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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 Thursday 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 us at

  2. More than 100 apply for temporary NHS jobs at Lancashire trust

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    More than 100 people applied for temporary jobs as support staff at the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble hospitals in the space of 24 hours.

    Chorley and South Ribble Hospital

    Lancashire Teaching Hospitals advertised the vacancies online – and put out an appeal on social media – for people to help the NHS trust deal with the extra pressure likely to be placed on it by the coronavirus.

    The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that the emergency recruitment drive – for cleaners, caterers, porters, drivers and laundry staff – has been paused while the 110 applications received so far are assessed.

    Resourcing manager Stefanie Johnson said she had been "humbled" by the response, adding:

    Quote Message: We are furiously shortlisting and sorting through these applications. We are using different ways to interview to avoid physical face-to-face [contact].
    Quote Message: The majority of my team are working remotely so we are connecting up to have group chats and video calls to keep everything running smoothly.
  3. Police checking drivers compliance in Wirral

    Police in Wirral have been stopping drivers to check they are complying with government guidelines.

    View more on twitter
  4. Royal Exchange makes 'incredibly difficult and complex' decision to close until Autumn

    The stages of Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre will remain closed until Autumn 2020, its executive team has said, adding that making the decision had been "incredibly difficult and complex" for the institution's executive team.

    Royal Exchange Theatre

    The theatre closed with immediate effect last week, a move which saw "a wealth of work both on and off our stages suspended", the team said in a statement, adding that ever since, they had been "working hard to understand what the coming months can and will look like [and] developing a pragmatic model that safeguards the future of this incredible theatre.

    They said:

    Quote Message: The impact of this crisis remains unknown and we will not emerge from it the same, but we are putting everything we can in place in order to ensure the strongest and most resilient return when we are able to light up our stages once again.
    Quote Message: Practically, this decision provides us with the time to plan and negotiate the rapidly-changing world around us [and] it affords us the space to carefully develop both a sustainable business model and a robust artistic programme.
    Quote Message: Putting this radical plan in place will enable us to carry on creating shared experiences, plan innovative community work and provide much needed escapism for audiences and participants in these unsettling times.

    They said "exciting plans" were already in place to move forward.

    Quote Message: When our doors closed, we were about to open Winsome Pinnock’s powerful new play Rockets and Blue Lights. We captured this on film and are looking at ways that we can share that with audiences.
    Quote Message: We are also carefully looking at ways in which the rest of our current Spring/Summer season can have a future life.
  5. Fire crews asks people to 'think carefully' about street parking

    Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to "think carefully" about how they par.

    As more people are at home because of the cornoavirus pandemic, crews are finding it hard to get down some streets where cars are parked on the road.

    View more on twitter
  6. Trafford coronavirus hubs 'not advertised' to prevent unnecessary spread of virus

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Five community hubs have been set up in Trafford to support people through the COVID-19 outbreak, but to avoid overcrowding and prevent further unnecessary spread of the virus, their exact location is being kept quiet by the local council.

    The centres are available to those living in the area who are self-isolating or vulnerable and are being run by volunteers.

    They have been set up and co-ordinated by Trafford Council, Trafford Housing Trust, Thrive, Trafford Stronger Communities Board and other local community groups.

    The centres officially opened on Monday and their exact location in Altrincham, Gorse Hill, Partington, Sale and Urmston will be given to residents who need support or those volunteering to assist when they call the dedicated helpline 0300 3309073.

    Council leader Andrew Western said:

    Quote Message: We will not be advertising the locations as, for obvious reasons, we need to manage the number of people on site at any one time.
    Quote Message: The hubs will be able to offer support with shopping and other errands, food parcels and other types of practical assistance.
    Quote Message: Moving forward, local food banks will be run from the hubs.
    Quote Message: They can also connect residents to specialist advice and information services where required.
  7. Liverpool Community Advice offices close

    The Liverpool Community Advice office has closed.

    The service, which helps people with issues around debt and housing, will continue with staff working remotely, but the face-to-face service at the Dale Street Office and Liverpool Family Court Office is not available.

    151 Dale Street

    Anyone with a new issue is asked to get in touch through the LCA website.

    Chairman Gerald Rivett said the LCA was "still here to help" and will return to its "usual friendly face-to-face system as soon as conditions permit".

    He said the Evolving Mindset mental health service was "under high demand" but people can still contact it through the LCA or directly through the Evolving Mindset website.

  8. 'Hotels for homeless' plan unveiled by Greater Manchester mayor

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Up to 1,000 homeless people across Greater Manchester will be put up in hotels to try and stop more people getting coronavirus, the region's mayor has said.

    Andy Burnham

    Andy Burnham said a £5m fund will help those most at risk of developing and spreading the disease – rough sleepers and people in shared accommodation.

    Currently, 625 rooms have already been allocated in hotels across the region, with the combined authority hoping to secure a further 375 by Friday.

    Food, sanitary products and dental supplies will also be provided, with mobile phones allowing those staying to contact support workers and access "extra emotional support".

    Mr Burnham said:

    Quote Message: We have identified 720 people in shared accommodation and 280 people sleeping rough on the streets who will need our support.
    Quote Message: They have been identified as the highest risk group with regard to coronavirus infection, but also contributing to wider spread.
    Quote Message: It’s absolutely crucial from a humanitarian point of view that urgent action was taken to put in place proper support for them.

    However, the mayor criticised Britannia Hotels for removing people housed under the scheme from one of their hotels yesterday, leaving them with "nowhere to go".

    He added:

    Quote Message: While it’s right for me to praise those organisations stepping forward and doing the right, I think it’s equally important to say that we don’t accept that kind of response once an agreement has been reached to accommodate people.
    Quote Message: [It was] a pretty major incident where people were put out with nowhere to go.
    Quote Message: That was unfair on them and it was unfair on council staff who had to deal with a very challenging situation.
    Quote Message: We’ve considered that to be an extremely disappointing approach from that particular organisation, and it’s only right that it’s brought to the public’s attention because we don’t think it is the way that things should be done.

    Britannia Hotels has been contacted for comment.

  9. Police share pictures of empty city streets

    Police in Liverpool and Manchester have been tweeting pictures of empty city streets.

    They thanked people for following government guidance and staying home.

    This picture shows a usually bustling Paradise Street in Liverpool One this afternoon.

    Liverpool One
    View more on twitter

    And scenes were similar in Manchester. GMP shared these pictures of centre of the city earlier.

    View more on twitter
  10. Boxer Amir Khan offers his wedding venue to NHS

    Bolton boxer Amir Khan has offered a wedding venue he owns to the NHS to help people affected by coronavirus who are struggling to get a hospital bed.

    Work on the 60,000 sq ft building in Bolton started in 2013.

    At the time, Khan said he planned the venue to be home to a banqueting hall, conferences and restaurants.

    View more on twitter
  11. Wirral doctor 'kicked out' by landlady

    A hospital doctor said he was told to leave his rented room because his landlady was afraid he would bring the coronavirus into her home.

    Dr Alsousou

    Wirral's Joseph Alsousou is working between Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and had lodging at a house in the city.

    But after he was asked to leave the accommodation, the surgeon said he drove three hours back to his family home on Merseyside "almost in tears".

    Dr Alsousou said the landlady originally gave him 28 days' notice via email last weekend because she was anxious he might bring the coronavirus into the home, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

    Other members of staff had to help cover some of his shifts while he searched for a new place to stay. He has since found new lodgings.

    His former landlady, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was "under strong recommendation from her doctor not to share work surfaces".

    She added: "As we shared a kitchen and a bathroom, it wasn't possible for him to remain in the house without it affecting my own health."

  12. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott to play free NHS concert

    BBC Entertainment and Arts

    Manchester-based musician Paul Heaton and his St Helens-born compatriot Jacqui Abbott will host a huge free concert for NHS staff in October to thank them for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Jacqui Abbott and Paul Heaton

    The gig, on 13 October at Nottingham Motorpoint Arena, will be for all NHS frontline and auxiliary staff, such as doctors, nurses, support workers, porters and cleaners.

    Heaton said:

    Quote Message: The coronavirus pandemic should remind everyone, and let no-one forget, that our National Health Service is the most brilliant and significant institution in our lives.
    Quote Message: The men and women who serve us and care for us, give us hope and sacrifice their own wellbeing, can never be thanked enough.
    Quote Message: We are just musicians, so there is little we can do but sing for you. From the porters, the cleaners and the drivers, to the doctors and the nurses; thank you.

    Tickets for the show will be available from Tuesday 31 March and will be limited to two per person. Applications can only be made by NHS staff and they must bring their ID card to the show, as checks will be in operation.

  13. Warrington Foodbank sees demand 'rocket overnight'

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Warrington Foodbank has hailed the generosity of people in the town as its demand "rocketed" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Warrington Foodbank

    The charity, which is located at Tanning Court industrial estate close to the town centre, was forced to double in size in October to cope with demand.

    Project manager David McDonald thanked residents across the borough for their ongoing help.

    He said:

    Quote Message: Even though people were panic buying and there was not a lot on the supermarket shelves, the generous people of Warrington have still supported Warrington Foodbank and for that, we are so thankful.

    He said the charity is currently short of shampoo, sugar, dry pasta, tins of beans, tins of spaghetti, tins of carrots and washing up liquid, adding:

    Quote Message: Since Tuesday of last week, we noticed a vast increase in demand.
    Quote Message: Normally we would see somewhere between 125 and 150 families a week, but we are now looking at 280 families a week coming to us - the demand rocketed overnight.
  14. Jobless struggle to claim benefits

    BBC News UK

    Significant problems are being reported after an "incredible" number of benefit claims in recent days due to the economic fall-out of the coronavirus.

    People queue at job centre

    At one point on Tuesday, more than 100,000 people were trying to verify online applications and others spent hours trying to phone welfare staff.

    Many gave up after long phone queues and then being rejected by the system.

    The Department for Work and Pensions said it was redeploying existing staff and hiring others to cope with demand.