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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world has now topped a million.
According to official figures, in the UK:
- 3,605 people in hospital had died after contracting coronavirus as of 5pm on Thursday. Those figures included a further 46 people in Scotland, 24 in Wales, and 12 in Northern Ireland.
- More than 38,000 people have tested positive for the virus
- More than 173,000 people have been tested for Covid-19.
Here’s the latest on Covid-19:
Premier League to consult players on pay cut
Premier League clubs have unanimously agreed to consult with their players concerning a 30 per cent wage deferral to assist with the payment of non-playing staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Stars and clubs have come under fire after some furloughed non-playing staff but not looked at players’ wages during the coronavirus crisis.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday footballers should “take a pay cut and play their part.”
Premier League shareholders met on Friday and confirmed talks will be held with a view to wage cuts.
It was also acknowledged that the season could not begin in May, with the restart date to be kept under constant review.
The league also confirmed an immediate advance of £125million to the EFL and the National League.
Queen to address the nation
The Queen is to address the nation on Sunday with a message about the coronavirus outbreak, Buckingham Palace has said.
Expectation had been growing about when the head of state would make a public statement about the unprecedented events that have seen the country go into lockdown to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “Her Majesty The Queen has recorded a special broadcast to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in relation to the coronavirus outbreak. The televised address will be broadcast at 8pm on Sunday 5th April, 2020.
“The address was recorded at Windsor Castle.”
Sainsbury’s prevents couples from shopping together
Supermarket Sainsbury’s has asked that couples do not shop together to enforce social distancing and minimise queues at the checkouts.
In a letter to customers, Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said: “From today, we are asking everyone to please only send one adult per household to our shops.
“This helps us keep people a safe distance apart and also helps to reduce queues to get into stores. Our store teams will be asking groups with more than one adult to choose one adult to shop and will ask other adults to wait. Children are of course welcome if they are not able to stay at home.”
London’s NHS Nightingale hospital declared open
Prince Charles has officially opened London’s new NHS Nightingale Hospital.
Speaking from his home in Scotland, the Prince of Wales said via video-link: “It is without doubt a spectacular and almost unbelievable feat of work in every sense, from its speed of construction – in just nine days as we’ve heard – to its size and the skills of those who have created it.
“An example, if ever one was needed, of how the impossible could be made possible and how we can achieve the unthinkable through human will and ingenuity.”
The Nightingale, named after nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, will need an army of up to 16,000 staff in clinical and ancillary roles to keep it running.
Split into more than 80 wards containing 42 beds each, the facility at the ExCel centre will be used to treat Covid-19 patients who have been transferred from other intensive care units across London.
Health secretary Matt Hancock called the temporary hospital an “extraordinary project”.
He also praised the NHS and the way its staff are dealing with the virus crisis.
“In these troubled times with this invisible killer stalking the whole world, the fact that in this country we have the NHS is even more valuable than before,” Hancock said.
Meanwhile, NHS England announced on Thursday night that two more Nightingale hospitals would be opened in Bristol and Harrogate.
The Bristol hospital – which will be at the University of the West of England – will be able to care for 1,000 patients, while the facility in Harrogate will have capacity for 500.
They will join other sites due to open at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre and Manchester’s Central Complex.
Walsall nurse Areema Nasreen dies after contracting coronavirus
A 36-year-old nurse and mother-of-three has reportedly died after contracting coronavirus.
Areema Nasreen was being treated at Walsall Manor Hospital in the West Midlands, where she worked.
On Friday, fellow nurse Rubi Akhtar paid tribute to Nasreen online, describing herself as “heartbroken”.
She said: “She was the most loveliest, genuine person you could ever meet, she went above and beyond for everyone she met. I’m so grateful that I had the honour to call her my best friend, she saw me at my best and my worst and accepted my every flaw.
“I am so broken that words can’t explain. I can’t believe I will not see your smile again. You made me the nurse that I am today, with your support, motivation and inspiration I am the nurse that I am today and I hope I can do you proud Areema.
“I love you so much and I will never forget you. You had so much to live for, I am sorry you didn’t get to see your kids grow up and I’m sorry that you didn’t get to complete your career.”
Another source said Nasreen’s husband had confirmed she passed away just after midnight on Friday.
Dr Samara Afzal tweeted: “I’m lost for words, I beg you all to stay at home and keep everyone safe.”
More than one million people have tested positive for coronavirus around the world
The number of confirmed cases topped one million just before 9pm UK time on Thursday, according to the tally from Johns Hopkins University.
However, the real figures are believed to be much higher because of testing shortages, differences in counting the dead and large numbers of mild cases that have gone unreported.
When the counter reached one million, the US accounted for about 236,000 of confirmed cases – more than any other country.
As hot spots flared around the US in places like New Orleans and southern California, it was New York City which was the hardest hit of all, with bodies loaded on to refrigerated mortuary trucks outside overwhelmed hospitals.
Globally, more than 53,000 people are believed to have died after contracting Covid-19.
Heathrow Airport to close one of its runways
Heathrow Airport will close one of its runways next week as air traffic continues to fall globally amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The London hub will operate its landings and takeoffs from one strip from Monday to “increase resilience and safety for staff, passengers and cargo” throughout the Covid-19 outbreak.
The airport has two runways and will alternate which one they keep open on a weekly basis, a spokesman said.
They added: “Although we are seeing significantly fewer flights at the moment, Heathrow will remain open so that we can continue to play a crucial role in helping to secure vital medical goods and food for the nation during this unprecedented epidemic.”
It comes the day after British Airways announced it was going to furlough more than 30,000 of its staff amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Gatwick Airport has also significantly scaled back its operations.
On Wednesday, the West Sussex airport closed one of its two terminals, and its runway will only be open for scheduled flights between 2pm and 10pm.
The measures will be in place for a minimum of one month.
Meanwhile, coach operator Megabus announced on Friday morning that it would suspend all its services in England and Wales by Sunday.
A Yorkshire hospice reveals the hurdles is it facing to provide end-of-life care to coronavirus patients
Overgate has been serving the people of Calderdale in West Yorkshire since 1981 with a network of 125 staff and more than 700 volunteers.
Now it wants to provide care for Covid-19 patients who cannot be saved.
However, according Tracey Wilcocks, director of clinical services at the hospice, a lack of protective equipment is a key problem.
She has a stock of 1,100 normal surgical masks remaining, enough to last 10 days or so – but just 22 of the FFP3 masks required to protect staff supporting coronavirus patients.
“Unlike big organisations, it’s just us to do the research and think and interpret it and think what does this mean for us. That was pretty scary,” she says.
As Overgate prepares to help patients, though, it faces a second crisis no NHS ward has to consider. The hospice, which runs on £4.3m a year, gets nearly two-thirds of its funding from the local community, whether through legacies, fundraising events, or its network of 14 shops.
Coronavirus has forced the hospice to shutter all of its shops and furlough their staff, and to cancel all of its upcoming events, including its Colour Run and Midnight Walk – two of its key sources of revenue.
“[We’re] not sleeping for fear of what might be coming,” Wilcocks said. “At the moment it’s still very much the calm before the inevitable storm.”
Parents are leaving jobs to look after their children during pandemic
Some parents have left their jobs to look after their children during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey has found.
As UK households ended a second week in lockdown, a survey by Save the Children found that some parents are gravely concerned about children’s mental health and wellbeing.
The survey also revealed a quarter of parents are juggling working from home with childcare duties, while 17% have reduced their working hours to take care of children.
A further 12% have been forced to take unpaid leave to look after their children, while one in 10 have had to leave their jobs completely.
The survey was carried out between March 24 and 25, involving 1,002 parents with children aged six to 18, as well as youngsters in the same age bracket.
More than half of parents (56%) are worried about their child’s mental health at a time when schools are closed and contact with friends and family is restricted as a result of social distancing.
Asked about the biggest practical concerns that came with looking after their families, parents said ensuring they have food supplies (48%), helping children with schoolwork (44%) and money (38%).
Other issues included job security (20%) and explaining the situation to their child (19%).
The survey was published as Save the Children launched a fundraising appeal for vulnerable children affected by coronavirus.
The children’s charity announced a new emergency grants programme in the UK to respond to the Covid-19 crisis, which aims to reach thousands of struggling families.
The programme will ensure families have access to early learning resources, as well as goods such as tables and beds, to help build home environments where children can continue learn.
It will also support vulnerable families with gifts in kind and food vouchers to help them make ends meet.