this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the prime minister sends a letter to every household in the uk warning that the coronavirus crisis will get worse before it gets better. ministers say the public should prepare for a "significant period" of social distancing. i wish i could predict when this will end but it is vitally important that, at the moment and four weeks ahead, that people maintain a strict social distancing guidelines that people have laid out. ten thousand people in italy have died from the virus — the highest death toll in the world — but its health minister hopes infections have now peaked. spain is to introduce even tighter limits on who can leave their homes as it announces 838 virus deaths
in the past 2a hours, a new record. in the uk, government—commissioned trials for possible treatments have begun. we speak to one of the scientists leading this early research. and the world's oldest man is celebrating his 100 and twelfth birthday, but there'll be no party due to the restrictions. hello and welcome to audiences in the uk and around the world. we're covering all the latest coronavirus developments here in britain and globally. the death toll worldwide has reached nearly 31,000 and there are now more than 665,000 confirmed cases.
the uk's prime minister boris johnson has sent a letter to every household warning that the crisis will get worse before it gets better. more than 1,000 people have now died in the uk. senior uk government minister michael gove has said people should prepare for a "significant period" when social distancing measures are still in place. across europe, the number of people killed by the virus has risen to more than 20,000. italy has seen the most deaths from coronavirus and the country's deputy health minister says he believes italy is currently experiencing the peak of the outbreak there. elsewhere, australia is reporting a decline in the rate of infections. in south korea, everyone arriving from overseas will have to undergo two weeks of quarantine. the country has nearly 10,000 confirmed cases. our first report is from andy moore with the latest uk developments.
the nhs is gearing up for the coming storm with the preparation of emergency hospitals in major cities across the country. this one in east london is due to take its first patients at the end of the week. it comes as a grim milestone is reached in the casualty figures, a total of more than 1000 people have died from coronavirus. over 17,000 people have tested positive. the prime minister is just one of them but, from self isolation at downing street, he is still chairing emergency meetings, and now he is writing to 30 million households across the uk. in the letter he says... he also says...
at the daily downing street briefing, we were told that every one of us had a part to play in keeping the death toll as low as possible. if it is less than 20,000, as sir patrick vallance said, that would be a good result, although every death, as i've said, is absolutely a tragedy. but we should not be complacent about that. although that would be a good result, it will only happen if we stop the transmission of the virus. the first 2000 food parcels have now been delivered to old and vulnerable people who have been advised to stay at home. by the end of the week, it is hoped 50,000 packages will have been sent out. andy moore, bbc news. more on that story about boris johnson's letter to the public. let's speak to our political correspondent helen catt
who is in westminster. helen, we have had a tv address from borisjohnson a few days ago and now a letter. why is that? we have had coverage on these rules as well but this is to make sure that every single person knows what these rules are. it comes at a cost of about £5.8 million to send out this letter but it is notjust a letter that will arrive, there will also be a leaflet that comes with it which is going to summarise advice on hand washing, it will give you advice on what the symptoms of coronavirus are and it will reinforce those rules on when you can and can't leave your home. as andy's report said there, what boris johnson home. as andy's report said there, what borisjohnson says about the rules is that the more we follow them, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner we return to normal. for many people, we are six days
into these more stringent rules, many people will be wondering, how long might that be? that was a question that was put to one of boris johnson's question that was put to one of borisjohnson‘s senior ministers, michael gove earlier and this is what he had to say. . the reason that everyone is making the sacrifices is that all of us have people who we love who are at risk from this virus and so all of us are risk from this virus and so all of us are exercising that degree of discipline because we want to make sure that those who we do love get the care that they need at the time that they need it, so i can't make an accurate prediction, but everyone does have to prepare for a significant period when these measures are still in place. the response so far from the british people has been fantastic as i say, i wish i could predict when this will end but it is vitally important that at the moment, and four weeks
ahead, people maintain a strict social distancing guidelines are to be laid out. and of course, the prime minister has tested positive himself and is in isolation. yes he is, he is in the flat in downing street, we have seen pictures of him taking meetings and having video conference calls and leading meetings from his isolation, so that government work and continue as normal, michael gove is talking about that earlier. there has been some confusion about a lot of the rules that go with this and michael gove their clarifying a few bits there, lots of people asking, for example, what happens in terms of daily exercise, how long are we allowed to leave our homes for? he was suggesting that an appropriate amount of time might be an hour walking or 30 minutes running. there are also other things that the labour party, the shadow health
secretaryjonathan labour party, the shadow health secretary jonathan ashworth, would like to see more clarity on some issues, he wants clarity for workers on who and who should not be going to work, particularly in areas like construction where we have seen confusion over the last few weeks, where it is often difficult to maintaina where it is often difficult to maintain a safe social distancing rules. helen, thank you very much. the italian deputy health minister, pierpaolo sileri, says he believes italy is currently experiencing the peak of the coronavirus outbreak. more than 10,000 people have died there: the highest death toll anywhere in the world. he told the bbc that the country might see a drop in the death rate in a week or ten days' time. 10,000 people with the virus have died in italy — more than any other country. mr sileri was speaking to the bbc‘s andrew marr. if lockdown starts to work,
we started lockdown in the middle of march, we started the first lockdown between the eighth and the 9th of march so obviously we need to wait at least 1a, 17, 18 days after that to see the reduction of numbers of infected people. over the last few days, we had an increase of infection and this was due to the increase of swabs, so we are searching more, and obviously we have more results of positive people, mainly with low or without symptoms. could i ask you to explain exactly what is changed? over the last two or three days, we have started to do more swabs, especially to trace... you are testing more? we are testing more, exactly. 0bviously, when you test more,
you find more positive people and this will explain the increased number of positive that we found over the last two days, but i believe that we are living in the peak of this epidemic. i believe in one week's time, maximum ten days, we will see a drop, a significant drop of positive cases. spain's death toll rose by 838 cases overnight to more than 6,500 — marking the highest daily rise in fatalities. the government has ordered all nonessential workers to stay at home for the next two weeks. spain is the second worst—hit country in europe, behind italy, with nearly 79,000 cases. journalist graham keeley has the latest developments from madrid. the government are going to approve
these new restrictions, they will come into force from tomorrow, it will mean that essentially nonessential workers, for example construction workers, postal workers, people working on production lines which don't relate to the epidemic, car workers, some opticians and people running shops that are not related to food, they will not be allowed to go to work for the next two weeks. they will have to stay at home. in terms of the number of fatalities there, spain, like italy, suffering particularly badly, is there any sense in spain as to whether that country is approaching the peak of the virus, in terms of the damage it is doing? well, the government is saying that they are cheered to some extent by the fact that the number of cases is beginning to level out. however when you speak to doctors in hospitals,
they say that that may be what the government is saying but it seems that actually the problem is that not enough people are being tested because there is a shortage of testing kits, so the real picture may not be quite so optimistic. how is the health service coping in spain? it is not, basically. as i said, when i've spoken to doctors in the past week, they have said we don't have enough resources, we don't have enough protective gear to wear and our hospitals are completely overwhelmed, particularly the intensive care units. they are very scared themselves to go into these units and work every day because of the obvious risk of infection and younger and younger people are getting infected and they are afraid that that may happen to them. is there a feeling that spain wasn't prepared for this crisis? absolutely. that is the general feeling, they feel that a crisis of this
proportion was far too much for the existing health system and possibly that spain acted too late to bring in a state of emergency which has been in operation for the past two weeks. what is the mood, as far as you can pick it up generally, people happy to obey all restrictions and social distancing restrictions and regulations? yes they are, there is generally a lot of cooperation with the authorities. obviously there are some people who disregard the restrictions and the police have made over 900 arrests, but generally people are staying in their homes and not going out for unnecessary reasons. the general mood is trying to work together to overcome this. to date, no confirmed treatments for patients with coronavirus have been found. but trials are being conducted
into whether drugs used for malaria and hiv could make a difference. hydroxychloroquine is one of these and a randomised trial in britain into its use among people over 50 and with early symptoms is starting. in 0xford for us is professor christopher butler, who is both a gp working in south—west wales but also chief investigator of a randomised trial into whether hydroxychloroquine can help the over 50s who have symptoms of covid—19. what are your hopes for the trial and what you think the drug may do? well, we havejust been hearing there about how much pressure that is on secondary care and intensive ca re is on secondary care and intensive care units and ventilators and the
trial that we are leaving is called the principal trial, which is, it has the aim of giving people treatment a bit earlier on in the illness before they need hospitalisation in order to try and prevent disease progression, such that they need to go to a hospital and receive oxygen and ventilation. of course, we hope that it may help them recover early. the niche of this intervention right now is aimed at those who are at higher risk of complications, but in the community and not yet that sick that they need to go to hospital and we are hoping to go to hospital and we are hoping to find drugs that might prevent that kind of disease progression and help them get better quickly in general practice, in the community, and take pressure off the secondary ca re and take pressure off the secondary care services. just to be clear, this is a treatment rather than a vaccine and, how would this
particular one work? well, there is some early evidence that this drug, hydroxychloroquine, might prevent viral replication and attachment of the virus to the cells and getting into the cells, so it might, it also has anti—inflammatory properties which might play a critical role in the development of severe lung complications. as you mentioned, this drug has been around for a long time, treating malaria and connective tissue diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and so forth and it is a well—known drug, it may prevent the virus from getting into the cells and having generalised anti—inflammatory properties which could be beneficial. i think when president trump mentioned it, he called it a game changer, would you agree? well, i think we absolutely need much better clinical evidence
before we start making assertions like that. there is preliminary laboratory evidence that this drug might be useful in terms of limiting viral replication and there are three studies, all of them controversial, which might or might not... so we are in a position where we simply do not know whether this drug will benefit people in the way we have outlined, whether it will make a difference to their clinical care. there is preliminary evidence, proof of principle you might say, but actually, it would be a huge mistake to provide this drug on a large scale, without the proper evidence that it actually helps people, because there is no drug on this planet that doesn't have side effects, including hydroxychloroquine and we shouldn't be making drugs widely available
that aren't proven to benefit people more than they harm them and we are exactly in that situation where we simply do not know whether the drug will be good to use in a wide scale and it is for that reason that we have to be rigorous clinical trials to see if there is an effect that benefits people before we start supplying drugs like this on a large scale. you talk about rigorous clinical trials, but what aren't the logistics of organising that kind of trial in the current situation, presumably you need thousands of people to undergo those trials and you can't really be tested until you go into hospitalfor coronavirus, so how will you find these people for the trials? we do trials through general practice and in the first instance, when people contact care providers who are eligible and the ones who will be eligible for this trial are people who are 50 and over
with certain underlying conditions and anybody over 65, with or without underlying conditions. if people like that start developing symptoms of the virus, high—temperature, new calf, they make contact with the health care services and they might be directed towards a screening procedure where they might then be offered participation in the trial. for the purposes of the trial, we will be swabbing everyone and randomising them to receive either the hydroxychloroquine or the current usual ca re the hydroxychloroquine or the current usual care and we will swab everybody in the trial and do an analysis for all of those who. .. everybody in the trial and do an analysis for all of those who... and in addition, we will analyse those who turn out to be positive.
incidentally, i have had the illness myself and have been designing this trial in between bouts of fever and cough. it has been a challenge for me because i haven't been tested although i have attempted to get tested twice, so i take your point that in absence of widespread testing, it is difficult, but for those who are in trial, we will make testing available for all participants. 0k, and this drug is just one of the drugs that people are looking at, there are others, aren't there? other drugs that deal with hiv. do you think that somewhere out there, there is something that can at least alleviate the symptoms of this?|j something that can at least alleviate the symptoms of this? i am sure, there are drugs such as paracetamol which will help people
feel better, particularly if they have mild illness and most people who get this to have mild illness and many will be asymptomatic, so paracetamol and supportive measures will be useful for everybody, i am sure there are specific treatments that will be developed, i'm sure we will get a vaccine, these might be some way off now, but a drug like hydroxychloroquine, i think of it is going to work, most of the trials, most of the intervention have been evaluated in hospitals, in people who are already quite sick and it might be quite a heavy lift to expect something like hydroxychloroquine to be making a dramatic difference when people are already on ventilators and are very ill, so giving them earlier on in the illness, particularly those at high risk, i think that is where these kind of interventions might play an important role in keeping people out of hospital. so, this
would be one of the first trials donein would be one of the first trials done in primary care for treatment in earlier stages of the disease. thank you so much for talking to us about those developments, important developments and good luck with your continuing recovery from the illness as well. south korea says it will quarantine all new arrivals from overseas for a fortnight. officials say half of all new confirmed cases in recent days have been diagnosed in people who have come into the country. 0ur correspondent laura bicker was at incheon airport as a flight arrived from london. this setup is all about protecting south korea from a fresh outbreak of coronavirus. all arrivals from europe will be tested at one of the stations. there are eight of them, all standing by. over the last few days, around half of all south korea's new coronavirus cases have
come from overseas. many of them from europe. and that is one of the reasons why everyone is being tested. to wait for the results, you are taken on a bus to a residential centre and get your results in about 12 hours. these testing centres are outside, but others within the country, you get this sort of plastic phone booth—type testing service, where you can walk in and be tested in a matter of minutes. before you arrive here into this area, you go through a series of checks. a temperature check, then you have to fill in all your contact details and they verify that. all arrivals have to download this application on their mobile phone and have to fill in their symptoms for 1h days while they are in self isolation. if they fail to do so, the authorities will track them down. when it comes to self isolation, the government has said that anyone who breaks these rules,
if south korean, will be fined, and if you are a foreigner you will be deported. the latest measure that they have introduced is that all passengers coming in on flights must pass a temperature check. if they don't, they will not be allowed on the flight. now, the south korean authorities are coming under increasing pressure to close their borders. people here feel like their own outbreak has been dealt with. the one thing they are worried about now is people coming from outside the country and reintroducing this virus. a fresh cluster could emerge. the world's oldest man is celebrating his 100 and twelfth birthday today — though he'll be spending it in isolation. he's been talking to our correspondent duncan kennedy. they are britain's oldest man and
woman. incredibly, both are 112 yea rs old woman. incredibly, both are 112 years old today. bob from hampshire is now the worlds oldest living man. he was born on the 29th of march in 1908, he has seen everything, but never coronavirus. which means, only his family and carers can get close for his birthday. with this virus around, who knows what is going to happen. there will certainly be no parties, no special visitors, happen. there will certainly be no parties, no specialvisitors, i don't know. joan did have a little party. she did have a party in quarantine with her partner ken, who
is 92. but it wasn't always like that. joan's early life was in london and africa. speaking last year at her home, she looks back on her school days. i was very naughty. two others went down to the town to the shops and because of our uniform, they recognised us. although joan and bob uniform, they recognised us. althouthoan and bob live in neighbouring counties, they have never met. but they do share a philosophy that is relevant today. even in adversity, they say, family and friends are at the heart of everything. now it's time for a look at the weather with matt taylor. hello. the clocks may have taken a step forward to british summer time,
the weather has taken a step back into winter have already seen some sleet and snow showers across parts of the uk today and, to go with that, a pretty raw wind, making it feel especially cold across england and wales. still showers, mainly across northern england and through parts of scotland. some of those will continue this afternoon. a few rain showers further south, but, actually, most will be dry and certainly across western areas, staying dry throughout. varying amounts of cloud but there will be some sunshine breaking through, so some longer sunny spells potentially later this afternoon towards the south and east, but it is here we will see the winds are the strongest and across eastern england, the biggest effect on how it will feel. temperatures already below where they should be for the time of the year and in that wind, it will feel closer to around freezing for many of you. so a pretty chilly day in store but, of course, without heading into british summertime, it does mean the evenings will be lighter for longer. here is just an example of some of the sunset times across the uk later. you can check where yours lies on the bbc weather app. now, into this evening and overnight, the showers will still continue across parts of northern england and northern
scotland, as well as down through some south—eastern districts of england. many parts in central western areas will stay dry with clearer skies. because you've got the clearer skies here, you're going to be more susceptible to a frost, shown by the blue colours on the charts, as we start monday morning. so it will be a chilly start here but this is where we see the best of the morning sunshine. rain and sleet showers across parts of eastern england, some wintry showers in the north of scotland, too. and it's these areas where the wind will still be a keen feature but, elsewhere, wins a little bit lighter but not enough to stop those showers drifting further westwards through the day, so a greater chance of a few showers in the west through monday afternoon. but with the winds starting to fall a bit lighter, the air a little less chilly, the temperatures will start to lift. we still have that wind in a chilly north—westerly direction around this area of high pressure out to the west of us as we go through monday night to tuesday. the greater chance, though, for some widespread frost as we start the day, but after a sunny, frosty start, more cloud builds up, spread out into the afternoon so the second half of the day always a little bit grey.
the greater chance of a few showers in the far north. and it's across the north, across scotland, northern ireland, more likely to see some longer spells of rain later this week and some pretty strong winds as well. further south, england and wales, staying dry with a few sunny spells. take care. hello this is bbc news.
the headlines... the prime minister sends a letter to every household in the uk warning that the coronavirus crisis will get worse before it gets better. ministers say the public should prepare for a "significant period" of social distancing. i wish i could predict when this will end but it is vitally important that, at the moment and for weeks ahead, that people maintain a strict social distancing guidelines that have been laid out. 10,000 people in italy have died from the virus — the highest death toll in the world — but its health minister hopes infections have now peaked. spain is to introduce even tighter limits on who can leave their homes as it announces 838 virus deaths in the past 2a hours — a new record. and the world's oldest man is celebrating his 112th birthday, but there'll be no party due to the restrictions.