Wednesday morning news briefing: Operation persuasion

Coronavirus: Unlimited fines for breaking lockdown & our guide to the best video apps to keep in touch

Boris Johnson adopted the measures at a meeting held remotely
Boris Johnson adopted the measures at a meeting held remotely Credit: ANDREW PARSONS  

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Police to use persuasion rather than punishment

How best to enforce Britain's coronavirus lockdown? From tomorrow, new laws will give police the power to fine those caught outside their homes in groups of more than two - with unlimited financial penalties if the case reaches court. But officers are set to avoid a hardline approach and instead "persuade, cajole, negotiate and advise" the public to follow restrictions. Hundreds of thousands of people are continuing to travel to work with the blessing of the Government, as Downing Street said construction work could carry on despite the restrictions on movement announced by the Prime Minister on Monday. So, should you be going to work? And what happens if you refuse? Chief Political Correspondent Christopher Hope answers these questions and more. Remind yourself of the new rules for daily life. Science Editor Sarah Knapton has an analysis on how long will the UK lockdown is likely to last. And, of course, Matt finds humour in the restrictions for today's cartoon.

It comes as health chiefs take desperate action to build makeshift critical care wards, amid fears London could run out of intensive care beds in four days. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called for 250,000 volunteers to help the NHS with tasks including delivering medicines to the most vulnerable. Read how you can join the volunteer campaign. With the UK death toll at 422, search for where cases have been detected.

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Food prices expected to rise as pickers flee Britain

The cost of food across the world will come under pressure because of massive shortages of seasonal labour, politicians and experts have warned. Farmers in the UK have started to raise concerns about some of their workforce returning to their home countries, typically on the Continent, in the wake of the outbreak. As Laura Onita reports, this means there will be fewer people to pick fruit and vegetables. Bookmark Xanthe Clay's guide to cooking with store cupboard essentials.

Guide: Best video apps to help you keep in touch

It is the perfect way to stay in touch with friends and family in lockdown Britain. Video conferencing tools have boomed in popularity since the introduction of social distancing, with apps to video chat dominating the download charts over the weekend. But which should you use? From Houseparty... to Zoom… to Google Hangouts… Hasan Chowdhury outlines the pros and cons of the apps to help you stay connected.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Comment and analysis

You Are Not Alone: Surviving coronavirus lockdown

  1. Daily exercise | How to stay fit by walking, running and cycling (at a distance)
  2. Brave New World | Heartwarming ways hotels and pubs are helping their communities
  3. DIY beauty guide | All you need to know about covering grey hair and root growth at home

Business and money briefing

Easter rising? | Stock markets soared as Donald Trump said he wanted to get Americans back to work and the US Congress came close to agreeing a stimulus bill worth almost $2 trillion. The US president said he wanted to get the economy "raring to go" by Easter - less than three weeks away. Asked why he picked Easter as the target for lifting restrictions, Mr Trump said: "I just thought it was a beautiful time".  

Gallery: Virus fightback in pictures

It's a long way… in Tipperary | Jockeys and trainers follow social distancing rules and maintain a minimum space from each other before a race yesterday. View our gallery of images of the Covid-19 fightback.

Clonmel Racecourse in Co Tipperary Credit: SEB DALY/SPORTSFILE VIA GETTY IMAGES

 

Also in the news today

Brothel money | A credit card belonging to Lawrence Dallaglio, the former England rugby captain, was used to make payments of £10,000 in a brothel, a court has heard. The 47-year-old married father of two was interviewed under caution by police in the presence of a solicitor as part of an investigation into a gang said to be running a high-class prostitution racket and selling cocaine. Steve Bird has the full story.  

And finally...

Sex in the city | Birds that live in the city are smarter than their countryside counterparts because they have more sex and are forced to use their brains more, scientists have found. Researchers discovered how city birds have developed a strategy for living in an unnatural environment.