2.37pm GMT

Ford wants to reopen five plants shut down by the Covid-19 outbreak, although the company may well receive pushback from union members. Ford suspended production at the plants a week ago under pressure from the United Auto Workers, who feared its members could fall ill.

The company wants to restart production over the next three weeks at sites in Hermosillo, Mexico; Dearborn, Michigan; Louisville Kentucky; Cleveland, Ohio; and Kansas City. Ford says it will introduce new safeguards to protect workers. Donald Trump has already said that he wants America to reopen for business by Easter, despite warnings from medical experts that such a decision could have dire consequences for public health.

2.30pm GMT

Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin waived off the staggering unemployment numbers reported on Thursday morning, saying the figure was “not relevant” while touting the historic economic stimulus package he negotiated with Congressional leaders. The $2tn emergency relief bill passed the Senate on Wednesday night.

Asked on CNBC about the weekly joblessness report, which totaled nearly 3.3 million people, Mnuchin replied: “I just think these numbers right now are not relevant. Whether they’re bigger or smaller in the short term … the good thing about this bill is, the president is protecting these people.”

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