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Live Reporting

Edited by Kevin Ponniah

All times stated are UK

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  1. A pause in our live coverage

    View of Luxembourg Park in Paris, France

    We're going to pause our live coverage now - thank you for joining us today. We'll be back from Sunday morning UK time but, as always, we'll continue to bring you any major developments on the BBC News website. We hope you are keeping safe and well, wherever you are.

    Here's what happened today.

    • UK deaths linked to the virus rose by 621 to 28,131, but the death rate is slowing
    • The UK government pledged to spend £76m ($95m) to support the country's most vulnerable people. The new funding is intended to help vulnerable children and victims of domestic violence and modern slavery
    • More than 65,000 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in the US, according to the Johns Hopkins University, but experts fear the real figure could be much higher
    • Around half of US states have started relaxing lockdown measures but the governor of New York said such a move would be premature in his state, the worst-hit in the country
    • People took to the streets in Spain to walk, jog and cycle after restrictions on outdoor exercise were eased. Face masks will be compulsory on public transport from Monday
    • Both France and Italy recorded fewer than 200 deaths in a 24-hour period - they are among the worst-affected countries in Europe but hope is rising as the daily death tolls fall
    • Conspiracy theorist David Icke was banned by YouTube for posting misleading videos on the coronavirus

    You've been kept up-to-date today by:

    Jim Todd, Deirdre Finnerty, David Walker, Kathryn Snowdon, Kevin Ponniah, George Wright, Kelly-Leigh Cooper, Shamaan Freeman-Powell, Saj Chowdhury, Ben Collins, Neil Johnston and Paul Gribben

  2. Madagascar ships unproven Covid-19 herbal tea cure

    Covid-Organics
    Image caption: Equatorial Guinea has also received the tea

    A batch of herbal tea has been dispatched from Madagascar, off the coast of East Africa, all the way to Guinea-Bissau in West Africa after the Madagascan president touted it as a powerful remedy against Covid-19. (There is no scientific evidence for the claim.)

    The drink, which has been coined Covid-Organics, is derived from artemisia - a plant with proven use in malaria treatment - and other indigenous herbs.

    Equatorial Guinea has also received a batch of the tea after Madagascan leader Andry Rajoelina promoted it as a potential treatment.

    The World Health Organization says its effects have not been tested.

    In Madagascar itself, the national medical academy has also cast doubt on the product.

    It said it had the potential to damage people's health as its "scientific evidence had not been established".

  3. Conspiracist David Icke's channel deleted by YouTube

    David Icke has now had his official pages deleted by YouTube and Facebook

    English conspiracy theorist David Icke has had his official channel deleted from YouTube after violating its policies by posting misleading information about the coronavirus pandemic.

    "YouTube has clear policies prohibiting any content that disputes the existence and transmission of Covid-19 as described by the WHO and the NHS," a spokeswoman told the BBC.

    The Google-owned video service acted after Facebook decided to take down Mr Icke's official page.

    His YouTube channel had more than 900,000 subscribers at the time it was removed. The last clip Mr Icke posted - about his Facebook ban - had about 120,000 views.

  4. NY governor holds firm on keeping state closed

    Protester in New York
    Image caption: Some are demanding New York ease lockdown measures

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has pushed back against demands to re-open his state, saying he needs more information about the spread of the virus.

    Around half of states in the US have now partially eased lockdown restrictions but Mr Cuomo said a lot more information was needed before opening up his state, which is the hardest hit in the country.

    "Even when you are in uncharted waters, it doesn't mean youproceed blindly," Mr Cuomo said.

    "Use information to determine action - not emotions, not politics, not what people think or feel, but what we know in terms of facts."

    He also released the preliminary results of a survey which tested 15,000 people across the state for antibodies to see if they had previously had the virus. The results showed that 12.3% had been infected.

    A previous test with a smaller cohort suggested that one in five New York City residents had contracted it.

  5. Backyard training for young footballers

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Nottingham Forest girls continue training at home

    The UK's lockdown has meant sports teams have had to come up with some creative ways to train and keep players fit while respecting rules on social distancing.

    Members of a Nottingham Forest girls team are using trampolines and even their pets to maintain their fitness in their back gardens.

    "My favourite drills are running drills and shooting drills but I've got to be really careful because my dad's got a greenhouse," says 12-year-old Sophie.

  6. How are UK deaths being counted?

    Rachel Schraer

    BBC Health Reporter

    Graph outlining number of UK deaths up until 1 May

    The death toll figures have become a sad daily ritual and on Wednesday the number jumped – not because there was a sudden increase in deaths but because for the first time the official daily figures included deaths outside of hospitals.

    Although we had been getting a separate publication from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) once a week looking at coronavirus deaths outside of hospitals, in places like care homes, these were not included in the headline figure.

    Now the daily total (today's was 621) tells you about the deaths of anyone who tested positive for coronavirus. So this is a larger group than just deaths in hospitals, but still doesn’t include all deaths in the community settings because not everyone who dies of coronavirus will have had a test.

    As testing is expanded to more and more people, the death figures should get closer to the true reality.

  7. Letters of love to friends and strangers

    Helier Cheung

    BBC News, Washington DC

    These can be lonely times - especially if you're separated from your family.

    Alienor Duron, 22, started the project 1lettre1sourire (one letter one smile) encouraging people to write to isolated people in retirement homes in France, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

    "A letter is something you can touch, keep and read again, and put on your wall or bedside table - not like an email that's going to be deleted after a while," she says.

    Handwritten notes in Chinese that say "we love you and are thinking of you", on top of food boxes
    Image caption: Handwritten notes in Chinese that say "we love you and are thinking of you"

    Meanwhile, in New York, volunteer movement Heart of Dinner is providing boxes of hot food, along with handwritten notes that say "we love you and are thinking of you" to elderly Asian-Americans in care homes.

    Founders Yin Chang and Moonlynn Tsai say they came up with the idea after they experienced racism and saw other Asian-Americans being harassed.

    "A lot of the seniors in Chinatown are immigrants - many are unable to communicate in English. We want them to know they're still a part of the community," says Chang.

    You can read more about ways people are helping others during the pandemic here.

  8. The context behind the UK hitting its testing target

    Member of the public at a drive-through test centre at the SSE Arena in Belfast

    At the UK daily briefing on Saturday, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that 105,937 tests were "carried out’" on Friday - surpassing a self-imposed government target of 100,000 tests a day.

    However, the Department for Health and Social Care told the BBC that this figure also includes home testing kits sent out, so the government has for a second day only reached the target using that metric.

    Testing totals now include home-testing kits sent out to individuals as well as satellite kits - which are batches of tests sent out to care homes and other settings. They are counted when they are dispatched, rather than when they are used and processed.

    A week ago these home-testing kits made little difference to the overall figure as only a few thousand a day were being sent out, but they now seem to account for about a third overall.

    Read more:

  9. Images of life during a pandemic

    The coronavirus has upended life for billions around the globe - and people have reacted in many different ways.

    Here's a selection of some powerful news photographs taken this week amid the pandemic.

    A pedestrian looks at assorted signs thanking the NHS mounted on a street corner
    Image caption: A display of signs thanking NHS staff and other key workers put up by local artist Peter Liversidge in east London
    A man holds a temperature gun to another man's head at a building site
    Image caption: A health worker uses an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of a labourer on a construction site in Ahmedabad, India
    Gloria, wearing a mask, spreads her arms out wide in her living room
    Image caption: In New York, Gloria, 75, shows how big a hug she would give Father Pedro Gonzalez as a "thank you" for the help she is getting through deliveries from his church volunteer group
    In Nablus in the West Bank, a man beats a drum to wake Muslims to have their pre-dawn meal
    Image caption: In Nablus in the West Bank, a man beats a drum to wake Muslims to have their pre-dawn meal during the holy fasting month of Ramadan
    Captain Tom's birthday cards fill an entire school hall
    Image caption: World War Two veteran Captain Tom Moore celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday, after raising millions of pounds for the NHS, by walking laps in his back garden in Bedfordshire. Here, his grandson Benjie looks at more than 120,000 birthday cards from around the world
  10. Blood pressure drugs 'do not increase risk' of catching virus

    Medication widely prescribed to treat high blood pressure does not make patients more susceptible to coronavirus infection, three major studies have found.

    The research primarily focused on angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs).

    The findings are good news for millions of people who take the drugs. Rumours have been circulating that the medication could increase the risk of Covid-19 infection.

    "We saw no difference in the likelihood of a positive test with ACE inhibitors and with angiotensin receptor blockers," Harmony Reynolds of New York University's Grossman School of Medicine, who led a study involving about 12,600 people, told the AFP news agency.

    In the UK, the NHS advises that people keep taking blood pressure medicines as usual.

  11. Czech Republic envisages safe travel zone

    Rob Cameron

    BBC Prague Correspondent

    The Czech Republic's ban on free movement, imposed to curb coronavirus, has been lifted

    Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek has laid out in a blog post how heintends to allow Czechs to travel again without restrictions.

    From July, he would like the borders to be fully opened to fourneighbouring countries: Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.

    He also envisages unrestricted travel in July to countries that have dealt with the pandemic well.

    The Czech Republic's ban on free movement, imposed to curb coronavirus, was lifted last month.

    At present Czechs are in theory free to travel to any country in the world - if they can get there. But they must present either a recent negative Covid-19 certificate or do 14 days of quarantine on their return.

    Even so, the foreign ministry is still advising against all but essential travel.

  12. Will having the virus make me immune?

    Rachel Schraer

    BBC Health Reporter

    A paramedic takes a blood sample of a man for a COVID-19 antibodies test in Valencia, Spain
    Image caption: Testing for antibodies has already started around the world, but it is not yet known whether having the virus guarantees immunity.

    During the UK government's daily news briefing earlier, a member of the public asked about what we know when it comes to immunity from the virus.

    At the moment, the World Health Organization (WHO) says there isn’t yet good evidence that suggests having the virus once protects you from getting it again.

    When the WHO say "no good evidence", they mean this hasn’t been properly studied yet.

    We’d expect that having the illness would grant you some immunity, at least for a period of time. But the question is how much and for how long? Will a mild case now protect you if you’re exposed to a bigger dose of the virus later?

    Lots of people are in the process of trying to answer these questions.

    Countries including South Korea, Germany, Italy and the UK are beginning to test samples of their populations for antibodies.

    This could provide more information about whether (and for how long) the disease gives immunity to those who have recovered.

  13. New French virus deaths drop to 166

    We brought you the news earlier that Italy recorded just 192 deaths in the past 24 hours - the lowest daily rise since 14 March.

    France has now reported similarly low figures. The national death toll in hospital and care homes has increased by 166, to a total of 24,760. It's a significant drop from the 218 deaths recorded on Friday.

    There are still close to 26,000 people in hospital with Covid-19 in France but that figure has been going down for more than two weeks.

    Earlier today, France extended a health emergency by two months, allowing the government to prolong anti-virus measures. The country plans to ease its lockdown from 11 May.

  14. Reality Check

    Park visits have almost returned to pre-lockdown levels

    Visits to parks have almost returned to normal levels after dropping by more than 50% in the first few weeks of lockdown.

    Trips to parks were down just 10% on the last Sunday in April, compared with the start of the year, according to data from Google.

    Chart showing park visits are almost back to normal levels

    Several parks, including Brockwell Park in South London, briefly closed at the start of April amid social distancing concerns. But Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has since said that people "need parks" and councils must keep them open.

    Trips to supermarkets and workplaces are still down significantly compared with the start of the year.

  15. US virus deaths could be much higher

    The US has by far the highest death toll and case count in the world

    More than 65,000 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in the US, but some experts fear the real figure could be much higher.

    New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that total deaths in seven hard-hit states were almost 50% higher than normal during the period 8 March to 11 April.

    Researchers fear as many as 9,000 additional deaths in the country could be attributed to the virus.

    The US has by far the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world but fewer relative to population than some European countries.

  16. Just joining us?

    Beach in Spain
    Image caption: Spain has started easing its lockdown

    Here's a round-up of some key coronavirus developments from across the globe:

    • The death toll in the US - the country with the most deaths globally - has passed 65,000
    • Adults in Spain have been running on the streets for the first time in seven weeks after restrictions were eased. Masks are being made compulsory on public transport
    • Austria is allowing thousands of shops, hairdressers and beauty salons to reopen
    • Ireland will allow people to meet friends and family in small groups outdoors from 18 May
    • The Ebola drug remdesivir can now be used on people who are hospitalised with severe Covid-19 in the US following a clinical trial
    • War-ravaged Yemen has recorded coronavirus cases in a third province after officially registering its first deaths this week
  17. Reality Check

    ‘All society’ will have to help contact trace

    All of society will be expected to play a part when the UK launches a national contact tracing phone app in the coming weeks, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said this afternoon.

    Contact tracing involves tracking down anyone with whom virus sufferers have been in prolonged contact with, to potentially ask them to self-isolate.

    The UK is planning to roll out its contact tracing app and phone team by the middle of May. The method is already being used elsewhere in Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany. In Australia, more than four million people have downloaded a tracking app.

    Contact tracing will start to form a key part of the UK government’s strategy in the coming months.

    Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries said the results of contact tracing would help us start to see where the lines of transmission are.

    Read more here about what the public will be asked to do.

  18. Should you keep a coronavirus diary?

    Helier Cheung

    BBC News, Washington DC

    File photo of a woman holding a 2020 diary

    Believe it or not, your personal musings right now could be valuable to historians of the future.

    Archivists are urging people to keep diaries in written, audio, or video format because the coronavirus pandemic is a major event that historians will want to study in the years to come.

    The Mass Observation Project is calling on volunteers to “help us create a record of the pandemic”, while Wright State University in the US says diaries "can also be extremely useful, therapeutic tools for the diary author as well”.

    "Although many of us think history is about politicians and royalty, actually history is about everybody," says Rob Perks, director of National Life Stories at the British Library.

    And if that's too remote for you, there's also a more immediate benefit: Jacinda Ardern has asked New Zealanders to keep diaries about their own movements to try and help officials with contact tracing.

    You can read more about unusual ways to help during the pandemic here.

  19. Watch: The dogs being trained to detect virus

    Video content

    Video caption: Dogs trained to try to sniff out coronavirus

    Firefighters in Corsica are trying to train dogs to be able to detect coronavirus in people.

    It is hoped the specially trained dogs could be used in public places, like airports, as part of the ongoing fight against the spread of the virus on the French island.

    The trial is one of several experiments being undertaken in countries including the UK and the USA.

  20. Why Italy's daily death toll jumped today

    Mark Lowen

    BBC News, Rome

    Italian security forces stand guard at a checkpoint at Rome's Piazza Venezia

    After a week where Italy’s daily death toll fell as low as 260, today’s official figure of 474 deaths in the past 24 hours seemed alarming.

    The number seemed incomprehensible - especially given there are now just over 1500 patients in intensive care, down from a high of more than 4,000.

    But then the explanation: 280 were previously unrecorded deaths from the northern region of Lombardy in April.

    So the one-day death toll across the country in the past 24 hours is in fact 192, continuing the downward trajectory. It is the lowest daily rise since 14 March.

    The number is still high and Italy remains the country with the second-highest number of deaths overall. But the figures are moving in the right direction and it seems Italy is gradually overcoming this killer.