Coronavirus updates: UK PM Johnson being treated by ‘finest doctors’


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Live Reporting

By Yvette Tan, Andreas Illmer, Krutika Pathi, Matthew Henry, Victoria Bisset, Robert Greenall and Joel Gunter

All times stated are UK

  1. French cities to distribute face masks

    French police offer wearing a mask

    Copyright: AFP

    A number of French cities are to distribute face masks as part of the fight against the outbreak.

    On Monday, the mayor of Nice said all residents would receive a reusable mask within 10 days. Christian Estrosi said there had been an “unacceptable relaxation” of the isolation rules over the weekend.

    A similar announcement was made by the mayors of Cannes and Mandelieu-la-Napoule, and the latter said the manufacture of masks was his city’s “absolute priority”.

    Meanwhile, police in Paris said they would ban outdoor exercise between 10:00 and 19:00 from Wednesday.

    France reported 833 new coronavirus deaths on Monday, its highest daily toll since its outbreak began.

  2. Calls for debt relief for world’s poorest nations

    Men sleeping in the street.

    Copyright: Getty Images

    More than 100 global organisations are calling for debt payments by developing countries to be dropped this year.

    These countries include the world’s poorest economies which are struggling with the impacts of coronavirus.

    Major charities including Oxfam and ActionAid International are asking for the debt relief, which would free up more than $25bn (£20bn) this year.

    They have written to world leaders and major central banks calling for a range of debt relief measures.

    Read more here

  3. The symptoms and how to protect yourself

    Coronavirus infects the lungs. The two main, key symptoms are a fever and a dry cough, which can in some cases lead to breathing problems.

    You have a fever if your temperature is above 37.8C. The cough to look out for is a new, continuous cough. This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or having three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.

    How can you protect yourself? The best thing is regular and thorough hand washing, preferably with soap and water.

    Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs small droplets – packed with the virus – into the air. These can be breathed in, or cause an infection if you touch a surface they have landed on, then your eyes, nose or mouth.

    To read more on symptoms and how to stay safe, click here.

    Illustration of measures to curb the spread

    Copyright: BBC

  4. WhatsApp puts tight curbs on ‘frequent forwards’

    David Molloy

    BBC News, London

    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.

  5. Queen thanks health workers’ ‘selfless commitment’

    The Queen

    Copyright: Getty Images

    The Queen has paid tribute to healthcare professionals fighting the coronavirus pandemic in a new statement to mark World Health Day.

    The monarch, who gave a rare TV address on Sunday, praised workers’ dedication and thanked them for their “selfless commitment”.

    The message, addressed to healthcare professionals across the Commonwealth and around the world, said: “On the occasion of World Health Day, I want to thank all those in the healthcare profession for your selfless commitment and diligence as you undertake vitally important roles to protect and improve the health and well-being of people across the Commonwealth, and across the world.

    “In testing times, we often observe that the best of the human spirit comes to the fore; the dedication to service of countless nurses, midwives and other health workers, in these most challenging of circumstances, is an example to us all.

    “My family and I send our enduring appreciation and good wishes.”

  6. UK senior minister self-isolates

    Michael Gove

    Copyright: PA Media

    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.”

  7. Prisoner coronavirus deaths rise in England and Wales

    Danny Shaw

    BBC Home Affairs Correspondent

    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.

  8. Why staying at home is a matter of life and death

    For those in countries under lockdown, we’ve
    been advised to stay at home and not go to public places. But why is it so important? We
    break down the numbers for you, and explain what the rules are in the UK.

    Video content

    Video caption: UK lockdown: why does staying at home stop coronavirus?
  9. Daily deaths in Spain rise again

    Policeman at a traffic control post stops drivers in Huesca, Spain

    Copyright: Getty Images

    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. New UK March figures include deaths outside hospital

    Michelle Roberts

    Health editor, BBC News online

    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.

  11. Why are stock markets rising?

    Nick Edser

    Business reporter

    After several weeks of volatile trading, stock markets have been rising this week.

    London’s FTSE 100 share index is up more than 2% on Tuesday, after a 3% rise on Monday, and other major European markets are showing similar increases.

    This follows big gains in US shares on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumping 7.7%.

    So why are shares rising? Analysts say it’s because there are signs that the spread of coronavirus might be starting to slow.

    “Investors are reacting to indications that lockdown measures in the UK, US and Europe are beginning to ‘flatten the curve’ of coronavirus infections and fatalities,” says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

    However, he adds: “The market’s relief is only likely to last so long, and attention will soon turn to how countries intend to exit the current containment measures which have in effect hit the pause button on the global economy.”

  12. The latest from Latin America: Tougher enforcement

    Aerial picture taken from an Army helicopter on April 5, 2020, during an inspection flight over Lima

    Copyright: AFP

    Image caption: The streets of Lima have been deserted during the times of the curfew
    • El Salvador‘s President Nayib Bukele has warned that the police are going to be tougher at enforcing restrictions introduced to help stem the spread of coronavirus. He said that those caught breaking the rules could have their cars confiscated and even be taken to “containment centres” and held for up to 30 days. There are now 69 confirmed cases and four people have died.
    • In Honduras, a ban on the carrying of firearms is coming into effect on Tuesday. Only those protecting key transport services such as food cargoes will be allowed to carry guns. Normally, Hondurans over the age of 21 who do not have a drug or alcohol addiction are allowed to own up to three firearms and many carry guns for protection against gangs.
    • Peru has announced a nationwide curfew for both Maundy Thursday, 9 April, and Good Friday, 10 April. Peru has been tough in enforcing its curfews with more than 50,000 people detained for venturing outside during restricted hours since the measures came into force more than three weeks ago.
  13. 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.

    Shinzo Abe

    Copyright: Getty Images

  14. Do school closures actually help?

    Schools across the UK have been closed to help stop the spread of the virus.

    But one team of scientists from University College London say this move actually has little impact.

    Their research said that recent modelling studies predicted that school closures alone would prevent only 2-4 % of deaths.

    But not everyone agrees. Prof Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, says school closures play an important role in “severing remaining contact between households”.

    Read more on the debate here.


    Copyright: Getty Images

  15. 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.

    A woman wearing a face mask and gloves as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus walks along the subway

    Copyright: Getty Images

  16. Starmer: Labour will support and challenge government

    Keir Starmer

    Copyright: Getty Images

    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.”

  17. How do you take care of someone with the virus?

    It can be a tricky time for you, if you’re
    living with someone who has the virus. What’s the best way to take care of
    them, and how can you stay safe yourself? The BBC’s Laura Foster shares some

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: How do you care for someone at home?
  18. 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.

    Read more on the patients who have been left off the list, here.

  19. The latest from Europe

    An EU flag flying in Italy

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Europe has been at the centre of the outbreak for weeks, but strict lockdown measures in place across the continent seem finally to be having an effect, and there is a growing focus on how the continent can recover from the crisis. Here’s the latest:

    • The European country with the highest number of confirmed cases is Spain. But on Monday the health ministry confirmed a daily death toll of 637, the lowest in almost two weeks, and a further decline in the infection rate. Other countries have seen similar trends
    • Russia appeared to buck the trend, announcing 1,154 new infections – its biggest daily jump in confirmed cases
    • As the crisis seemingly enters a new phase, EU nations are still arguing over how to tackle the economic
      fallout from the pandemic. EU Council and Commission chiefs released a statement on Monday that said a “strong package is in the making”, and Eurozone finance ministers will hold a teleconference
      later on Tuesday. A news conference is expected around 19:00 UK time
    • Late on Monday Italy’s Prime Minster Giuseppe Conte unveiled
      a €400bn fund to help struggling businesses. Italy remains the worst
      affected nation worldwide in terms of death, but as in Spain, infection rates do seem to finally be dropping
    • And France has announced it will deploy mobile teams around the
      country to test vulnerable people at care homes, as the country enters its
      fourth week of lockdown measures. You can read more
      about the grim crisis in care homes across Europe here
  20. More on the hospital treating Boris Johnson

    Michelle Roberts

    Health editor, BBC News online

    St Thomas’ hospital has experience and expertise in treating
    coronavirus patients in its intensive care unit.

    It is one of the few hospitals in the country to have a life
    support machine called ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation).

    This highly specialised piece of equipment can do the work
    of the heart and lungs. There are only a handful of these machines around the

    The PM has been moved to St Thomas’ ICU as a
    precaution because his symptoms of coronavirus infection have not improved.

    He was admitted to St Thomas’ on Sunday with a persistent
    symptoms, including a fever.

    Coronavirus can attack the lungs and it appears that the PM
    is now having difficulties with his breathing, although he is not yet on a
    ventilator machine for this.

    Not every patient in ICU with coronavirus will need a
    ventilator to take over the job of breathing.

    Some may be put on a breathing support machine called CPAP
    (continuous positive airway pressure) that uses mild pressure to push oxygen
    into the airways via a mask. Patients can be awake and not sedated for this,
    unlike those who need a ventilator.

    Patients on ICU will be connected to lots of different
    machines, via tubes, wires and cables, to monitor how their body is coping.

    And they can be given intravenous drugs and other supportive
    treatments, including nutrition.

    St Thomas hospital

    Copyright: EPA

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