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Boris Johnson has urged the public to resist the temptation to “get out there” and enjoy the “fine weather” over the weekend, amid fears that rising temperatures could encourage people to ignore the nationwide lockdown. In his latest video update to the nation from Downing Street, the Prime Minister said he was feeling better but had to remain indoors for now as he continuing to suffer from a temperature. It comes as the UK death toll has surpassed the official figures in China as 684 more coronavirus deaths were recorded in just one day. Meanwhile, the Queen will make a special broadcast to the nation about the crisis on Sunday, Buckingham Palace has announced. Matt Hancock was back for today’s Downing Street press conference, and thanked the British public because “by staying at home you are saving lives” as it gives the NHS time to expand its bed capacity as “coronavirus continues its grim march”.
Among those who have died is Areema Nasreen, a 36-year-old staff nurse who died in Walsall Manor Hospital, where she had worked for 16 years. She joins a grimly growing list of healthcare workers who have given their lives. In other heartbreaking news, the family of the 13-year-old boy who died of coronavirus this week will miss his funeral after his siblings developed symptoms. And if all this, and the Prime Minister’s message, are not enough to persuade you to stay at home, read the accounts of these two vulnerable people: Emma who is trapped in her bedroom and Paul Kendall who cannot avoid contact with his two young children.
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Britain heading for major recession as lockdown bites
The UK’s services sector has suffered its worst slowdown on record as coronavirus devastates businesses and forces restaurants, pubs and other businesses to close their doors. A closely followed chart – IHS’s Markit’s services purchasing managers’ index – gave its worst reading on record of 34.5. Any reading below 50 indicates a contraction in business. Follow the latest here. The UK’s dire numbers followed even worse figures in the eurozone, where Italy recorded the worst reading ever seen on its services gauge – just 17.4. It marks the index’s biggest monthly drop since the survey began in July 1998. Read on for details. And here is Italy’s property market can tell us about the future of UK house prices.
Prince Charles opens NHS Nightingale by videolink
The Prince of Wales has hailed the “spectacular and almost unbelievable feat” of building the NHS Nightingale Hospital, as he says: “In this dark time, it will be a shining light.” The Prince, undertaking the first “virtual” plaque unveiling in British royal history, appeared via video link to officially open the building. Click here to see him appearing from his home at Birkhall, Scotland, in front of a backdrop of family photographs, where he said he was “one of the lucky ones” who suffered Covid-19 with only mild symptoms. It is worth reading Guy Kelly’s reconstruction of how Britain’s biggest hospital was built from scratch in under two weeks.
At a glance: More coronavirus headlines
Comment and analysis
- ‘It feels empowering’ | Like many women, I’ve shaved my head during lockdown
- 45 minutes for the worst haircut ever | What happened when I tried ‘auto-barbering’
- My Splendid Isolation | The Edge – ‘I’m using this time to take stock of what’s important’
Business and money briefing
Airline budget | Ryanair insists it will hit full-year profit forecasts despite a collapse in global air travel. The budget airline said that its fleet will be grounded for at least the next two months, as it halved pay for staff including senior management. Read on for details.
For former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, life in self-isolation amid the outbreak of Covid-19 is similar to that of an astronaut in space. Hadfield rose to fame when he filmed his cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity on-board the International Space Station. He explained to The Telegraph how astronauts manage to cope with self-isolation.
Also in the news today
Bill Withers dies | US singer-songwriter Bill Withers, whose hits included Lean On Me, has died aged 81, his family said. The influential soul artist also wrote Ain’t No Sunshine, Lovely Day and Just The Two of Us, among other much-loved songs. He died of heart complications, according to a statement from his family. Read on for more.
World news: One story you must read
Aircraft carrier captain | The US Navy has relieved the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt of command only days after he requested assistance from his superiors to deal with an outbreak of coronavirus aboard the aircraft carrier. More than 100 of the ship’s 5,000-strong complement have been confirmed with the virus. Read on for details.
Have I Got News for You, BBC One, 9pm | Filmed without a studio audience, BBC Breakfast reporter Steph McGovern presents tonight’s edition, with journalist Helen Lewis and comedian Miles Jupp joining team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton. Read on for more.
Telegraph awards | Telegraph.co.uk has won Website of the Year at the British Press Awards, one of 11 awards, more than any other newspaper. The Telegraph also won Investigation of the Year, Scoop of the Year and Front Page of the Year for exposing allegations of sexual and racist harassment against Sir Philip Green in a series lifting a lid on the British MeToo scandal. Here are all the winners.