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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Thanks for joining us

    That's the end of our live updates for today and for this week. We'll be back on Monday at 09:00 to bring you the latest on the coronavirus and its impact on our region.

    In the meantime, you can find further information and updates about the coronavirus crisis here.

    Thanks for joining us and if you want to get in touch with us, please email at northwest.newsonline@bbc.co.uk.

  2. Rev Bev offers 'reflections, prayers and mini service' online

    As churches across the region have closed to group worship, one rector has taken it upon herself to offer some spiritual comfort through YouTube.

    Rev Bev Jameson, from Lymm's St Mary's Church, has set up her own channel on the streaming site and will be posting "reflections, prayers, information updates and, at 10:00 on Sundays, a short act of worship with a reflection on bible reading and prayers".

    She'll starting with a "sort of a mini service" this weekend for Mothering Sunday.

    View more on youtube
  3. Radio stations play You’ll Never Walk Alone in solidarity

    You’ll Never Walk Alone was played simultaneously on over 180 radio stations across 30 countries in Europe, including BBC Radio One, BBC Radio Two and BBC Radio Merseyside this morning in a show of solidarity during the coronavirus crisis.

    View more on youtube

    It was the idea of Dutch radio presenter Sander Hoogendoorn, to play the 1963 hit by Gerry and the Pacemakers at 08:45 (07:45 GMT) as a way "to bring people together".

    The song, which feature the lyrics, "When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark" was played at across the continent and, of course, was also tweeted by Liverpool FC.

    View more on twitter
  4. Warning over fake coronavirus charities

    People giving money to coronavirus charities have been warned to ensure the charity is genuine.

    West Lancashire Borough Council said there has been a small number of people who have posed as fundraisers, carrying out door-to-door collections and street fundraising on behalf of fake charities, with some even offering to sell "dubious" COVID-19 testing kits.

    Charity tin

    Advice for the public on giving safely to registered charities is:

    • Check the charity’s name and registration number on https://www.gov.uk/find-charity-information, most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered
    • Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
    • Be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
    • Contact or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with to find out more about their spending

    Council leader Ian Moran said: "Charities will form a core part of the collective response from the council and its partners to the pandemic, so we encourage people to give to existing registered charities.

    "It is important that we ensure all donations reach their intended cause."

    Read more: How to give safely to charities

  5. Liverpool Metro Mayor reveals plan to help local people

    Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has announced a number of initiatives to help local people during the coronavirus pandemic.

    They include restrictions lifted on concessionary travel and a £65,000 fund to support community and social businesses.

    He has also announced a new crowdfunding campaign to support community and voluntary organisations on the frontline of helping communities cope.

    Steve Rotheram

    Chairing the first meeting of the Liverpool City Region Coronavirus Action Group, the mayor said he wanted to do "all that I can to help support local people, businesses and community organisations through this uncertainty".

    The new initiatives are:

    • A crowdfunding campaign to support community and voluntary organisations helping communities cope with the spread of coronavirus
    • Free bus travel to and from school for the children of key workers using existing Merseytravel-funded supported bus services
    • Lifting the 09:30 restriction on concessionary travel for essential journeys, such as accessing designated shopping hours reserved for the elderly
    • A fund of £65,000 of business support for community and social businesses to help them cope

    Read more on the Liverpool City region Combined Authority website.

  6. Bury walk-in centres closed to 'help fight against coronavirus'

    Prestwich and Moorgate Walk-In Centres have been closed to the public "to help the fight against coronavirus", a spokesman has said.

    Prestwich Walk-In Centre

    The walk-in centre in Prestwich will now house the COVID Management Service, a 24/7 hub which will deal with non-urgent queries from people with coronavirus from across Bury, including advice over the phone, telephone consultations, face-to-face consultations and arranging GP home visits.

    Local health board chairman Jeff Schryer said the "temporary changes during this extraordinary time" were to "protect the public and staff and to create a safe hub to manage coronavirus cases".

  7. People visiting coast asked to 'stay safe' by RNLI

    The RNLI has issued vital safety advice to people thinking of visiting the coast this weekend.

    Although lifeboat stations and shops are closed to the public, RNLI lifeboats and stations remain fully operational.

    The charity is urging the public to "stay safe and not take any unnecessary risks".

    RNLI lifeboat

    Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead, said:

    Quote Message: Whether you’re fishing, surfing, kayaking, sailing or just going for a walk, we’re asking people to be extra responsible and to avoid taking unnecessary risks to themselves and others which could put unnecessary pressure on front line services.
    Quote Message: As with all public places we’d encourage people to follow guidelines provided by the government to maintain a two-metre distance, follow good hygiene practices and avoid mass gatherings.

    If you see someone in difficulty, or you get into difficulty yourself, you should call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

    More safety advice can be found on the RNLI safety webpage.

  8. Hubs for children of key workers to open in Liverpool

    Fifty hubs to look after primary age children of key workers in Liverpool will open on Monday.

    The hubs are for primary age pupils whose parents are key workers and have no other safe childcare available to them, and will initially be open from 09:00 - 16:00.

    It follows the Government’s decision to close schools today until further notice, as part of the response to coronavirus.

    There will be no provision for secondary school pupils, the city’s five nursery schools are remaining open, and some special schools will also stay open.

    Read the full details here: Hubs for children of key workers

    View more on twitter
  9. University of Bolton 'not closing'

    The vice-chancellor of the University of Bolton has said despite the impact of coronavirus on "operational efficiency", the institution is not closing.

    However, Prof George Holmes said there would be some changes.

    Professor George E Holmes
    Quote Message: As fewer students attend campus and staffing levels become significantly affected by individuals taking proper precautions, I have reviewed the operations of the university going forward.
    Quote Message: From 17:00, the Easter vacation will begin early for students and they will no longer be expected to be on campus, except for use of the library on a drop-in and take-away basis.
    Quote Message: Almost all staff, except a small number providing essential on-campus services, will work remotely at home.
    Quote Message: Teaching will recommence for students on Monday 20 April. However, all classes will be mediated and facilitated using video conferencing technology and will not take place on campus.

    He added that the extended break would enable staff and students to get used to the new way of working.

    Quote Message: Throughout the remainder of the coronavirus epidemic, [the university] will remain very much open for business, but not for the majority of students on campus.
    Quote Message: These arrangements will continue until the UK’s Chief Medical Officer confirms that the epidemic is subsiding and normal working patterns become appropriate.

    However, he said graduation in July would not take place but "all students graduating will, of course, have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony once things have returned to normal".

    Quote Message: Nobody will miss out on their opportunity to attend these great occasions with their family.
  10. Sefton's nature reserves, parks and coastline 'open for people to enjoy'

    Sefton’s beautiful coastline, nature reserves and heritage parks are "still there to be enjoyed" during the coronovirus outbreak, the local council's cabinet member for health and wellbeing has said.

    Another Place figure on Crosby Beach

    Pointing people in the direction of the area's 20 miles of coastline, Ian Moncur said the ability to enjoy Sefton’s natural assets has "become more important than ever, as people seek exercise and recreational activities during this time".

    He added:

    Quote Message: As long as social distancing is practiced and people respect the current guidelines on limiting the spread of the coronavirus, then our nature reserves, parks and coastline all remain open for people to enjoy.
    Quote Message: We are so fortunate in Sefton to have such beautiful natural assets on our doorstep and there are plenty of wonderful things to look out for at the minute as the natural world wakes up after winter.

    A council spokesman said staffing at some locations "may be reduced" and visitors "are politely asked to take any litter home with them, particularly in more remote locations".

  11. Chester Farmer’s Market to go ahead

    Taste Cheshire Chester Farmer’s Market will be going ahead this Saturday after organisers sourced advice about the monthly event.

    “We are an outdoor event where social distancing is easily achieved, so we have taken the decision to stage this month’s event, " general manager Briony Wilson said.

    Taste Cheshire Chester Farmer’s Market

    She added:

    Quote Message: All the appropriate safeguards will be in place to ensure the highest standards of food retailing are observed.
    Quote Message: We believe this style of food retailing may actually be a safer alternative to the crowded supermarkets.

    Miss Wilson said Taste Cheshire have done "everything possible" to continue the market at what is "a very tough time for everybody".

    The market takes place this Saturday on Town Hall Square, outside Chester Town Hall from 09:00 - 16:00.

    For more information, go to www.tastecheshire.com

  12. How Premier League clubs are trying to help

    BBC Sport

    English football has been suspended until at least 30 April because of the continued spread of coronavirus.

    But how have Premier League clubs been affected so far? And what work are they looking to carry out in the community?

    Find out what Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United, Manchester City and Burnley are doing here.

    Ben Mee
  13. Water firm urges 'watch what you flush'

    People have been asked to watch what they flush down the toilet after panic buying has led to a shortage of toilet roll in supermarkets.

    Toilet

    Only the three Ps - "pee, poo and (toilet) paper" - should be flushed, water firm United Utilities said, adding that using alternatives can cause problems.

    Kitchen roll, wet wipes or newspaper can cause major blockages in the sewers, so these should always go in a bin, Customer Service Director Louise Beardmore said.

    She said by sticking to "the three Ps", people will help United Utilities teams focus their efforts "on keeping our sewers flowing and reduce any blockages.”