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COVID-19: All the latest LIVE worldwide updates - today's updates are also on our Portal page, here)

Coronavirus - 2nd April 2021 (Good Friday)


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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 11:59

Summary for Friday, 2nd April (Good Friday)

  • Kenya, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines are being added to England's travel ban "red list"
  • It means travellers from those countries will be banned from entering England from 9 April
  • The Philippines has recorded its highest daily number of cases yet, with 15,310 new infections
  • More than 70 MPs have launched a campaign opposing Covid passports in England, amid reports of pilots to test how they would work
  • The stay at home rule which has been in place in Scotland for more than three months has been lifted
  • Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week, has been admitted to hospital
  • Campaigners have started legal action over guidance banning care home residents in England aged 65+ from taking trips outside the home
  • A lack of "adequate" funding for schools in England during the pandemic is placing staff and pupils at risk, a teachers' union warns
  • West End theatres and Glastonbury Festival are among those getting a share of £400m emergency government culture funding

Hello and welcome to our coronavirus live coverage on this Good Friday morning.
We will be bringing you updates on the pandemic from around the globe throughout the day.

What's happening around the world

Here is what is happening around the world today.

What do the UK papers say?

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Speculation about coronavirus passports - and plans for foreign travel this summer - dominates this morning’s front pages.

  • The Daily Telegraph expects Covid certificates will be trialled at major events including the FA Cup final and the BRIT Awards in May, while the Daily Mail says the passport scheme will begin once the NHS test and trace app has been updated to show if someone has had their vaccine or recently tested negative for the virus - so those unable or unwilling to have a jab are not discriminated against.
  • But the Daily Express says Boris Johnson still faces a backbench revolt over the plan.
  • "The planes to Spain now mainly to Bahrain" is how the Sun describes the likely conclusion of the prime minister's international travel review on Monday.

Read more here .

Latest across Europe

  • Ukraine’s Covid crisis has deepened with record numbers of infections and deaths reported this morning. Health Minister Maksym Stepanov says 433 people died in the past 24 hours and 19,893 new cases were reported. The capital Kyiv has imposed a strict lockdown.
  • French schools close later today for at least three weeks as stricter anti-Covid measures start kicking in across the country. Secondary schools will shut for four weeks, although two of those include France’s spring holiday. A new opinion poll suggests seven out of 10 people back the decision to go into a new national lockdown tomorrow night which is looser than last year.
  • Most EU countries have agreed a complicated formula to give 2.85 million extra BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines to five struggling countries, including Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovakia. Austria, Slovenia and the Czech Republic objected to the deal. Austria’s Sebastian Kurz has criticised what he sees as uneven distribution of vaccines.
  • A Serbian anti-vaccination campaigner was questioned by police yesterday on suspicion of spreading panic through social media posts and media appearances. Jovana Stojkovic has been in trouble before for posting misleading information.
  • A baby has been born on Spain’s Balearic island of Ibiza with Covid antibodies after his mother was vaccinated in the final three months of her pregnancy. Baby Bruno’s umbilical cord was tested for antibodies after he was born. Meanwhile, a million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses will be distributed across Spain this morning to enable vaccinations to continue throughout Easter week.
  • Greece starts easing restrictions on movement from tomorrow with retail opening up from Monday. Schools will start opening up again on 12 April.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 12:29

Cross-party MPs campaign against vaccine passports

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Labour's Diane Abbott, Tory Esther McVey and Lib Dem Layla Moran have signed the pledge against Covid certificates

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and senior Tory Iain Duncan Smith are among more than 70 MPs to launch a campaign opposing Covid passports in England .
Any demand to prove vaccination status to access jobs, businesses or services would be "divisive and discriminatory", the cross-party group says.
The government is undertaking a review into whether such a system could help to reopen the economy in England, but says no decision has been made.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously said people could be asked to provide a vaccine certificate for entry into pubs in England, saying it "may be up to individual publicans" .

India cricket legend Tendulkar in hospital with Covid-19

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Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week, has been admitted to hospital.
Tendulkar has tweeted he decided to go to a hospital in Mumbai "as a matter of abundant precaution under medical advice".
The former captain, who is loved by millions, added he was hoping to be back home in a few days.
Several Indian cities, including Mumbai, have seen a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in the past few weeks.
Tendulkar, 47, shared the news at a time when India is staring at what experts have called a "deadlier second wave".
India reported 81,466 news cases and 469 deaths on Thursday - the highest daily spike since December.
Read more here.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 12:34

Vaccine passports 'a tool of oppression' - Baroness Chakrabarti

Labour's former shadow attorney general Baroness Shami Chakrabarti has called vaccine passports a "tool of discrimination, oppression and bullying".
The member of a cross-party group of politicians warning against introducing them, tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's dangerous, it's discriminatory, it's counter-productive."
She says: "It seems to me, and many others, that on the one hand, if this level of intrusion into our lives were to be proportionate, then probably it's not safe to open up the economy.
"On the other hand, if it is safe to open up the economy, to come out of this lockdown and this crisis that we have been living under, if it is safe to do that, why create this tool of discrimination, oppression and bullying?"
The former director of human rights group Liberty says: "It's one thing to have a passport to travel internationally, that is a privilege, even a luxury, but participating in local community life is a fundamental right."

Belgium police break up fake festival started as April Fools' joke

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Police in Belgium have used tear gas and water cannon to break up a crowd of people who had gathered for a fake concert that was announced on social media as an April Fools' Day joke.
About 2,000 people attended the event in Brussels' Bois de la Cambre park, in defiance of the country's Covid-19 measures.
When police arrived, on foot and on horseback, some in the crowd shouted "Freedom!" and threw projectiles.
Police said four people were arrested.
Three police officers were injured in clashes, according to officials. Reuters news agency reported at least two other people were injured.
The announcement for the concert was posted on Facebook in March, promising a host of famous DJs.
Organisers said the invitation was a hoax, but many people still showed up.
"We are all depressed. I'll be 18 in two weeks, we want to take advantage of our youth," one student who attended the gathering told Reuters. "We came not to annoy the police, but to show that we also have a life and want to enjoy it."
Read more here.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 12:38

Legal challenge over care home trips ban

Campaigners are taking legal action against the government over guidance that bans care home residents in England aged 65 and over from taking trips outside the home .
John's Campaign says the ban is unlawful and is also challenging the requirement for residents to self-isolate for 14 days after such visits.
The government says its guidance provides a "range of opportunities" for visitors to spend time with loved ones.
Julia Jones, co-founder of John's Campaign, says: "People living in care homes are people very often living towards the end of their lives, or they are people living with a learning disability, for whom their wellbeing is dependent on their routines.
"These people have been comprehensively ignored."

Iranians urged to stay at home for last day of Persian New Year

The health ministry in Iran has urged people to stay indoors on the last day of the Persian New Year holiday because of a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
All gatherings in parks and public gardens have been forbidden on what is known as Nature Day - when Iranians traditionally go out to have picnics and celebrate the coming of spring.
Iranian state radio says the official daily infection rate for the virus has increased by 40% compared with a month ago, raising fears of a possible fourth wave.
Iran's death toll now stands at 62,759.

Pubs ask for 'common sense' over reopening

Pubs in England will be able to reopen, with customers sitting outdoors only, in 10 days' time but the industry is calling on the government to "just make it practical for venues to try and recover their businesses".
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, explains that under the guidance people will be able to go inside to use the toilets but are not allowed to go inside the venue to pay for alcoholic beverages.
She tells BBC Breakfast: "This is a problem for many of our pubs, particularly those in rural areas, that perhaps do not have a wifi that extends to an outdoor area and where payment for them at the table would be impossible for them.
"It is just an impracticality for many businesses."
She asks the government to show some "common sense" and suggests if people can go in to use the bathroom, then they should be allowed to socially-distance to pay at the bar.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 12:55

Sao Paulo exhumes graves to make space for Covid burials

Candace Piette - Americas editor
Brazil's biggest city Sao Paulo is speeding up efforts to empty old graves in cemeteries to make room because of the soaring number of deaths from Covid-19.
Officials say there has been a record number of deaths this week.
At the Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, workers in masks and protective gear have been digging rows of graves under floodlights. Similar scenes are being played out in the city's other cemeteries, with many now staying open until 10 at night.
Gravediggers have had to speed up the routine clearance of old graves to make more space for the stream of coffins arriving each day, many in adapted school buses.
The city of Sao Paulo recorded more than 400 burials on Tuesday - the most since the pandemic began.
Officials say they expect the situation to get worse as Sao Paulo's health service becomes overwhelmed.

What are the latest rules across the UK?

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Today sees a change to Scotland's "stay at home" rule, which has been in place for three months, with advice to "stay local" replacing it .
People are being urged to remain within their local authority boundaries for the next three weeks as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warns there are "no grounds for complacency" despite the success of the vaccine rollout.
In Northern Ireland all pupils are due to return to school on 12 April but singing indoors will be banned .
Currently people in Northern Ireland can meet in groups of up to 10 from two households to exercise or up to six in private gardens.
Wales has lifted all travel restrictions for residents within its borders and six people from two different households can meet and exercise outdoors and in private gardens.
Since Monday people in England have been able to meet outside, including in gardens, in groups of six or from two households.
The stay at home rule has ended although there is advice to minimise travel.
You can find the rules where you are here .

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 13:17

Breaking News 

Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya, and Bangladesh added to travel ban list

The Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh are being added to England’s "red list" to protect the country against new variants of coronavirus, the UK government says.
It means a travel ban on visitors from these countries will come into force next Friday (9 April).
British, Irish and third-country nationals with residence rights arriving from these countries will be required to self-isolate in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
The Department for Transport says the move follows new data showing an increased risk of importation of variants of concern.

How does a travel ban work?

As we just told you, travel from the Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh will be banned from 04:00 BST on 9 April, as the countries are added to the UK government's red list.
Nearly 40 countries are currently on the red list and nations can be added to the list with just a few hours' notice.
If someone has been in or through any of these countries in the previous 10 days, they will be refused entry to the UK.
An exception is made for British or Irish passport holders - or people with UK residence rights - but they must first pay to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days .
The aim of the travel bans is to prevent new variants of Covid-19 arriving in the UK.
Read more here .

Philippines records highest daily cases

As we have been reporting, the Philippines is one of the countries being added to the so-called "red list" meaning visitors from the nation face a ban on travelling into England from next Friday.
A total of 15,310 new infections have been reported in the Philippines today, the highest daily figure reported since the pandemic started. The health ministry said more than 3,000 of those were part of a backlog.
The previous highest number had been just over 10,000.
The Philippines has now recorded more than 770,000 cases and 13,320 deaths.
The capital region of Manila has been placed under one of its toughest levels of lockdown as the country's healthcare system is put under pressure.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 13:35

PM: Vaccinated people cannot meet indoors as jab not 100% effective

Boris Johnson says two vaccinated people cannot meet indoors because the "vaccines are not giving 100% protection", which is why "we just need to be cautious".
The prime minister has answered questions from the public in a video on Twitter .
In it he says the government thinks vaccines do not entirely remove the risk of transmission of Covid-19.
Asked about whether you can play sport with more than six people he says you can play with as many people as you like as long as it is outdoors.
"The key thing is that it is outside because it is outside that we think is safer," he says.

Celebrities in Australia anger stranded citizens over 'double standard'

Frances Mao - Sydney
It started with Zac Efron. Then Mark Wahlberg flew over, Matt Damon jetted in, and dozens of other celebrities followed - all to set up temporary homes in Australia.
More recently, Julia Roberts touched down. She's due to film a movie here with George Clooney later this year, one rather aptly titled Ticket to Paradise.
Because amid the pandemic, it does appear that half of Hollywood has fled to Australia, viewing it as a Covid-free idyll.
Life is good in a country that's largely eliminated the virus - people are freely enjoying beaches, bars, and nightclubs.
Most of the famous arrivals are here to work. Australia's government has lured over productions such as the next Thor film with tax breaks.
"They're calling it Aussiewood," one local entertainment reporter tells the BBC.
But not everyone is pleased. One year on since Australia shut its borders, there are still at least 40,000 Australians stranded overseas.
Many say they've effectively been blocked from returning home. One group has lodged a human rights complaint with the United Nations.
"No other country has impeded the return of their citizens in this way," Sabrina Tiasha, who arrived home from the UK last month, says.
Read more here.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 13:39

Tokyo Diving World Cup cancelled because of poor Covid-19 precautions

Nick Hope - BBC Olympic sports reporter
The Diving World Cup in Tokyo has been cancelled by the sport's international governing body because the organisers' planned Covid-19 precautions "will not properly ensure" athletes' safety.
In a letter seen by the BBC, Fina also criticises the Japanese government which, in its opinion, "did not take all the necessary measures to ensure successful and fair" competition.
The event was scheduled to run from 18-23 April, and was due to be the final Olympic qualifier and an official test event for the postponed Tokyo Games.
"Fina sincerely regrets this situation," reads the letter. "Despite all best efforts and understanding from Fina, the executive was obliged to take this drastic decision."
Fina informed national federations by email on Thursday after receiving what it describes as "worrying" information about the organiser's proposed Covid-19 strategy, through its taskforce.
"In their view, this plan will not properly ensure health and protection guarantees to participants," continues the letter.
It is understood Fina is also unhappy about:

  • Several Japanese embassies around the world not yet issuing visas to nations who planned to compete
  • Rising costs associated with Covid-19 countermeasures, which Fina has been asked to pay for
  • The insistence on a new three-day quarantine prior to the event that would require late changes to pre-booked travel.

Read more here.

Poland's health system struggling to cope

Adam Easton - Warsaw Correspondent
Poland has reported its highest number of new coronavirus infections since the pandemic began.
There have been more than 35,000 new cases and 621 deaths in the past 24 hours, the health ministry says.
Poland’s third coronavirus wave is mainly being caused by the rampant UK variant of the virus that is responsible for 80% of all new cases.
The country’s health system is struggling to cope with rising hospital admissions, which are at their highest ever level.
Poland’s Health Minister Adam Niedzielski says the number of new infections is expected to peak this week or next. But he warns hospital admissions will not peak until 10 days after that.
The health service’s capacity has already reached its limit in the worst-affected areas such as Silesia, where some patients are being relocated to less burdened hospitals in neighbouring provinces.
Niedzielski says the main problem is a lack of staff, rather than equipment, and the government is seeking to bring in doctors from abroad.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 13:42

Shielders could become 'prisoners in own home'

People who have been shielding could become "prisoners in their homes" because of a loss of confidence after months indoors, an expert says.
Dr Deborah Morgan, a leading specialist on loneliness , says a "national strategy" is needed to help people reintegrate into their communities.
Shielding has ended in England and Wales, while Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to lift their restrictions later in April.
Amy-Claire Davies, 26, has been shielding with her parents in Swansea since the start of the pandemic.
Medically, she is extremely vulnerable. She is living with a life-limiting condition that means she suffers multiple agonising spasms.
She says: "I think I'd struggle going anywhere that was particularly crowded, I would get quite anxious about that, because it's been ingrained as a survival instinct over the past year and I haven't been in a crowded space for the past year. It would be quite overwhelming.
"A lot of the young people I know are at a real risk of struggling to go back out into the world in the way that we were before."
Those shielding have been advised they can stop but are still being advised to keep social contacts at low levels, work from home where possible and stay at a distance from other people.

Chile closes borders for April

Chile has closed its borders for the month of April as it seeks to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Health officials say a second wave of the pandemic has left hospitals close to collapse.
Chile has one of the world's fastest rates of vaccination but has seen cases spike following the southern hemisphere summer holidays.
Neighbouring Peru has begun a four-day lockdown over the Easter weekend as it battles the virus while Bolivia has closed its frontiers with Peru and Brazil, the Latin American country worst affected by the pandemic.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 18:39

England's R value between 0.8 and 1

The coronavirus reproduction number, or R value, in England is between 0.8 and 1, according to the latest government figures .
Last week the whole of the UK had an estimated figure between 0.7 and 0.9.
A UK-wide estimate of R rate has not been agreed by Sage this week - the Department of Health says that as restrictions are lifted at different rates across the four nations, a UK-level estimate for R becomes a less meaningful measure of the pandemic.
R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.
When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially, but when it is below 1, it means the epidemic is shrinking.
For more on the R number click [url= R number is not fixed.&text=Although the R number across,remains between 0.75 and 0.95.]here[/url].

European rugby match off after positive Covid test

Leinster's Heineken Champions Cup last-16 match against Toulon will not go ahead after an unnamed Toulon squad member tested positive for Covid-19 .
The French side are already in Dublin in preparation for the Friday evening fixture.
With the quarter-finals scheduled for next weekend, it appears unlikely that the fixture will be rearranged.
The winner of Friday's match was set to meet Exeter Chiefs or Lyon on Friday 9 April.
During the group stages of the tournament, any side unable to fulfil a fixture due to a Covid-19 case were deemed to have lost the game. If the same principle applies to the knock-out stages, Leinster will advance to the last eight.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 18:46

Kazakhstan president criticises vaccine rollout amid record cases

Kazakhstan has recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus cases.
According to official statistics, it has posted 2,077 new cases today.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has offered up stiff criticism of his own government's rollout of a locally-produced version of Russia's Sputnik V jab.
He noted just 47,000 of 19 million people have been fully vaccinated.
"The reason is simple. Not enough vaccines," he said, according to the AFP news agency.
He complained Kazakhstan has been "forced to agree to unfavourable commercial and financial conditions to accelerate deliveries".

UK regulators find 30 cases of blood clots after AstraZeneca jab

British regulators say they have identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine but stressed the benefits of the jab in preventing coronavirus outweigh any risks.
The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said on Thursday that the risk associated with this type of blood clot is "very small" and that the public should continue to take up the vaccine when offered it.
The agency says it has identified 30 cases of rare blood clot events following use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, out of 18.1 million doses administered up to and including 24 March.
Responding to the data, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said that taking up the vaccine was "by far the safest choice" at minimising risk of serious illness or death.
Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol, says: "The extreme rarity of these events in the context of the many millions of vaccine doses that have been administered means that the risk-benefit decision facing people who are invited to receive Covid-19 vaccines is very straightforward: receiving the vaccine is by far the safest choice in terms of minimising individual risk of serious illness or death."
This view is echoed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has urged countries like Germany to continue using the jab.

Vietnam appeals for help in obtaining vaccines

Vietnam has appealed for help in obtaining the 150 million coronavirus vaccines it will need to inoculate its population.
So far, it has obtained less than one million doses through direct purchases and the global Covax scheme.
Vietnam's Ministry of Health asked China, Russia and India for assistance on Thursday. Today it turned to Japan, the US and the EU for vaccines and technical support.
The country aims to have 20% of its 98 million people vaccinated by the end of the year, the ministry said.
Vietnam has used strict guidelines to keep the virus mostly at bay during the pandemic, registering just 35 Covid-related deaths.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 18:50

Appeal to 'make fresh air your friend' this Easter

Northern Ireland's health minister is appealing for people to stay safe over the Easter weekend.
While some regulations have been eased this week, the "stay at home" message remains in the nation - unlike elsewhere in the UK.
Robin Swann says he understands the frustration of facing a holiday weekend with Covid-19 restrictions still in place.
"I would appeal to people not to let their frustrations affect their judgement," he says.
He says people should "make fresh air your friend" this weekend, adding "please don't mix indoors".
Read more here about the Covid restrictions in Northern Ireland.

Sheffield Wednesday manager tests positive for Covid-19

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Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore is missing the Owls' trip to Watford this afternoon after testing positive for Covid-19 .
The club has confirmed he is not at the match as he is isolating.
Assistant Jamie Smith is leading Wednesday, who are six points adrift of safety in the Championship, in Moore's absence - and they are currently 1-0 down.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 18:55

What’s the latest from China?

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
Life has largely returned to normal in China, although an outbreak in the city of Ruili, which borders Myanmar, has thrown hundreds of thousands of people back into lockdown this week.
China has been strict about implementing lockdown measures as soon as a single case is identified. Consequently, schools and all but essential businesses have closed in the city, which has a population of about 210,000. Mass testing is being carried out throughout Ruili, and today has been extended to border counties and cities.
So far, 16 symptomatic cases of Covid-19 have been reported since Wednesday, and roughly three times as many asymptomatic cases.
Despite this latest outbreak, within the next couple of weeks China is set to surpass the US and become the country that has carried out the most vaccinations in the world.
So far, 126 million vaccine doses have been administered in China. The country’s national Global Times newspaper says the country now has capacity to carry out 10 million vaccine doses daily. This means, in theory, it could inoculate a billion people within 100 days.
China is accelerating its vaccination programme as it has aims to vaccine 40% of its 1.4bn population by the end of June – that equates to it carrying out 560 million vaccinations.
To date, it has largely prioritised vaccinating people in the 18-59 years of age category, but as of today, it has expanded its vaccination drive to begin targeting people over the age of 60.

Breaking News 

Further 52 Covid deaths recorded in the UK

The UK has recorded a further 52 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, government figures show.
It brings the total number of deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test to 126,816.
There were also 3,402 new infections reported.
But today's statistics are so far only for England, Northern Ireland and Scotland - there is no data reported for Wales yet.

Juventus players dropped for Covid breach

Juventus players Paulo Dybala, Weston McKennie and Arthur Melo have been dropped for tomorrow's local derby with Torino after breaking Covid-19 rules by attending a dinner party, coach Andrea Pirlo says.
The three stars were reported to have been fined by police who were called by neighbours to the party at McKennie's Turin home on Wednesday night.
"The three players concerned have not been selected, they will return to work at a later time, we'll see about when," Pirlo tells reporters ahead of the Serie A clash.
"It shouldn't happen, both because of what's going on in the world and what's happening with the team," he adds.
Dybala has since apologised, but says he had simply "stayed out for dinner" and insisted the gathering "wasn't a party".
Defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Merih Demiral will also be unavailable for the Italian champions after testing positive for the virus.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 18:59

DVLA staff to strike over HQ Covid cases

Staff at the DVLA headquarters in Swansea will go on strike for four days next week because of concerns over Covid cases among workers.
The office has seen more than 500 cases since September and workers voted to take industrial action last month .
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union says its members will strike for four days from 6 April.
The UK government has warned DVLA services will be affected and has been approached for further comment.
PCS says it had been in "intensive talks" with the DVLA to try and address its members' health and safety concerns and avoid strike action, but will now be "asking over 3,300 of our members in Swansea to go on strike to protect workers' safety".
We've got the full story here.

Austria to give Czech Republic vaccine doses in solidarity

The Austrian Chancellor has said his country will provide the Czech Republic with 30,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine.
Sebastian Kurz's office it called a display of solidarity after Austria felt the European Union had not done enough to assist its neighbour.
EU ambassadors agreed on Thursday to change the bloc's vaccine distribution system for 10 million BioNTech-Pfizer doses due to be delivered in the second quarter. This was in order to help countries that needed it more.
Of those 10 million doses, 2.85 million so-called "solidarity vaccines" will be shared between Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia.
Austria says it is "incomprehensible" the Czech Republic - which has been hit hard by the pandemic - was not given more doses.
"We will... support the Czech Republic bilaterally with 30,000 doses of vaccine and believe it is very positive that we have also heard that other European countries are prepared to do the same," a statement by Kurz's office says.
"We do not want to accept that one of our neighbouring countries is left behind," it adds.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 19:03

Bahrain to free prisoners over Covid jail fears

Bahrain is to allow more than 100 prisoners to serve the remainder of their sentences out of prison, as protesters and rights groups voiced fears over Covid-19 spreading in jails, AFP reports.
A total of 126 prisoners will serve the remainder of their sentences in an "alternative" or non-custodial setting, the public prosecution said in a statement.
The released convicts will be monitored electronically.
Officials said last week three people at the Jaw prison were infected with the virus. It said they had been isolated and were in a stable condition.
But the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy says there have been dozens of infections among prisoners.
"If Bahrain's government is serious about tackling this outbreak, they should be fully transparent rather than undermining the seriousness of the situation at hand," Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of BIRD, said in a statement last week.
Nabeel Rajab, one of Bahrain's most prominent rights activists who was freed from jail last year, welcomed the government's decision.
"May it be a good omen," he tweeted.

Teacher donates hundreds of Easter eggs to thank NHS staff

Coronavirus - 2nd April 2021 (Good Friday) Ead06910

Teacher Karen Thorp wanted to find a way to thank NHS workers who saved her life when she spent six weeks in hospital with coronavirus last year, so she is buying more than 300 of them an Easter egg.
The 52-year-old, from St Albans, Hertfordshire, says she wanted to "celebrate" her recovery, so raised £800 for staff at Watford Hospital as they "deserve it".
In all 326 chocolate treats will be enjoyed by health workers and £521.50 is being donated to RAISE , a charity for hospitals in Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and Watford.

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Coronavirus - 2nd April 2021 (Good Friday) Empty Re: Coronavirus - 2nd April 2021 (Good Friday)

Post by Kitkat Fri Apr 02 2021, 19:08

What's been making the headlines around the world?

We're close to winding up the live page for the day, thanks for joining us. Here's a round-up of some of the biggest coronavirus developments around the world today.

  • Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week, has been admitted to hospital. Tendulkar tweeted that he decided to go to hospital "as a matter of abundant precaution under medical advice"
  • The Netherlands is halting AstraZeneca vaccines for under-60s after new reports of rare blood clots following vaccination
  • The US economy saw a surge in hiring in March as vaccination spreads , officials loosened restrictions and people pushed to return to their pre-pandemic activities
  • Chile has closed its borders for the month of April as it seeks to slow the spread of coronavirus
  • Poland, the Philippines and Kazakhstan have all announced record daily infection figures
  • The Diving World Cup in Tokyo has been cancelled by the sport's international governing body because the organisers' planned Covid-19 precautions "will not properly ensure" athletes' safety.

What's been happening in the UK?

Coronavirus - 2nd April 2021 (Good Friday) 57138610
Police forces across England have called for people to obey coronavirus restrictions over the bank holiday weekend

We are going to be bringing our live page updates to a close soon so here's a recap on what's been happening in the UK:

Goodbye - and thanks for joining us

That's all from the live page for today but we'll be back again tomorrow.

Today's coronavirus news has been brought to you by Doug Faulkner, George Wright, Jennifer Meierhans and James Clarke.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 13:14