7th April 2020 – United Kingdom 

# Cases

07/04/2020

New Cases

07/04/2020

Deaths

07/04/2020

Recovered**

22/03/2020

Infected

Source: Public Health England and news reports. (Public Health England Web Site)
*=Interim Figures / Key: UK USA Other
** A  new process for collecting numbers of recovered patients is in development: the figure shown is for 22/03/2020.

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More news coming soon

22:44 White House press briefing begins

The White House coronavirus taskforce is holding its daily briefing now. It comes as Trump continues to promote an unproven drug treatment, the head of the US Navy quits over his handling of a coronavirus-stricken ship, and Illinois and New York both record their deadliest days yet.

Trump sends his best wishes to the people of New York and New Jersey, and to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “He’s become a great friend of ours,” says Trump. “He loves the USA and he’s always been very good to us,” says Trump, “so we pray for him.” The president says that hopefully the rate of deaths in the US will slow “in the next week, hopefully not much longer than that”. “We’re going to beat it with the grit and the heart” that America is known for, he continues.

Trump thanks the “genius companies” that he says are working hard to quickly create “a vaccine to protect us, totally protect us” from coronavirus. He goes on to praise state governors, who have been racing to secure medical supplies from overseas and have been receiving some from the US federal stockpile. “If you have a governor that fails, we’re going to protect you,” Trump says, promising to send medical gear to hotspots around the country.

Trump says the UK has asked the US to send 200 ventilators to treat coronavirus patients there. “We’re going to work it out for them,” Trump promises, saying the UK has been a great partner to the US. He says the UK needs ventilators “desperately”.

The death rate among black Americans, which has been much higher than other racial groups, presents a “tremendous challenge”, says Trump. “It’s terrible,” he says, promising to “provide support to African-American citizens of this country who are going through a lot”. “But it’s been disproportionate. They’re getting hit very very hard.” Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US epidemiologist, says the medical community in the US has “known literally forever” that minority groups suffer high rates of “diabetes, hypertension, disabilities and asthma”. These conditions represent co-morbidities that lead to much worse health outcomes for coronavirus, Fauci says.

President Trump said he played no role in the acting secretary of the US Navy’s decision to resign, after the official had called the captain of a coronavirus stricken ship “stupid”. “I had no role in it,” said Trump. The captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt “should not have written a letter”, in which he complained about the Pentagon’s response to the onboard outbreak. “He did not have to be Ernest Hemingway. He had a bad day,” said Trump, “but you shouldn’t be writing letters and sending them to many people.” But the secretary of the Navy “didn’t have to resign”, said Trump, who went on to praise the decision as best for all involved. But he added that he would not have asked him to quit.

Trump said the World Health Organization is “very China-centric” and accuses the global health body of making the wrong decisions about the initial coronavirus outbreak in China. “We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it and we’re gonna see,” said Trump. He later modified his remarks to say he would look into ending funding. The US gives $58m each year to the WHO. “They seem to err always on the side of China… we will look at ending funding because you know they called it wrong.”

 

22:32 Texas court rules abortions remain ‘non-essential’

An appeals court in Texas has ruled that the state can continue to ban nearly all abortions as part of its emergency order requiring “non-essential” services to be suspended in order to halt the spread of coronavirus. Abortions have been blocked for the past two weeks there, causing some patients to seek help in other states or self-terminate.

According to the state’s attorney general, any doctor who performs an abortion “not medically necessary to preserve the life or health” of the patient can be fined up to $1,000 (£810) or receive an 180-day jail sentence. Five other Republican-led states – Ohio, Texas, Iowa, Alabama and Oklahoma – have also taken steps to temporarily block abortions. Abortion access advocates have sued to overturn the bans.

22:14 Get used to the 1.5-metre society, says Dutch PM Rutte

The Netherlands is looking at ways to ease lockdown measures, but life may never go back to the way it was BC (before coronavirus). Social distancing is here to stay, says Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “We should all start thinking about how we can adapt still further to the 1.5-metre society. The way back will be step by step and based on science,” he told reporters. (In some parts of Europe, people are told to keep at least 1.5 metres away from others, although the WHO guidance says two metres.)

If the curve of hospital and intensive care admissions continues to level off, the Dutch lockdown measures could be eased from 28 April. But Mr Rutte cautions against any hurry. “We have an intelligent lockdown. It will be an intelligent un-lockdown.”

22:07 NHS Nightingale admits first patients

The government’s emergency field hospital in London has admitted its first patients. The NHS Nightingale hospital in London’s ExCel exhibition centre can hold as many as 4,000 patients. A spokesperson for NHS Nightingale said: “Our first patients have now been admitted to NHS Nightingale London, as planned. “There is also treatment capacity available in other hospitals across London to compliment the care being provided at the London Nightingale.”

It is the first of several such facilities planned across the UK. The ExCel exhibition space – usually used for large events such as Comic Con – was transformed into a hospital in just nine days.

21:59 Illinois reports largest spike in deaths

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has announced the largest single-day increase in coronavirus related deaths. According to the governor, 73 people died in the last 24 hours. There have now been 380 coronavirus-related fatalities in Illinois.

21:30 Acting US Navy Sec ‘offers to resign’

Acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly has reportedly offered to resign over his handling of a coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier. Unnamed officials confirmed the news to various US media outlets, but it is unclear if his resignation has been accepted.

Mr Modly has been criticised for ousting Brett Crozier, the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Captain Crozier wrote a letter to the Pentagon last week, saying it was not doing enough to help quarantine his crew after an outbreak on board. His letter was published in the San Francisco Chronicle, leading Modly to strip the captain of his post, accusing him of leaking the correspondence. Soon afterwards, the Navy Secretary was forced to apologise after he called Captain Crozier “stupid” in a speech aboard the carrier.

21:05 Slovenia’s parliament can now convene online

Earlier today, Slovenia’s parliament passed legislation allowing its members to convene over the internet. The country has more than 1,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 36 people have died. But despite the outbreak, lawmakers have continued to meet in parliament, many of them wearing face masks. “We are in the middle of the outbreak and it is still not clear when it will end,” said parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorcic. “It is important to ensure that parliament will be able to discuss all further necessary decrees designed to fight the consequences of coronavirus.” The parliament has also passed legislation which will enable faster enforcement of laws during the coronavirus crisis.

20:41 US Treasury Sec seeks further $250bn for small businesses

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that – at the direction of President Donald Trump – he is trying to secure an additional $250bn for a loan programme for small businesses. In a tweet, Mr Mnuchin said he had spoken about the funding with the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives.

The loan programme is intended to shore up small businesses hit hardest by America’s economic downturn amid the coronavirus outbreak. $350bn has already been secured for the loan programme, as part of a $2 trillion stimulus package signed by President Trump last month.

20:36 Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland agree coronavirus plan

Health Ministers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have agreed a plan to co-operate in tackling the coronavirus crisis. Their document acknowledges that the pandemic “does not respect borders” and contains commitments to work together in areas including data modelling, public health measures, and research.

In recent weeks, there have been political tensions within the power-sharing devolved government in Northern Ireland. When the Republic of Ireland closed its schools before the UK, the deputy First Minister in Belfast – Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin – argued Northern Ireland should do the same. Later she also accused the unionist health minister of “slavishly following” the UK government’s lead. More recently, politicians have been trying to present a united front. There have been 73 deaths in Northern Ireland, and 174 in the Republic.

20:10 No deliveries yet under EU equipment scheme

In late February, the European Union launched a plan to buy equipment to tackle the coronavirus outbreak on behalf of its members. It was aimed at reducing costs when negotiating with manufacturers. The first scheme involved buying masks and then, in March, three more schemes were added to purchase ventilators, testing kits and personal protective equipment. But, to date, nothing has been bought and delivered.

European Commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker says that while some of the suppliers that the EU selected have signed contracts, other have not. The UK did not join the scheme, although it was able to participate because it is still in the Brexit transition period until 31 December 2020. It wasn’t clear at the time whether the government had missed the deadline to join or it did not want to take part.

19:15 Canada-US mask wars end with Trump reprieve

Half a million face masks will arrive in Canada tomorrow, after a last-minute deal was brokered with US President Donald Trump. The White House had previously banned 3M, one of the largest manufacturers of medical face masks in the US, from exporting to Canada and Latin America, as countries around the world struggle with a shortage of supplies. That led to a tense few days for Canada-US relations, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau making it clear that trade between the countries was a “two-way street”.

Late on Monday, 3M said they had received permission to continue shipping to Canada and Latin America. The deal will also see the company import 166 million masks into the US from China.

18:46 French death toll reaches 10,000

More than 10,000 people have died in France since the coronavirus outbreak began, according to the daily press briefing from the French health ministry. The ministry said 7,091 people had died in hospital, an increase of 607 in 24 hours. At least 3,237 have died in care homes since the start of the outbreak. More than 30,000 people are currently hospitalised in France, 7,131 of them in intensive care.

18:14 R Kelly denied jail release

A judge in Illinois has rejected Grammy-award winning singer R Kelly’s request to leave jail due to coronavirus fears, saying that he poses a flight risk and a “danger to the community, especially prospective witnesses”. The accused sex offender is awaiting trial in Chicago for child pornography and other charges. A lawyer for Kelly had argued that forcing him to remain in jail is “tantamount to making [him] drink poison”. Prison reform advocates say jails are especially vulnerable to Covid-19, due to the impossibility of enforcing social distancing measures, as well as hygiene problems.

18:00 Wuhan reopens its outbound transport

Train, road and rail connections have just been re-established in the Chinese city of Wuhan – where the global coronavirus emergency started – for the first time since the 23 January. Wuhan police have warned that motorists should expect heavy traffic on roads out of the city, while even with a limited air service, 200 flights are departing on the first day carrying out 10,000 passengers.

Chinese state media has also shown aerial footage with nearly 100 high-speed trains ready to depart, and highway roadblocks have been removed. For more than 10 weeks, millions of people have not been able to leave the city – and, initially, only those with health clearance are permitted to go. The re-opening of Wuhan has come just hours after China reported its first day with no new coronavirus fatalities. Though many analysts have questioned whether this country has under-reported its rate of deaths and infections, the overall trend does appear to match real life experience.

17:34 UK hospital deaths rise by 786 in a day

The number of coronavirus hospital deaths in the UK has reached 6,159 – an increase of 786 in a single day. The Department of Health and Social Care said 213,181 people had been tested as of 09:00 BST on Tuesday, of which 55,242 tested positive. Overall, 266,694 tests have been concluded, with 14,006 tests carried out on Monday. The daily figure for the number of people tested on Monday does not include data from Manchester and Leeds due to a “data processing delay”, while the overall tests figure excludes Northern Ireland, the Department of Health added.

17:02 UK Press Conference

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has taken his place inside No 10 Downing Street and gets today’s UK government press conference under way. Dominic Raab starts with an update on the prime minister’s health. He said the PM was “receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any assistance”. The foreign secretary says Boris Johnson is “receiving the very best care from the excellent medical team” and remained stable overnight. He also says he remains in “good spirits” and his progress continues to be monitored closely.

Mr Raab says there has “been a groundswell of messages of support” and everyone is wishing the prime minister a very speedy recovery. He adds: “It comes as a shock to all of us. He is not just a prime minister, not just our boss, but also a colleague and also our friend.” He adds: “I’m confident he will pull through because if there is one thing that I know about this prime minister is he is a fighter and he will be back leading us through this crisis in short order.” And he says the cabinet will not “blink or flinch from the task at hand”. He confirms the total number of deaths in the UK has now reached 6,159, and pays tribute to those who have died.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, says the use of public transport and cars has been falling “dramatically”. He says the “substantial” reduction in social contact should see a “substantial” reduction in new cases. The UK, he adds, has not seen a “big upswing in growth”, adding that things seem to be “moving in the right direction”. However he cautions that it will be important to stick to the social distancing advice before a more definitive trend emerges. He says the number of new UK deaths should fall around two weeks after the number of people in intensive care starts to fall.

The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg says if there is a disagreement in cabinet, who will make the decision? Dominic Raab says decisions are made by “collective cabinet responsibility”, i.e. the same as before the PM went into hospital. He says they have a “clear direction” from the PM, and the cabinet is “focused with total unity and resolve” so when he is back in the role, the government will have “made the progress he would expect and the country would expect”. She also asks Sir Patrick Vallance if there will be enough critical care beds during the outbreak. He says he “cannot guarantee” there will be enough, but the “tracking” is looking right and the NHS has done an “amazing job” in creating more capacity.

Dominic Raab is asked whether he has the authority to make a “significant change” in direction to the UK’s strategy. The foreign secretary replies that PM Boris Johnson has asked him to deputise “as long as is necessary”. He adds, though, that the principle of cabinet responsibility still applies. In response to a question about Germany, Prof Chris Whitty says the UK is “trying to learn the lessons” from the country’s mass-testing regime.

The government is asked how it has come to this – with several members of the cabinet having to isolate and the PM in hospital. Mr Raab says: “Because you have a virus which is totally indiscriminate. “We follow, all of us, the guidance as closely as possible. “But it is a very dangerous virus, very contagious and it goes to show no-one is impervious.” Professor Chirs Whitty adds coronavirus is “extremely easy” to catch and pass on, and shows why the lockdown was necessary. He adds: “It is a clear illustration of the fact this is why we are having to do this – to protect the NHS and the lives of other people.”

Dominic Raab is asked if Boris Johnson has expressed any preference for when the UK should exit its coronavirus lockdown. Mr Raab replies that the existing measures will be reviewed soon, but the government is “not at that stage yet”. He adds it is important not to “take our foot off the pedal and risk losing the gains that have been made”. Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, says the UK is three to four weeks behind Italy in the outbreak, although the statistics from the two countries may not end up looking the same.

Asked whether it is time to “level with people” about how long lockdown measures will last, Dominic Raab says: “We have levelled with everyone from the outset and been as transparent as possible. “But the critical thing is to take evidence-based decisions.” Professor Chris Whitty adds: “It is really important we get to the point that we are all confident we are beyond the peak. “Then we can make clear the combination of things [we need to do to reduce measures] and what period of time is sensible.” But Mr Raab says: “We are not at that stage yet.”

There’s a question about the UK’s target to carry out 100,000 tests per day before the end of this month. Dominic Raab says there are signs of “progress” in the testing figures and nine drive-through centres will help further. Asked about treatment for people care homes, Prof Chris Whitty says it is important to strike a balance between ensuring people are able to receive care and minimising unnecessary visits. He admits though that guaranteeing care for people in care homes will be among the “most difficult” tasks during the pandemic.

Mr Raab is asked if the target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month still stands after it was revealed antibody tests for people at home won’t be ready by then. The foreign secretary says the government has been “clear on the target and it is important we have made progress so far”. He adds: “We are striving every sinue to get both sets of tests to the highest levels we can. “Of course, lots are on high demand, but we will do everything we can on every front. The target still stands.”

One reporter says his newspaper has seen a letter from Prof Chris Whitty’s deputy saying some highly vulnerable people were not being shielded. The chief medical officer says the government laid out plans asking all people to stay at home except for necessities, the higher risk groups to do it for their own protection, and the particularly vulnerable group of 1.5 million to have absolute minimum contact with others. He says more letters are going out today to people who were identified after the first wave, perhaps not having made the original list of conditions. But he also said some people, such as those who are near the end of their lives, have decided not to follow the advice as a “rational life decision”. He adds: “It was always something we expected to happen.”

 

16:52 Claims UK jails will have to release 15,000 prisoners

Some 15,000 prisoners will have to be released from jails in England and Wales to protect other inmates and staff during the coronavirus outbreak, it has been claimed. The reduction has allegedly been recommended by Public Health England and the Prison Service (HMPPS).

Details of the apparently official advice are contained in a submission from the Prison Governors’ Association (PGA) – seen by BBC News – to the Commons Justice Committee, which is meeting this afternoon. The Ministry of Justice has been contacted for a response. At the weekend, it said up to 4,000 offenders could be freed early so more inmates can be held in single cells.

The PGA cast doubt on the 4,000 figure, saying after “stringent criteria and risk assessment” are applied, the numbers eligible for release could be “possibly as low as 2,000”. “This is woefully short of the alleged 15,000 required,” it said in its evidence.

16:48 New York records largest spike in deaths

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has just updated the death toll in the state, which is still the hardest hit location in the US. On Monday, 731 people died from coronavirus complications, the largest single-day rise. There are now a total of 38,836 cases and 5,489 deaths in New York.

Neighbouring New Jersey has just surpassed 1,000 deaths, says Cuomo. “We are projecting we are reaching a plateau,” in the level of new patients requiring hospital, says the governor. He adds that the city and federal government have created around 3,000 new emergency hospital beds to help relieve overcrowded hospitals, where medical workers are beginning to be sickened by the virus in large numbers.

16:41 Theresa May wishes Boris Johnson a ‘speedy recovery’

Another former UK prime minister, Theresa May, has wished Boris Johnson a “speedy and good recovery”. “This must be a terribly difficult time for him and those around him,” she told the BBC. She also said the cabinet was doing the “right thing” in his absence, saying: “I know from everything I’ve seen and heard that that cabinet, which is supported by excellent scientific advice, by a first class civil service, they are absolutely committed to dealing with this crisis.”

16:15 US voters asked to go to polls in Wisconsin

Voting in the Democratic presidential primary election and is under way in Wisconsin, despite the state issuing an emergency declaration last month designed to slow the spread of coronavirus. Democratic Governor Tony Evers had attempted to push back the elections to June, but his order was overturned on Monday by the state supreme court, which upheld a move opposing this by the Republican legislature.

The decision then went to the US Supreme Court, which allowed voting to go forward. Republicans argue that voting must go on, and that this is not the first time that people have gone to the polls in challenging times. The National Guard has been called to help take ballots. Many polling places in the city have been shut down because of a lack of volunteers, who tend to be elderly.

With only a few polling places open around the state, voters have been forced to form queues at the remaining sites. Kerbside voting is also available to any who feel they are too sick to enter the building, election officials say. So far the state has more than 2,500 infections and 85 deaths from coronavirus.

15:50 President Macron to address France

French President Emmanuel Macron will reportedly address the nation on Thursday evening. It comes the day after the country reported 833 deaths – its highly daily toll since the outbreak began – and more than three weeks after the president declared his nation “at war” with the virus. France is in its fourth week of lockdown, and there are no signs that the authorities plan to loosen the tight restrictions anytime soon. And today the mayor of Paris banned all outdoor exercise during the daytime. You can read more about the new rules here.

15:34 Cameron: Johnson a ‘tough guy’

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron has described Boris Johnson as a “tough and resilient guy”. “He is pretty fit. I have faced him on the tennis court and am sure he will be fine,” he said. Speaking about who would be in control while the PM was in hospital, Mr Cameron said there was a “very clear plan and the government machine will be able to carry it out”. He praised the civil service as “a Rolls Royce machine”. He also paid tribute to the Queen’s broadcast on Sunday evening, describing it as “extraordinarily powerful and extremely moving”.

15:20 South African man appears in court over fake news video

A man has appeared in Cape Town Magistrates’ Court in South Africa after being charged with spreading fake news. South Africa, which is under a three-week lockdown, recently made sharing or reporting misinformation about Covid-19 illegal and punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine, or both.

Steven Birch, 55, allegedly posted a video claiming that South Africa’s coronavirus testing kits were contaminated and could infect people. In a widely circulated video, people are advised to refrain from co-operating with door-to-door testers and told their swabs will “spread the virus”.

South Africa began widespread testing this week and aims to be testing 30,000 people a day by the end of April. Officials have expressed concern that the video may hamper that objective.

15:08 The Queen and senior royals wish UK PM a speedy recovery

The Queen has sent a message of support to Boris Johnson’s pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds and the UK prime minister’s family, saying her thoughts are with them and that she wishes him a full and speedy recovery, Buckingham Palace has said. The Queen is being kept informed of his condition in intensive care – where he continues to be treated for coronavirus.

The Prince of Wales has sent a message to the PM wishing him a “speedy recovery” on behalf of him and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, Clarence House has said. Meanwhile, the Duke of Cambridge has tweeted a personal message of support to Johnson and his family, signing it off with his initial “W”.

Posting from the Kensington Palace twitter account, he wrote: “Our thoughts are with the Prime Minister and his family, who like so many in the UK and around the world are affected by coronavirus. “We wish him a speedy recovery at this difficult time. W.”

14:50 Israel to impose Passover closure and curfew

A general closure is being imposed across Israel ahead of the Jewish Passover holiday. No travel will be allowed between cities between Tuesday evening and Friday morning, and in Jewish-majority areas nobody should leave their home from Wednesday afternoon – a few hours before Jewish families will have their ritual Seder meal – until Thursday morning. The government fears the custom of holding big Seders could spread the coronavirus, which has infected more than 9,000 Israelis and claimed 60 lives. Some rabbis have approved the use of video-conferencing apps like Zoom to connect relatives during the dinner. But Israel’s chief rabbinate has forbidden it, saying such use of technology breaks Jewish religious law. “Loneliness is painful,” it stated, but the solution was not “desecrating the festival”.

And while other countries have seen toilet roll shortages during the pandemic, Israelis have been scrambling for eggs – a staple of many favourite Passover recipes. The state subsidised an emergency airlift and brought in millions of eggs by sea. However, long queues at supermarkets, quotas imposed by grocers and a proliferation of black-market deals suggest that for many, the egg-hunt continues.

14:40 Alcohol poisoning kills hundreds in Iran

More than 600 people have died of alcohol poisoning in Iran since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, a judicial spokesman has said. Another 3,000 people were still ill, he said, adding that people had been drinking unsafe alcohol in the mistaken hope it would protect them from the virus. A number of people responsible for illegally producing alcohol have been arrested, according to the spokesman. There have been more than 62,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Iran, although the daily number of confirmed cases has decreased over the past week.

14:22 Northern Ireland coronavirus deaths climb to 73

A further three patients are reported to have died with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland since yesterday, according to the Public Health Agency. It brings the total number of deaths there to 73. Another 97 people have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Northern Ireland to 1,255.

14:14 Another 758 hospital patients die with Covid-19 in England

A further 758 patients diagnosed with coronavirus have died in England, NHS England has said. It brings the total number of confirmed hospital deaths in England to 5,655 – up from 4,897 at the same time on Monday.

14:10 Further 19 patients die with Covid-19 in Wales

A further 19 hospital patients have died in Wales after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths there to 212, health officials have said. Public Health Wales said a further 291 people had tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Wales to 3,790, but added that the true number of cases was likely to be higher.

13:39 India’s High Court seeks to prevent ‘CATastrophe’

A man in the Indian state of Kerala has had a decision that prevented him travelling to buy food for his pet cats overturned by the courts. India is currently under a strict lockdown because of coronavirus and the man’s initial request to travel to buy the biscuits was rejected.

He appeared before Kerala High Court via video conferencing and said that, as a vegetarian, he did not cook non-vegetarian cat food in his house – and that one bag of the biscuits would feed his cats until the end of the lockdown.

The High Court granted the man permission to travel, suggesting failure to do so would break animal cruelty laws. It ended its statement by adding “we are also certain that our directions will help avert a ‘CATastrophe’ in the petitioner’s home”.

13:06 74 further deaths in Scotland

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is holding her daily press conference and confirms that a further 74 people have died with coronavirus in Scotland, taking the total to 296. She explains this relatively large number of deaths is due to National Records for Scotland not yet operating a seven-day service, so weekend deaths were an underestimate. She also offers her best wishes to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying “we are all willing you on, Boris”.

12:56 UK PM Boris Johnson in ‘stable condition’ – Downing Street

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was stable overnight and is now in good spirits, after he was admitted to intensive care on Monday evening when his coronavirus symptoms worsened, a spokesperson said. Johnson is receiving “standard” oxygen treatment and is breathing without any other assistance, they said. He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support. The prime minister has not had a pneumonia diagnosis, the spokesperson added.

12:50 UK doctors still at risk from ‘useless PPE’

UK doctors are being put at risk by a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), with some calling the current provision “useless”, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned. In a BMA survey of almost 2,000 health workers, more than two thirds of doctors (69%) said they did not feel protected from coronavirus. One hospital doctor said: “The quality of our eye protection and apron is useless. Some of the PPE provided feels like a tick-box exercise just for psychological reassurance.” It comes after paramedic in the London Ambulance Service recently claimed the PPE given to workers would would be more suitable for people making sandwiches.

12:43 Antarctic researchers to return to UK

Researchers in Antarctica are to be brought back to the UK despite transport complications caused by coronavirus. At the end of the southern hemisphere’s summer, all British Antarctic Survey staff except the core team will be extracted. But some of the usual routes they might have travelled through have been closed because of lockdowns. Instead, researchers will be ferried to the Falkland Islands and will then be flown to the UK with the help of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The research agency is also chartering a cruise ship in Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands, to act as temporary accommodation.

12:23 Paris bans daytime jogging

The Paris authorities have banned daytime jogging in a bid to reduce contact between people and help slow the spread of the virus. Going out for a run is permitted under France’s lockdown rules, but in Paris doctors fear too many people are going out during daylight hours and not keeping the correct distance apart. The authorities also suspect some people are claiming to be taking their daily exercise, but in fact are just getting out of their homes. So it’s been decided to ban jogging between 10 in the morning and seven in the evening. Paris has seen a surge of cases of coronavirus in the last week, with no sign yet of the wave having peaked.

11:24 WhatsApp puts tight curbs on ‘frequent forwards’

WhatsApp has put heavy restrictions on forwarded messages to try to stop the spread of coronavirus misinformation. From today, messages that WhatsApp thinks are “frequently forwarded” can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.

“Frequent forwards” are messages that have been forwarded five times already. They’re marked with double arrows in WhatsApp, to try to show that they are not original. WhatsApp calls them “less personal” messages, and acknowledges they can contribute to the spread of misinformation.

It’s not the first time that WhatsApp has clamped down on forwarded messages. In 2018, it put a limit on forwarding to five chat groups at a time in India, after a number of killings by mobs based on false information forwarded by WhatsApp. That change was rolled out worldwide six months later, in January 2019.

11:09 UK senior minister self-isolates

UK Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove is self-isolating at home, because a family member is showing symptoms of coronavirus. BBC Newsnight policy editor Lewis Goodall says: “Though he will doubtless be working digitally, in lieu of the prime minister the Cabinet Office becomes all the more important. “Gove is a central player in coordination – this will make things that bit harder.”

11:03 Prisoner coronavirus deaths rise in England and Wales

The number of prisoners to have died in England and Wales after contracting coronavirus has risen to nine, according to internal figures seen by BBC News. They include three inmates from Littlehey jail, Cambridgeshire, and a female offender from Low Newton prison, in County Durham. The others had been held at Birmingham prison; HMP Manchester; Altcourse, in Merseyside; Belmarsh, in south-east London; and Whatton jail, Nottinghamshire.

Overall, 107 prisoners have tested positive for the virus across 38 prisons in England and Wales – about one-third of the total. Around 1,300 inmates are self-isolating with symptoms of the virus, and 7,200 prison staff are absent for reasons related to Covid-19, with 19 having tested positive. At the weekend, the Government announced that up to 4,000 prisoners would be released early to free up space in jails so inmates could be held in single cells to reduce the spread of the infection.

10:48 Daily deaths in Spain rise again

Another 743 people have died of Covid-19 in Spain in the past 24 hours – an increase of more than 100 on the previous day’s figure of 637, the country’s health ministry said. The figure brings the country’s total death toll to 13,798. Spain had been hoping to see it’s daily death toll continue to trend downwards after it had fallen for four consecutive days. More than 140,500 people have tested positive for the virus in Spain, the highest number in the world after the US.

10:43 New UK March figures include deaths outside hospital

The Office for National Statistics has released new figures from March on the number of deaths involving coronavirus. The data gives us the most accurate picture to date of where deaths are occurring.

Unlike the statistics we have heard about so far, these include every community death that week linked to Covid-19 in England and Wales. According to the data, which spans seven days up to 27 March, 539 death certificates mentioned coronavirus disease – 4.8% of all deaths that week. That was a rise from just 1% of deaths the week before.

The figures seem much smaller than the current total number of deaths for the UK – which stand at 5,373 – because most of the deaths from coronavirus have occurred in the last 10 days as the pandemic picked up pace. The vast majority of coronavirus deaths are happening in hospitals – 501 of the 539 deaths analysed here – but some are occurring in hospices and care homes too, according to the ONS.

10:11 Japan PM declares state of emergency

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared a state of emergency in the capital Tokyo, port city Osaka and five other prefectures. The state of emergency will kick in on Wednesday and is set to last about a month, said news outlet The Japan Times. The governors of the prefectures will be able to close schools and businesses, but authorities will not have the legal powers to order citizens to stay at home. But some local medical experts said ahead of the ruling that this was coming too late. Here’s a bit more context as to why.

09:59 New cases in Russia top 1,000

The number of coronavirus cases in Russia rose by more than 1,000 for the first time to reach 7,497 cases nationally, the country’s crisis response centre said. The number of reported cases rose by 1,154 while deaths rose by 11, bringing the total death toll to 58. The capital Moscow is currently the epicentre of the country’s outbreak. It is under a partial lockdown, with people only allowed to leave their homes to buy essential supplies and medical treatment amongst other things.

09:52 Starmer: Labour will support and challenge government

Keir Starmer, the newly elected leader of Labour – the UK’s main opposition party – says the thoughts of the whole country are with the prime minister, his fiancee and his family. He says he spoke to Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Boris Johnson, last night and offered to work “constructively with the government”. Asked about the possibility of forming a government of national unity, he says: “The approach we’ve agreed with the government is that we will support the government where we can do that, but we will challenge them where it’s necessary… the purpose is to protect lives and protect our country.”

09:39 Thousands in UK missed off high risk list

Thousands of people across the UK have not been included on the government’s high-risk list, despite meeting the criteria. Among them are transplant patients, people with asthma and some with rare lung diseases. Supermarkets have been using the list to give priority to vulnerable customers, meaning those not included have already missed out on opportunities for which they would have been eligible. “I haven’t yet received a letter and if I have been missed off the list I feel pretty annoyed and worried I suppose,” said 79-year-old Liz Goldfinch, who has a rare lung condition and Parkinson’s disease.

08:55 PM not on a ventilator – Gove

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not on a ventilator in intensive care but has received oxygen support, says Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove. Gove said Downing Street will inform the country if there is any change in the prime minister’s condition. “The teams at St Thomas’ are some of the finest doctors in the country,” Gove told BBC Radio 4. “The doctors, nurses and other staff will be making appropriate medical decisions and have our full support.”

08:39 Indonesia urges Muslims to pray at home

Indonesia has urged Muslims to practice tarawih, or additional prayers performed at night during fasting month, at home and forgo mass Eid prayers at the end of Ramadan, a move that would dramatically affect the life of millions in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Ramadan is typically such a festive month in Indonesia, where about 85% of the more than 260 million-strong population are Muslims. At dawn, some people take to the roads to give early meals, or sahoor, to the poor, and at dusk people break the fast together at restaurants or mosques. Street vendors line up on the roads, selling light meals such as dates or banana in coconut milk. At night, people go to the mosques for tarawih, Koran reading, or donating zakat or alms. On Eid day, which falls at the end of May, football fields, parking lots, and neighborhood alleys are used to host mass prayers, where many don their new clothes and prayer dresses. Eid shopping is also important for the economy – last year, domestic consumption during Ramadan boosted Indonesia’s GDP growth in the second quarter to 5.17%.

Ramadan this time will be vastly different. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry of religious affairs has issued a circular letter urging Muslims to practice prayers, fast breaking, and Koran reading in their homes. It also asks Muslims to carry out online the country’s own halal bi-halal tradition, or social gathering after Eid, to ask forgiveness from friends and families.

08:15 Dozens of arrests at Pakistan doctors’ protest

Police in Quetta have arrested scores of practicing doctors and paramedics after a doctors’ protest over non-availability of safety gear turned violent. According to eyewitness accounts, police used batons to prevent the doctors’ march towards a venue where the provincial cabinet was holding a meeting. The doctors have been critical of the provincial health ministry for failing to ensure safety of medical workers despite promises.

The government says it has provided masks and kits to staff who handle coronavirus patients, but medical workers say they are all at risk, as they have to deal with patients who may be infected but not yet tested. They point out that more than a dozen doctors who have so far tested positive for coronavirus in the Balochistan region, of which Quetta is the capital, were not working with coronavirus patients.

Doctors and nurses in several parts of the country, including the capital Islamabad, have gone on strike several times over the last couple of weeks to register their concerns over lack of safety kits for hospital staff. These concerns were triggered by the infection and death in late March of a doctor in Gigit-Baltistan region who had been screening returning pilgrims from Iran.

Hours after the arrests in Quetta, another doctor who recently tested positive for coronavirus died in a Karachi hospital. He is the third doctor to have died of the infection in Pakistan so far.

07:52 Pakistan quarantines 20,000 in bid to curb spread

Pakistan has quarantined 20,000 people after they attended a gathering organised by an Islamic missionary movement, Tablighi Jamaat. Officials are concerned that they could be spreading the virus in the country and overseas. The group has dominated news coverage in India too, where nearly 30% of its more than 4,000 confirmed cases have been linked to an event organised by its members in the capital, Delhi, last month.

07:43 Trump asks ‘genius’ companies to help Boris

US President Donald Trump says he asked two “genius” US companies to help in the treatment of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was moved to intensive care after his virus symptoms worsened. In a press briefing on Monday, Trump said he had asked “two of the leading companies, brilliant companies… to contact London immediately”. He did not give the names of the companies or say what treatment methods were being considered. Johnson is being treated in the ICU at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. “We’ve contacted all of Boris’s doctors and we’ll see what is going to take placem,” Trump said.

07:33 Stricken Antarctica cruise ship stuck off Uruguay

Another cruise ship has been hit by the virus, this time coming back from a trip to Antarctica: Australia’s Greg Mortimer vessel is off the coast of Uruguay with more than 80 people who tested positive – almost half of the roughly 200 overall passengers and crew. The small, state-of-the-art liner had left for a trip to Antarctica on 15 March. But during the trip passengers and crew began showing symptoms. Six seriously ill have been taken on land in Uruguay for treatment while the rest remain on board. The country is in talks with Australia to allow those who are healthy to fly home. Passengers are mostly from Australia, the UK and New Zealand. Cruise operator Aurora said it had begun the “extraordinarily complicated” task of repatriating passengers, as most airlines had stopped flying “and access to charter planes is difficult”.

07:17 India to release supply of hydroxychloroquine

India will release “appropriate quantities” of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol, according to reports citing the Ministry of External Affairs.. The ministry said in addition to supplying neighbouring countries, India would also give it to other nations “badly affected by the pandemic”. On Monday, Donald Trump said the US could “retaliate” if India didn’t release stocks of the drug, which he has called a “game-changer” in the fight against Covid-19. Hydroxychloroquine is very similar to Chloroquine, one of the oldest and best-known anti-malarial drugs. But it remains unclear whether the drug can actually work against coronavirus. Many virologists and infectious disease experts have cautioned that the excitement over hydroxychloroquine is premature and the drug has not been properly tested.

07:01 Singapore foreign workers on lockdown

They are Singapore’s neglected workforce. Cramped living quarters, bunk beds and shared toilets. Sometimes 12 men sleep in one room, often in squalid living conditions. This is the life for many of the more than 200,000 migrant workers – mostly from South Asia – who live and work in Singapore, building the country’s gleaming skyscrapers and swanky malls. They’re also employed in some vital services, like fixing problems on the country’s public transport system or in the electricity grid.

The coronavirus has brought that inequality to the surface. Dozens of workers have contracted the virus, and three separate dormitories have effectively been quarantined into red zones, with thousands of people inside. None of them can go out for 14 days. But the worry is that now these dorms are sealed off to the world, the virus will spread even further inside – becoming, in essence a far less comfortable and glamorous version of the Diamond Princess in Japan, which was dubbed a floating petri dish. The virus spread rampantly amongst people quarantined in that cruise ship as well as others.

The measures to gazette these dorms comes against the backdrop of rising local infections – a second wave that the government is grappling with. Today marks the beginning of a month-long shutdown which will see workplaces and schools closed, which officials hope will slow the spread. But the number of infected migrant workers grows every day.

06:34 Warning over daily death figures

Experts in the UK have warned against over-interpreting the daily figures of people dying with the Covid-19 virus. On Monday, 439 coronavirus deaths were recorded in the UK – down from 621 on Sunday and 708 on Saturday. But spikes or dips may in part reflect bottlenecks in the reporting system, rather than real changes in the trend, they say. Many hospitals will not report deaths that happened over the weekend until the middle of the following week.

06:26 UK tourists finally fly home from Philippines

Nearly 300 passengers have left the Philippines on a London-bound repatriation flight from Manila’s main airport. Earlier today four “sweeper flights”, from islands identified by the embassy as having high concentrations of stranded UK nationals, arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport for the connecting flight to the UK. Joe Caswell, a 24-year-old graduate from Wirral, who had been stranded in Siargao, said he nearly didn’t make the flight home today because soldiers at a quarantine checkpoint demanded a paper copy of his ticket. “It was an extremely strange and stressful situation,” he said. “But after half an hour of talking we were able to get through. I’m relieved to be going back to see family and friends.” The British embassy says it will now look at ways of helping other stranded Britons in less accessible parts of the country’s archipelago of more than 7,000 islands.

06:14 Fears over food shortages in India

On 31 March, Asia’s biggest onion market fell silent. The market in the western state of Maharashtra usually thrums with farmers and traders. But the mostly migrant men and women who unload, load and grade onions – an essential part of the diet of millions of Indians – are missing. The market in Lasangaon accounts for a third of India’s onion produce – and it managed to stumble along for nearly a week after India imposed a harsh 21-day lockdown last month.

Farmers were still able to go to their fields and pluck onions after the government made it clear that agriculture was an essential service. And a few workers had stayed back to keep the Lasangaon market running. But then came a news report that one person had tested positive for Covid-19 in the neighbourhood, and panic set in. “First the trucks stopped coming. Then some labourers fled. Then came the news about the virus patient. The rest of the workers fled,” Manoj Jain, an onion trader told me.

06:08 UK hospices could close

Hospices in the UK could close as they “cannot wait any longer” for emergency funding. Charity Sue Ryder said it was facing a £12m gap in funds over the next three months while Marie Curie said it would need £30m to keep services running over the same period. “We have been calling on the government to support us but no funding has materialised,” said the chief executive of Sue Ryder, Heidi Travis.

05:59 Japan to declare state of emergency

Japan is bracing itself for a state of emergency to be put in place for its big cities, like Tokyo and Osaka. “I have decided that a situation gravely affecting people’s life and the economy has occurred,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday. “This evening, I plan to call a government headquarters meeting and declare a state of emergency.” It’s thought the measure will kick in at midnight and give local governors the power to ask people to stay at home and close businesses. Seven regions will be affected: Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, the western hub of Osaka and nearby Hyogo, as well as the southwestern region of Fukuoka.

05:46 India hospitals shut down after staff test positive

Three hospitals in two of India’s largest cities – the capital, Delhi, and Mumbai – have been shut after staff tested positive for Covid-19. No-one can go in or leave, and staff can only go home once they’ve tested negative. In Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai, more than 50 staff members have tested positive. And in Jaslok Hospital, a well-known private hospital in the city, more than 10 nurses tested positive on Monday. A renowned state hospital in Delhi known for specialising in cancer treatment has been closed after 18 healthcare workers, including nurses and doctors, were confirmed to have coronavirus. At least 50 other staff members at the Delhi State Cancer Institute have been asked to self-quarantine. The news has been met with concern in India, where there are already fears over a fragmented healthcare system that may not have enough doctors, beds or ventilators to handle a full-blown pandemic.

05:40 Australia: ‘We are flattening the curve’

The Australian government has just given a comprehensive update on the virus situation. Early trends are looking good here, where due to a quarantine on travellers and strict social distancing laws, infection rates have been steadily declining. There are more than 5,800 cases but fewer than 100 people in intensive care. Australia also has ready resources to suppress any future outbreaks. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was in a position “other nations would be jealous of” and would be able to make it through the projected six-month pandemic period, if citizens stuck to the rules. “We are flattening the curve,” chief medical officer Dr Brendan Murphy said. “We are on a life raft and we now have to chart the course for where we take that life raft.”

05:10 Singapore’s ‘circuit breaker’ measures begin

It’s quiet on the streets of Singapore, where new social distancing measures kick in today. The country has seen a sharp uptick in infections in recent days. For the next month, Singapore will be under its own version of a lockdown, which it calls a “circuit breaker”. Everyone has to stay at home, with some exceptions for those in essential services. Businesses whose employees can’t work from home have to shut. This means most shops are closed, though supermarkets, banks, pet stores, and hairdressers (yes, they’re considered essential here, for a basic cut) remain open. Food establishments are also open but only for takeaways and deliveries. And from tomorrow, all schools will be shut as well.

Singaporeans have been told to remain indoors except to buy food or exercise; to keep 1m apart when outside; and to avoid meeting anyone outside of their household. The consequences of not obeying the rules can be harsh: you could be prosecuted under the city-state’s strict Infectious Diseases Act and face up to six months in jail and/or fined S$10,000 (£5,700, US$7,000).

04:38 NZ virus cases at new low

New Zealand has recorded 54 new virus cases – the lowest number the country has seen in two weeks. Earlier Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country appeared “at this early stage to be on track”. New Zealand is currently in a state of emergency and a lockdown has been in place for almost two weeks. All schools and non-essential services have been closed and five million people told not to leave their house unless necessary. People have also been called to stick to their “bubble” – your family or the group of people that you live with. “Whatever your bubble is for the month, this is the bubble that you must maintain,” said Ardern. There are currently 1,160 confirmed cases in New Zealand, with one death.

04:12 Philippines extends Luzon lockdown

The lockdown of Luzon, the most populous island in the Philippines, has been extended to 30 April. The measures had been due to end next week. The Philippines was one of the first countries to adopt strict home quarantine measures. Rules restricting movement and gatherings have been in place in and around the capital, Manila, for nearly a month now since the confirmation of the first domestic transmission. There have been 3,660 positive tests and 163 deaths in the Philippines. But like many countries in the region, there have been very few tests carried out, so the actual number of infections is thought to be much higher.

04:05 Trump threatens India ‘retaliation’ over unproven drug

Donald Trump has said the US would “retaliate” if India turned down his request to release stocks of a drug that he has called a “game-changer” in the fight against Covid-19. Mr Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, a day after the country banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, which it manufactures in large quantities. “I said we’d appreciate your allowing our supply to come out. If he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be okay, but of course there may be retaliation,” he said during a White House briefing on Monday. India is reportedly still “considering” the request. Hydroxychloroquine is very similar to Chloroquine, one of the oldest and best-known anti-malarial drugs. But is India really in a position to help the US? And does the drug even work against the coronavirus?

03:58 ‘Idiot’ health minister breaks lockdown at beach

New Zealand’s health minister has called himself an “idiot” after breaking the lockdown by driving his family to the beach. David Clark admitted the 12-mile (20km) drive was “a clear breach of the lockdown principles”. He offered his resignation to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, but kept his job because of the ongoing crisis. Clark admitted the trip to Ardern after being criticised for another breach of the rules. Last week, he drove a shorter distance to a mountain bike trail – and his van, featuring a picture of himself on the side, was photographed at the trail.

03:40 The end of Sweden’s relaxed approach?

Sweden’s government has asked parliament to give it additional powers – which could be an indicator it’s heading towards tighter measures or even a lockdown after all. Sweden so far has taken a markedly different approach – that is it did not enforce any tough measures like the rest of Europe has. Instead, the government has called for people to simply be responsible and follow social distancing guidelines. But shops, restaurants and businesses remain open. Visits to elderly homes are no longer allowed, though. So far, there are 7,206 confirmed infections and 477 deaths in Sweden. While those numbers might seem low compared to the UK, Germany, Spain or Italy, do keep in mind that there are only about 10 million people living in Sweden.

03:33 UK PM receiving ‘excellent care’

The major news out of the UK overnight has been that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care after his coronavirus symptoms worsened. Mr Johnson, who is the most prominent victim yet of the pandemic, is in St Thomas’ Hospital in London. We’ve been told he was moved to intensive care in case he needs ventilation – help to breathe. A statement by Downing Street said he was receiving “excellent care”. We’ve not received any further news as to his condition as yet.

03:32 Australia’s farmers move to calm panic buyers

Farmers in Australia are using billboards to reassure people that there will be no shortage of food during the coronavirus outbreak. The National Farmers Federation is running street adverts in Melbourne that read: “Don’t panic. We’re experts at working from home.” It comes as grocery stores see waves of panic buying by shoppers worried about food supplies. “Farmers want all Australians to know that running out of food is one thing they don’t need to be worrying about in these challenging times,” the organisation’s president Fiona Simson said in a statement.

03:08 Canadian hospitals ask nurses to pick a country

Canadian hospitals near the US border in Michigan are asking staff to pick a side and stay there. Some 1,600 healthcare workers from Windsor-Essex county in Canada travel over the border each day, the county’s health authorities say.

Windsor Regional Hospital has asked staff members who work in nearby Detroit to choose a side. More than half chose to remain. The hospital’s CEO David Musyj told the BBC he does not want to stop workers from working in Detroit but he is concerned it is not safe for them to work both sides of the border during the pandemic.

He worries that if these steps aren’t taken, officials may close the border entirely, which would “devastate” Detroit’s supply of healthcare workers. “Our local public health leaders can and should put into place rigid screening mechanisms and self isolation mechanisms for these individuals if and when they come home to Windsor.”

02:49 China reports no virus deaths

China has reported 32 new confirmed virus cases – all of which were imported – but crucially no new deaths in the past day. According to news agency AFP, this is the first time China’s National Health Commission has reported no new deaths since it started publishing its figures in January. There have been 81,740 confirmed cases nationally, and more than 3,300 deaths.

02:37 UK Labour MP admitted to hospital

Late on Monday in the UK it was announced that Tony Lloyd, Labour MP for Rochdale, has been admitted to hospital with coronavirus. The 70-year-old was “stable and responding to treatment” at Manchester Royal Infirmary, his family said. In a statement, his family paid tribute to the “brilliant doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff at the hospital.” The new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wished him a “swift recovery”.

02:18 US with highest number of new deaths

The Unites States has seen 1,150 people die with the virus during the past 24 hours, the highest number among the worst-hit countries, according to Johns Hopkins University. It’s followed by France with more than 830 deaths on Monday, and Spain with more than 630 deaths linked to Covid-19. The overall US death toll now stands at 10,783 and the country has more than 367,000 confirmed infections – including more than 30,000 positive tests from the last 24 hours alone. Around 19,600 people have so far recovered.

01:57 Japan poised for state of emergency

As Asia wakes up this Tuesday morning, the region’s main focus will be Japan’s expected state of emergency. The drastic measure was announced only yesterday and might go into effect as early as today. It won’t cover the entire country but only large cities like Tokyo and Osaka after urban centres have seen a sharp rise in infections. China and South Korea are expected to once again report low figures of new infections with Beijing’s focus now on imported cases of travellers bringing the virus back in. Indonesia has seen ever bigger daily infection numbers over the past days with at least 24 doctors among the 209 dead. India remains under lockdown and the current focus is to step up testing to be able to contain the spread. The government there has said it hopes to double its testing capacity to 20,000 a day by the end of this week.

01:47 UK’s ‘volunteer army’ reports for duty

Some of the UK’s “volunteer army” of 750,000 people who signed up to support the NHS will begin their first tasks later today. Their main role is to support those who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.

They’ll be delivering medicines from pharmacies; driving patients to appointments and bringing them home from hospital; calling people to check they are well, and transporting medical supplies and equipment for the NHS.

The process will be managed through a mobile app called GoodSAM – health professionals, pharmacists and local authorities can upload requests for help, and volunteers can then pick which tasks they want to complete in their local area.

Trump asks drug companies to help Johnson

In his White House briefing, President Trump said he had spoken to “major” drug companies, to see if they could offer any help to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “I’ve asked them to contact London immediately…more than major, more than size, they’re geniuses.”

01:16 In the UK, hospices ‘could close’ as virus hits fundraising

It goes without saying that all sorts of organisations across the UK are struggling financially because of the pandemic. But for hospices, the sudden drop in revenue is particularly acute, and many are warning they will need government and public support to continue to provide palliative care.

With charity shops closed and fundraising events such as the London Marathon postponed, the charities that run end of life facilities say services may have to be closed if they are not helped soon. Heidi Travis, chief executive of Sue Ryder, said hospices “cannot wait any longer”.

00:51 Raab is realising reality of being first secretary of state

Just a few months ago Dominic Raab was one of the contenders for the Conservative leadership and had aspirations to be prime minister himself. He was appointed foreign secretary, and added to that, first secretary of state – a title that, in so many instances, is an honorific one. But now, the very reality of being first secretary of state is landing upon his shoulders as he takes on a good number of the prime minister’s usual obligations.

The burdens placed upon this government are unprecedented in our lifetime, with every department being asked to consider things, and attempt to do things that they have never been asked to do before. There’s a vast amount of pressure on the Whitehall system at the moment. And ultimately, all decisions are channeled into Downing Street. Clearly, Dominic Raab is going have to step up and fill in for the prime minister, who would normally be the one signing on the dotted line.

00:33 First death in South Australia

The Australian state of South Australia has recorded its first Covid-19 death. Until now, it was the only Australian state without a death. SA has had 411 confirmed cases of the disease so far. The country has had almost 6,000 cases and 41 deaths.

00:28 Hong Kong airport extends ban on foreign arrivals

Hong Kong international Airport has extended its ban on foreign arrivals for the foreseeable future. All non-Hong Kong residents flying in will be denied entry to the region. Those coming to Hong Kong from mainland China, Macau and Taiwan have to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Hong Kong has recorded 914 cases and four deaths. According to the South China Morning Post, nearly all of the 24 news cases on Monday were imported.

Sources: Various news sources including but not limited to BBC News, Fox News, CNN.
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