Coronavirus: The 17 major COVID-19 developments that happened on Tuesday

Shoppers queue to get into a Tesco as supermarkets implement social distancing. (Getty Images)

Here’s what you need to know on 31 March. This article was updated at 5pm

Deaths: There has been a spike in the number of deaths reported, as officials begin including deaths in the community in the daily figures. Previously figures were only recording the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 who died in hospitals in the UK. Read more here.

The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK is now 1,808. It’s a jump of 393 from Monday’s death toll of 1,415: by far the biggest day-on-day increase since the first death on 5 March. According to figures from each country’s health authority on Tuesday, a further 367 people died in England, with 13 in Scotland, seven in Wales and six in Northern Ireland. Read more here.

Police: One of Britain’s most senior police officers has urged the public not to judge officers too harshly in their policing of coronavirus lockdown measures amid growing criticism of the force’s responses. Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Neil Basu says officers should strive to preserve the public’s confidence through persuasion and education, rather than automatic enforcement, after allegations of “over-zealous” policing of social distancing regulations. Read more here.

Policy: Women in England can now have at-home abortions after the rules were relaxed during the coronavirus outbreak. After initially saying women would be unable to terminate an early pregnancy until the pandemic has passed, officials are now allowing two pills to be taken at home “on a temporary basis”. Read more here.

Grant Shapps was slapped down by Number 10 after saying people should only go food shopping once a week during the lockdown in the UK. Government guidance says to go shopping for essentials "as infrequently as possible" but does not set a limit on the number of visits. Read more here.

NHS: NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics will have their work visas automatically extended for a year free of charge so they can “focus on fighting coronavirus”. The measure announced by the home secretary Priti Patel will apply to about 2,800 medical staff whose permits expire before 1 October. Read more here.

The first thousands of new ventilators will be completed and delivered to the health service next week, Michael Gove said in the government’s daily briefing. He also said the UK needed to go further and faster to do more testing to get people back to work. Read more here.

Science: A study recently published in Nature highlighted the fact that COVID-19 is definitely not man-made, and is the product of natural evolution. But ScienceAlert reports it also suggests a scenario where the virus has been circulating undetected for some time, possibly years. Read more here.

Draconian social distancing measures may have already saved up to 120,000 lives across Europe during the coronavirus pandemic. An Imperial College London report found lockdown measures taken in 11 countries, including the UK, have potentially averted 120,000 deaths. Read more here.

Shopping: Tesco has ramped up its home delivery and Click & Collect services after a surge in demand in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. It comes as it’s revealed a record £10.8bn ($13bn) was spent on groceries in the UK in March, as fears about the spread of novel coronavirus and a possible lockdown drove people to stock up. Read more here.

Rest of the world

A world-renowned surgeon who separated conjoined twins four years ago has died after being diagnosed with coronavirus. Dr James Goodrich, a paediatric neurosurgeon at New York City's Montefiore Medical Center, died on Monday after suffering complications related to COVID-19. Read more here.

A 12-year-old Belgian girl has become the youngest known person in Europe to die after contracting coronavirus. Authorities in Belgium said the child was by far the youngest among the country's more than 700 victims. Read more here.

German scientists have announced what they described as a first-of-its-kind study into how coronavirus spreads and how it can be contained, using the country’s worst-hit district as a real-life laboratory. Read more here.

The number of people who have died in the US after testing positive for coronavirus has risen to 3,393, exceeding China's 3,305 reported fatalities. Read more here.

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Positive news

A herd of goats took over a Welsh town where most of the residents are social distancing because of the coronavirus outbreak. Dramatic pictured showed dozens of Kashmiri goats roaming the streets of Llandudno, north Wales, uninterrupted. Read more here.

Two more flights carrying British citizens home from Peru have landed at Gatwick Airport. The British Airways flights took off from Lima on Monday evening and arrived safely in the UK on Tuesday morning. Read more here.

One of the 750,000 volunteers who signed up to help the NHS through the coronavirus crisis said he hopes to bring fun and happiness to those who need it most. Self-confessed chatterbox Alex O’Reilly, originally from Tamworth, said people want to stand up to the virus and come together “as one” as the country answered the biggest call-out for volunteers in England since the Second World War. Read more here.

Coronavirus: what happened today

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