Coronavirus: The 15 major COVID-19 developments that happened on Thursday

Rebecca C. Taylor
·4-min read
A person is swabbed at a drive-through coronavirus testing site in a car park at Chessington World of Adventures, in southwest London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
A person is swabbed at a drive-through coronavirus testing site in a car park at Chessington World of Adventures. (Getty Images)

Here’s what you need to know on 2 April. This article was updated at 5pm

Deaths: The number of UK patients who died after testing positive for coronavirus has risen by 569 to 2,921 from Wednesday’s tally of 2,352. It is the biggest daily increase, surpassing the previous day’s huge hike of 563. Read more here.

Comedian Eddie Large has died at the age of 78 after contracting coronavirus. The star’s son Ryan McGinnis made the announcement on Facebook. Read more here.

Award-winning singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger, best known for his work with US rock band Fountains Of Wayne, has reportedly died at the age of 52 after being diagnosed with coronavirus. Read more here.

Politics: Boris Johnson is still showing symptoms of coronavirus six days after he began self-isolating. He still has a temperature and may not be able to leave quarantine as originally planned. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, is out of his self-isolation. Read more here.

Policy: Matt Hancock has made £3 million available to community pharmacies, and is writing off £13.4 billion in NHS debt. Read more here.

Testing: NHS workers who had turned up to a COVID-19 testing centre at Ikea were turned away because they did not have appointments. Long queues of cars built up at the test site at the Wembley, north London, branch of the Swedish furniture giant as medical staff tried to get tested. But many were turned away without having a test as they were told they needed to show emails that had arranged a time and date. Read more here.

New testing machines that can diagnose coronavirus in less than 90 minutes are being used at a hospital in Cambridge. Ten of the portable machines, called Samba II, are being used at Addenbrooke’s Hospital this week and are expected to be rolled out to hospitals across the country. Read more here.

Matt Hancock announced a five pillar plan for wider testing, saying he wanted to get to 100,000 tests a day by the end of April. Read more here.

Crime: A pub in Nottinghamshire has been shut down and stripped of alcohol under the new COVID-19 lockdown rules after reports it was holding a lock-in for regulars. Officers were called to The Bluebell pub in Mansfield Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield, over the weekend. Read more here.

Finance: British Airways has furloughed its staff due to the coronavirus crisis, the Unite union has said. The airline was in talks to suspend 36,000 cabin crew, ground staff and engineers. Unite said the company will introduce a modified version of the government's job retention scheme, so that workers will be furloughed on 80% of pay. Read more here.

Rest of the world

Spain’s coronavirus death toll has climbed by 950 to more than 10,000, which is thought to be the largest daily increase in COVID-19 related deaths. The country now has 10,003 deaths and more than 110,000 infections. Read more here.

The number of US citizens filing for unemployment benefits spiked to a record-breaking 6.648 million for the week ended 28 March. Read more here.

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Positive news

Morrisons is going to give their frontline staff bonuses for working during the coronavirus pandemic. Marks & Spencer had already promised staff an extra 15% pay, while Aldi, Sainsbury's and Tesco have pledged 10%. Asda meanwhile has offered an extra week's pay in June, working out as a 25% bonus for the month. Read more here.

Grateful Brits are set to take to their doorsteps once again this evening to publicly applaud NHS workers battling coronavirus. The second Clap for Carers will happen at 8pm on Thursday evening, though there are calls for people to shout and demand more personal protective equipment for workers. Read more here.

A heartwarming image has captured the moment NHS staff at a London hospital battling coronavirus were treated to a surprise breakfast by airline staff. After a “horrific night shift”, workers at north London’s Whittington Hospital were greeted by staff from British Airways, EasyJet and Norwegian after working overnight on the frontline against COVID-19. Read more here.

Coronavirus: what happened today

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