Wickford

England, United Kingdom

Latest Stories

Severe accident: A105 London southbound

BBC News Travel

A105 London southbound severe accident, at Matthias Road.

A105 London - A105 Newington Green in Highbury closed southbound at the Matthias Road junction, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M20 Kent eastbound

BBC News Travel

M20 Kent eastbound severe disruption, between J4 for A228 Castle Way Leybourne and M20 J5.

M20 Kent - One lane closed on M20 eastbound between J4, A228 (Leybourne) and M20 J5, Aylesford, because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Victoria Beckham 'humbled' by NHS staff

Victoria Beckham
Reuters

Victoria Beckham says she feels 'humbled' as she video-called NHS staff at a London hospital to share her gratitude amid the coronavirus crisis.

The singer and fashion designer, 45, spoke to staff at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital on Friday for about 10 minutes, the hospital said.

Writing on Instagram Mrs Beckham said to her 28.2m followers: "I had the humbling opportunity to speak to 2 NHS teams in different parts of the UK.

"They are so inspiring and we all need to do our part in staying home and helping these incredible workers and their colleagues on the frontline."

In the broadcast doctors and nurses urged people to stay safe at home to give health care workers the best chance to fight the outbreak.

On social media she revealed she had spoken to two different groups of medical staff in the UK, including a team in Scotland.

London coronavirus deaths jump 137 since this morning.

Sam Francis

BBC News, London

The number of coronavirus deaths has reached 1,482, an increase of 137 on this morning's figures.

London remains the worst affected area, accounting for 30% of England's total deaths.

But the total number of deaths in London reported today is 20% lower than yesterday, when 174 new deaths were attributed to the coronavirus in London hospitals.

Seven of the top 10 worst affected hospitals are in London including the London North West University Trust which has recorded 160 deaths.

The only NHS Trust with more deaths in England is the University Hospital of Birmingham - 226.

Data pic
BBC

Theatre costume designers make scrubs for NHS medics

Scrubs
BBC

Musical theatre costume designers are making scrubs for NHS medics working on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus.

Sue Simmerling, the owner of costume design company Carry on Costumes, has volunteered the services of her team, who are already in the process of making 70 sets of scrubs for Guy's Hospital in London.

She was contacted by fellow designer Dulcie Scott, who started the crowdfunding group Helping Dress Medics, which aim is to purchase fabrics that are then made into protective clothing.

Ms Simmerling recently worked on costumes for the world premiere of Sleepless, A Musical Romance and show producers Michael Rose and Damien Sanders offered to share the costs with her to pay for 800 metres of fabric, which will be sent to seamstresses around the country.

Holocaust boys' exhibition postponed by coronavirus

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

An exhibition marking the visit to Essex in 1945 of youngsters who had survived the Holocaust during has been postponed until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Boys: Holocaust Survivors in the Epping Forest District was due to open in May at Epping Forest District Museum and will now be on display from 8 May 2021 to 4 September 2021.

Holocaust survivors
Epping Forest District Museum

Holocaust survivors came to Holmehurst hostel, Loughton, after the end of World War Two in December 1945, therefore rescheduling the exhibition in 2021 will commemorate 75 years since the boys’ arrival.This exhibition will tell survivors' stories.

Nigel Bedford, portfolio holder for communities and partnerships at the council, said: "We feel postponing the exhibition means we can still tell the survivors’ stories with the care, respect and compassion they deserve."

Actor pays tribute to Hillingdon nurses

Award-winning actor Michel Sheen has just posted this very heartfelt video highlighting the work of nurses in particular at Harefield Hospital in Hillingdon for the invaluable work they are doing to treat patients with Covid-19.

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: M25 Essex anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex anti-clockwise severe disruption, at J26 for A121.

M25 Essex - One lane closed on M25 anticlockwise at J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey), because of a van on fire. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

'Coronavirus body bag footage false and damaging'

Sarah Lee

BBC London

A video shared on social media allegedly showing "coronavirus medics stepping over body bags containing Covid-19 victims lying on the floor" at London's Northwick Park hospital has been branded "false" and "damaging".

London North West Hospital NHS Trust, said: “This image isn’t from one of our hospitals and is simply spreading false information that is damaging to our staff and communities."

View more on twitter

Should outdoor exercise be banned and parks closed?

Sunbathing
PA Media

Some parks around the UK have been closed to stop people congregating, but would shutting more of them and banning outdoor exercise help to stop the spread of coronavirus?

In response to incidents of people congregating in parks despite social distancing measures, several have been closed.

London's Lambeth Council closed Brockwell Park on Sunday, saying more than 3,000 people sunbathed or met up in large groups there on Saturday. However, it reopened today.

Full story

Hundreds of cabin crew volunteer for NHS Nightingale

Thomas Mackintosh

BBC London News

Virgin Atlantic
Getty Images

Hundreds of Virgin Atlantic employees have signed up to volunteer at the new NHS Nightingale in east London.

The ExCeL Centre in the Docklands has been transformed into a new 4,000 bed temporary hospital in order to help ease the demand on London patients requiring intensive care because of coronavirus.

Last Monday Virgin Atlantic said it had written to about 4,000 employees who had been furloughed due to a slump in flights because of the coronavoirus outbreak.

Today, the airline said "over 300" staff had offered to help at the new hospital - as well as similar hospitals being set up in Manchester and in Birmingham.

The workers would be changing beds and performing other non-clinical tasks and helping doctors and nurses working on the wards

NHS England said many airline staff were first aid trained and already had security clearance.

New teams respond to Covid-19 deaths in the community

LAS
PA

New specialist teams are being trained to respond to suspected Covid-19 deaths in the community across London.

The teams – made up of police officers, fire and health services staff – will confirm the deceased’s identity and establish there are no suspicious circumstances.

They will also prepare the deceased to be collected by an undertaker to take them to a funeral home or mortuary, until arrangements can be made for burial or cremation.

The aim of the new units, called Pandemic Multiagency Response Teams (PMART), is to ensure a safe response to Covid-19 deaths that may occur in the community at home, in a care home or hospice and to help reduce demand on the London Ambulance Service (LAS), enabling them to prioritise emergency cases.

These new teams will play a key role in helping ease pressure on the London Ambulance Service to allow them to concentrate on treating new emergency cases. At the same time, they will be helping provide families and loved ones with advice and assistance in the most exceptionally distressing circumstances. London’s emergency services, local authorities and other critical public and private sector partners are working resolutely to tackle the impact of the virus in the capital. We need Londoners to continue to play their part by staying at home, helping us to protect frontline services and save lives."

Eleanor KellyDeputy Chair of London’s Strategic Coordination Group

Severe disruption: M25 Kent clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Kent clockwise severe disruption, from J5 for M26 J5 to J6 for A22.

M25 Kent - One lane closed on M25 clockwise from J5 M26 J5 to J6, A22 (Godstone), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Battersea Park Zoo launches fundraising page

Animals
Battersea Park Zoo

Battersea Park Zoo has has launched a fundraising page to try to generate donations to support its work while the gates are shut.

"Every penny of our income comes from our paying visitors and now that we are closed to the public for the foreseeable future we no longer have those funds to feed over 100 animals that live at the zoo and manage our expensive daily running costs that continue to pile up, despite not being open," the zoo said.

"We understand that as a nation we are all struggling to adjust to the current situation we are living through, but if there is any way you could help us to reopen in the near future and continue with our conservation and education projects, it would be greatly appreciated as all of the fantastic work our team carries out is under threat."

Severe disruption: M25 Kent clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Kent clockwise severe disruption, at J4 for .

M25 Kent - Temporary closure and stationary on M25 clockwise at J4, Orpington, because of a vehicle on fire.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Mayor of London welcomes new Labour leader

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Sadiq Khan and Keir Starmer
PA

Sadiq Khan has welcomed Keir Starmer’s election as leader of the Labour party, saying he is “best suited” to hold the Government to account during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Mayor of London said changes in the party were “clearly necessary to put ourselves back on the path to forming a Labour Government”.But he said he was confident Sir Keir would rise to “the scale of this challenge”.

Labour members and affiliated unions chose the Holborn and St Pancras MP to replace Jeremy Corbyn as party leader on Saturday, with Angela Rayner succeeding former MP Tom Watson as deputy leader.

Sir Keir took control of the party with a decisive victory, gaining 56% of the first round of voting.

Rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy finished on 28% and 16% respectively.

London’s Mayor previously backed Sir Keir for the top job, saying he was “the best person to unite our party, take the fight to the Tories and put Labour in government”.

Speaking after the leadership results on Saturday, Mr Khan said he was “delighted” with the result.

Warning issued to fly-tippers

Council officials in Sevenoaks, Kent, have issued a stern warning to people who fly-tip their rubbish during the coronavirus outbreak.

Those who dump their waste illegally have been told they will face prosecution and could end up with a criminal record.

View more on twitter

Westminster Abbey releases Palm Sunday podcast

Westminsrer Abbey
BBC

Westminster Abbey has released a podcast of the traditional Palm Sunday service while the church remains shut during the coronavirus lockdown.

Traditionally services celebrating the beginning of Holy Week involve large congregations receiving blessings before a procession into the world famous abbey, officially known as the collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster.

The podcast, released on Palm Sunday, the day of Jesus's entry into Jerusalem and was recorded earlier this week by the Abbey’s resident clergy at the Great West Door.

Dean of Westminster, Dr David Hoyle said: "On Palm Sunday Christians across the world would, normally, have made themselves in to crowds and walked in cities, towns and villages

"In Westminster, we record a podcast before Abbey doors that are firmly closed. Still, though, we can hear the call of Christ as he asks us to follow him into the future."

Since becoming the coronation church in 1066, it has had close links with the royal family and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs.

The tombs and memorials make up one of the most significant collections of monumental sculpture in the UK.

Everyone involved in the making of the podcast observed social distancing. It was edited and posted by Abbey staff off-site.

The Abbey has been releasing podcasts and recorded sermons since 2013.

Brockwell park reopens after '3,000 visitors close park'

Brockwell Park
Reuters

One of London's most popular parks has reopened one day after it was forced to shut closed due to safety fears caused by people not adhering to social-distancing guidelines.

Brockwell Park in Lambeth saw more than 3,000 visitors over the course of Saturday, "many of them sunbathing or in large groups," Lambeth council said.

Many visitors were engaging in "unacceptable" behaviour, the council said.

Police patrolled the park on Saturday to break up large groups failing to stick to social distancing guidelines that require people to keep 6ft (2m) away from each other.

But this morning the park was again "open as usual today" the council announced on social media.

The move comes on the same day the Government announced parks should only be closed if it is "impossible" to maintain social distancing in them.

Housing and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Monday that he had called local leaders to warn them to be "very judicious" in locking open spaces.

Locals are asked to use the park only for exercise.

London's coronavirus death toll more than triples in a week

Thomas Mackintosh

BBC London News

Graph
BBC

The number of people dying from coronavirus in London has more than tripled in a week, BBC research has shown.

Last Sunday there were 353 patient known to have died from Covid-19 and according to the latest data published by NHS England yesterday, London now has 1,345 coronavirus-related deaths.

Seven out of 10 hospitals which have recorded the most Covid-19-related deaths are in London - the other three are clustered in the Midlands.

These alone include 160 deaths at the London North West University Trust which runs hospitals in Northwick Park, Central Middlesex, Ealing and St Mark's in Harrow.

The only NHS Trust with more deaths in England is the University Hospital of Birmingham - 214.

Other London hospital trusts with high totals include King's (132), Barts (120), Royal Free (107), Imperial (99), St George's (94) and Croydon (87).

The latest statistics for London will be published by NHS England later this afternoon.

New law brings in virtual council meetings

Local Democracy Reporting Service

City Hall
BBC

City Hall could be heading for a new virtual reality, as a law passed gives local government the power to hold remote sessions for the first time.

The London Assembly cancelled its meetings last month after the Government brought in new social distancing rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Local council meetings and parliamentary committees have also been postponed – raising concerns about how democratic scrutiny will continue during the outbreak.

Many MPs are calling for Parliament to hold virtual sessions when it returns from recess later this month – and now it seems City Hall will do the same.

Under the new law – which comes into force today – the London Assembly will be able to hold online sessions rather than meeting in person.

The legislation also scraps the requirement for People’s Question Time events during the pandemic. The annual State of London debate – a public meeting held at the O2 to discuss the key issues in the capital – could also be cancelled.

Watch: How do you care for someone at home?

Coronavirus: How do you care for someone at home?

Patients with mild coronavirus symptoms - such as a new continuous cough or a high temperature above 37.8C - should self-isolate at home for at least seven days, according to the latest advice issued by Public Health England.

If symptoms worsen or don't go away after a week, then people should contact their local health service - in the UK, that's the NHS 111 coronavirus service.

So how should you look after someone in your home who gets coronavirus?

The BBC's Laura Foster explains measures you should take when caring for someone who has it.

Radio presenter to keep video diary 'Covid confessions'

BBC Radio London' drivetime host Eddie Nestor announced over the weekend he is self-isolating for 14 days after a family member contracted the virus.

View more on twitter

Coronavirus: Confirmed cases in the East of England

The latest figures released by Public Health England show there were 3,755 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the East of England, as of 09:00 on Sunday.

The highest increase was in Essex with a rise of 238 cases on the previous day.

Map showing BBC East region confirmed coronavirus cases as of 0900 on Sunday 5 April 2020
BBC

Across the UK, there have been 4,934 deaths from coronavirus.

Good morning

Katy Lewis

BBC News Online

Welcome to a new week on our live page where we'll bring you regional updates about the coronavirus pandemic.

We'll bring you the latest news from the east of England until 18:00.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad, please contact BBC News Online (East) via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Or email us.

Coronavirus: Aerial footage of police patrolling outdoor spaces
Officers have been in parks and outdoor spaces to ensure the public adhere to social distancing measures.

Severe disruption: M20 Kent eastbound

BBC News Travel

M20 Kent eastbound severe disruption, at J7 for A249 Maidstone.

M20 Kent - M20 lane closed on exit slip road eastbound at J7, A249 (Maidstone), because of a break down.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M25 London anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 London anti-clockwise severe disruption, from J25 for A10 Great Cambridge Road to J24 for A111 Stagg Hill.

M25 London - One lane closed on M25 anticlockwise from J25, A10 (Enfield) to J24, A111 (Potters Bar), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe disruption: M25 London clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 London clockwise severe disruption, from J25 for A10 Great Cambridge Road to J26 for A121.

M25 London - One lane closed on M25 clockwise from J25, A10 (Enfield) to J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey), because of emergency repairs. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Council mulling ways to keep parks open

Mariam Issimdar

BBC News

Southwark Council has said it will look into how it can keep its parks open following calls from an MP to allow people without gardens to be given access.

Harriet Harman has suggested councils set up a rota system to allow people to use parks for exercise and fresh air.

View more on twitter

Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, said: “We will explore all possible options so that we can keep our parks available to everyone but we need residents to keep their distance wherever they can.

"I’m calling on our residents to do the right thing and think of others - not just those who we need to protect with social distancing, but also those who have no gardens or outdoor space.

"We already have police and council wardens out this weekend, patrolling our parks, and if everyone plays by the rules we can keep them open for all, especially those who need them most.”

Southwark has 24 open spaces including Nunhead Cemetery which has been closed following abuse of social distancing measures on Saturday.

Lambeth Council has closed Brockwell Park today after people were seen by police not observing social distancing rules.

Brockwell Park, London
BBC
Brockwell Park, London closed after social distancing rules were flouted

Unlicenced driver stopped on lockdown trip with paving slabs

A motorist flouted the coronavirus lockdown to pick up paving slabs while driving without a licence.

Hampshire Police said the driver was travelling from London to Bournemouth and faced a "very long walk home" from Ower, in the New Forest, where they were stopped.

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: M25 Hertfordshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire clockwise severe disruption, between J24 for A111 Stagg Hill and J25 for A10 Great Cambridge Road.

M25 Hertfordshire - One lane closed on M25 clockwise between J24, A111 (Potters Bar) and J25, A10 (Enfield), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

MP calls for parks to be used 'on rota'

Mariam Issimdar

BBC News

Harriet Harman is urging councils to allow parks to be used on a rotation basis to enable residents without a garden to get outdoors.

The MP for Camberwell and Peckham, who is also Mother of the House of Commons, tweeted saying parks were needed since not all families had access to outdoor spaces.

"The answer is rota for parks not closure. Families in flats with young children need our precious green spaces," she wrote.

Sunbathers in Greenwich Park, south London on Saturday
Reuters
Sunbathers in Greenwich Park, south London on Saturday

Her comments follow the announcement by Lambeth Council that Brockwell Park will be closed today after more than 3,000 people spent the day there sunbathing or in large groups yesterday.

“Unfortunately, the actions of this minority means that, following police advice, Brockwell Park will be closed on Sunday," the council said.

“We thank people for their understanding at this incredibly difficult time."

Sunbathers were also photographed at Greenwich Royal Park in south-east London on Saturday flouting social distancing guidance.

The latest coronavirus death toll in the UK reached 4,313 on Saturday.

Severe disruption: A4380 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A4380 London both ways severe disruption, between Melcombe Street and Dorset Square.

A4380 London - A4380 Dorset Square in Marylebone closed in both directions between the Melcombe Street junction and the Dorset Square junction, because of emergency repairs.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Severe accident: M2 Kent westbound

BBC News Travel

M2 Kent westbound severe accident, from J2 for A228 Sundridge Hill Strood to J1 for A2.

M2 Kent - One lane closed and it's slow on M2 westbound from J2, A228 (Strood) to J1, A2 (Strood), because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

People who are at home can still get a glimpse of the gardens even though they are closed.
People who are at home can still get a glimpse of garden attractions even though they are closed.