Thursday evening news briefing: Self-employed coronavirus support package revealed by Chancellor

Your evening guide: Freelancers and contractors to be able to claim 80pc of average income & why Spain's death toll got so bad

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Chancellor's plan means self-employed 'not forgotten'

Self-employed workers struggling due to the coronavirus outbreak will be able to claim 80pc of their average monthly profits over the last three years from the government under a new emergency scheme announced by the Chancellor. Rishi Sunak told freelancers and contractors they have "not been forgotten" as he announced the self-employed income support scheme, which will be open across the UK for at least three months. Follow the latest from his Downing Street press conference in our politics liveblog. It is not all doom and gloom for those looking for work. Companies central to the effort to keep the country standing during the coronavirus crisis have posted thousands of job listings online. Read which roles are experiencing a surge in demand.

Meanwhile, the Home Office has announced people who continue to flout lockdown rules will be breaking the law and can be arrested as part of new enforcement powers. Officers can also tell them to go home and those who refuse to comply could be issued with a fixed penalty notice. Earlier today, the deputy chief medical officer suggested some lockdown restrictions in the UK could last six months. Here is your ultimate guide to the rules. If you are on furlough, here is how to claim 80pc of your pay from the UK Government. And Harriet Barber explains from first-hand experience what it is like to have mild coronavirus symptoms.

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PM won't close borders as Spain death toll hits 4,000

Boris Johnson has pushed back against calls by Priti Patel for border closures to prevent people from coronavirus hotspot countries coming to Britain. The Prime Minister's official spokesman said the advice from the chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty indicated there was no evidence closing the borders would halt the spread of the infection. It comes as Spain's coronavirus death toll surged above 4,000 today, the world's second highest tally after Italy. James Badcock analyses why the death rate is so bad in Spain – and what it means for the UK. In the US, Donald Trump's suggestion of reopening the country in time for Easter has been roundly criticised by virus victims. Yet Ben Riley-Smith reveals why US voters back Mr Trump's handling of the crisis.

Second Life enjoys renaissance amid social distancing

Whatever happened to Second Life? At its peak in the late Noughties, the pioneering virtual world – with its wild promise of total freedom and escape – entranced more than 1m users, made magazine covers and featured in a lurid murder plot on CSI. With the rise of social networks such as Facebook, Second Life drifted out of the spotlight. But it never went away, and today – with millions of people trapped indoors by quarantine measures – Laurence Dodds reveals its 17-year-old parent company now has metrics a young start-up would envy.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Comment and analysis

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Business and money briefing

Ventilator production | Vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson is gearing up to produce 15,000 life-saving ventilators to treat people suffering from the coronavirus. It comes as the Government formally requested a consortium of UK manufacturers to speed up production of a new ventilator based on existing technology. Read on for details.

Video: First look inside new temporary virus hospital

A new 4,000-bed field hospital to treat coronavirus patients will be functioning as of next week, the Health Secretary has announced, and footage has emerged from inside. NHS Nightingale is being built with the help of the Army at ExCeL London and will have two wards, with 2,000 beds in each. Watch a video filmed by a worker transforming the site.

Also in the news today

Duchess of Disney | The Duchess of Sussex is to narrate a Disney film about a plucky elephant and his mother on an "epic journey" across the Kalahari Desert. The Duchess agreed to do the voiceover after a direct request from filmmakers, and recorded it in the UK in the autumn after seeing footage of the documentary. She was seen talking to Disney chairman Bob Iger at the Lion King premiere in July. Details here.

World news: One story you must read

Soldiers leave Iraq | France is withdrawing all 200 of its troops from Iraq in the latest Western drawdown in the face of the coronavirus outbreak and attacks by Iranian-backed militia forces. Iraq's military has suspended all training since early March in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. The French high command said the halt in training exercises meant its forces were no longer needed. Read on for details.

Tonight's TV  

Born to Be Different, Channel 4, 9pm | Handkerchiefs at the ready for the opener of this two-part series which sees Channel 4 checking back in with the five children born with various disabilities. Read on for more.

And finally...

A sale of two halves | A clothes shop straddling the Dutch-Belgian border found itself half-open and half-shut as the two countries pursued different policies to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The Zeeman store in Dutch Baarle-Nassau, where the border splits streets in half, divided its shop with tape and kept the Dutch side open after Belgium closed all non-essential shops. Details here.