COVID-19 update Tuesday 31/03/20 – by Science correspondent Elle Lindsay

Covid-19 Update Tuesday 31/03/20

New: 13-year-old boy is the youngest in the UK to die with COVID-19, with no underlying health conditions reported.

Though tomorrow is April Fool’s Day, countries are urging for there to be no jokes, as coronavirus is “no laughing matter”. At a time when it is already difficult to separate fact from fiction, it is imperative that no misinformation is spread regarding the virus.

Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.


Main Updates from 31/03/20


  • US death toll now larger than that of China.
  • US Governor of New York says that there must be a state-wide effort to tackle COVID-19 and asks for medical help from other states that are currently less impacted by the virus.
  • Ensuring free movement of essential health products is vital for saving lives and curbing the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. WHO is working intensively with partners to increase access to life-saving products, including diagnostics, PPE, medical oxygen and ventilators.
  • An asylum seeker living in a migrant camp in Greece has tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the first known refugee in the country to do so.
  • Spain records highest number of fatalities in a single day (849).


  • Drive-in centres continuously being established centres for NHS staff to get tested quickly.


  • A number of big banks in Britain have agreed to ditch payouts to shareholders in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.The banks – including NatWest, Santander, Nationwide, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered – will suspend dividends and share buybacks until the end of the year and cancel outstanding dividends from 2019.

The UK horticulture industry is set to ask the government for a bailout. The closure of 2,000 garden centres and nurseries mean makers of what’s called “ornamental horticulture” have no outlet for their plants.The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is asking the government for financial assistance of up to £250m to help the industry avoid collapse.It warned that up to a third of producers could go bust, not to mention the tonnes of plants that will wither and die.


Updated COVID-19 Numbers

Highest single increase in the UK since the beginning of COVID-19 in the UK. 381 deaths since yesterday, meaning that of those hospitalised, there have been 1789 deaths in the UK.

Data Collection

  • A new app, the ‘COVID Symptom Tracker’, is available for the general public to download. The idea is for people to check-in each day whether you have COVID-19 or not – this will let researchers study the symptoms of the virus and track how it spreads. The app was designed by King’s College London, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals and a health science company (ZOE Global Ltd). It is available on Android and Apple devices. Please download and spread the word – all data (even negative) is of huge importance in the global fight against COVID-19.