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Live Reporting

Sophie Williams, George Bowden, George Wright, Joshua Nevett, Jim Todd, Yvette Tan, Andreas Illmer, Saira Asher, Jay Savage, Frances Mao, Owen Amos and Krutika Pathi

All times stated are UK

  1. We're pausing our live coverage

    That's it for our live coverage today. Thanks for joining us. Here is a round-up of some of Friday's biggest stories.

    As always, you can find our best background and analysis here.

  2. A grim new milestone for the US

    By rising above 100,000 confirmed cases (see our post from 21:53), the US outbreak has reached a grim new milestone in the global pandemic.

    Earlier this week, confirmed American cases jumped above that of China, where the outbreak began in December last year.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) said the US had the potential to become the new epicentre of the coronavirus crisis, and that appears to have been realised.

    In recent days, cases have increased exponentially in the US (as the chart by Johns Hopkins University demonstrates below).

    In just short of two weeks, the university's tracker shows that cases have surged from the low thousands (4,600 on 16 March) to a six figure number.

    Most of those cases are in the states of Washington, California and New York.

    On Thursday, US President Donald Trump said the rise in cases was "a tribute to the amount of testing that we're doing".

    You can read our explainer on the accuracy of President Trump's claims about testing.

    A graph showing the rise in coronavirus cases in the US
    Image caption: The number of confirmed cases in the US has risen rapidly in recent days
  3. Trump: Johnson asked for ventilators

    US President Donald Trump says Boris Johnson asked for his help to secure ventilators during a phone call between the two leaders.

    Speaking at the White House as he signed the $2tn coronavirus stimulus package into law, Mr Trump said he spoke with the UK PM on Friday to wish him a speedy recovery after he was diagnosed with coronavirus.

    "Before he even said hello he said, 'we need ventilators,'" Trump said of the call. "I said, 'wow that’s a big statement.' Hopefully he’s going to be in good shape."

    No 10 has yet to respond to Mr Trump's comments.

  4. How do I know if I have coronavirus?

    Just a little reminder: Some of the symptoms of the virus are quite similar to the common cold or flu - but there is a difference. Watch as the BBC's Laura Foster breaks it down for you, and what to do if you're in the UK and think you might have the virus.

    Video content

    Video caption: How do I know if I have coronavirus?
  5. President Trump orders GM under Korean War-era act

    Donald Trump

    As we mentioned earlier (19.25 entry) US President Donald Trump attacked General Motors in a tweet for not producing new ventilators.

    He has now ordered the car giant to make ventilators for coronavirus patients invoking the Korean War-era Defence Production Act.

    The act allows a president to force companies to make products for national defence.

    Donald Trump said that "GM was wasting time" and action was needed to save American lives.

    He had previously said the order was not necessary because companies were voluntarily converting their operations.

    "The virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course," he said.

    Over 100,000 Americans have now been confirmed to have Covid-19.

    Read more here.

  6. Pakistan orders release of 1,200 prisoners

    M Ilyas Khan

    BBC News, Islamabad

    Pakistani courts have ordered the release of more than 1,200 prisoners as they seek to relieve pressure on overcrowded jails during the coronavirus outbreak.

    The Islamabad High Court has ordered officials to screen and release 408 inmates, who are currently awaiting trial for less severe offences.

    They are all currently housed in Rawalpindi’s Adyala Jail, which has an authorised occupancy of 2,174 individuals but is currently housing 5,001.

    Sindh High Court has also ordered the release of 829 on-trial prisoners held in various jails of the province, and set up a committee to make sure no dangerous criminals get released in the process.

    Neighbouring India earlier announced it was planning to release 14,000 prisoners.

  7. Turkey halts international flights

    Orla Guerin

    BBC News, Istanbul

    Turkey will halt all international flights and impose a travel ban on cities to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, its president has said.

    This removes a major global hub – Istanbul airport – from international travel.

    Other measures include restrictions on inter-city travel, which will require permission from a local governor.

    Picnic spots, forests and archaeological sites will be closed on weekends, and no group gatherings will be allowed on weekdays.

    The private sector will move – like the public sector – to a system of flexible working with minimum staff.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the stringent new measures in a special address to the nation on Friday.

    He said they were necessary because the country had "entered a new period where we need to make more sacrifices".

    The death toll from Covid-19 in Turkey has increased by 17 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 92.

    A passenger wears a protective face mask in light of the coronavirus, upon arrival at Istanbul Airport, Turkey
    Image caption: The cancellation of international flights will affect Istanbul airport
  8. BreakingUS coronavirus cases hit 100,000, figures show

    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has surpassed 100,000 in the US, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.

    The US has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country in the world.

  9. Fox presenter fired for claiming coronavirus a 'Democratic ploy'

    Trish Regan

    Conservative outlet Fox Business has fired primetime television programme host Trish Regan after she claimed earlier this month the coronavirus crisis was a Democratic ploy to impeach President Trump.

    Regan's show was suspended after she said the "Coronavirus Impeachment Scam" was intended to create "mass hysteria" and "demonise and destroy the president".

    The network said it wished Regan well in a statement to the Daily Beast on Friday. Regan said she enjoyed her time with Fox and would focus on her family "during these troubled times".

  10. Tunisians self-isolate in factory to make masks

    Rana Jawad

    BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

    Factory workers give peace sign
    Image caption: The factory workers opted to isolate themselves to better guarantee their ability to keep making protective gear

    Employees at a Tunisian factory are churning out 50,000 face masks a day and other protective medical gear after opting to go into lockdown at work.

    The 150 staff have isolated themselves at the Consomed factory for a month.

    There are separate dormitories for 110 women and 40 men - and enough stocks to last a month.

    Employee Khawla Rebhi said she greatly missed her family, but her colleagues' good cheer provided some compensation.

    "My husband and 16-year-old daughter supported and encouraged me to do this," Ms Rebhi, who is in charge of the production line, told the BBC.

    The North African nation, which went into lockdown on Sunday, has 227 confirmed cases of coronavirus and six patients have died in the last week.

    Read more here.

  11. Paris Fashion Week events cancelled

    Kaia Gerber walks the runway during the Givenchy Haute Couture show as part of Paris Fashion Week
    Image caption: Fashion houses are among the businesses struggling due to the pandemic

    Two popular events at Paris Fashion Week have been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, organisers have announced.

    The Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM) said its men's and haute couture shows have been called off for safety and health reasons.

    The shows were scheduled to take place in June and July as part of Paris Fashion Week.

    In a statement, the FHCM said it was "actively working with its members on possible alternatives", without giving further details.

    The big French fashion houses are among the many businesses suffering due to the pandemic.

    Some French design houses, including Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga of the luxury Kering group, are producing surgical face masks.

    View more on twitter
  12. 'Stay safe': Camilla's message for domestic abuse victims

    The Duchess of Cornwall, the wife of Prince Charles, has written a message to domestic abuse victims who may be suffering during the coronavirus outbreak.

    Camilla wrote that while we are all being asked to stay at home to stay safe "for some of you it is even harder because home is not a safe place".

    “I can only imagine that being asked to stay there could feel very isolating and frightening for you and your family. It may mean spending more time with the person who is harming you," she added.

    "If this is your situation, or you are worried about someone else, I want you to know that you are not alone. Even if you cannot leave your home, you can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline or contact one of the domestic violence charities. Please stay safe and get help."

    View more on twitter
  13. What's the latest in Europe?

    Street cleaners in Naples

    Here’s a round-up of the latest news from Europe:

    There are now more than 300,000 cases of coronavirus in Europe, according to Agence France Presse news agency.

    Italy recorded the highest daily coronavirus death toll with 969 fatalities. The country’s President Sergio Mattarella urged Europe to adopt new measures to confront the virus.

    “I hope everyone fully understands the seriousness of the threat faced by Europe before it is too late,” he said in a televised address to the nation.

    France recorded 299 coronavirus related deaths in a day taking its total to 1,995. The government has extended the country’s lockdown which is now scheduled to end on 15 April at the earliest.

    On Friday evening, the Eiffel Tower was lit up to thank medical workers.

    Eiffel Tower with the word Merci

    Spain has recorded more coronavirus deaths than any other country except Italy. The death toll increased overnight by 769 to 4,858. Earlier on Friday, the country’s government approved measures to prevent employers from using the coronavirus outbreak as an excuse to fire staff.

    Belgium has extended its lockdown until the end of the Easter holiday break. The country has lost 289 people from Covid-19.

    And everyone in the Republic of Ireland has been told to stay in their homes for the next two weeks.

    From midnight until Easter Sunday people will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential jobs which cannot be done from home, food shopping, social care for family, for farming purposes or for exercise less than 2km (1.2 miles) from their home.

    All public gatherings are banned and those over the age of 70 must "cocoon" in their homes.

  14. More Canadians have died from Covid-19 than Sars

    More Canadians have died from coronavirus than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), federal and provincial authorities said on Friday.

    More than 4,600 people have now been diagnosed with coronavirus across the country, and 54 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

    Sars killed 44 Canadians in 2003, according to government data. Like coronavirus, Sars began in China in 2002 but spread around the world, infecting about 8,000 people.

    It found a foothold in Canada, with Toronto its epicentre. Public health authorities quarantined more than 27,000 people in the city, hospitals stopped all non-essential services and the city's bustling Chinatown became a ghost town.

    The disease also devastated the local economy, which prompted the Rolling Stones to put on a charity concert attended by about 500,000 people.

    Nurse at a suburban Sars clinic in Toronto, 2003
    Image caption: By 2003, Toronto was the epicentre of the Sars outbreak in North America
  15. Trump signs historic spending bill

    President Donald Trump has signed into law the largest spending bill in US history.

    The $2tn (£1.7tn) package is designed to lessen the economic impact of the coronavirus.

    Congress passed the legislation earlier today.

    Here's what it does:

    • Every American earning less than $75,000 (£60,200) annually will soon receive a $1,200 (£960) cheque from the government; parents will receive $500 (£400) per child
    • State governments will also receive financial support
    • The unemployment benefit programme will see more funding
    • Jobless benefits will cover some normally exempt individuals, like freelancers and gig-economy workers
    • Companies suffering from the lockdown measures will also receive loans and tax breaks
    View more on twitter
  16. As the world watches, Italy's progress is slow and uneven

    Mark Lowen

    BBC News, Rome

    Italy on lockdown

    Every day is a struggle for Italians to take in the scale of this tragedy. It’s like the country is losing the population of a village day after day.

    There have been 541 deaths just in the region of Lombardy in the past 24 hours. It’s staggering.

    Although it is hard to see light at the end of the tunnel, there are grounds for it: the new infection rate is declining and the curve is flattening.

    But more than two weeks into the nationwide lockdown, progress is slow and uneven. And the awful news keeps coming: 46 doctors have now died since the outbreak began. What is clear is that the containment measures will have to be extended – possibly for months, says the national health council.

    That will cause anxiety not just here, where the lockdown is crushing the Italian economy, but around the world, where Italy’s restrictions are a model for many other countries.

    Italy is a week or two ahead of most of Europe – both in the progression of the virus and in the lockdown. So what happens here will be closely watched elsewhere.

  17. UK cyclists warned to follow guidelines or 'lose privilege'

    Cyclists in the UK have been warned not to continue riding in groups this weekend - or face having the right to get on their bikes taken away from them.

    Pictures showed people across parts of the UK, including many cyclists, visiting parks and open spaces in large numbers last weekend.

    "People on bikes were not the only culprits in last weekend's mass dash to the outdoors but, despite strong guidance from ourselves and others, too many chose to ignore the prime minister's instructions on social distancing, continuing to ride in groups and meet in cafes for a mid-ride chat," says British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington.

    "This isn't just irresponsible, it is putting people's lives at risk.

    "A repeat of that this weekend risks further Government measures to take away the privilege of riding a bike for all of us and now more than ever, it is not one we can afford to lose."

    A cyclist passes by as the sun sets on Liverpool Pier Head in Liverpool, north-west England on March 26, 2020
  18. Thousands of Ukrainians queue at Polish border

    Adam Easton

    Warsaw Correspondent

    People queue to cross to Ukraine following planned border closing
    Image caption: Ukraine is to shut its borders from midnight on Friday

    Thousands of home-bound Ukrainians have been queuing for hours at Polish border crossings before they are shut to pedestrians due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Poland’s state news agency, quoting the Polish Border Guard, said more than 3,000 Ukrainian citizens, who do not have their own transport, were waiting at the crossing in Korczowa, in south-east Poland, on Friday afternoon.

    On Thursday, 4,000 Ukrainians left Poland, according to the Polish Border Guard.

    Many work in Poland in the service industry, which has been largely closed down because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

    But it appears Ukraine’s decision to close its borders from midnight on Friday has contributed to the exodus.

    Poland closed its own borders to foreign nationals on 15 March and returning Polish citizens have subsequently had to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days.

    People queue to cross to Ukraine following planned border closing
    Image caption: Only three border crossings between Poland and Ukraine remain open
  19. Trump back pedals but sees ratings climb

    Donald Trump

    US President Donald Trump attacked the General Motors company on Friday for not producing new ventilators, demanding they “start making ventilators now” in a tweet.

    “They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, ‘very quickly’ Now they are saying it will only be 6,000, in late April, and they want top dollar,” the president tweeted, suggesting he would invoke the Defense Production Act, which allows the federal government to direct industries.

    It marks a possible reversal in the president's plan.

    In recent briefings, Trump has said he could use the Act to order private companies to create much needed medical supplies, but has held off on doing so. On Thursday, he suggested New York - the epicentre of the crisis in the US - was exaggerating a need for ventilators.

    But Trump’s actions appear to be pleasing many Americans as the president’s latest approval numbers are his best yet.

    According to a Washington Post poll this week, 48% approve of the president’s work and 46% disapprove, which are the highest approval and lowest disapproval ratings of his term.

    View more on twitter
  20. Thousands of jobs at risk as Carluccio's faces collapse


    In the UK, Italian restaurant chain Carluccio's is facing collapse, after warning it was facing permanent branch closures due to the coronavirus.

    It is currently working with administrators in a move that could threaten more than 2,000 jobs.

    Before the outbreak it was hit by the crunch in the casual dining sector and recently urged the state to step in.

    Administrator FRP said it was working with Carluccio's to "consider all options" for the chain's future.

    Read more here.