• Almost a quarter of coronavirus deaths in England and Wales were in care homes, the latest weekly figures from the ONS revealed, with more than 4,300 deaths recorded in a fortnight. This marks a sharp rise from the official death toll up to 10 April, which was 1,043. From Wednesday, the government will publish daily figures for the number of coronavirus deaths in care homes and the community. This follows complaints for many weeks that by only publishing hospital deaths, figures could be underestimating the true number of deaths by as much as half, according to some estimates.
  • The Scottish government published new guidance recommending the public should wear face coverings in “limited circumstances” where it was not always possible to remain two metres apart, for instance in supermarkets and on public transport. The UK government said it is still considering advice submitted on this issue submitted by Sage last week, which maintained there is “weak” evidence of face masks having a “small” protective effect. The most important thing to maintain is physical distancing, it added.
  • British Airways is set to make up to 12,000 workers redundant as the airline’s parent company revealed its revenue had plunged 13% in the first quarter of 2020. Announcing the cuts, IAG said it expected recovery to 2019 passenger levels to take several years.
  • Eligibility for free coronavirus tests has been extended to NHS patients and staff who do not have symptoms, and care home residents and staff who do not have symptoms (those who do have symptoms qualify for tests already). Anyone over 65 with symptoms and anybody who needs to leave home to go to work who has symptoms, as well as members of their family, will also be eligible.
  • And the former prime minister Theresa May urged ministers to consider the impact of lockdown for domestic abuse and mental health, as well as the economy, when deciding how quickly to lift restrictions. Speaking in a debate on the Domestic Abuse Bill, she said there was “clear” evidence that domestic abuse was increasing during lockdown because perpetrators have greater freedom to act and victims find it harder to leave.

National updates from


  • Germans told to stay home as infection rate rises. The head of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases calls on people to stay at home as much as possible as new figures show the country’s infection rate has increased. Lothar Wieler says the virus reproduction rate, dubbed “R”, is now at 1.0 in Germany, which means one person with the virus infects one other on average. Earlier this month, the rate was at 0.7.
  • Russia extends lockdown. Vladimir Putin extends a non-working period in Russia until 11 May, as he warns the rate of infection in the country has not yet peaked. The Russian president made the announcement during a televised meeting with senior government officials and regional heads.
  • France sets out plan to end lockdown. The French prime minister, Édouard Philippebegins outlining the schedule for the end of the lockdown. Addressing the national assembly, Philippe says the situation is unique. “Who could have envisaged a France where schools, universities, cafes, restaurants, the majority of businesses, libraries … beaches, stadiums … would be closed?”
  • More than 20,000 infected in Saudi Arabia. The number of confirmed cases in the kingdom passes the 20,000 mark as its health authorities report 1,266 new infections. Saudi Arabia also reports eight deaths, bringing its total death toll to 152.
  • At least 3m infected globally. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, 3,063,814 people are known to have been infected, while 212,345 are confirmed to have died. These figures are likely to represent significant underestimates due to suspected underreporting around the world.

International updates from