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Live Reporting

By Jack Skelton, Sarah Collerton, Sophie Williams, Victoria Bisset, George Wright, Jennifer Scott, Paul Seddon, George Bowden and Tom Spender

All times stated are UK

  1. Our live coverage is pausing

    people make masks
    Image caption: US firms are scrambling to make more masks and other personal protective equipment

    Thank you for following the day's events with us - our live coverage will now pause.

    Here's a recap of the day's main developments:

    • In the past hour, the US has become the country with the biggest number of confirmed cases of the virus in the world. It now has 82,404 cases, ahead of China on 81,782
    • Globally the number of confirmed cases has passed 500,000
    • Several European countries have posted heavy death tolls - in Italy there were 712 deaths in the past 24 hours, in Spain 655 and in France 365, including a 16-year-old girl in the Paris region
    • The UK recorded more than 100 deaths within a day for the first time. The death toll has risen to 587
    • A record number of Americans have filed for unemployment - nearly 3.3 million people registered to claim jobless benefits for the week ended 21 March
    • British Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled aid for self-employed people, who will be able to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits.
    • British people - including the Queen and other members of the Royal Family - have applauded health workers caring for those suffering from the coronavirus

    You can keep up to date with all the latest developments on this story on the BBC website.

  2. Trump: Naval hospital ship to reach New York by Monday

    USNS Comfort

    The naval hospital ship USNS Comfort will leave Virginia on Saturday, reaching New York Harbour on Monday, three weeks ahead of schedule, President Trump said at his daily press briefing.

    The ship will help lighten the load for New York’s hospitals - now overwhelmed by the coronavirus outbreak.

    The state is the centre of the US crisis, home to at least 37,258 Covid-19 infections and 385 deaths.

    Trump will travel to Virginia to “kiss it goodbye,” he said.

    “It’s an extraordinary step,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said last week of the ship. “It’s literally a floating hospital.”

    The president also repeated his calls for Americans to return to work as soon as possible.

    “We have to get back to work, our people want to work,” he said. “This is the United States of America, they don’t want to sit around and wait.”

  3. Alcohol is 'unhelpful coping strategy'

    A cold beer or glass of red wine might seem exactly what you want right now if you have been ordered to stay at home, but experts have warned alcohol is an "unhelpful coping strategy".

    Experts from the European arm of the World Health Organization (WHO) say it is "natural" to feel anxious or lonely because of coronavirus restrictions but that substances like alcohol "will not help to manage the stress of self-isolation".

    The recommendation comes a day after off-licences were added to the UK government's list of retailers allowed to stay open.

    Dr Aiysha Malik, technical officer for the WHO department of mental health, says: "When we’re staying at home routines are very important for creating a sense of structure.

    "Minimising the unhelpful coping strategies of using tobacco or alcohol can also be important for wellbeing and minimising content you might find distressing in the news."

    Glass of beer
  4. I am in the UK. Can I get tested?

    Health care professionals test for COVID-19 at a testing site in Jericho, New York

    For most people, the answer is no. At the moment, only patients in hospital with flu-like symptoms are being routinely tested for the virus.

    The government's priority is to increase the number of people being tested to see if they currently have the disease. The test being used is known as a PCR test. A swab from your throat or nose has to be taken and tested in the lab.

    But scientists are also looking at tests which can check whether someone has had the disease in the past. These look for markers of immunity called antibodies in the blood.

    They are faster than PCR tests, using a drop of blood on a device a bit like a pregnancy test. However, it could be a while before they are available.

    Our health reporter Rachel Schraer answers some other frequently asked questions about tests.

  5. 'I'm stuck in isolation with my homophobic parents'

    With the UK on coronavirus lockdown, some young people have been forced to isolate alongside parents who don't accept their sexuality.

    After the coronavirus outbreak suddenly ended a UK tour he was performing in, Sam, 23, a dancer, from Birmingham, says he had "no choice" but to move back to his "strict" Christian family home.

    "I saw the career I love disappear overnight, and now I'm stuck in isolation with homophobes."

    Even though Sam chose to return home, he says he is "struggling" because he can't be himself.

    "My mum says that homosexuality is an evil disease and that the devil is making me gay. She loudly prays every day that I'll be delivered from sin and find a wife.

    "I genuinely have nowhere else to go during this mad time, so I'm just putting up with the abuse."Click here for more from our LGBT correspondent Ben Hunte on people living in lockdown with homophobic parents.

  6. UK donates £210m towards vaccine research

    The UK government has announced an extra £210m in funding for international researchers working to find a coronavirus vaccine.

    The latest donation, announced following a call between G20 leaders earlier, is on top of £40m already pledged by the UK.

    It will go towards research done by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, headquartered in Norway.

    The foundation recently called on governments to provide an extra $2bn (£1.64bn) to help it develop a vaccine.

  7. Indy 500 and other sporting events moved or cancelled

    The Indy 500 - one of the biggest motorsport races in the world - has become the latest major sporting event to be postponed.

    The American race will now take place on 23 August instead of 24 May because of the coronavirus.

    Several other sports competitions have been moved or cancelled today.

    • Motorcycling’s Ulster Grand Prix, which has been struggling for money, was due to take place in November but has now been cancelled after the current crisis made finding a solution impossible
    • June’s World Para Athletics European Championships in Poland have been postponed with no new date set
    • The football season in England from the seventh tier downwards has been cancelled, with all results expunged and no teams promoted or relegated
  8. English teacher gains online following

    Millions of parents are trying to school their children at home and an English teacher has amassed thousands of followers worldwide after just three online lessons.

    Holly King-Mand from Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire is providing her daily English Live sessions on Facebook.

    She had 74 followers last week and that number has risen to more than 18,000.

    "It's quite overwhelming," she said. "I guess I just posted in the right place at the right time."

    Holly King-Mand
  9. 600,000 sign up to well-being course

    As parts of the world adjust to self-isolation and lockdown, more than 600,000 people have signed up in March alone for a free online course from Yale University designed to help live a more fulfilling life.

    The Science of Well Being, which was taught in classrooms at the US university in 2018, is now the most popular course in Yale's 319-year history.

    It is "designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits" as well as "revealing misconceptions about happiness and annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do".

    More than 1.1 million people are enrolled on the course in total.

  10. A glimmer of hope here in the UK?

    Nick Triggle

    Health Correspondent

    Is it all doom and gloom?

    It was just a brief moment in the daily press briefing, but England's deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries did offer some positive news. She said the coronavirus outbreak was “starting to move in the right direction”.

    Other countries which have been on a steep curve have seen the number of new cases rise by a third every day. But the UK trajectory is nowhere near that steep.

    Five days ago 1,000 new cases were reported. Today 2,000 were. That may seem alarming, but if we had been on a steep upwards path today’s figures would have been twice as high.

    It suggests some of the early social distancing measures taken before the lockdown have maybe started to have an impact. We should be cautious. It is only a few days worth of data - and Dr Harries was clear we must not take “our foot off the pedal“.

    But with all the bad news around, the words offer a glimmer of hope to an anxious nation.

  11. US record due to testing, says Trump

    Johns Hopkins coronavirus stats

    As we reported earlier, there are now more confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the US than in any other country in the world.

    At 82,404 cases, it has overtaken both China with 81,782 cases and Italy with 80,589 cases, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

    Asked at a press conference if he was surprised America had overtaken China, US President Donald Trump said "it’s a tribute to the amount of testing that we’re doing".

    The president also suggested that China’s numbers were higher than was being reported.

  12. 'Millions could die if governments fail to act'

    David Shukman

    Science editor, BBC News

    From the team that’s been assessing the risks to the UK comes a study of the global impact of the pandemic, and it makes grim reading.

    The scientists conclude that only with the most draconian and rapid action can a death toll running into many millions be avoided. Around the world as many as 30 million lives could be saved if governments take quick action, a study by scientists at Imperial College London says.

    In the least developed countries, with large households including older people more at risk from infection, the effects may be devastating. In the worst scenarios, where healthcare systems are weak, the numbers needing intensive care may be 25 times greater than what can be provided.

    The work is based on computer simulations, known as models. The scientists are careful to say they’re not offering exact predictions but instead a broad perspective of the dangers for governments of not responding quickly.

  13. ‘Cases doubling every day in New York’

    Craig Spencer, the director of global health in emergency medicine at New York Medical Center, has been speaking to the BBC of fears that hospitals in New York are already very close to being overwhelmed.

    The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, had compared the speed of the spread to "a bullet train" but has since said there are signs the spread may be slowing.

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: ‘Hospitals in New York are already reaching capacity’
  14. BreakingUS tops world with confirmed cases

    The US has become the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, which says it now has overtaken China with 82,404 confirmed cases.

  15. Watch: Young royals' touching NHS tribute

    Earlier we shared the Queen Elizabeth II's message of thanks for the UK's frontline health and care workers.

    And the Queen's great grandchildren have also shown their support for the National Health Service (NHS) and emergency staff in a touching tribute on Instagram.

    Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis are seen clapping in a video recorded sometime before the nation celebrated key workers at 20:00 GMT.

    "To all the doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists, volunteers and other NHS staff working tirelessly to help those affected by Covid-19: thank you," the caption reads.

    View more on instagram
  16. UK lockdown: Before and after

    Stuck at home and wondering what it looks like outside? Well, very quiet.

    Here's Buckingham Palace just a couple of weeks ago...

    Buckingham Palace on 13 March

    And this week...

    Buckingham Palace on 24 March

    See more images from around the UK before and after lockdown here.

  17. UK's NHS partners with US tech giants

    Nurse

    Our technology desk editor Leo Kelion reports how the UK's National Health Service (NHS) is working with three US technology firms to co-ordinate medical equipment during the coronavirus outbreak.

    The NHS will partner with Amazon, Microsoft and Palantir - as well as UK-based Faculty AI - to develop a "dashboard" to bring together data including where ventilators are being used and how long patients with Covid-19 are spending in hospital.

    The scheme hopes to flag emerging hotspots and that a version of the dashboard could be released to the public.

    Read more here.

  18. Dow rises despite job losses

    Natalie Sherman

    New York business reporter

    nyse

    Top US indexes just notched their third day in a row of gains with the Dow and S&P 500 up more than 6% - despite the fact that the number of Americans filing for unemployment skyrocketed to a record 3.28 million.

    The stock market, which had seen trillions in value wiped out in recent weeks as the coronavirus reset investor expectations, is famously forward looking, so does that mean things could be on the upswing?

    Some of the rally is due to the more than $2tn relief package set to clear the US Congress, which includes aid for households and companies.

    But share prices have gyrated wildly in recent weeks, and analysts warn that the economic shock from the near overnight elimination of incomes is unprecedented.

  19. Americans see virus as ‘major threat’

    A State of Michigan Unemployment Agency office in Detroit
    Image caption: A State of Michigan Unemployment Agency office in Detroit

    As the coronavirus outbreak continues to pummel the US, nearly nine in 10 Americans - 88% - say the virus is a major threat to the health of the US economy, while 66% see it as a major threat to the health of the US population as a whole, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

    The number of Americans filing for unemployment has surged to a record high as the economy goes into shutdown.

    Minority groups have been hardest hit by the punishing economic trends, according to the report.

    Almost half of Hispanics - 49% - say that someone in their household has lost their job or taken a pay cut as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Among young adults - aged 18 to 29 - 46% say the same.