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  • Britain’s lockdown is to continue for at least another three weeks because experts still cannot be sure the coronavirus epidemic has peaked, Dominic Raab, has said. The foreign secretary said there was hope that the number of new infections was no longer rising in the community daily but there was less certainty about some hospitals and care homes.
  • A further 861 people have died from coronavirus in UK hospitals, taking the running total to 13,729. Yesterday the daily figure was 761, but Prof Chris Whitty, the UK government’s chief medical adviser, said in the press conference yesterday afternoon that he expected today’s figure to be higher.
  • The prime minister’s spokesman has insisted there will be no extension to the Brexit transition period, despite the coronavirus crisis. “We will not ask to extend the transition. And, if the EU asks, we will say no,” he told the daily briefing if lobby journalists. “Extending the transition would simply prolong the negotiations, prolong business uncertainty, and delay the moment of control of our borders.”
  • The comments came after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the UK and EU should “not add to uncertainty” from coronavirus by refusing to extend the period to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal.
  • The UK was among a handful of countries singled out by the World Health Organization (WHO) for having “tempered” the “positive signals” that Europe is passing the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak. Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said the UK was one of the countries to have “sustained or increased levels of incident”.
  •  A slimmed-down “virtual House of Commons” featuring ministers in the chamber being questioned by MPs via video link is set to convene next week after Commons authorities agreed to the idea. The scheme, the first time part of the Commons will have sat remotely in its 700-year history, will allow up to 50 ministers and backbenchers to physically be in the chamber at any one time, with up to 120 appearing on screens.
  • The GMB union has called on the government to make sure furloughed workers are paid at least minimum wage rates, saying the current rules are already causing “significant hardship”. The government’s current guidance states that furloughed can be paid the lower of 80% of their salary or £2,500 even if this would be below their appropriate minimum wage.
  • Prof Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College epidemiologist whose coronavirus research influenced the government’s decision to introduce the lockdown, said that even when the measures starts to relax, “we will have to maintain some form of social distancing, a significant level of social distancing, probably indefinitely until we have a vaccine available.” It is thought that a vaccine could take 18 months to develop.

National updates from


Global coronavirus cases pass 2 million mark. The total number of coronavirus cases across the world has reached at least 2,090,110, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has tracked the spread of the virus during the pandemic.

The US has the highest number of cases with 640,291, followed by Spain, with 182,816. The number of cases of coronavirus registered globally passed 1.5 million on 9 April.

5 million more Americans sign on as unemployed. More than 22 million American have lost their jobs in the last four weeks as the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the US.

Australia PM says more Covid-19 measures needed. Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, said the country had succeeding in flattening the infection curve but that a “more extensive surveillance regime” needed to be implemented if they were to forge “the road out” of lockdown.

EU chief: ‘Europe owes Italy an apology’. Europe owes Italy “a heartfelt apology” for not offering assistance when the country was suffering in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, the head of the European Union executive said.

New York State lockdown extended. Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended the New York state shutdown to 15 May. He also announced that starting on Friday, anyone aged two and older would be required to wear face coverings in public if they cannot socially distance.

IMF: Asian economies will not grow this year. Economies in Asia will see zero growth this year for the first time in 60 years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. It warned that the global economy would face the “worst recession since the Great Depression” and that Asia’s service sector in particular will struggle to rebound.

Singapore reports biggest jump yet in cases. Singapore reported at least 728 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, the biggest jump yet in numbers in the city-state, which had fought hard to keep its outbreak under control.

Japan declares nationwide state of emergency. Japan has expanded its state of emergency to cover the entire country.

Facebook to warn users who ‘like’ misinformation. Facebook will begin showing notifications to users who have interacted with posts that contain “harmful” coronavirus misinformation, the company announced. The new policy applies only to misinformation that Facebook considers likely to contribute to “imminent physical harm”, such as false claims about “cures” or statements that physical distancing is not effective. Facebook’s policy has been to remove those posts from the platform.

International updates from