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Live Reporting

Chirag Trivedi

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye

    BBC London

    That's all for today's special live page on the coronavirus and how it is affecting Londoners.

    We'll be back on Tuesday at 08:00 with the latest developments, news and information.

    Stay home and stay safe.

  2. London MP denies racism accusations over coronavirus comment

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Bob Stewart's Facebook post

    A south-east London MP has been accused of racism after he referred to coronavirus as a "foul Chinese illness".

    MP for Beckenham Bob Stewart rejected the accusation and said he had not wanted to "score points".

    In a post published on his Facebook page this weekend, Mr Stewart wrote: "In truth most people who contract this foul Chinese illness seem to brush it off with a bit of a cough, a higher temperature and a headache.”

    The comments drew criticism from residents and political figures in the borough.

    Angela Wilkins, the opposition leader at Bromley Council, commented: "I think I can safely speak for all Labour for Bromley members in absolute condemnation of these ignorant and racist comments from Bob Stewart."

    Mr Stewart said: "It was not a rascist comment.

    "My grandfather died of Spanish Flu in 1919 and I used the words Chinese Flu in respect of where the virus originated, not denigrating the Chinese people.

    "As a constituent e-mailed me and thought I was being rude about the Chinese I deleted the word ‘Chinese’ because that was not my intention.

    "I was not trying to score points; simply to say where the illness seems to have originated."

  3. Coronavirus: Walthamstow Garden Party cancelled

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Walthamstow Garden Party has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The free annual event, organised by the council, the Barbican and Create London, was planned for 18-19 July in Lloyd Park.

    However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the government banning all public events for the foreseeable future, the “difficult decision” has been made to cancel.

    A statement on the event’s website reads: “We know this is very disappointing not only to everyone who was looking forward to enjoying the festival but to those who have worked so hard on the event so far.

    “With the backing of the Barbican and Arts Council England and in collaboration with the London Borough of Waltham Forest and Create London, we will support our partners and explore new ways of working together, both over the festival weekend and beyond.

    “Every year we are blown away by the bold ideas and creativity of the Walthamstow Garden Party network, and now, more than ever, this creativity is needed to help us process and make sense of what is happening.”

    Those involved are invited to share ideas by emailing hello@walthamstowgardenparty.com.

  4. Royal Opera House screens shows free online

    Performance of Acis and Galatea at Royal Opera House
    Image caption: Acis and Galatea is among the shows to be offered for free online

    London's Royal Opera House (ROH) is offering free screenings of its shows online.

    The performances, including , are available on the ROH’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

    The move comes after the government told theatres, restaurants and pubs to shut, in order to tackle the outbreak of coronavirus.

    For more information, go to roh.org.uk.

  5. Coronavirus death toll in London now over 400

    Thomas Mackintosh

    BBC London News

    A third of the latest deaths in England linked to Covid-19 have happened in hospitals in London, according to NHS figures.

    Fifteen people are said to have died from the coronavirus at King's College Hospital, while eight patients have died at both Croydon and St Guy's and Thomas' NHS Trusts.

    It brings the total amount of deaths in England to 1,284 - and an analysis of NHS figures show 407 people in London have died from the coronavirus.

    NHS England said patients also died at hospitals in Lewisham, Greenwich, St Helier, Chelsea, Westminster, Homerton, Kingston as well as in hospitals run by the Royal Free and Imperial NHS Trusts.

    Figures of confirmed cases in London will be published by Public Health England later today.

  6. 'Dramatic rise' in Londoners claiming benefits, says mayor

    Sadiq Khan

    The number of Londoners claiming benefits has "dramatically increased" during the coronavirus outbreak pandemic, the mayor of London has said.

    Sadiq Khan has written to the prime minister, urging him to extend Universal Credit and remove restrictions on claimants.

    The government has temporarily removed the minimum income requirement for Universal Credit so more people impacted by the virus can claim.

    The system requires a five-week wait for the first payment. Ministers insisted last week that this waiting period would remain in place.

    Nationally, 477,000 people signed up for Universal Credit in the nine days to 25 March – almost double the total for the highest month of claims last year.

    Mr Khan called for immediate payments as “the most vulnerable people in our society are being pushed into debt”.

    Migrant Londoners who are now out of work are “at real risk of homelessness,” Mr Khan said.

    “I am also particularly concerned about survivors of domestic violence with no recourse to public funds, who will face additional challenges to fleeing abuse and seeking out support during this time.

    “They are unable to access the welfare safety net they need, despite paying into the system through taxes."

  7. Grenfell tower wrapping replacement work paused

    Grenfell tower

    Work to replace the wrapping around Grenfell Tower is to be paused due to concerns about coronavirus, the government has announced.

    In February, workers had begun changing the wrapping which has covered the block since the 2017 fire which killed 72 people.

    In a statement, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the work had been "paused to avoid staff going on-site or using public transport".

    It added that re-wrapping had "progressed well" since it started while "the remaining ‘older’ wrapping on the lower floors is in good condition".

    "We do not believe pausing the re-wrapping is a cause for concern, but the team is happy to take any questions you might have," the department said.

  8. Two London councils trying to house all rough sleepers

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Waltham Forest and Redbridge councils say they are working hard to house all their rough sleepers after new coronavirus instructions from the government.

    Last week, local councils were asked by the government to find housing for rough sleepers by the weekend to allow them to self-isolate and prevent the spread of the pandemic.

    Redbridge Council, which previously allowed an Ilford day centre to remain open to support rough sleepers, has now set up a “special facility” at the Ryedale Care Centre.

    Waltham Forest Council, meanwhile, is “working hard” to find accommodation for all rough sleepers and encourages residents to notify Streetlink if they see anyone still sleeping rough.

    Figures from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (Chain) show there were more than 100 rough sleepers in Redbridge at the end of last year.

    Cabinet member for housing and homelessness Cllr Farah Hussain said on Friday that staff were “working around the clock” to house everyone.

  9. London hospitals 'struggling' with NHS staff sickness

    Thomas Mackintosh

    BBC London News

    Sign to key workers

    Around one in four NHS doctors are off work sick or in isolation, the head of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has said.

    Leading expert Prof Andrew Goddard revealed there were signs of a slowdown in Covid-19 hospital admissions.

    He said about 25 per cent of the doctor workforce is off, either with coronavirus or because a family member or housemate is ill.

    "At the moment, we think it's more doctors self-isolating with family members, though there are some off sick themselves," he said.

    "This is really impacting a lot in emergency departments and London is in a much worse position than elsewhere at the moment, but it will come to other places.

    "Birmingham is also struggling."

    Prof Goddard said hospital wards across England "are going from normal wards to Covid wards very quickly.

    "Some hospitals are really at the limit. Within London it's very, very difficult at the moment, you can't underestimate how difficult it is."

  10. Barnet Council announces changes to bin collections

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Blue bins in Barnet will be emptied every fortnight as the council operates with a reduced number of staff due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

    The temporary move to fortnightly recycling rounds is designed to ensure black refuse bins continue to be collected every week.

    This week, the blue bins will be emptied on the usual collection day but will not be collected the next week, Barnet Council said.

    Collections will resume on the week beginning 13 April.

    People who do not have blue bins can still put out their recycling in clear sacks.

    Barnet Council says it will monitor Government updates and review the waste collection situation in mid-April.

    Garden waste collections will go ahead every fortnight, with the £70 annual charge for the rounds due to begin on 6 April.

    Council leader Cllr Dan Thomas warned last week that “significant changes” to council services were likely as only the most essential staff are now able to travel due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

  11. 'Take the virus seriously,' says son of first surgeon to die from Covid-19

    Thomas Mackintosh

    BBC London News

    Adil El Tayar

    The son of the first NHS surgeon to die from coronavirus has urged people to "take the coronavirus seriously".

    Leading surgeon Adil El Tayar passed away on Wednesday at West Middlesex Hospital having fallen ill a few days earlier.

    Dr El Tayar, 64, had been working as a locum surgeon in Hereford Hospital - which is where his family believe he caught the virus.

    His son Osman El Tayar, also a doctor, has also tested positive for the virus and said the government needed to sort out the issue of personal protective equipment for staff.

    "Doctors are exposed and are at the front line," Osman said. "It has to be addressed, testing any NHS front line staff with symptoms needs to be addressed.

    "Not to get too political, but I do hope the government and people higher up continue to take the matter seriously and take action.

    "His entire life was centred around to offering help to whoever needed it. He didn't just offer a helping hand he was the type of person who would go out of his way to help.

    "We thought he maybe had a flu or something, then it progressed and he began to develop fevers and was then taken to ICU.

    "It was a really rapid process of everything, it was always in the back of our minds that it could be this coronavirus - it's just one of those things you don't think will happen to you until it is confirmed.

    "Take the virus seriously the slightest symptom take help and follow the instructions given. We thought ti was the the flue and thought it would go away with some paracetamol but it got out of hand very quickly."

  12. Met quash rumours of NHS staff being 'targetted' by criminals

    Thomas Mackintosh

    BBC London News

    Great Ormond Street Hospital

    The Met Police have quashed rumours that NHS staff are being deliberately targeted by criminals.

    In recent days, the Met said it has been made aware of two cases where hospital staff in Camden and Islington have had mobile phones taken from them by young men on bikes.

    But, a spokeswoman said there is currently no evidence to suggest those thefts were targetted - and seems to be down to "opportunistic thieves".

    "Detectives from OperationVenice are investigating incidents of mobile phone snatches in Camden and Islington in recent months," she said.

    "We have no reason to believe that any specific demographic are being targeted; rather these appear to be opportunistic thieves targeting an area with a high footfall.

    "Police in Camden and Islington are working closely with Operation Venice to target those committing these offences, using a number of tactics; and have arrested a number of individuals and seized bikes and stolen property.

    "These measures, along with an increased police presence in the area, have seen a reduction in offences since the operation began."

    Earlier today on BBC Breakfast, England's chief nursing officer Ruth May spoke about recent reports of abuse towards staff after doctors and nurses at hospitals in Greenwich, Lewisham and central London were "mugged for their ID badges".

    She added: "Our NHS and social care staff are pulling out all the stops in the face of an unprecedented global health threat, so I am shocked at some of the stories I am hearing of NHS staff being assaulted, spat at or attacked for their ID badges.”

    Meanwhile, Met detectives are still investigating a burglary at Great Ormond Street Hospital last Monday.

    Laptops and a mobile phone were stolen from the nursing staff only area and the Met said anyone with information is asked to call 101.

  13. Coronavirus: Grounded planes and deserted airport terminals

    Thomas Mackintosh

    BBC London News

    Planes at airport

    Pictures of major airports around the UK show they have been left almost empty as demand for air travel has plummeted following the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.

    Various travel bans have caused many airlines to massively scale back flights, resulting in abandoned terminal buildings.

    On Monday, EasyJet said it would be grounding its entire fleet and it would be encouraging staff to work at the new NHS Nightingale Hospital in east London.

    Jonathan Hinkles, the chief executive of regional airline Loganair, said bookings had fallen by 75 per cent.

  14. Gatwick Airport to close North Terminal

    Easyjet at gatwick

    Gatwick Airport is set to close its North Terminal on 1 April, as demand plummets due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The airport, which served 46 million passengers last year, also said its runway would only be in use between 1400 and 2200 for scheduled and repatriated flights.

    It will remain available for emergency landings and diversions outside these hours.

    Gatwick Airport announced last Tuesday that 200 jobswere being lost in order to "protect the business" against the impact of coronavirus.

    Chief executive Steward Wingate and his team will take a 20% salary cut and waive any bonuses for the current financial year.

    London City, the inner-city airport favoured by business travellers, is closing to all commercial passengers from March 25 until the end of April.

  15. Sign appreciating NHS appears in Romford

    Sign

    The sign has appeared on a fence outside Queen's Hospital in Romford town centre, according to Sarah Gregory who posted it in an open Facebook group.

    It is likely to be the latest example of messages put up across the country in support of medics tackling the coronavirus crisis.