Coronavirus briefing: Lockdown extension talks and calls for international unity

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Lockdown extension?

It has been two-and-a-half weeks since restrictions on people's movements were announced. And the government's emergency Cobra committee will discuss whether the lockdown ought to be extended beyond its initial three weeks. Leaders of the devolved nations will join the discussions, although First Minister Mark Drakeford has already confirmed measures will remain in place across Wales. With UK temperatures forecast to reach 25C (77F) in place, the public is being urged to "stay home this bank holiday weekend" in a new advertising campaign.

Latest figures show another 938 people in the UK have died in hospital with coronavirus, the highest daily death toll yet. It brings the total to 7,097. Amid suggestions the virus is having a disproportionate impact on people from ethnic minority backgrounds, we examine the data. Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in hospital, and was making "steady progress" in intensive care - according to the latest Downing Street update on Wednesday night.

Pressure on intensive care units, combined with the need to suppress patients' immune systems during the outbreak, could force the UK's organ transplant network to shut down, according to the body that runs it. Meanwhile, you can see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak to the children of key workers and thank their teachers in a video call to a Lancashire school.

Calls for international unity

In Italy, which has recorded more coronavirus-related deaths than any other nation, there are some hopeful signs, with the daily death toll falling from 919 a fortnight ago to 542 in the past 24 hours. However, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says the national lockdown, imposed on 9 March, can only be eased gradually. He says the EU must act in a co-ordinated way to help countries worst hit by the outbreak, or risk falling apart.

There are fears for countries in South Asia, where porous borders might make the virus harder to control. Meanwhile, the head of the World Health Organization has urged an end to 'politicisation' of the virus, in the face of criticism from US President Donald Trump. Follow all the global developments on our live page, as Australian police seize the "black box" recorder from a cruise ship in a bid to find out why it allowed ill passengers to disembark in Sydney.

Supply chain reactions

The lockdown has played havoc with supply chains, with the disruption causing some farmers to pour thousands of litres of fresh milk down the drain. Meanwhile, as Britons take up home baking en masse, supermarkets are struggling to source enough flour. With mills working around the clock, we discover the surprising reason for shortages on shelves. Another unexpected consequence could be a resurgence in the nation's wild flowers. Find out why.

Meanwhile, we find students angry at the prospect of paying rent on rooms lying empty for the summer term. And a campaign group wants social networks to introduce dedicated buttons to flag up bogus coronavirus-related posts, in light of figures suggesting nearly 60% of young adults saw misleading information in the first week of the lockdown. Remember, you can find trustworthy information about the outbreak and advice on life under lockdown at our dedicated page.

Will coronavirus go away in the summer?

By Rachel Schraer, health reporter, BBC News

The idea warmer weather might stop the coronavirus seems to have faded as the virus has spread around the globe. But could new research contain a glimmer of hope?

It's too early to know for sure whether the new coronavirus is seasonal. To really know that, we'd have to watch how cases change in one place across the year. But we can look at its spread in different climates across the world for clues.

One thing not to miss today

Image source, Getty Images

Listen up

Throughout the day, BBC Radio 5 live hears tributes to doctors, nurses and other NHS workers, such as cleaners and porters. The latest Coronavirus Newscast takes a look at the global picture. And The Food Chain podcast pays homage to the heroes of farming, trucking, supermarkets and restaurants keeping people fed and watered.

What the papers say

Most papers focus on the continuation of lockdown conditions, with the i, Daily Express and Daily Mirror all drawing the same conclusion that there is "no end in sight". It will certainly be a matter of weeks, according to both the Times and Daily Mail. No matter how long restrictions remain in place, the Metro reckons being stuck at home as temperatures soar will make for "the longest Good Friday". Meanwhile, the Sun urges readers to continue the recent custom of applauding NHS workers at 20:00 BST on Thursdays and asks them to raise money in the process.

From elsewhere

Need some light relief?

Quizzes seem to be the go-to form of entertainment over group video calls, so Newsbeat enlists Eggheads host Jeremy Vine to describe how to run one that's actually good. If you've been listening to the radio more often recently, or comparing today's hits to classics from your formative years, you might enjoy our delve into industry body the BPI's yearbook to find the most influential year in pop. Or, for really imaginative forms of amusement, choose from the BBC Archive's clips suggesting seven things to do in self-isolation.