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Live Reporting

Edited by Claire Heald

All times stated are UK

  1. Main developments today

    We’re leaving our daily live coverage now, but here’s a reminder of the main developments today.

    Updates were brought to you today by Jo Couzens, Doug Faulkner, David Walker and Claire Heald. Join us again tomorrow.

  2. 'Spectacular' vaccine programme on track

    Matt Hancock giving a thumbs up next to a vaccine centre sign

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock describes the UK's vaccination programme as "spectacular" after the news that more than five million people have received a second dose.

    It means nearly one in 10 adults in the UK has now received both jabs.

    "This is vital so everyone can get the strongest possible protection against Covid-19 as we progress along the road to freedom, allowing us to reclaim the things we love," he says.

    The Department of Health says the UK remains on track to achieve the prime minister's target of offering a first dose to those aged 50 and over by mid-April, as well as all adults by the end of July.

    Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi says: "Vaccines are an incredibly important part of our route out of lockdown and this pandemic, and it's vital people take advantage of the protection they provide."

  3. Archbishop visits after service shut down

    An image from a video of the service

    We reported earlier on a Good Friday service at a church in Balham, south London, which was shut down by police for breaching Covid restrictions.

    Following the incident, Archbishop John Wilson has made a pastoral visit to the Christ the King Polish Catholic Church today.

    He discussed the matter with the rector, who will contact the Metropolitan Police about how the situation was handled, the diocese says.

    Public worship is allowed where Covid hygiene procedures are in place and national guidance has been issued by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

  4. BreakingJohnson welcomes vaccine milestone

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweets: "We've reached another milestone in our vaccination programme with over five million people now having had their second jab.

    "I urge everyone to take up their second dose as soon as they are offered it."

  5. Watch: Cracking down on Covid rule breakers

    Video content

    Video caption: Lockdown policing: Cracking down on the coronavirus rule breakers

    As well as tackling the usual offences they have to deal with on a regular basis, over the last 12 months police officers have also had to enforce Covid rules.

    For Lancashire Police, this has involved breaking up gatherings ranging from football matches to house parties, in areas including Blackburn and Burnley, which have had, proportionally for their populations, some of the highest total numbers of coronavirus cases in the UK.

    In this video you can see what happened when the BBC's Ashley John-Baptiste joined them on a Saturday in March.

  6. More than 5m people have had second dose

    More than five million people have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK, the latest figures show.

    The total number of people who have received one jab is 31,425,682.

    The number of people who have received both vaccinations is 5,205,505.

    Second doses are being prioritised in April amid a warning that vaccine supplies will fall.

    But the government has said it is still on course to offer all adults in the UK a first jab by the end of July.

  7. BreakingFurther 3,423 test positive for Covid-19 in UK

    A further 3,423 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the latest government figures.

    There have also been a further 10 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test. It brings the total deaths by this measure to 126,826.

    During the Easter period the government says coronavirus data might vary, although all four UK nations are due to report their figures today.

    The statistics can be lower at the weekend due to lags in reporting.

  8. The 100-year-old who can't wait to go back to the fair

    Pearl Rowland

    Despite celebrating her 100th birthday on Friday, Pearl Rowland says she is ready to go back to the funfair when coronavirus rules allow it.

    She was born in a Rowlands Fair caravan and has spent most of her life travelling and working at the attraction.

    The fair, which is based in Devon but travels throughout the South West of England, is currently off the road because of lockdown restrictions.

    Pearl says the lockdown is "far worse than the war days", adding: "We never had to close as we are now."

    But funfairs and other outdoor attractions will be able to return from 12 April as part of England's easing of restrictions.

    Staff at the fair said on Facebook she received about 700 cards, 50 bouquets of flowers and "some lovely gifts" for her birthday.

  9. Police 'exceeded' powers by shutting church service

    We have some reaction to the story we reported earlier on a Good Friday church service in Balham, south London, being shut down by police.

    The parish, Parafia Chrystusa Krola [Christ the King] has issued a statement saying it believes the police "brutally exceeded" their powers by ordering everyone to leave the service and that officers had been "misinformed" about the current Covid guidelines.

    The parish says: "The policemen found our liturgical assembly illegal, ordering everyone to leave our temple immediately on pain of a £200 fine for each parishioner present or even arrest.

    "The faithful obeyed this order without objection."

    The statement says "all government requirements had been complied with" and adds: "We regret that the rights of the faithful have been wronged on such an important day for every believer".

    The Metropolitan Police force says a large number of people were found inside the church and were "clearly not socially distanced" with some not wearing masks.

  10. Czech foreign minister attacks PM over vaccine veto

    Rob Cameron

    BBC Prague Correspondent

    Prague

    The Czech Republic's Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek has attacked the prime minister Andrej Babis over his ill-fated decision to join Austria in attempting to veto the European Union's planned vaccine redistribution effort.

    The effort failed, leaving the three countries which tried to veto it - Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia - with fewer vaccines than had originally been on the table.

    The Czech Republic appears to have lost out on 140,000 extra doses, although Austria has offered the Czechs 30,000 of theirs apparently as compensation.

    Petricek, from the junior coalition Social Democrats, says Babis - founder of the populist ANO party - failed to consult anyone in government or explain the result of the failed strategy and must now explain to citizens why the country will receive fewer doses in the months to come.

  11. Women fight South Africa's 'infodemic'

    BBC Trending

    South Africa's coronavirus vaccine rollout started in February
    Image caption: South Africa's coronavirus vaccine rollout started in February

    In South Africa, a small group of volunteers is waging an online battle against Covid-19 and vaccine misinformation - much of it comes from abroad.

    When Sarah Downs tweeted about how her grandmother had died from Covid-19, there was one response she did not expect.

    "I had just posted a message on Twitter basically saying my amazing grandma passed away and she meant a lot to me," she says.

    "So then I had someone asking me, 'Well, was there an autopsy done? What were the autopsy results? You don't know that she passed away from Covid. She could have passed away from something else.'"

    Sarah Downs
    Image caption: Sarah Downs - aka Mistress of Science - at work in a lab

    She had run directly into a Covid-19 denier. They're a relatively small but vocal group who have a range of beliefs - but in general, many think coronavirus is a "hoax" or "not real", and are against public health measures and lockdown rules.

    Right now, one of their main preoccupations is campaigning against vaccines.

    Read Jack Goodman's full report here.

  12. Police shut down Good Friday church service

    A Good Friday service at a Catholic church in Balham, south London, was closed down by police, it has emerged.

    Met Police officers were called to a report of crowds of people queuing outside the church on Balham High Road at 17:00 BST.

    The force said a large number of people were found inside the building "clearly not socially distanced" and some not wearing masks.

    The Met said in a statement: "Understanding the sensitivity of the situation, officers engaged with the priest outside the church and were invited inside to address the congregation.

    "No fixed penalty notices were issued."

    What are the current rules for places of worship? Read more here.

  13. Philippines to extend lockdown around Manila

    Police checkpoint in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 29, 2021
    Image caption: Police are enforcing lockdown measures in the Metro Manila region and neighbouring provinces

    The Philippines is to extend a lockdown in the capital, Manila, and four surrounding provinces amid fears that hospitals will be overwhelmed by a surge in coronavirus cases.

    Residents must stay at home for another week unless they are essential workers, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

    The number of new infections in a 24-hour period hit a record high of 12,576 on Saturday. The Philippines has reported more than 784,000 infections in total and more than 13,400 deaths.

    Poor compliance with health protocols and more contagious variants of the virus have been blamed for the surge in recent weeks. The Philippines was among several countries recently added to England's "red list" amid concerns about the spread of new variants.

    Experts said the lockdown imposed on 29 March was showing signs of slowing the spread but more had to be done.

    Many hospitals in Manila have been swamped with Covid patients. Some people have reported driving for hours looking for a facility that will admit a sick relative.

  14. What are the rules on holidays abroad?

    Holidaymakers on a Greek beach

    With the debate surrounding vaccine passports or Covid certificates ongoing, and a cold snap predicted for Easter Monday, you might be wondering when you will be able to dust off your flip-flops and sunscreen and head somewhere sunny.

    At the moment, foreign holidays are banned, and returning travellers have to quarantine on arrival.

    In England and Wales, you can be fined £5,000 for travelling outside of the UK without a reasonable excuse.

    A government taskforce report is due on 12 April, about how and when international travel can resume - although Boris Johnson has hinted he could update the public on travel on Monday.

    You can read more here.

  15. German president to call on nation to 'pull together'

    Damien McGuinness, Caucasus correspondent

    Frank-Walter Steinmeier
    Image caption: President Steinmeier's speech has already been recorded

    German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will address the nation on television this evening.

    In the speech, which has already been recorded, he will call on people in Germany to pull together, rather than simply criticise others.

    In the speech President Steinmeier will concede that mistakes have certainly been made when it comes to "testing, vaccination, digital solutions".

    He will talk about a "crisis of trust" in the state.

    But he will also say “Let us all pull together" and call on people to not just be outraged "at other people or those at the top".

    Instead of only pointing out what is not possible, he will say it's also important to show what can be done when everyone plays their part.

    The German president will talk about the increased pace of the vaccine rollout and say that he himself had the vaccine a few days ago - he received the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday.

    President Steinmeier will say he trusts "all - and I stress all - the vaccines that have been authorised in Germany".

    A few months ago after the first wave of the pandemic, he will say, Germans saw themselves "with some satisfaction as pandemic world champions".

    But today “we are outdoing ourselves in doom and gloom”.

    Neither of these things is true, he says.

    “We doubt a lot but we can also do a lot. And right now the important thing is to do, not doubt!"

  16. Writing songs in lockdown 'was an escape'

    David Webster

    When paramedic David Webster heard his hospital colleagues were becoming seriously ill with Covid and one had died, he decided to write a song as a release for the sadness he felt.

    "Everyone was really sad. You could tell everyone was really suffering with the weight of responsibility, not just to the public but to each other," the 53-year-old father-of-two says.

    "I'd never written a song before," he says. "But I came home from work and said: 'I need to write this down.' I sat down, wrote some lyrics and put together a melody on my guitar. Putting it down on paper… I definitely found that helped."

    "I wrote the song to deal with the pressure. It was an escape."

    His song is one of several lockdown-themed tunes to feature in a BBC project, Now That's What I Call Lockdown, a collection of songs and music written by BBC Radio 5 Live listeners.

    Video content

    Video caption: BBC Radio 5 Live hosts a virtual concert to celebrate music written in lockdown
  17. Poland sees cases begin to decline amid lockdown

    People wearing masks near the coronavirus vaccination centre at a temporary hospital in Warsaw, Poland, April 2, 2021
    Image caption: About 14.5% of Polish adults have received at least one vaccine dose at centres like this one in Warsaw

    Poland reported another 28,073 new coronavirus infections and 571 deaths on Saturday but the numbers are starting to decline, officials say.

    The country is currently in a three-week partial lockdown after a surge in cases largely brought about by the rampant UK variant.

    Saturday is the second day in a row that Poland's week-to-week comparison fell.

    “This is another day of a more than 10% decline," Poland’s health minister Adam Niedzielski said in a tweet. "What happens in the coming weeks depends on how safe we are during Easter.”

    The spike in cases has put huge pressure on hospitals. Currently, 75% of available beds and 77% of available ventilators are in use, the BBC's Warsaw correspondent Adam Easton reports.

    In the worst affected province of Silesia, some patients are being relocated to less burdened hospitals in neighbouring regions. The government is readying an extra 7,000 beds over the next two weeks.

    Mr Niedzielski said the main problem, however, was a shortage of staff. Poland is sourcing doctors from abroad and about 100 have come so far, he added.

  18. Care home residents 'deserve more freedom'

    Mike Padgham

    Care home residents should have more freedom, says Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group.

    Speaking to the BBC, he welcomed the government's announcement that residents will be allowed two regular visitors indoors from 12 April, saying they "have waited a long time for this".

    "It’s a cautious welcome," he said, adding: "We’ve got to take it step by step and hopefully keep the virus at bay but for people’s mental wellbeing – visitors as well as residents – it’s fantastic news."

    He said "older people now deserve – like the rest of us – the freedom that is coming".

    Padgham said the government should go "a bit further" with their guidance and allow some residents to go outside if they would like to.

    He said: "I can’t see why – provided they’ve had their two jabs and they’re not meeting large groups of other people – they can’t have more freedom like the rest of the country."

    Each resident would need to be risk assessed by their home but should be able to go out in a minibus with people they already live with or for a walk, he said, to give them the benefits of fresh air and meeting other people.

  19. Ukraine reports record spike in Covid cases

    Ambulances with Covid-19 patients as they wait in the queue at a hospital for people infected with coronavirus disease in Kyiv, Ukraine March 30, 2021
    Image caption: Ambulances carrying Covid-19 patients have had to queue outside hospitals in the capital, Kyiv

    Ukraine has registered a record increase in Covid-19 infections - more than 20,000 new cases in a day for the first time since the pandemic began.

    Nearly 400 more people died with the virus over 24 hours, health minister Maxim Stepanov said on Saturday. It brings the total number of deaths to more than 34,000.

    Earlier this week, the mayor of the capital, Kyiv, announced the city would go into a full lockdown on Monday for 12 days to try to control the surge. Hospitals there are said to be approaching capacity.

    Ukraine has also struggled to get supplies of vaccines, and there are signs of widespread public scepticism towards the programme. In February, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology found that 60% of Ukrainians did not want a jab.

  20. When can I get a haircut or go shopping?

    Cartoon

    Like many, you may be counting down the days until you can get a haircut, go clothes shopping or sit in a beer garden again.

    In England there are nine days left until you can do all three of those - with a rule change due on 12 April.

    But there are still 44 days until you can sit inside a restaurant for a meal and 79 until you can throw a big party - provided the easing of lockdown remains on schedule.

    The speed restrictions are loosened at is different in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.