- About 130,000 people in the UK are estimated to have had coronavirus in the week to 10 April, the Office for National Statistics says
- That is down sharply from 185,000 people the previous week, and represents one-in-500 people having Covid-19
- But the World Health Organization warns Covid cases around the world are continuing to increase at a "worrying rate"
- Chancellor Angela Merkel says the third wave has Germany "firmly in its grip" and the situation there is "very serious"
- England's reproduction number, or R value, is between 0.7 and 1.0 - meaning every 10 people with Covid will infect between seven and 10 others
- New rules on travel and meeting people outdoors have come into force in Scotland today as restrictions are eased
- People can now travel out of their local area for non-essential reasons and six people from up to six households can meet outdoors
- China's economy grew a record 18.3% in the first quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier - the biggest jump since records began
- A new Covid-19 variant in the UK, first identified in India, features two mutations that could be a cause for concern, an expert says
Welcome to our daily live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and around the globe.
We’ll bring you the latest updates throughout the day.
Here are the main headlines this morning:
- New rules on travelling between council areas and meeting people outdoors have come into force in Scotland today as restrictions are eased. People can now travel out of their local area for non-essential reasons and six people from up to six households can meet outdoors
- A company in which Health Secretary Matt Hancock and his sister have shares has won contracts from NHS Wales. NHS Wales has given Topwood Ltd, which specialises in the secure storage, shredding and scanning of documents, £300,000 of business this year
- Successful vaccine programmes will prevent another washout for summer holidaymakers, the boss of Europe's largest tour company says. Friedrich Joussen, who runs TUI, tells the BBC the firm is “optimistic about the summer”. TUI - which owns a fleet of aircraft, cruise ships and a chain of travel agencies - says bookings in March alone hit 2.8 million
- China's economy grew a record 18.3% in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same quarter last year in a post-Covid comeback. It is the biggest jump in gross domestic product since China started keeping quarterly records in 1992.
Latest updates from around the world
- The number of new Covid-19 cases per week has nearly doubled globally over the past two months, approaching the highest rate seen so far during the pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization said this morning.
- India’s daily Covid-19 vaccinations have slowed from their record high early this month while new infections have set a record in eight of the past nine days.
- The CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest vaccine maker, has urged US president Joe Biden to lift an embargo on exports of raw materials that it says is hurting its production of Covid -19 shots.
- Vietnam’s health ministry called for the acceleration of its Covid-19 vaccine rollout on Friday as the expiry date of the south-east Asian country’s first batch of jabs supplied through the Covax scheme approaches.
- More than 16,000 expired AstraZeneca Covid-19 doses are to be destroyed in Malawi as concerns over vaccine hesitancy increase. The vaccines are among 102,000 doses donated by the African Union (AU) to the Malawian government last month.
- Thailand will close close schools, bars and massage parlours, as well as ban alcohol sales in restaurants, for at least two weeks starting from Sunday, after a jump in Covid-19 cases.
- Sweden will ease restrictions on citizens who have had at least one vaccination shot against Covid-19.
- In Scotland, changes in the rules mean people will be allowed to meet in groups of up to six adults from six households in outdoor settings from today for socialising, recreation and exercise. They will also be permitted to travel across Scotland for the first time since December – provided they do not stay overnight.
- Denmark advanced its reopening plan on the back of stable infection rates, allowing indoor serving at restaurants and bars and some football fans to cheer from the stands from 21 April, weeks earlier than originally planned.
- French president Emmanuel Macron told local mayors that the epidemic was likely to progress over the next eight to 10 days, with a peak of infections in France between the 25 April and 30 April, and a peak in hospital admissions between now and the end of the month.
- Monaco has announced it is easing health restrictions, without resolving fully whether fans would be allowed at its Formula One grand prix next month.
Latest in Europe
- Denmark’s political parties have finalised plans to open up further next Wednesday – with indoor dining in cafes, restaurants and bars, as long as people book and provide a corona pass. Museums and art galleries will also be open for people with the “coronapas”. The downloadable pass shows if you have had a negative test in the past three days, have recently had Covid or have been vaccinated.
- Two German states have decided to impose more stringent measures from Monday - Baden-Württemberg in the south-west and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania in the far north. In the north most shops and schools will shut – although hairdressers will stay open. The German government is changing the law so it can pull the so-called "emergency brake" across the country from Berlin, but that won’t happen until later next week.
- Portugal will start lifting lockdown on Monday, but 11 local authorities out of more than 300 will have to wait because of a high incidence rate. Restaurants, shopping centres, high schools and universities will all reopen but Prime Minister António Costa has warned the transmission rate is higher now than it was at the start of March. France has confirmed it will reopen primary schools on 26 April and secondary schools a week later.
- Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge has rejected criticism of the spiralling cost of holding 445 test events over the next few weeks which have attracted 232,000 people. He insists the events are a “fantastic investment”, but critics point to the cost and the lack of public tender for the groups involved. One event in eight days’ time will attract 10,000 people.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to have the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccination today. Aged 66, she is eligible for the AZ jab in Germany. Meanwhile, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, had her vaccination in Brussels yesterday.