Coronavirus: These are today's 17 main developments

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Boris Johnson has stopped gatherings of more than two people. (Getty Images)
Boris Johnson has stopped gatherings of more than two people. (Getty Images)

Here’s what you need to know on 23 March. This article was updated at 8.30pm

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Deaths: Another four people have died in Wales, bringing the nation’s total to 16. Scotland has reported the same number of deaths, taking its total to 14. A further 46 people died in England, taking its total to 303. Read more here.

Policy: Boris Johnson has brought an end to gatherings of more than two people who don’t live in the same house. He said people should only leave their homes for exercise, to pick up essential items, or to go to work if it is vital. In an address to the nation he said police will have powers to issue fines or disperse gatherings of more than two people. The measures will be looked at in three weeks’ time to see if they can be relaxed. Read more here.

Political correspondents were reassured that the prime minister is looking into specific measures to help self-employed people while the pandemic continues. Read more here.

The army will deliver supplies to frontline NHS staff as medics report shortages of vital equipment. Hospitals have been told the army will help and they can expect to receive much more personal protective equipment. Read more here.

Sport: Premier League bosses have scheduled the next meeting to discuss the coronavirus response for 3 April. As it stands, there is no football in any league until the end of April. According to the Press Association, the 3 April date had already been pencilled in as one of the league’s regular shareholders’ meetings, but will be used as the latest of the competition’s emergency gatherings to discuss contingencies for the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more here.

Gary Lineker went into self-isolation on Monday after his son George Lineker displayed the lesser-known symptoms of coronavirus – loss of sense of taste and smell. Read more here.

Finance: Laura Ashley is to close 70 stores permanently, with 721 people losing their jobs. The firm was in trouble before the coronavirus outbreak, but the pandemic thwarted the rescue plan talks. Read more here.

Costa, McDonald’s and Primark are among stores and cafes to announce closures today. McDonald’s will close all its branches at 7pm on Monday, having previously swapped to takeaway-only. Photographs showed huge queues at drive-throughs as people got their last takeaways from the burger chain. Read more here.

Courts: The trial of those charged with the murder of PC Andrew Harper has collapsed after three of the jurors were forced to self-isolate. The judge had pressed on with two members in isolation, but when a third had to do so on Monday he discharged the whole panel “with a heavy heart”. It comes as the courts issued new guidance for scheduled jury trials to make sure they only went ahead if social distancing rules could be followed. Read more here.

Education: Parents are being warned about online dangers as hundreds of thousands started their first day of home-schooling. Children, except those of key workers, are now learning from home, but experts have reminded parents to continue being vigilant to grooming and inappropriate content online. Read more here.

Rest of the world

The Spanish football league will be suspended until further notice, LaLiga and the Spanish football federation (RFEF) said on Monday. All matches had been suspended on 12 March after Real Madrid’s whole team went into isolation. Read more here.

Canada said it would not send an Olympic team to Tokyo this summer, as the International Olympic Committee faced growing calls to make a definitive decision on the games. Read more here.

Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar does not think the country’s parks will have to close yet despite fears people are not practicing social distancing well enough. Read more here.

Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for coronavirus in prison, where he is serving 23 years for sex offences. He is now in isolation. Read more here.

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

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Explained: Symptoms, latest advice and how it compares to the flu

Positive news

A restaurant that is trying to supply NHS workers with free meals during the crisis said hundreds of people have sent messages of support since it launched the scheme. Punch Bar & Tapas in Honley, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, aims to send 200 free meals per week over the next three months, with workers able to choose from options like braised meatballs, roast red onion gravy and sautéd new potatoes; and Uno beef and pork ragout, pasta, grated Parmesan and Italian herbs. Read more here.

NHS workers got a round of applause at Tesco during the designated hour given to them to shop, to help them avoid crowds of panic buyers. Read more here.

More than 800,000 people tuned in to a PE lesson with Joe Wicks at 9am on the first day of school at home for most children. The personal trainer, known as the Body Coach, conducted the lesson despite having broken his hand over the weekend. Read more here.

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