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Good morning

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Welcome to our live page where we'll bring you regular regional updates about the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for joining us.

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

Coronavirus: Ipswich woman's garden run raises hundreds for charity
Fiona Wilson was determined to not let the coronavirus lockdown stop her raising money for charity.

What's in the papers in Suffolk?

  • Suffolk residents pay tribute to hard-working bin men working through virus pandemic, the East Anglian Daily Times reports
  • The Ipswich Star has spoken to a couple who hosted 3,000 people in their virtual fancy dress party at home
  • Markets across west Suffolk will be closed from today, the Bury Free Press has reported

Suffolk schools to stay open during Easter break

Sarah Jenkins

BBC News

Schools across Suffolk will remain open during the Easter holidays for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers, the county council said.

Schools will have broken up by the end of this week.

The council has advised key workers who are able to keep their children at home to do so in order to lower the risk of spreading the virus.

A helpline has been set up for parents to call if their usual school is not open. Parents and guardians can call 01473 263985 on weekdays between 08:00 and 17:00.

School children
Getty Images

Councillor Mary Evans, cabinet member for children’s services, said: "Once again I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone across the education sector.

"We are all working together to identify the best solutions for all pupils, especially the most vulnerable."

East Suffolk council suspends parking charges

Sarah Jenkins

BBC News Online

Felixstowe Leisure Centre and car park
Felixstowe Leisure Centre and car park

East Suffolk Council has suspended charges in all of its car parks.

The local authority said it was "to help support our local key workers and community volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak".

Councillor Norman Brooks, cabinet member for transport, said: "As well as supporting our wider communities throughout this crisis, our priority must be to make life as simple as possible for the frontline key workers and volunteers and we hope that this small step can make a difference.

"Additionally, this move will enable us to redeploy some of our operational staff to other services which are currently in great demand."

Coronavirus cases continue to rise

The number of coronavirus cases for the east of England were released by Public Health England on Monday evening.

Here is latest breakdown confirmed from hospital tests:.

  • Bedford Borough 34
  • Cambridgeshire 109
  • Central Bedfordshire 60
  • Essex 301
  • Hertfordshire 339
  • Luton 69
  • Milton Keynes 94
  • Norfolk 133
  • Northamptonshire 153
  • Peterborough 24
  • Suffolk 100
  • Southend 31
  • Thurrock 41

Former BBC radio presenter dies with coronavirus

John Hood with award
John Hood won an award for his rescue of four teenage girls in 2016

John Hood's partner Jayne Lindill says his friends and family are "heartbroken" by his death.

John Hood with award

Former BBC radio presenter dies with coronavirus

John Hood's former partner Jayne Lindill says his friends and family are "heartbroken" by his death.

Read more

What the papers are saying in Suffolk

Here's how the papers in Suffolk are reporting the coronavirus pandemic

  • The East Anglian Daily Times reports the first meals from acting couple Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory’s new scheme are due to be served up, as they aim to feed NHS staff fighting coronavirus
  • There are scenes of silent streets in Ipswich and Felixstowe in the Ipswich Star, as people obey the coronavirus lockdown message
  • And the Suffolk Free Press reports on businesses in the Sudbury area providing a vital lifeline

Co-op to stop accepting loyalty card and handing out charity tokens

The East of England Co-operative have announced a series of changes to how they operate their food stores to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The group, based in Ipswich and with stores across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk said it would be no longer accepting member reward cards to avoid handling them, but advised customers to keep receipts to add the points at a later date.

Stores will also no longer hand out green tokens, which go in the charity-of-your-choice boxes.

East of England Co-operative
EoE Co-op

In line with many other supermarket the Co-op will also be installing screens at checkouts and have signs on the floor to keep shoppers 2m (6ft 6in) apart.

Cheers all round as the East says thanks to NHS

Coronavirus: Cheers all round as the East says thanks to NHS
There was clapping, cheering, pots clanging and car horns honking as people across the East of England gave their thanks to the NHS.

Many people took part in the social media campaign on Thursday night, where people across the UK applauded the work of the health service treating coronavirus patients.

'Thank you NHS'

Oscar's been using his time off to create a masterpiece thanking the NHS for all their hard work.

The ambulance service were definitely impressed by his artistic talent.

View more on twitter

Daughter thanks public for staying at home and 'keeping Mummy safe'

The daughter of a NHS worker in Suffolk has posted a video on social media to thank people for staying at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

View more on twitter

The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust runs the hospital in Bury St Edmunds and community services.

Six more coronavirus deaths reported in East of England

Nikki Fox

BBC Look East

Six more deaths from coronavirus were recorded in the BBC East region on Thursday evening.

Thee people died in hospitals run by East and North Herts NHS Trust and three at Princess Alexandra in Harlow.

The UK death date rose to more than 550 as of yesterday evening.

Here are the latest numbers of positive cases (not deaths) recorded in our region:

  • Norfolk 51 (a rise of 6 on previous day)
  • Suffolk 42 (up 7)
  • Peterborough 10 (up 1)
  • Cambridgeshire 47 (up 6)
  • Northamptonshire 64 (up 21)
  • Bedford 10 (up 3)
  • Central Bedfordshire 28 (up 4)
  • Milton Keynes 38 (up 9)
  • Buckinghamshire 66 (up 7)
  • Luton 30 (up 1)
  • Hertfordshire 170 (up 23)
  • Essex 130 (up 42)
  • Southend12 (up 3)
  • Thurrock 20 (up 5)

These figures will not include people have show symptoms, but have not been tested.

Further figures can be found at Public Health England.

Clap for our carers: UK pays tribute to NHS and care workers

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Last night, people around the UK took part in a "Clap for our Carers" tribute, saluting NHS and care workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

At 20:00 GMT, well-wishers flocked to their balconies, windows, front doors and gardens to applaud.

Emergency services themselves also took part as this "amazing show of support" outside Ipswich Hospital reflects.

View more on twitter

Coronavirus updates - the latest

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Welcome to our live updates page where you can keep up with all the regional news on the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for joining us.

We'll bring you all the latest developments and news from the East of England until 18:00 GMT.

Clap for our Carers

Set your alarms for 20:00 this evening when a big round of applause is planned to thank all the NHS staff working tirelessly to keep us safe.

If you want to take part all you need do is put your hands together from your windows and doors.

View more on twitter

Hospital appointments go online

Alex Pope

BBC News

We are all finding new ways to work at the moment, and that includes staff working within the NHS.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust is using a new video system so appointments can be made online.

I am a little jealous as Claire's headset looks better than mine.

View more on twitter

Staff shortages could affect fruit and veg from the East

Pete Cooper

BBC News

The Country Land and Business Association has warned of staff shortages in the farming sector across the East of England due to coronavirus.

If farmers could not find the workers they needed, it could lead to a shortage of fruit and vegetables, it said.

PA Media

Cath Crowther from the association said: "There are staff shortages because of travel restrictions and illness which could impact on fruit and vegetable supply going forward."

She also said that those farms that had diversified into leisure and tourism were also suffering, and that those with cafes were trying to "redirect" their supplies.

Visiting suspended at Essex and Suffolk hospitals

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

The way people can visit loved ones is changing at most hospitals.

East Suffolk and North East Essex Foundation Trust has said that visiting has been suspended at Colchester, Ipswich, Aldeburgh and Felixstowe hospitals, and at Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich.

Chief executive Nick Hulme said you could only visit if seeing someone receiving end-of-life care; you are a birthing partner or a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child.

Ipswich Hospital
East Suffolk and North East Essex Foundation Trust

“Our primary concern is to keep our patients and our staff safe," he said.

"Thank to you everyone in our communities for their continuing support at this very difficult time."

Ambulance trust 'could not be prouder' of staff and volunteers

East of England Ambulance NHS Trust has praised on Twitter the "incredible" work its staff and volunteers are doing across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

The trust said it wanted to "dedicate #ThankYouThursday" to all those "working incredibly hard around the clock to make sure that our patients remain safe and get help when they need it the most. We couldn't be prouder to call you #TeamEEAST."

Ambulance staff
East of England Ambulance Service

Council donates thousands to Suffolk food banks

Food banks across Suffolk re to receive a share of £60,000 to ensure they're stocked with much-needed supplies.

This money, donated by Suffolk County Council, will let them restock directly with the supermarkets and wholesalers, the council said.

Paul West, cabinet member for communities, said: "It is now more important than ever to look after those most in need in our neighbourhoods."


Suffolk residents told to 'compost at home'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

People living in Suffolk have been urged not to dispose of garden waste in black bins, despite their garden waste collection services being suspended.

So far Ipswich, Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils have all suspended garden waste bin collections until further notice, so that crews can focus on collecting black bins and recyclable rubbish. East and West Suffolk councils are still running garden waste services.

However, recycling centres closed to the public on Tuesday, meaning the option of clearing garden waste there is no longer available.

A Babergh and Mid Suffolk spokeswoman said: “For those who aren’t able to compost, we kindly ask that they temporarily store it in their garden instead of placing it in the general waste bin."

Coronavirus updates - the latest

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Welcome to our live updates page where you can keep up with all the regional news on the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for joining us.

We'll bring you all the latest developments and news from the East of England until 18:00 GMT.

New help group called 'Home But Not Alone'

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

People wanting to volunteer to help people during the coronavirus pandemic can join a new service set up by Suffolk councils, police, health bodies and charities brought together as the Collaborative Communities Board.

The new service, called Home But Not Alone, is appealing to volunteers, charities, town and parish councils, community and religious groups who can all log their offers of support on an app.

Chrissie Geeson
Chrissie Geeson

People who need help can phone to request support and as offers and requests grow, they will be matched so help can be given where it's most needed.

This support could include delivering groceries, medication or essential household goods, while social distancing of course.

Chrissie Geeson, the board's chairwoman, said: "It has been incredibly heartening to have so many people volunteer to help others.

"In villages and towns across Suffolk, people have taken it upon themselves to mobilise a small army of volunteers."

The free app, called Tribe Volunteer, can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

The telephone number for those in genuine need of help is freephone 0800 876 6926.

Inquests postponed or suspended due to crisis

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Some coroner's courts are responding to the coronavirus crisis with inquests in Northamptonshire suspended until September.

Coroner Anne Pember said: "In view of the present COVID-19 situation it is with regret that I need to inform you that all inquests listed between now and 1 September have been suspended until further notice."I will review the situation on 31 July."

All inquests due to be heard at Buckinghamshire Coroner's Court until Monday, 27 April have been postponed and will be rescheduled.

In Cambridgeshire, the coroner and inquests website warns that "during these unprecedented times, hearings may change at short notice".

People are asked to check the website the evening before a hearing is scheduled, for the most up to date information.

Suffolk County Council said: “Due to the fast-changing situation in respect of COVID-19 the Coroner’s Service is closely monitoring the government advice and considering any impact this might have.

But no announcements have been made by the coroners in Bedfordshire, Essex, Norfolk or Hertfordshire.

Shake It Off to lift our spirits

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Everyone needs their spirits lifting at the moment, so St John Ambulance cadets in the East of England have come up with a "banging" idea to make us feel a little bit better.

Luke Stevenson, and others, want fellow cadets and St John Ambulance members to make up dance moves.

They are putting together a video to Taylor Swift's Shake It Off - but need some help.

They want to show that everyone is "standing together" and that some "fun" can still be had.

So send your best moves via email - - or via Twitter using #SJADanceForEast.

Just make sure you never miss a beat especially if you are lightning on your feet!

View more on twitter

People acting 'as if threat from coronavirus didn’t exist' says top cop

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Two chief constables have issued strongly-worded statements calling on communities to comply with new government rules restricting people’s movements to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Steve Jupp (below), who heads Suffolk Police, said: "The moves so far to limit social distancing have not had the necessary effect, with some people still going about their business as if the threat from coronavirus didn’t exist.

"It has to stop.”

Steve Jupp
Suffolk Police

He said officers would negotiate with people seen to be flouting the new rules before resorting to the law.

Norfolk's chief constable Simon Bailey (below) said he was staggered to hear holiday resorts had been full of people over the weekend.

Simon Bailey

Public gatherings of more than two people who do not live together should stop, the government said, and shops selling non-essential items have been asked to close.

New legislation has been introduced giving police powers to enforce the new rules.

Mr Bailey said: "Officers will continue to be out in their communities, speaking to people as we always do and taking the opportunity to explain the new rules and ask what people are doing and why they are out."

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: "If the public do not comply with this lockdown the police will use their powers to enforce it, and have my full support in that."

And what about self-isolation?

Self-isolating means staying at home and not leaving it, other than for exercise. Don't go to work, school or public areas during this time, is the government's advice.

If possible, you should not go out even to buy food or other essentials. If you are unable to get supplies delivered, you should do what you can to limit social contact when you do leave the house.

Who should self-isolate?

Everyone who shows coronavirus symptoms - a fever of above 37.8C, a persistent cough or breathing problem - and everyone who lives in the same house or flat as someone with symptoms.

  • If you live alone, you must stay at home for seven days from the day symptoms start
  • If someone you live with develop symptoms, they must isolate for seven days and the rest of the household needs to isolate for 14 days and monitor for signs of COVID-19
  • If someone else does become ill during that period, their seven-day isolation starts that day. For example, it might run from day three to day 10 - when that person's isolation would then end. It would not restart if another member of the household fell ill
  • But anyone who fell ill on day 13 would see their seven-day isolation begin then - for their illness rather than to monitor for symptoms - meaning they would spend a total of 20 days at home

Recycling centres close

Rubbish bins
Luton Council

To ensure the safety of staff and customers, household recycling centres across the region are now closed.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: "In accordance with current government Coronavirus guidelines of avoiding non-essential contact and preventing a risk of infection to others, the sites will close.

"It is essential that we do all we can to slow down the spread of the virus."

Here is a breakdown of each council so you can access their information directly:

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