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Live Reporting

Edited by Rob Corp and James Clarke

All times stated are UK

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  1. Thanks for joining us

    That's it from us today. We'll be back tomorrow with all the latest coronavirus updates from around the world. Today's live page was edited by Rob Corp and James Clarke and written by Becky Morton, Richard Morris, George Bowden, George Wright and Mal Siret.

  2. What's happened in the UK today?

    People eat outdoors in a restaurant

    It's been a busy bank holiday Monday for coronavirus news in the UK but we're bringing our live coverage to a close now - so here's a summary of the main stories today:

  3. Round-up from around the world

    Health workers test students in India
    Image caption: India reported more than 100,000 cases in a day

    We'll be wrapping up the live page for the day in a few minutes. Here are some of the day's major developments from around the world:

    • India has recorded its highest number yet of coronavirus infections in a single day, with 103,558 confirmed cases
    • Portugal is entering its second phase of rolling back restrictions, with museums, cafe terraces and some schools reopening
    • Police in France have launched an investigation into alleged clandestine fine dining and parties in Paris, revealed in an undercover TV report
    • Iran's reported daily coronavirus cases have reached a four-month high, with 13,890 new cases
    • China says it will for the first time vaccinate an entire local population of about 300,000 people following an outbreak of coronavirus near the border with Myanmar
    • A man in the Philippines who was found breaking quarantine rules has died after being made to do 300 squat-like exercises by police as punishment, his family said.
  4. Watch: PM 'hopeful' international travel can restart from 17 May

    The prime minister touched on plans for the resumption of international travel during his briefing earlier, saying he was "hopeful" it could restart from 17 May.

    But Boris Johnson said the country didn't want to see the virus reimported from abroad and it was important to be "mindful" of the surge taking place in other parts of the world.

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid: PM says International travel from 17 May is 'hopeful'
  5. Vitamin D: The truth about an alleged Covid ‘cover-up’

    Vitamin D

    As Covid-19 swept the world, so did misinformation about how to treat it. But sometimes misinformation can develop even around ideas that have some truth to them - and that can be the most difficult kind to tackle.

    Early or low quality research can be shared out of context online and the confusion this creates can be exploited by people promoting conspiracy theories.

    Our health reporter Rachel Schraer has looked into what is known - and what is not - about the use of Vitamin D in treating Covid.

  6. Alongside the news conference, the documents

    Chris Mason

    Political Correspondent

    There were two documents published this afternoon, alongside the news conference hosted by the Prime Minister.

    The first provides an update on the four reviews that have been under way in government since what ministers call their "roadmap" for England's unlocking was published in February.

    On what we'll get used to calling "covid status certification" there'll be no need to prove anything to go for a pint in England next Monday, nor to do so in the next stage of unlocking currently planned for 17 May.

    But there may be from 21 June: "Covid status certification could potentially play a role in settings such as theatres, nightclubs, and mass events such as festivals," the document says. It adds: "It is possible that Covid status certification could also play a role in reducing social distancing requirements in other settings which people tend to visit more frequently, for example in hospitality settings."

    The second came from the SAGE scientists who advise the government.

    They said the reopening of shops, pub gardens and hairdressers from next week is "highly unlikely to put unsustainable pressure on the NHS".

    But later steps of the Prime Minister's "roadmap" out of lockdown, including indoor mixing, are "highly likely" to lead to a resurgence in hospitalisations and deaths, SPI-M - a subgroup of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) - predict.

    There is a lot of uncertainty, they say, and it is likely any resurgence would be smaller than the peak in January. There was a plausible, though pessimistic, scenario, however, in which opening up society could lead to another peak the size of this winter's.

  7. What's the roadmap for lifting lockdown in England?

    Hairdresser wearing a mask

    The prime minister has confirmed the next stage of lifting the lockdown can go ahead in England from 12 April.

    Changes from that date include:

    • All shops allowed to open
    • Hairdressers, beauty salons and other close-contact services can open
    • Restaurants and pubs allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors
    • Gyms and spas can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres
    • Members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation
    • Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place
    • Funerals be attended by up to 30 people, with 15 at wakes
    • Children will be able to attend any indoor children's activity
    • Care home visitors will increase to two per resident

    You can read more about the plans for easing lockdown across the UK over the coming months here.

  8. Only the immunised will be able to do umrah pilgrimage, Saudi says

    Muslim worshippers pray around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque complex, Islam's holiest shrine, in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca

    The Saudi government has said only people immunised against coronavirus will be allowed to perform the year-round umrah pilgrimage from the start of Ramadan, the holy fasting month for Muslims.

    Three categories of people will be considered "immunised" - those who have received two doses of the vaccine, those administered a single dose at least 14 days prior, and people who have recovered from the infection - according to a statement.

    Only those who fit into those three categories will be able to perform umrah, as well as to attend prayers in the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca.

    Saudi Arabia has reported more than 393,000 infections and 6,700 deaths from the virus.

    The government says it has administered more than five million vaccines, in a country with a population of over 34 million.

  9. Criticism for vaccine passports from senior Tory

    Senior Conservative MP Mark Harper, chairman of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group, has again criticised the government's potential use of vaccine passports.

    He says Parliament must be given approval on whether or not domestic vaccine passports should be introduced.

    "Trying to introduce these domestic vaccine passports by the back door by linking them to removing social distancing rules just won't be acceptable either," he states.

    He warns Covid passports "will lead to a two-tier Britain and these issues need debating thoroughly and carefully before we allow them to affect the lives of our constituents."

  10. Bangkok to close 196 venues as cases rise


    Thailand's capital Bangkok will close 196 entertainment venues for two weeks as the city battles a surge in coronavirus cases.

    The venues will be closed from tomorrow to 19 April.

    They all lie in three districts where some venues have been linked to a new cluster of more than 100 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in recent days, says Aswin Kwanmuang, governor of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

    "We will close entertainment venues in the three districts, while other venues where cases are found will be individually closed," Aswin said, according to the Reuters news agency.

    Thailand has avoided the worst of the pandemic so far, with 29,321 cases and 95 deaths.

  11. Watch: Johnson confirms next step of relaxing lockdown

    Video content

    Video caption: PM: 'From Monday 12 April we will move to step two of road map'

    Speaking a couple of hours ago, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that from next week, two visitors will be allowed to go to care home residents, as well as hairdressers opening, pubs for outdoor drinks, shops, gyms, zoos and holiday campsites.

    He says further relaxation is dependent on avoiding complacency, as sickness continues to affect other countries.

  12. Industry bodies call for more clarity on return of international travel


    The travel industry has broadly welcomed plans for a risk-based traffic light system when international travel restarts from England - but it called for more details on how this would work.

    Destinations will be designated either green, amber or red, with greater restrictions on travel, such as quarantine, for red and amber countries.

    Pre-departure and post-arrival testing will still be required for lower-risk green destinations.

    Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye says it is "disappointing" the opportunity has been missed to "provide more certainty" and calls for a "clearer timetable" for the return of international travel.

    The Airport Operators Association says "potentially costly and onerous testing requirements" for "green" destinations will limit travel options for many people.

    Abta, which represents travel agents and tour operators, says a priority for the industry is "a more stable system which avoids the situation of last summer where travel to many destinations was quickly turned on and off".

    Chief executive Mark Tanzer calls for clarification on how the transition between green, amber and red levels will work.

    But Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, voices his concern more bluntly.

    “Today’s announcement from the Prime Minister is beyond disappointing," he says. "We are leading the way in vaccination and science. This is a cause of huge celebration, but, if we are to re-start our economy, we need to have a clear pathway to international travel and trade. This has once again been kicked down the road.

    "The business travel industry continues to be crippled by today’s lack of movement."

  13. Italy includes UK in five-day quarantine rule

    A passenger looks on at Malpensa Airport in Milan, 3 April 2021
    Image caption: A passenger arrives at Malpensa Airport in Milan

    Italy is extending special measures that allow citizens of EU countries to quarantine for a shorter period of five days to include UK travellers.

    The measure, which reduces the quarantine time from 14 days, will include the UK by Wednesday this week and will last until at least 30 April.

    Austria and Israel are also included in Italy's list of so-called "safe countries", largely as a result of successful vaccination campaigns.

    A negative test result will be required within 72 hours before entering Italy, and again before any departure.

    Italy entered a strict three-day lockdown on Saturday to try to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases over Easter.

    Following the holiday weekend many different regions will remain in either "orange zone" or "red zone" - the highest tier - restrictions until the end of the month.

    Red zone restrictions normally mean all non-essential travel is banned.

  14. Labour responds to government lockdown easing announcement

    Labour MP and shadow health minister Justin Madders tells the BBC News Channel he thinks the announcement today is "positive that it appears to be working so far" and he's "very happy that things appear to be on track".

    But he adds there are some things the UK "could be doing an awful lot better".

    He says Labour "have got concerns" about vaccine passports, as they could have a "major impact on everyone" and individual liberties and freedoms. There are "very significant questions" about whether these are "the right and fair thing to do".

    There are "lots of unanswered questions" about the passports, he adds.

    Madders says he was "a little bit worried" the prime minister did not fully rule out vaccine passports for pubs and shops from 17 May.

    On travel, he says overseas travel is "very difficult" and the situation continues to change "on a daily basis" but he says the industry needs some assurance for the summer.

    He says testing is important to show people when they are ill, but he says Covid support payments, to help those to self-isolate who are on low incomes, are only available to one in eight people. Madders says eligibility needs to be expanded.

  15. Analysis: A cause for cautious optimism

    Nick Triggle

    Health Correspondent

    The further easing of lockdown was expected given the data is perhaps as positive as it possibly could be.

    Hospital admissions and deaths have fallen sharply. Even infection rates – that some warned would start rising quickly with the opening of schools – have continued to drop.

    With the vaccination programme going well, the UK is certainly in a strong position compared with most.

    What’s more, the steps being taken from 12 April are not considered particularly high risk.

    It’s the return of indoor mixing in May that is more of a worry – and then how to allow foreign travel and big events such as live sport and music concerts.

    The prime minister was careful not to make any promises on these.

    Government modelling suggests a resurgence of hospital cases and deaths is still “highly likely” in the future.

    That’s because the vaccine does not work for everyone and not all those in the at-risk groups have come forward for a jab.

    There’s good reason to believe this resurgence will be limited – perhaps no worse than a bad flu season – but it’s the possibility it could be much worse that is causing the concern.

  16. Covid rule-breaker 'dies after exercise punishment'

    Philippines policeman
    Image caption: Parts of the Philippines are under tight controls to stop the spread of Covid

    A Filipino man who was found breaking quarantine rules has died after being made to do 300 squat-like exercises by police as punishment, his family says.

    Darren Manaog Penaredondo was allegedly stopped by officers while buying water after 18:00 local time in Cavite province on Thursday.

    He collapsed the following day and later died.

    Cavite province, on the island of Luzon, is currently under strict lockdown to tackle the spread of Covid.

    Marlo Solero, police chief of General Trias City, says there is no physical punishment for those found violating curfew rules, only lectures from officers. He tells local media that if officers were found to have enforced the punishment, it would not be tolerated.

    A relative of the victim, Adrian Lucena, announced his death on Facebook. He says Mr Penaredondo and others found violating the curfew were told to do 100 squat-like exercises in sync together.

    If they failed to do them at the same time, they would have to repeat the set, he says. The group ended up doing 300 of the exercises.

    Mr Penaredondo came home at 06:00 on Friday morning in pain, his brother says. His live-in partner told local news outlet Rappler that he struggled to move throughout Friday.

    "That whole day, he struggled to walk, he was just crawling. But I did not take that seriously because he said it's just a simple body ache," Reichelyn Balce says.

    The following day he collapsed and stopped breathing. Ms Balce asked the neighbours to help revive him, but he reportedly died not long after.

    Read more here.

  17. Use of vaccine certification apps is far from certain

    Rory Cellan-Jones

    Technology correspondent

    Covid app

    The Prime Minister hasn’t yet said how the vaccine certification system will work. But it seems likely the government will go for an in-house solution of the NHS app, which was launched in early 2019 to give people in England access to their GP services, and is separate to the contact-tracing app.

    As this app can already give users access to their GP records, adding in their vaccination history should be relatively simple. But with the app needing to record a person’s broader Covid status - recent test results for those who’ve not been vaccinated - and the need to make it more user-friendly, both for those showing it and those checking it, there is still plenty of work to be done.

    That means there is a race to have it ready by the time all restrictions could be lifted in England in late June. It may be tested at various events in May, but remember what happened with the Test and Trace app last year when a trial on the Isle of Wight showed up problems which were only resolved with a full rollout in late September.

    Even if the technology works, there will be more headaches for the government - the NHS app only works for people in England, so it will be no use to people in other parts of the UK and those travelling there. Then of course there is the continuing opposition to the whole idea from right across the political spectrum.

    While it looks inevitable that travel overseas will require a vaccine passport, it is far from certain that carrying an app proving your Covid status will become normal behaviour in the UK.

  18. What is the Global Travel Taskforce?

    On 12 April, the government is expected to release information on how international travel is expected to continue while preventing further Covid variants from spreading in the UK.

    No earlier than 17 May, the government is expected to announce when international travel should resume to and from the country.

    The government says the announcement will consider variants abroad, the speed of vaccine roll-outs both here and abroad, as well as the global picture of the virus.

    The taskforce is to be led by the Department for Transport and the prime minister.

  19. Kyiv healthcare system 'very close' to collapse, mayor says


    Moving away from Westminster now - the mayor of Ukraine's capital Kyiv says the city's healthcare system is "very close" to collapsing.

    "Today our hospitals are almost completely full," Mayor Vitali Klitschko told Ukrayina 24 television.

    His comments come as new measures came into force as infections surge across the country.

    The new curbs include primary school closures and travel restrictions. Only essential workers such as doctors are allowed to use public transport.

    The country of 40 million has recorded more than 1.7 million Covid infections and more than 34,000 deaths.

  20. What did we learn from today's briefing?

    Downing Street briefing

    There were lots of announcements in today's Downing Street briefing so here's a quick summary of the main points:

    • The four tests for easing lockdown in England have been met, so step two of the roadmap for relaxing restrictions can go ahead on 12 April
    • This includes the reopening of non-essential shops and allowing pubs and restaurants to serve customers outdoors
    • The prime minister says there is nothing in the current data to suggest England will have to deviate from its roadmap out of lockdown
    • The PM says the government is "hopeful" international travel can go ahead from 17 May and it will aim to give the industry "as much notice as possible". But he says it is important to be "mindful" of the surge taking place in other parts of the world
    • The Global Travel Taskforce will report later this week but an update on its ongoing review published today sets out how the government intends to bring in a risk-based traffic light system for non-essential international travel
    • The government has also set out some of its thinking of the use of Covid status certificates - but the PM says they will not be part of stage two or three of the easing of lockdown.