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Live Reporting

Ali Gordon, Chris Andrews and Ciara Colhoun

All times stated are UK

  1. Saturday's developments in Northern Ireland

    That's all from us on the live page for this evening.

    These were the day's main developments:

    • A further 16 people died in Northern Ireland, according to the department of health
    • The total, mostly including hospital deaths, stands at 294
    • The UK death toll is now above 20,000
    • The Republic of Ireland has recorded 1,063 deaths, an increase of 52
    • Some cemeteries have reopened in Northern Ireland
    • Updated guidelines allow for some travel to places for exercise
    • The PSNI say they've issued 358 fines for lockdown breaches since 30 March

    And with that we say goodnight.

  2. Some sunny pics to cheer us up

    A photographer from the news agency Reuters took these pics around the Ards peninusula today.

    People play with a dog at Strangford Lough near Newtownards
    Portavogie Harbour
    Cyclist at Strangford Lough
  3. Belgium announce dates to ease lockdown

    Belgium, which has the highest rate of Covid-19-related deaths per capita in Europe, has announced measures to ease its lockdown from next month.

    The government's plan is for all shops to be allowed to reopen from 11 May.

    Schools will reopen the following week, with a cap on numbers in each class.


    Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès cautions that "nothing is set in stone".

    Over 6,900 deaths have been recorded in the nation of 11.4 million.

    More than half of the deaths have been in care homes.

    Read more.

  4. Coronavirus scams cost public £2.4m

    Home Secretary Priti Patel says online scams about Covid-19 have cost the public an estimated £2.4m.

    She told a briefing at Downing Street that "sophisticated criminals" have tried to exploit the situation, with some selling fraudulent protective equipment and coronavirus testing kits.

    Priti Patel

    The Home Secretary says, however, that car crime, burglaries and shoplifting offences have fallen in recent weeks.

  5. Another 52 people die in the Republic of Ireland with Covid-19

    The number of people who have died in the Republic of Ireland with Covid-19 has risen by 52, according to the department of health in Dublin.

    It brings the total number of deaths there to 1,063.

  6. 'Clapping is not enough'

    The head of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says firefighters, NHS workers and police officers should receive better pay and treatment after they "see us through" the coronavirus crisis.

    General Secretary Matt Wrack says many of the FBU's members are working at testing centres, delivering health supplies and transporting bodies.


    The now-weekly applause for NHS and other key workers is "great", he says, but "clapping is not enough".

    "What are we going to do as a society to redress the balance a bit and give recognition?" he adds.

    Read more.

  7. BreakingPost update

    Another 16 people have died after being diagnosed with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, according to the Department of Health here. The figures cover mainly hospital deaths.

    That brings the death toll in Northern Ireland to 294.

  8. UK reports more than 800 Covid-19 related deaths

    Another 813 people have died with coronavirus in the UK, according to the Department of Health in London.

    The latest figures show a total of 20,319 deaths in the UK.

    Patient on ventilator
  9. UK death toll passes 20,000

    The number of people who have died after being diagnosed with Covid-19 in the UK has now passed 20,000 - the fifth country to pass that milestone.

  10. Hancock takes part in blood plasma trial

    UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has shared a photo of himself taking part in a clinical trial to establish if plasma from the blood of recovered coronavirus patients could help treat others fighting the illness.

    Mr Hancock, who recovered after testing positive in late March, tweeted: “This hugely important clinical trial will help our NHS treat #coronavirus patients using plasma.”

    As for vaccines to prevent illness, the first human trial in Europe started in Oxford on Thursday. Another team at Imperial College London hopes to begin human trials of its vaccine in June.

    The Oxford University and Imperial teams have received more than £40m of government funding.

    View more on twitter
  11. 'Several weeks for virus to fizzle out'

    An infectious diseases consultant based in Dublin says if the Irish government reduced its restrictions at this point then Covid-19 will return.

    Several weeks are needed, Professor Sam McConkey told RTÉ Radio 1, for the virus to "fizzle out".


    Prof McConkey warns that Singapore saw a resurgence in cases of Covid-19 after relaxing its lockdown measures.

    It comes as the country's chief medical officer says there is a growing sense of concern about compliance with the strict travel restrictions and social-distancing measures that have been in place since 27 March.

    Dr Tony Holohan said compliance over the next 10 days was critical to the control of the coronavirus.

    RTÉ is reporting that the Prom in Salthill, County Galway, is packed with walkers, swimmers and cyclists on Saturday afternoon.

  12. PSNI chief constable on the Covid-19 front line

    The chief constable has been on patrol with police in Magherafelt, County Londonderry.

    Simon Byrne tweeted that the vast majority of people were adhering to the lockdown restrictions.

    View more on twitter
  13. Tests booked out within an hour

    It's emerged that Covid-19 tests made available for key workers through a government website were booked up within an hour of it opening, apart from some in Scotland.

    Some 16,000 tests were booked, with 46,000 people trying to access the site on Friday.


    The tests are available to essential workers who are showing symptoms - or family members if someone in the household shows symptoms.

    Key workers in Wales and Northern Ireland cannot currently book tests online. Both nations appear as options on the government's booking system but with a label saying no slots are available.

    Read more.

  14. 'Social distancing remains as important as ever'

    Gardai are reminding people in the Republic of Ireland to continue following guidelines which remain in place until 5 May.

    View more on twitter
  15. 'No evidence of immunity'

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) says there's "no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection".

    Developing an antibody test is a key part of the government's strategy for getting people back to work and easing restrictions as it is believed to reveal who has previously been infected for the body to build up defences against it.


    The WHO has warned against issuing so-called immunity passports.

    "People who assume that they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore public health advice," it said in its latest briefing.

    The WHO says it will update its guidance "as new evidence becomes available".

  16. Cemeteries in NI start to reopen after lockdown restrictions lifted


    Cemeteries are to reopen in Northern Ireland on a controlled basis, with many opening their gates today.

    Graveyards were closed in March when coronavirus lockdown measures were announced.

    Ards and North Down Borough Council said on Facebook that it appreciated "how much our residents have missed visiting loved ones and we thank you for your patience".

    First Minister Arlene Foster said it is "about balancing public health concerns with the basic human need for people to visit their loved ones".

    Cemeteries in Northern Ireland are operated by each of the 11 local councils.

    The issue was discussed by the Stormont Executive on Friday and legislation was officially changed on Friday night.

  17. Step into spring on your daily walk through QUB

    Queen's University Belfast has tweeted a lovely snap of a cherry blossom tree in full bloom.

    The university is encouraging people to share shots of the campus while they are out stretching their lockdown legs.

    View more on twitter
  18. 'I've never been as sick'

    Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald was on RTÉ's Late Late Show last night, giving more details about her personal experience of coronavirus.

    She told the show's host Ryan Tubridy: "I have never been as sick as I was, every part of me hurt, it hurt to open my eyes, my eye sockets ached."

    She said she felt very lucky because she was conscious of other people "who were a lot sicker than me in hospitals and ventilators".

    "I now fully understand what a frightening prospect this virus is for an older person or anyone with a serious underlying condition," she said.

    Mary Lou McDonald

    Ms McDonald said she suffered from asthma herself. "I don't have great lungs."

    Her husband fell sick a few days after she did and was diagnosed positive for coronavirus.

    "It did not floor him as badly as me. Our children have all been fine, thankfully."