leaving their homes for 21 days. Addressing the nation at 20:00 local time (14:30GMT), he said that “social distancing” was the only way to combat the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The prime minister said that some people in the country had misunderstood the concept, and had acted “irresponsibly” in the last few days. He said the lockdown would save many Indians and warned that “putting even one foot out” would jeopardise people.
Even developed countries were facing issues combating the virus, he said, and he talked about it spreading despite all efforts. Mr Modi has also announced a fund of nearly $2bn (£1.7bn) to combat the virus and vowed to upgrade health facilities across the country.
Indian PM Narendra Modi has just announced the most wide-ranging lockdown the world has seen yet – with some 1.3 billion people affected.
Here are the key points of his address:
- The lockdown will be “absolute” and in force for 21 days
- No citizen will be allowed to leave their homes during this period
- It will come into force from midnight local time tonight
- Mr Modi said it was the only way to break the cycle of the virus and that if the country could not manage the next 21 days, it would be set back by 21 years
- He also announced a fund of nearly $2bn (£1.7bn) towards health infrastructure in combating the coronavirus
- He called on people not to spread rumours and to follow instructions
- He said he was confident India would emerge from the crisis “successfully”
14:41 Trump seeks help from South Korea
US President Donald Trump has asked South Korea for medical supplies to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, according to the presidential office in Seoul.
Mr Trump made the requested in a phone call to the South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.
South Korea has been widely praised for its handling of the Covid-19 outbreak which has involved aggressive use of technology, widespread testing and contact tracing.
It’s not yet clear what kind of medical devices are being requested by Mr Trump. President Moon said his government would provide “maximum support” if enough supplies were available.
The presidential office in Seoul said the equipment may require approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which Mr Trump claimed would be given by the end of today.
13:47 First death reported in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has confirmed its first death from Covid-19. The victim was a 51-year-old man from Afghanistan, the health ministry says.
The kingdom has the highest rate of infections in the Gulf, second to Iran, with 205 new cases reported on Tuesday, bringing the total to 767.
It has imposed tough restrictions, including an overnight curfew for the next three weeks, to try to slow the spread of the disease.
Other measures include shutting public venues, including places of worship – apart from the grand mosques of Mecca and Medina, where restrictions are in place. All public transport has also been suspended.
13:26 US could become next global epicentre, WHO warns
The World Health Organization has warned the US has the potential to become the global epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. Speaking in Geneva, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said there had been a “very large acceleration” in cases in the country. “We cannot say that is the case yet but it does have that potential” to become the next Covid-19 hotspot, she told reporters, according to Reuters.
So far, there have been more than 46,000 cases in the US and 593 deaths, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University. Europe is currently at the centre of the crisis, with Italy reporting more deaths than any other country.
13:08 Australia clamps down even harder on air travel
Hundreds of Britons stranded in Australia and New Zealand are calling for the UK to charter flights to pick them up. Those in Australia, where a number of airline operators are moving to suspend international flights, are still being advised to contact the authorities there for help to leave.
With a few exceptions such as aid workers and compassionate cases, Australians themselves are banned from travelling overseas from Wednesday. “No-one should be getting on a plane and going overseas,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Among other restrictions he announced are measures limiting funerals nationwide to 10 people and weddings to five,
12:50 Tokyo Olympics organisers agree one-year delay
What many already saw as the only option is now official: the organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have agreed to a one-year postponement of the event because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had agreed to the delay. “I proposed to postpone for about a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement,” Abe said.
The 2020 Olympics were set to run from 24 July to 9 August. “This is the first time an Olympic Games have been postponed – it has been cancelled in war time, but never postponed,” said BBC sports news reporter Alex Capstick.
“At the moment they are saying they want to hold it in the summer of 2021. It is a huge logistical challenge and problem to do that – it is not easy to postpone a Games. “Is the delay long enough? We just do not know at this stage.”
12:45 Self-employed help must be ‘fair and affordable’ – UK
So far, the UK government has said it will pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the pandemic. But that does not include the self-employed.
Speaking in the Commons a few moments ago, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said there were “genuine practical and principle reasons” to roll out a similar scheme for freelancers.
“Of course there have been people whose incomes have been impacted by what is happening,” he said.
“But there are also millions of people who are self-employed whose incomes may not have been impacted and indeed might be increasing.
“The ability for the government to distinguish between those people based on tax returns that are over a year and a half out of date, poses some very significant challenges in terms of fairness and affordability.”
He added that the Treasury had been looking into measures in “intense detail” over the past week, but would not commit to a date when more help would be made available.
Japan asks for Olympics postponement
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asked for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be postponed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Abe said he has agreed the delay with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach following talks earlier on Tuesday. The IOC’s Executive Board will approve the delay this afternoon.
12:15 Spain sees record 514 deaths in one day
It’s another dark day for Spain with a total of 39,763 cases of coronavirus confirmed across the country. Another 6,582 infections have been announced in the past 24 hours and the number of deaths has now reached 2,696.
The capital Madrid continues to be the epicentre of Spain’s pandemic, with 1,535 deaths. The north-east region of Catalonia is now also becoming a big cause for concern with 1,939 cases in the past day, higher than Madrid.
Health emergency chief Fernando Simón has stressed that almost 3,800 people have now recovered from the virus but 2,636 remain in intensive care.
“This is a tough week and we are all hoping to see if we are managing to reach the peak and start going down, with these very aggressive measures that have been imposed on Spain”.
Attention has also turned to the alarming rate of infection among health professionals. Of the 39,763 infected people around the country, 5,400 are healthcare staff – meaning they make up nearly 14% of those with the disease.
The government has asked MPs to extend the state of alert to 11 April.
12:01 Self-employed set for financial support
Self-employed people are saying they have not been given support from the government – I think it is going to change, and quickly.
Ministers are under no illusions they have to provide a better package for the self-employed, comparable to the one provided by the chancellor last week for the employed.
I think we will see a package, maybe not today because there is a lot of stuff to be bedded down, possibly not on Wednesday, but certainly this week.
The difficulty seems to be coming up with a way to compensate the self-employed. This can be easily done for the employed through PAYE. The self-employed have different income levels, so how can you create a system which respects the different earnings of different self-employed people?
I suspect that will be done one way or the other through the tax system.
Normally a budget takes the combined brain power of the Treasury months and months to put together. We’re talking about something which has never been done before and has to be put in place to safeguard five million people, a massive undertaking which has to be made as secure as possible in days. That is an enormous task.
11:39 Golf courses shut in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Golf courses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will shut following the latest government measures. Amateur golfers had previously been able to continue playing as long as they adhered to guidance on social distancing. Scottish Golf has asked golfers in Scotland to “refrain from golfing until further notice”. Golf clubs in the Republic of Ireland are awaiting guidance from the Irish government.
11:21 Ryanair expects flights to be grounded until June
Budget airline Ryanair says it expects most of its flights to be grounded from Tuesday, adding that it is unlikely to run any in April and May.
The company also says it has offered its aircraft to all EU governments for rescue flights and the essential movement of medicines, personal protective equipment (PPE) and food supplies.
“As Europe’s borders become congested or closed, it is vital Ryanair plays its part to keep vital medicines and food supplies moving,” says chief executive Michael O’Leary.
Ryanair also says passengers who have had a flight cancelled because of the measures will receive an email outlining their options in the “next week or two”.
10:50 Spain deaths spike
The number of people dying from coronavirus in Spain has risen by 514 in the past 24 hours – a daily record. A total of 2,696 people have now died and there are 39,637 confirmed cases, the Spanish ministry of health says.
10:01 Stranded Britons ‘imprisoned in paradise’
Beaches in the Philippines’ famous Boracay island are desertedImage caption: Beaches in the Philippines’ famous Boracay island are deserted
“Paradise feels like it is slowly turning into a prison,” Briton Hollie Hunt told me today, as she and a reported 200 other tourists remain stranded on the Philippines’ famous Boracay island.Gatherings and swimming along the island’s white-sand beaches are currently prohibited.
Hollie, who has been stuck on the island for a week, says that as an NHS auxiliary nurse she is desperate to return to the UK so she can help “overworked” colleagues treating Covid-19 patients at home.
On 17 March all domestic flights to and from the capital Manila were cancelled. Since then airlines have been operating limited “sweeper flights” to pick up stranded tourists.
The British Embassy says it is aware of about 170 Britons in the Philippines who are currently adversely affected by travel restrictions ordered by the government.
Consular staff at the embassy say they are “working around the clock” with the authorities and airlines to try to keep routes open.
09:47 London Tube still busy despite lockdown
Despite the lockdown announced in the UK on Monday evening, London Underground trains are reported to be busy on Tuesday morning.
UK PM Boris Johnson has ordered people to leave their homes only for “very limited purposes”. Among the restrictions he announced was that of travelling to and from work where “absolutely necessary”.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan also urged workers to stay at home and said public transport should only be used by key workers, otherwise “people will die”.
Some passengers have said a reduced service means trains are busier.
09:30 How will police enforce new UK rules?
The measures announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson represent some of the most far-reaching curbs on personal freedom ever introduced in the UK in peacetime.
But it’s unclear how the rules can be made to work.
The first hurdle is to get them onto the statute book. Although the prime minister said the restrictions on travel and gatherings would come into effect immediately, police don’t yet have the powers to enforce them and have yet to be given official guidance.
The second issue, assuming legal regulations are approved later this week, is the practical difficulty of getting groups to disperse, and accurately identifying people who shouldn’t be on the streets, without losing public goodwill and sparking disorder.
When efforts to persuade those who don’t comply have failed, officers will be able to issue fines, with prosecutions likely to be a last resort.
But at a time when police resources are stretched, and officer numbers increasingly depleted through illness and self-isolation, forces will be hoping communities do the right thing without the need for police intervention.
09:06 UK children can visit separated parents – Gove
UK cabinet minister Michael Gove has been asked to provide more clarity on the government guidelines announced on Monday night.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, he said:
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak will outline more help for self-employed workers later
- Deliveries of “non-essential” goods such as toys and clothes can continue
- He says people should work from home “wherever possible” but there will be exceptions. For example, he says plumbers may be called out to emergencies but Sports Direct stores “should not be open”
- Ministers want to “reduce the rate of infection” and will follow scientific advice on whether or not to change the measures after three weeks
- Children under the age of 18 can travel between the homes of separated parents – a point he reiterated on Twitter:
08:51 UK workers are being asked to turn up despite lockdown
Many non-critical workers in the UK are still turning up to do their jobs because their employers are asking them to. The news rules say all shops selling non-essential goods must close immediately. Retailer Sports Direct initially said it would remain open but has now changed course and will close its stores for now.
Other businesses – such as the construction industry – are unclear if the rules apply to them. Graham Watts, the chief executive of the Construction Industry Council, tweeted on Monday night: “Officials are working to secure much needed clarity about the position of construction sites.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on the government to clarify which workplaces should close. Without that, workers fear they may be asked to turn up, despite the lockdown.
08:30 Thailand to declare state of emergency
Thailand’s government is set to declare a state of emergency, as the outbreak continues to infect hundreds across the country.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the one-month state of emergency would come into effect on Thursday.
This move will give the government additional enforcement powers.
It’s still not clear what these could be. Thailand says they’ll will be announced later.
It comes after the country reported 106 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths. The overall number of confirmed cases now stands at 827, with four deaths.
07:47 European cross-border assistance
Despite restrictions on movement across Europe, crucial medical co-operation continues across borders.
Severely ill patients from France’s Alsace region are being treated in nearby cities in neighbouring Switzerland and Germany where hospitals still have capacity.
Politicians helping to co-ordinate the transfers have praised the co-operation as an example of European solidarity, while others are warning that the excess capacity might be short-lived as every country in the region expects its medical system to be overwhelmed soon by patients needing care.
On Wednesday, a small group of coronavirus patients were flown from Italy to the German state of Saxony to be treated there. Officials said the hospitals could help as long as they have spare capacity and the treatment of Italian patients might also help medical staff to learn how better to deal with the new illness.
07:35 Indonesia scraps national exams
National exams in Indonesia are officially off. The country’s education minister said the exams – initially set to be held at the end of the month – carried “more risks than benefits” for students. ndonesia is currently urging people to practice social distancing, as the death toll there reaches 49 – the highest in South East Asia. There are 579 confirmed cases nationwide.
07:27 US airlines ‘preparing for shutdown’
Major airlines in the US are preparing themselves for a voluntary shutdown of essentially all passenger flights, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The paper says US government agencies are also thought to be considering ordering airlines to stop running flights.
The industry has suffered a huge hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with people around the world either choosing not to travel abroad, or being ordered not to by their respective governments.
About 80 million US residents in states such as California, New York and Washington are already subjected to mandatory stay-at-home orders.
And aircraft firm Boeing said earlier that it was suspending operations at its plant near Seattle.
07:06 Japan’s services and factories hit as virus impact deepens
Japan’s services sector shrank at the fastest pace on record in March and factory activity at its quickest in about a decade, according to a newly-released business survey.
The slowdown in manufacturing and services raises the risk of a sharp downturn in the world’s third-largest economy as the coronavirus pandemic paralyses business and consumer activity.
“If the outbreak were to accelerate, the economic damage could far exceed what we’ve seen so far, particularly if the Olympic Games are postponed,” said Joe Hayes, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
The Japanese government is under increasing pressure to roll out stimulus measures after figures showed the economy shrank the most since 2014 in the final quarter of last year as it struggled to overcome a rise in its sales tax.
06:56 Can businesses support extra debt?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak previously unveiled a package to help business in the pandemic, including £330bn in loansImage caption: Chancellor Rishi Sunak previously unveiled a package to help business in the pandemic, including £330bn in loans. Some businesses have warned that the government’s £330bn rescue package for British businesses doesn’t go far enough.
Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, the banks’ trade body, said he recognised that a lot of small business owners wouldn’t want to take on more debt that will need to be repaid.
He told the BBC’s Today programme: “The key will be assessing whether or not, in a few months’ time when the impact of the pandemic is over, if a business can support this extra debt that it might need to take on now.”
“It can be extremely difficult to tell how a business will do in the the coming months. But we are effectively all self-isolating now, the economy is on hold, and we can start to see green shoots of recovery in Wuhan, which we will hopefully see a few months down the line.
06:16 What can the UK police do?
Police officers will be given powers to enforce the new rules – including being able to force people with virus symptoms to isolate.
They’ll also be able to fine people who don’t follow the rules and be able to disperse gatherings (public meetings of more than two people are banned)
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the next few weeks would be “testing” for police but that she would make sure they had the resources “they need to keep themselves and the public safe”.
06:02 Almost 5,000 new cases in a day in Germany
The number of confirmed cases in Germany has risen by 4,764 in a day to reach to 27,436, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Tuesday.
A total of 114 people have died, an increase of 28 from the total published on Monday.
05:49 Which businesses are staying open?
Many in the UK are waking up to a strange new world. Non-essential shops have been told to shut and shopping trips should be kept as infrequent as possible.
But which businesses can stay open?
- Restaurants, cafes and work canteens – but only for food delivery and takeaway services
- Supermarkets and other premises selling food, including market stalls
- “Health shops” such as pharmacies
- Corner shops, newsagents, pet shops and post offices
05:33 NZ extends domestic travel deadline
Some good news for New Zealanders who are still trying to get home.
Authorities have extended the deadline for domestic travel, so people needing to take domestic flights, trains and ferries will now be able to do so until midnight on Friday.
The government had originally set the deadline as midnight on Wednesday for non-essential workers.
Some Kiwis had originally expressed fears that they wouldn’t be able to get home by the original cut-off date.
“We are 900km away from home – 48 hours is not enough time to get back home when you are towing a caravan,” one family told Newshub.
05:21 Wuhan to lift lockdown in April
After more than two months, the lockdown in Wuhan – the city where the virus emerged – will be lifted on 8 April, says state media.
Other parts of Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital, will lift travel curbs on 25 March, said China Daily.
05:08 Senegal and Ivory Coast declare emergency
Senegal and Ivory Coast have declared states of emergency over the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Senegalese President Macky Sall said the state of emergency would start on Tuesday midnight, accompanied by a curfew from 8:00pm to 6:00am local time (20:00GMT to 06:00GMT).
The military and police have been ordered to execute the measures.
The announcement was made in an address to the nation on Tuesday in which Mr Sall acknowledged that the country was struggling to contain the spread of the virus.
Senegal has 79 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus, including eight people who have recovered.
In Ivory Coast, President Alassane Ouattara said the government would introduce gradual confinement measures and a curfew from 9:00pm to 5:00am local time (21:00GMT to 09:00GMT) from Tuesday.
05:05 Boeing shuts down in Seattle
Boeing is temporarily halting production at its Washington state jetliner factory to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. The planemaker said it will shut facilities across Seattle’s Puget Sound region for 14 days from Wednesday. During that time it will carry out a deep clean of its buildings and equipment. Washington is one of the US states hit hardest by the outbreak.
04:51 Japan to discuss Olympics with IOC – reports
As uncertainty over the future of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics continues Japanese media are now reporting that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold a phone call with Thomas Bach, head of the International Olympic Committee, at 8pm local time, 11GMT.
There’s been mounting criticism over the IOC and Japan’s insistence the Games will go ahead.
Many athletes and a number of national Olympic committees say it’s impossible to train for the event and that it’s extremely unlikely that the global pandemic will be under control by 24 July, the scheduled kick-off date for the Games.
04:27 Beijing Zoo open again
We have important panda news to lighten your mood.
After 58 days of keeping visitors away, the Beijing Zoo reopened on Monday.
According to state media, the animals have been faring well during the virus lockdown, some of them seem to have enjoyed the quiet.
“Some of the animals, such as the pandas, preferred to have more exercise when the zoo was empty,” the China Daily cites zoo director Zhang Chenglin.
He also says the area is still being disinfected on a regular basis.
For those who can’t come down in person to see the animals, the zoo also has online tours where you can watch the animals being fed – or the enclosures being disinfected.
04:08 Macau imposes new restrictions
The gambling hub of Macau will ban all visitors from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan who have travelled overseas in the past 14 days, said a Reuters report quoting its leader Ho Iat Seng.
It comes a week after it banned all foreign visitors from entering the region.
There are 25 confirmed cases of the virus in Macau – a once bustling casino hub which has now fallen silent amid virus fears.
03:58 Brazil gangs ‘order curfews to tackle virus’
Crime gangs in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro are reported to have ordered curfews to combat coronavirus, saying they are taking action because the government refuses to.
Residents of several favelas (shanty towns) say they have received social media messages ordering people off the streets overnight.
“We want the best for the population. If the government doesn’t have the capacity to do something [about coronavirus], then organised crime will sort it out,” said one message reported by the G1 news website.
President Jair Bolsonaro has been criticised for his lacklustre response to the outbreak, prompting protests in São Paulo and Rio
03:29 Venezuelans try to prevent further crisis
There are major concerns over how Venezuela could deal with a coronavirus outbreak, as the South American country has long been in economic crisis, with regular food and medicine shortages.
The lockdown began on 17 March. All borders are shut and there are no flights in or out. People are only permitted to leave their house to buy food or medicines or attend medical appointments. They must wear a mask and, from Sunday, they also need to wear gloves.
William Bello, a concierge in his 50s from Caracas, told the BBC’s Guillermo Olmo about his concerns. Mr Bello lives in the 23 de Enero neighbourhood, which is working class and largely pro-government.
“People are very worried about the disease, so they are respecting the quarantine, but many street traders need to go out and sell stuff if they want something to eat. Police are everywhere and are ordering people to go home when they catch them.”
He typically gets running water only twice a week. This needs to be stored in containers and boiled before drinking. “With the water that we have, we’re trying to follow the recommendations and wash our hands frequently.”
03:23 US tech giants team up to tackle coronavirus
Amazon is teaming up with researchers funded by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to pick up and deliver coronavirus test kits.
The Gates Foundation-backed Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN) is learning how the infection spreads.
It involves collecting nasal swabs to track the virus among residents of Seattle’s King County in Washington.
Amazon Care, the retail giant’s employee medical care arm, is now helping with deliveries of the kits.
King County is one of the places hardest hit by the outbreak in the US.
03:07 Beijing to quarantine travellers
With domestic transmissions very low, China is focussing on people from overseas bringing the virus into the country. The city of Beijing has now tightened its rules on international arrivals even further, state media report.
Anyone entering the city from abroad will go into mandatory centralised quarantine for 14 days and will have to be tested for the coronavirus.
The report in the China Daily cited by Reuters also says that whoever enters the city from the rest of China and has travelled from overseas in the past two weeks will also have to be tested and quarantined.
China is where the global pandemic started and nearly 3,300 people have died from it there.
02:49 ‘Please help us’ – Americans stranded in Peru
The US Embassy in Peru says it is working to bring its citizens home, after the South American country enforced a nationwide lockdown stranding thousands of people.
No flights are allowed to enter or leave the country without government permission.
The Charge d’Affaires Denison Offutt said the embassy was “actively coordinating with Peru on official repatriation flights for US citizens”.
Mr Offutt says there are 5,000 US citizens currently in Peru – though he doesn’t say how many are tourists or residents.
The comments section of the video however, are filled with comments by people claiming to be stranded US citizens in Peru.
“We are 12 family members stranded,” says one comment.
“I’m still waiting in Magdalena Del Mar – please help us,” another says.
02:42 Ruby Princess passenger dies in hospital
A female passenger in her 70s who caught the virus on a cruise ship which docked in Sydney last Thursday has died in hospital this morning, health officials say.
She was one of the first three cases confirmed on the ship last Friday, and had been taken to hospital immediately after disembarking.
About 2,700 passengers were allowed off the ship last week, with many flying overseas, not knowing there were confirmed virus cases on board. This has sparked huge public criticism.
02:31 Cuba to quarantine all foreign tourists
Cuba has now closed its doors to all tourists, and those that are already in the country will have to go into quarantine.
There were on Monday around 32,500 overseas tourists in Cuba – of which 9,400 were staying in homestays. The government says they will be moved to state-run hotels to complete their quarantine, according to Reuters,
They won’t be let out of quarantine until they find a flight home – though many flights have already been cancelled. – so its likely many will find themselves stranded.
Cubans themselves also cannot leave the island without authorisation.
There are currently 40 confirmed cases in Cuba.
01:53 Biggest country without a case reports first case
Until now, Myanmar – the South East Asian country with a population of more than 50 million – was the most populous country without any confirmed cases.
It has now reported its first two cases – Myanmar nationals who had recently travelled to the United States and the United Kingdom.
The news of the confirmed cases sparked panic buying in the commercial capital of Yangon.
Myanmar last week closed land borders and banned mass gatherings, including for the upcoming Buddhist New Year.
Government spokesman Zaw Htay told a news conference earlier this month that the “lifestyle and diet of Myanmar citizens” had protected the country against the virus.
01:46 Hundreds of British citizens stranded in New Zealand
In New Zealand, UK nationals have told the BBC they’re struggling to get out as the nation plunged into lockdown yesterday.
Flights have been cancelled and major transit hubs shut under the restrictions.
In response, Lara Suleyman, from Kent, put out a public plea on Facebook reaching out to other stranded UK nationals, and urging UK authorities to help with flights – and perhaps even a repatriation effort.
Close to 1,000 other British nationals have now registered their details on a public ‘Get Us Home UK’ database organised by Lara, who is sharing the details with the UK consulate in NZ.
She says she’s been contacted by students, people on working holidays, tourists facing eviction from their hotel room and “doctors and nurses who want to get back to the NHS and help out”.
“Basically, in the last 24 hours, almost every transit hub between NZ and the UK has shut down,” she told me.
“There’s a lot of people that are really wanting to get home and just feel completely abandoned right now.”
01:27 Migrant workers stuck in limbo at Moscow airports
Hundreds of Central Asian migrant workers are stuck in limbo at Moscow airports after Russia’s borders were closed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Over the past few days, social media has been flooded with photos of people sleeping on floors and chairs, as flights have been cancelled – often unrefunded – and migrant workers have no money to pay rent or buy food.
Hundreds of thousands of people travel to Russia each year for work. Many would usually return home at the end of the winter season, as their work permits expire. Others are now trying to leave, nervous about the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Valentina Chupik, from Tong Jahoni – an NGO that helps migrants – worries that camping out in close proximity at airports could make things worse. “I think they can really receive corona there,” she says.
Charter flights are slowly being organised from Moscow, though seats are scarce and tickets expensive – and more migrants are reported stranded across the country. The Uzbek embassy has offered hostel rooms, too, but many don’t dare go and miss a flight. “They prefer to stay [at the airport] day and night…and wait for a miracle,” Ms Chupik says.
01:21 First Wuhan case for five days reported
Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak in China, confirmed a new virus case on Wednesday – ending a five day run with no new cases.
It comes as the city finally began loosening restrictions after more than two months in lockdown.
Authorities say there were 78 new confirmed cases over the last 24 hours – 74 of which were imported from abroad.
This means there are today four new domestic cases across China, including the one in Wuhan
01:04 Now the US has called for Tokyo 2020 to be dropped
The US – in the midst of its own virus outbreak – has now backed growing international demands for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be postponed.
The US Olympic & Paralympic Committee said an overwhelming majority of American athletes backed the move. It follows Canada’s announcement on Sunday that it would not send athletes to the Games.
The pressure on the International Olympic Committee has spiked in the last 24 hours. It says it has given itself four weeks to decide whether or not the Games should go ahead.
Meanwhile in Japan, people still queue – at the requisite 1m distance apart – to see the flame as it makes its uncertain way across the country.
00:37 Cases up in New Zealand, but still no deaths
For a while there, it looked as if New Zealand just might have escaped the virus spread but it too has seen rising numbers and it has just announced 40 more, taking the total of confirmed and probable cases to 155. But there have been no deaths.
Last week, the country closed its borders to everyone but returning citizens and residents as further daily restrictions set in for the country.
00:23 Carmakers answer pleas for ventilators and masks
With concerns about how stretched hospitals are going to cope, carmakers are answering calls from governments to help make more ventilators and masks.
On Monday Fiat began converting one of its car plants in China to making surgical masks. The carmaker wants to start production in the coming weeks, wrote its chief executive Mike Manley in an email.
Other major automakers are looking at ways they can shift manufacturing towards ventilators. General Motors, Ford and Tesla in the US have all pledged their support to offer resources to make more ventilators, along with Japanese carmaker Nissan and Formula 1 teams in the UK.
00:18 Latest numbers from China
Chinese media are reporting the latest numbers from 23 March. It’s 78 new cases on the Chinese mainland, with 74 of them imported.
This echoes the pattern of recent days and what we have seen is that most of those imported cases tended to come from the UK and the US.
00:03 ‘Very, very difficult’ for Met Police to cope
Enforcing the lockdown in London will be “very, very difficult”, a police group has warned, as officers themselves deal with sickness and self-isolation.
“It will be very, very challenging and very, very difficult for us with what’s put in front of us,” said Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents officers in the capital.
“But we don’t actually know what is being put in front of us yet and we’re going to be asked to disperse crowds, it’s going to be a real, real challenge.
“We will be dealing with it, but I’m not sure we will have the resources to be able to see it through.”
The Army could be brought in to help, he added in his interview with Sky News.
Sources: Various news sources including but not limited to BBC News, Fox News, CNN.