■ Woman, 21, with no known health conditions dies of coronavirus
A 21-YEAR-OLD woman with no apparent underlying health conditions has died after contracting coronavirus.
Chloe Middleton (pictured), from Buckinghamshire, is one of the youngest Britons killed in the pandemic, after an 18-year-old with other health issues died at the weekend.
Ms Middleton’s family urged the public to heed safety advice and take ‘this seriously’.
Her mother, Diane Middleton, wrote: ‘To all the people out there that thinks it’s just a virus, please think again. Speaking from a personal experience, this so-called virus has taken the life of my 21-year-old daughter.’
While Ms Middleton’s aunt Emily Mistry wrote: ‘My loved ones are going through the most unimaginable pain, we are shattered beyond belief.
‘The reality of this virus is only just unfolding before our very eyes. Please, please adhere to government guidelines.’
■ Spain passes China’s coronavirus death toll
THE coronavirus death toll in Spain has shot up by more than 700, surpassing China and making the country second only to Italy as the pandemic spreads rapidly in Europe.
Spain recorded a record daily increase of 738 deaths, pushing it to 3,434 overall and past China’s 3,285, the Ministry of Health said.
The country’s infections rose by 20 per cent to 47,610, and more than 5,000 have recovered.
Spain’s health system is overwhelmed, with hotels being converted into hospitals and a Madrid ice rink being used as a temporary morgue.
Legislators are set to extend the country’s lockdown for two more weeks, to April 12.
Fernando Simon, head of Spain’s health emergency co-ordination centre, said he hoped the numbers would peak soon.
‘If we are not already at the peak, we are very close,’ he said. ‘I cannot say that we have reached it.’
Italy has been the hardest-hit nation in Europe, with more than 69,000 infections and 6,800 deaths.
Germany’s parliament is set to approve a series of measures that will allow the government to offer aid totalling more than a trillion euros (£900billion) for the country of 83 million people.
Health minister Jens Spahn said Germany has about 1,000 Covid-19 patients in intensive care and its health system can cope with the numbers for now.
Worldwide more than 428,000 people have been infected by the virus and more than 19,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Overall, more than 109,000 have recovered.
■ PM warns Mike Ashley to ‘expect the consequences’ if he flouts rules
BORIS JOHNSON has told Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley to ‘expect the consequences’ if he does not obey the rules during the coronavirus crisis.
Employees had been ordered to continue turning up to work at Mr Ashley’s Frasers Group stores, which are closed to the public, during the pandemic.
Amid much public confusion, the government has said employees can continue working in non-essential industries if social distancing can be safely practised.
But Mr Ashley has provoked a series of controversies after initially planning to open his stores despite them being included in the ban and hiking prices of sports equipment by more than 50 per cent.
Frasers Group also told staff at Sports Direct and Evans Stores to ‘please continue to head into work as we have been instructed last night’.
Labour MP Chi Onwurah asked Mr Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions what he made of the discovery that Mr Ashley was not doing ‘the right thing’.
The PM (pictured) replied: ‘The instruction to the gentleman in question and indeed every business is to follow what the government has said, to obey the rules or to expect the consequences.
‘That is the best way to look after not just their employees but their businesses as well.’
Downing Street later said shops that breach lockdown measures could face unlimited fines.
■ Thousands volunteer to help NHS battle coronavirus
MORE than 400,000 people have signed up to be volunteers for the NHS in an ‘astonishing’ response to the coronavirus crisis, according to a senior doctor.
The mass sign-up follows health secretary Matt Hancock’s (pictured) request for 250,000 people to donate their time to help the 1.5million people isolating for 12 weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, said: ‘It’s an absolutely astonishing response.’
He told BBC Breakfast: ‘This is a health emergency. We can all play a role in ensuring we get on top of coronavirus and at the same time expand capacity in the NHS.’
Anyone who is over the age of 18, fit and healthy and non-symptomatic can offer their time to the scheme.
The Red Cross has praised the NHS using volunteers and pointed towards other organisations also available to help those affected by the illness.
Mike Adamson, chief executive of British Red Cross said: ‘These volunteers will be vital in easing the pressure on our NHS and ensuring the most vulnerable people in our communities, including those with pre-existing health conditions, are being properly supported during this unprecedented time’
■ Motorists given six-month MOT reprieve
VEHICLE owners in Britain will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.
All cars, vans and motorcycles will be exempted from needing a test from March 30.
This will allow people to carry on with essential travel during the coronavirus pandemic, the DfT said.
Drivers were warned that vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition. Garages will remain open for essential repair work.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people to get essential food and medicine.
‘Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.’