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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Wednesday's updates as they happened

    Thanks for joining us to find out how the East of England is reacting to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

    Live updates have now finished for the day

    Join us again on Wednesday when a live page will resume at 08:00.

    Find it via your BBC News county index.

  2. Libraries prepare to reopen their doors

    Suffolk Libraries plans to reopen most of its buildings from early July.

    Government guidance is that libraries must remain closed for now, but can start to reopen from 4 July at the earliest as long as all the necessary precautions are followed.

    Suffolk Libraries said most of its 44 outlets would reopen during the week beginning 6 July.

    A library

    Krystal Vittles, head of service delivery, said: "Many people have been enjoying engaging with us online but we know people have missed visiting their library so the prospect of reopening our physical sites is great news."

    She said the safety and wellbeing of staff and customers "will remain the priority" and measures will be put in place to ensure social distancing.

  3. Coronavirus death rate for the East increases

    Julian Sturdy

    BBC Look East

    The latest number of new daily coronavirus deaths has been released by the government and there was an increase of 29 deaths in the region's hospitals, taking the total number to 3524.

    The previous day's figures recorded 19 new deaths.

    The new deaths were at the following NHS trusts:

    ·Kettering General: 8

    ·Northampton General: 3

    ·Northamptonshire Healthcare: 1

    ·Basildon: 1

    ·Mid Essex: 1

    ·Southend: 2

    ·East Suffolk and North Essex (Colchester and Ipswich hospitals): 2

    ·Cambridge University Hospital (inc Addenbrooke's): 3

    ·James Paget, Gorleston: 2

    ·North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 2

    ·West Herts Hospitals: 1

    ·West Suffolk Hospital: 3

    The total number of Covid-19 deaths across the UK now stands at 39,728

  4. Waterways re-open to boats with social distancing in place

    Pete Cooper

    BBC News

    The Environment Agency said it has begun to reopen its waterways to boats following the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

    The Anglian waterways and stretches of the River Thames were among the first.

    River Thames

    The agency said it had worked with lock keepers to help with safety, and fences have been put up at Hambleden Lock on the Berkshire/Buckinghamshire border to maintain social distancing for sailors on the Thames.

    River Thames

    The Canal and Rivers Trust said it had also begun the "phased reopening" of its canals to private boats.

  5. What the papers are saying in Cambridgeshire...

    • A virtual version of the Strawberry Fair is taking place this weekend, the Cambridge News says
    • Peterborough acting police commissioner calls on public to clap for volunteers on Thursday, the Peterborough Telegraph reports
  6. What the papers are saying in Beds, Herts and Bucks...

    • Buckinghamshire County Council says enjoy country parks responsibly, the Bucks Herald reports
    • Herts Live is doing live updates as McDonald's restaurants reopen
    • The Herts Advertiser reports a crackdown on littering in St Albans and Harpenden parks has begun in response to a weekend of rubbish being dumped by picnickers
  7. Lifeguards on lockdown duty rescue drunk 'gambler' from sea

    Pete Cooper

    BBC News

    A drunk man trying to win a bet had to be rescued by lifeguards on Clacton beach after his inflatable began drifting out to sea.

    Tendring District Council said it does not usually operate its Beach Patrol in term times, but luckily for the man it is running extra coverage as most children are still off school.

    beach patrol

    The coastguard received three 999 calls with concern for the man yesterday evening.

    A lifegaurd's jet ski travelled 500 metres off the beach to rescue the man, who was battling in vain against the waves.

    Upon reaching him Beach Patrol said they realised the man was intoxicated, and learned he had been attempting to row out to a marker buoy after a bet.

    Alex Porter from Tendring District Council said: "Sadly rescuing inebriated people who foolishly think they are stronger than the tide is nothing new.

    "However, this misadventure – a third of a mile out to sea on an inflatable – was particularly dangerous, and at a time when public and emergency services are stretched dealing with Covid-19."

  8. Drive-through Covid test centre to open in Norwich


    A drive-through coronavirus testing facility is to open at the Postwick Park and Ride East Anglia in Norwich, as part of the government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing.

    The facility will in a "pilot" phase for its first few days of operation, with the first tests available from Saturday.

    Anyone experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 - which include a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste - can book an appointment on the NHS website or by calling 119.

  9. Loss of parking ticket income contributes to £20m budget shortfall

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    A local authority is facing a shortfall of up to £20m as it battles to reduce the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.

    Documents reveal that current lockdown arrangements are costing Southend Borough Council up to £3m every month – and may leave arrears of up to £9.5m for its key services.

    The council, which is led by a Labour, independent and Liberal Democrat coalition, has a budget of £130.5m for 2020-21.

    Southend council building

    The report, which will be discussed at cabinet next week, explains the estimated cost is "very difficult to quantify" but there was declining income from parking and penalty enforcement notices during lockdown, combined with the high demand for social care.

    Last month, the council’s deputy leader Councillor Ron Woodley (independent) revealed parking revenue, which would usually bring in around £500,000 a month had been cut to "nil".

    When the council was asked whether this could mean cuts would be made to services, a spokesman said there would be "financial challenges" but it would be "too early to speculate on cuts".

  10. Delayed railway station work to resume

    Welwyn Garden

    A delayed £1m project to upgrade the footbridge at Welwyn Garden City railway station will resume on 11 June, says Network Rail.

    It comes after additional defects were identified and severe weather and social distancing measures affected the progress of the project, which began in November.

    The refurbishment will eventually include the installation of a lift and improved stairs, which aim to offer better better connections to the town. Network Rail said the remaining work will not have an impact on train services.

    Work should be completed in July, it said.

  11. Shielding MP 'very happy' about proxy vote plan in Commons

    Pete Cooper

    BBC News

    Palace of Westminster

    On Tuesday MPs voted to reinstate a physical Parliament, despite a rebellion by 10 Conservatives.

    Some MPs have said the Conservative government's plans risk excluding those with medical conditions or caring duties.

    Responding to criticism, Boris Johnson said shielded and older members should be allowed to vote by proxy.

    Later, the government will introduce a motion, allowing those MPs to be able to take part in questions virtually.

    Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow in Essex who is shielding and did not attend last night's vote on medical advice, said he was "very happy" to hear the news.

    View more on twitter

    Currently, MPs who are new parents are able to arrange a proxy vote.

    Mr Halfon was born with mild cerebral palsy. He has since developed osteoarthritis and walks using crutches.

  12. Labour councillors call for recycling centre booking system

    Labour councillors in Essex are calling for a system to allow people to select a time slot to visit tips run by the county council, after long queues formed at sites after they reopened when lockdown rules were eased.

    Queue for Colchester tip

    Lee Scordis, who represents Abbey ward in Colchester, said the situation had left him "very frustrated":

    "For the last week, we've seen huge queues blocking two roundabouts and at Colchester the average wait is around 90 minutes," he said.

    "The thing that's annoyed me the most is that police time has been wasted on this.

    "The police have got better things to do and the county council's response is we're going to rely on common sense and frankly that's not good enough."

    The Conservative-run county council said people should only visit a tip if they have waste that poses a health and safety risk.

    Some other county councils, such as Suffolk, reopened waste sites with a booking system in place.

  13. What the papers are saying in Northamptonshire

    • The Northampton Chronicle and Echo reports that police will be keeping a close eye on queues as five McDonald's drive-thrus reopen for business in and around Northampton
    • The Northamptonshire Telegraph writes that plans to improve cycling facilities at Kettering's railway station have been given a six-figure funding boost - with more people using bikes to commute amid the pandemic
  14. Wildlife car park to reopen, prompting 'excrement' warning

    Cley next the Sea, Norfolk

    The car park at the Cley Marshes visitor centre on the north Norfolk coast is reopening on Thursday, but the centre itself, as well as the hides and boardwalks, will remain shut.

    The tweet from Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) has prompted a reply which warned that the area around Cley was already "blighted" by human waste and "if you can't open the toilets, the car parks should remain shut - unless you're gonna clean up after them".

    The NWT's tweet does remind people to "please be considerate".

    View more on twitter
  15. 'Fully booked' National Trust parks reopen

    Katy Lewis

    BBC News Online

    National Trust properties in the East reopening their park gates today to pre-booked visitors are already fully booked.

    Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire
    Image caption: Wicken Fen's windpump

    The number of visitors has been limited to roughly a third of capacity, to enable appropriate social distancing and the trust has warned people not to turn up without a ticket as they will be turned away.

    Once inside, there will be safety information signs and the routes will be marked out, but there is no time limit to a stay.

    Gardens and nature reserves may be open, but the stately homes and restaurants on estates remain closed.

    Those opening today - and which are fully booked - are:

    The trust said that over the coming weeks people will be able to book for more properties - but is urging visitors to limit the number of visits, to stay local and avoid busy hot-spots.

    The following car parks also need to be booked:

  16. What the papers are saying in Essex...

    • The Gazette reports that as many as 200 jobs could be lost at a Colchester-based facilities management firm
    • It also reports that the Harwich Motorcycle Run has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic
    • The Echo reports that Southend traffic pollution has been cut by half during lockdown
  17. Cambridgeshire hospitals join Covid-19 vaccine trial

    Scientists want healthcare workers in Cambridgeshire to come forward to take part in a coronavirus vaccine trial developed by the University of Oxford.

    Vaccine trial

    The COV002 trial aims to assess how well people across a range of ages could be protected from Covid-19 using a new vaccine. It will also provide information on the safety of the vaccine and its ability to generate immunity.

    Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are offering an opportunity for healthy staff, aged 18 to 55, who have not been infected with coronavirus but have regular face-to-face contact with Covid-19 patients, to take part.

    Anyone interested can visit the University of Oxford website.