Police have gained the power to fine people up to £960 or arrest them if they repeatedly break coronavirus lockdown rules, while Boris Johnson has been urged to explain why he declined cooperation with the EU in purchasing medical equipment.
Rishi Sunak has announced long-awaited state help for the self-employed, following figures that showed nearly one-quarter of them had been living in relative poverty even before coronavirus struck. The measures, while welcomed for their content, have been criticised after the chancellor said payments may be delayed until June.
Meanwhile the UK death rate has increased by more than 100 across 24 hours for the first time, leading to a total of 578 deaths and 11,658 infections.
The NHS has now asked for 750,000 volunteers to help it tackle coronavirus, after more than half a million people signed up overnight.
Please allow a moment for the blog to load
US has more cases than any country in the world
The US has more cases of coronavirus than any other nation in the world – outstripping both Italy and China.
The nation confirmed an infection rate of 81,946 to China’s 81,285 and Italy’s 80,589.
The number of people signing up for the NHS volunteer programme had reached 670,663 by 9pm, with the Government increasing the target to 750,000, three times the initial goal.
Ireland deaths more than double
Ireland reported 10 deaths from Covid-19 infections on Thursday, more than doubling the total number of fatalities to 19, Ireland’s Department of Health said.
The country also reported an additional 255 confirmed infections to bring the total to 1,819, the department said in a statement.
Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said he was particularly concerned about infections in nursing homes and healthcare settings and the increase in the number of people being admitted to intensive care.
Trump plan to reopen economy will rank states by risk
The White House has sent governors the outlines of a process by which Donald Trump intends to reopen parts of the country by classifying individual counties into three risk categories, contending “enhanced testing” is allowing his government to “isolate” the virus and stop its spread.
The president sent the letter the same week he has been pushing hard to get all or part of the United States “open for business” by 12 April.
Here is John T Bennett with more:
Sailors to be tested after US crewmates test positive
All 5,000 US Navy sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier will be tested for coronavirus after 23 members of the crew tested positive for the virus.
The San Diego-based ship will be quarantined in Guam while the sailors are tested for the virus.
Here’s Graig Graziosi with more:
Public ‘Clap for Carers’ to show support for NHS workers
Doctors and nurses on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in New York City have revealed “unthinkable” working conditions to The Independent while the state grapples with a severe shortage of life-saving medical supplies.
Here is Chris Riotta with the story:
Costa Rican Health Minister Daniel Salas has said there are 30 new confirmed cases of the virus in the central American nation, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 231.
People across the UK are sharing videos of the rounds of applause taking place in their neighbourhoods:
People across the UK have joined in a mass round of applause from their doorsteps to thank health workers working through the coronavirus crisis.
The co-ordinated national “Clap for our carers” event was planned to thank NHS staff for risking their own lives in treating those infected and tackling the outbreak.
Jane Dalton has more here:
People across the country offer applause for healthcare workers
People across the country are due to offer a round of applause from their homes in support of healthcare workers at 8pm.
Similar events have been carried out in Spain and India as well as others.
Team GB streams 2012 Olympic opening ceremony to take minds off virus
Do you remember 2012, when Britain hosted the world’s largest sporting event? When Bolt ran 100m in less than 10 seconds? When the Queen jumped from a helicopter alongside James Bond? When the mayor of London got stuck on a zip wire in a move that somehow paved the way for him to become the nation’s prime minister during a time of unparrallelled crisis?
Well if you feel like a little burst of nostalgia and soft patriotism, Team GB is live streaming the entire Danny Boyle directed opening ceremony to help people park their worries for a bit.
Sadiq Khan has responded to the chancellors self-employed scheme like many officials – praising the substance while raising concern over its timing.
“Today’s announcement by the Chancellor is welcome and will help millions of people,” Mr Khan tweeted.
“However, June is some time away and concerns remain that many self-employed and freelancers could be excluded in London, where the cost of living is higher than elsewhere.
“Whether applying for Universal Credit or accessing this new support, having to wait weeks or even months risks leaving people unable to pay bills and put food on the table.
“I’ll continue to urge Govt to provide the right levels of financial help as soon as practically possible.”
There are now 11,658 positive coronavirus cases in the UK, with 578 deaths.
The figure incorporates fatalities from 5pm on the 24th to 5pm on 25 March.
The chancellor has unveiled measures to protect the self employed and freelancers following concern the group had been left behind by funding initiatives.
However criticism has been levelled due to the time it may take to see the scheme take force.
Here’s political editor Andrew Woodcock and correspondent Lizzy Buchan with more.
Global case total pushes past 500,000
The number of cases announced worldwide has pushed past half a million, Johns Hopkins University which is tracking the spread has confirmed.
The 510,000 confirmed instances is 40,000 more than the figure cited at the start of the day.
Kate Ng has more:
25 of Brazil’s 27 governors have urged president Jair Bolsonaro to offer more federal support in tackling the virus.
“Our main priority is to take care of people’s lives, not forgetting the responsibility of managing the economy,” they wrote.
“We once again ask President Jair Bolsonaro to join forces with the governors in the fight against the coronavirus crisis and its humanitarian and economic impacts.”
The populist president, who like Donald Trump has pushed to keep the country open to spur on the economy, yesterday accused governors of criminality for enforcing lockdowns.