Coronavirus update news – Government admits lock down could last ‘significant period’ as Scotland wants measures in place until June

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is writing a letter to every household in the UK to urge the public to stay at home during the coronavirus “national emergency”.

In his letter, he will warn each household of even stricter lockdown measures as the outbreak worsens and the number of Covid-19 patients begins to reach unsustainable levels.

The NHS is preparing for its most difficult week ever as the coronavirus outbreak continues to cause chaos across the country.

Makeshift wards, made up of converted old clinic spaces, offices and surgical theatres holding 33,000 extra beds, give hope of maximising capacity to help patients needing life-saving treatment.

The number of UK deaths reached 1,228 on Sunday, after 29 more deaths were recorded. It is the second largest day-on-day rise in the number of deaths reported since the outbreak began.

In the US, the number of fatalities doubled in two days to surpass 2,000. There are now more than 660,000 coronavirus cases across the globe, and more than 30,000 people have died.

Please allow the liveblog a moment to load below:


  • Every house in UK to receive letter from Boris Johnson
  • NHS to face toughest week as coronavirus spread worsens
  • Length of lockdown will depend on public’s behaviour, says Michael Gove
  • Initial target of 10,000 coronavirus tests a day hit early

Syria reports first coronavirus death

Syria has reported its first fatality from the highly-contagious coronavirus, reported state news agency SANA.

According to the agency, a woman died upon arrival at an emergency room and tested positive for the virus, but did not say where the incident happened.

Syria has five confirmed infections. The country has closed schools, restaurants and nightclubs in preparation for an outbreak, and imposed a nighttime curfew last week.

The war torn country’s health care system is particularly vulnerable to collapsing under the weight of an outbreak, after being bashed by nearly a decade of civil war.

NHS hospital frontline worker has died, says NHS England

Consultant Amged El-Hawrani, 55, has died of coronavirus while fighting to treat people with the disease.

The Ear, Nose and Throat trainer tested positive for Covid-19 and died at Leicester Royal Infirmary, University Hospitals of Derby and Burton (UHDB) have said.

Gavin Boyle, chief executive at UHDB, said: “Mr El-Hawrani, known to his colleagues as Amged, was an extremely hard working consultant and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) trainer who was well liked at the Trust and particularly at Queen’s Hospital Burton where he worked.

“Amged played a leading role in the merger between the hospitals in Burton and Derby and helped bring the two clinical teams together. He was keen to support colleagues outside of ENT and was well known across a wide number of departments.

“He was known for his dedication and commitment to his patients. He had also raised funds for the hospitals, including climbing in the Himalayas with a group of friends some years ago. The whole UHDB family are desperately saddened at losing Amged who was such a valued and much loved colleague.

“On behalf of everyone here at UHDB, including our patients and the communities we serve, I would like to offer our sincere condolences to his family.

“We would also like to thank our colleagues at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust for their professionalism and the compassionate care they have shown for Amged and his family.”

China at fault for not being clear on “scale, the nature, the infectiousness” of coronavirus, says Gove

Cabinet minister Michael Gove has blamed China for failing to curb the spread of Covid-19.

His comments prompted accusations of “feeble excuses” and putting Chinese people in the UK at risk.

Our Deputy Political Editor Rob Merrick reports below:
Michael Gove blames China for failing to stop spread of coronavirus.

Italy lockdown extension “inevitable”, says minister

The lockdown in Italy will be “inevitably” extended beyond 3 April, said the country’s regional affairs minister on Sunday.

Francesco Boccia said in an interview with SkyTG24: “The measures that were due on April 3 will inevitably be extended.

“I think that it would be inappropriate and irresponsible to talk of re-opening (schools, stores and production sites).”

He added that the timings would be decided by the Prime Minister and the cabinet “on the grounds of the data of the scientific community” advising his government.

Italy has so far reported 92,472 coronavirus cases, and has the most deaths of any virus-stricken country in the world with over 10,000 deaths.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza asked Italians on Sunday not to “let the guard down now.”

“We would cancel out all the efforts made until now to rein in contagion. The sacrifices of the last weeks are serious” he told newspaper Corriere della Sera in an interview.

Reporting by Reuters

US will have “millions of coronavirus cases”, over 100,000 deaths, says govt expert

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government’s foremost infectious disease expert, said the US will have “millions of cases” of Covid-19 and predicted between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.

The outbreak has pushed the US to the top of the list of countries with the most reported infections.

Speaking to CNN’s State of the Union, Dr Fauci said he would only support rolling back guidelines on social distancing in lesser-impacted areas if there is enhanced availability of testing to monitor these areas.

He added things were “a little iffy there” right now.

The US has reported more than 124,000 cases and more than 2,100 deaths so far.

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