City of London

England, United Kingdom

Latest Stories

Severe disruption: A1003 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A1003 London both ways severe disruption, at Royal Drive.

A1003 London - A1003 Friern Barnet Road in Friern Barnet closed and it's slow at the Royal Drive junction, because of a police investigation.

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

Hundreds of retired Met officers to return to help with virus

Ms Dick
Getty Images

Over 200 retired Met Police officers have come forward to help London cope with the Coronavirus outbreak, following Commissioner Cressida Dick's call last week.

Retired officers were asked to return to the force as it tries to cope with the coronavirus outbreak in London.

Former PCs and sergeants who left in the past five years are to be offered work in a paid or voluntary capacity.

The Met said 250 officers had come forward in recent days.

“I hope we’ll get more and I’m looking forward to welcoming them back to assist us in what will no doubt be a very challenging time for all of us," Ms Dick said.

“These are very skilled people, they joined the job to help, they retired with a wealth of knowledge and we will try to put them back in the areas where they will be able to contribute most.”

She added that the Met remains in a good position to respond to the challenges posed in the current climate.

“At the moment we have a very, very resilient service. I’m proud of what the guys and girls are doing, they’re getting on with it and we’re able to do all the work we need to do,” she said.

“We are utterly determined to continue throughout the next weeks and months to provide an excellent service to London. We are here. We will continue to deal with violent crime and all the other things that concern Londoners, and we will do our best to keep our public safe.”

Children's hospice faces income shortfall

Sarah Lee

BBC London

A hospice charity has said that it faces an income shortfall of more than £2 million this year, more than half its projected income, due to the impact of coronavirus.

Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, which supports seriously unwell children and their families in north and central London and Hertsmere, said that fundraising events have had to be cancelled.

Sophie Andrews OBE, chief executive officer of Noah’s Ark, said: “We’re concerned about how we’re going to support these children through coronavirus and beyond.

“Our community has been a bastion of generosity in the past and we’re once again calling on them to rally around for their local children’s hospice.”

Croydon homeless charity 'saved' by Covid-19 volunteers

Local Democracy Reporting Service


A charity providing meals for the homeless was on the brink of closing, but was saved by volunteers wanting to help amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

In just a few weeks more than 3,000 people in Croydon have signed up to help their vulnerable neighbours.

The volunteers are organised locally into more than 60 Whats App and Facebook groups from Thornton Heath to Waddon and Addiscombe to Purley.

The groups gained traction through social media as well as with the help of 50,000 flyers donated by creative hub Matthew’s Yard, which were distributed by volunteers.

Good deeds from neighbours have included collecting shopping for people self-isolating and picking up medical supplies.

The volunteering group, named Croydon Covid-19 Mutual Aid (CCMA) managed to connect a soup kitchen on the brink of closure with local food producer, Eat with Tom Mathews.

The network has also helped find young, healthy volunteers for charities including Croydon Nightwatch to step in when older volunteers had to self-isolate.

CCMA member Ben Taylor said: “Seeing so many people come together in such a short time has been truly inspiring.”

Cllr Hamida Ali, said: “Croydon has a burgeoning voluntary and community sector and the development of Croydon Covid-19 Mutual Aid and its 29 associated mutual aid groups is just one more example and testament to the strength of community spirit here in Croydon.”

Pair travel from London to fish in Essex

Sarah Jenkins

BBC News

A police officer has stopped two people who had driven from Tottenham to go fishing on the Essex coast.

PC Andy Long tweeted that the pair "believed it was essential" to go to Holland Haven near Clacton as they were "fed up indoors".

The rural and heritage crime officer directed them back home after explaining the law.

View more on twitter

Battersea rehomes 150 pets amid Coronavirus crisis

Sarah Lee

BBC London

PA Media

More than 150 Battersea dogs and cats found new homes last week amid this unprecedented health crisis.

Battersea Cats and Dogs Home staff rehomed more than double the figures for the same week in 2019.

Between 16 - 22 March, 86 dogs and 69 cats left Battersea for a new life with their owners. During the same week last year, 42 dogs and 29 cats found new homes.

The centre has since stop accepting rescue animals due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Battersea’s Head of Operations, Rob Young, said: “We want to thank all these new owners for thinking of rescue pets at such a challenging time.

“All three of our Battersea centres are now closed to the public, but many of our animals are now in loving homes or out on temporary foster with our staff and volunteers.

"Battersea are still caring for around 100 animals at our three centres and working hard to ensure each and every dog and cat continues to get the treatment, care, love, play and interaction they need."

Spurs put 550 non-playing staff on furlough and cut wages

Thomas Mackintosh

BBC London News

Spurs stadium

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy has announced that everyone employed by the club in a non-playing capacity will lose 20% of their pay.

Spurs have also placed 550 non-playing staff on furlough as part of measures to "protect jobs" amid the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement Levy said: "The club’s operations have effectively ceased, some of our fans will have lost their jobs and most will be worried about their future.

"Our sponsors will be concerned about their businesses and our media partners have no certainty when we may play games again or whether we will be allowed to play in front of our fans.

"In the meantime, the club has an annual cost base running into hundreds of millions of pounds.

"Yesterday, having already taken steps to reduce costs, we ourselves made the difficult decision – in order to protect jobs – to reduce the remuneration of all 550 non-playing directors and employees for April and May by 20 per cent utilising, where appropriate, the government’s furlough scheme.

"We shall continue to review this position."

London DV helpline reached 'all time high' before lockdown

Sarah Lee

BBC London

Domestic abuse
Getty Images

A London domestic abuse helpline hit an all-time high in the days leading up to the current restrictions.

Solace Women's Aid, which helps vulnerable women throughout London, said it had been inundated with calls before the lockdown, but the number of callers have since "fallen dramatically as abusers have been more able to monitor a household's movements."

The Met Police said it had not yet seen an increase in domestic violence call-outs, but promised to continue to prioritise responding to domestic abuse calls.

Activists say abuse has already increased elsewhere in the world.

Fiona Dwyer, CEO of Solace Women's Aid said: "We are going to see in the UK, all of the women who are currently trapped with abusive partners, once they are allowed out and to leave relationships, we will see a spike in demand for help."

On social media, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "I fully understand that for victims of abuse, home is not the safe haven it should be.

"During this challenging time, my message to you is simple - we have not forgotten you and we will not let you down."

An estimated 1.6 million women and 786,000 men experienced domestic abuse in England and Wales in the year ending March 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics.

And in 2018,173 people were killed in domestic violence-related homicides, according to data obtained by the BBC from 43 police forces across the UK.

MP calls for leaders to coordinate approach on Covid-19

Mariam Issimdar

BBC News

The MP for Tottenham is calling for world leaders to come up with a global solution to tackling the Covid-19 crisis.

View more on twitter

Speaking to the BBC David Lammy added: "The Covid-19 pandemic is by its nature a global crisis. As is clear from the previous epidemics as well as the global financial crisis which culminated in 2008, global crises require global solutions.

"By now, the G7 or G20 should have spearheaded a global response by sharing information and strategy on public health policy; coordinating economic responses; and providing assistance to developing nations to contain the virus’ spread.

"Unfortunately, populist nationalism has been in the ascendance over the past decade. From the United States, to Brazil and the United Kingdom, nationalist leaders have been reluctant to lead a global response."

Coronavirus caused 4% of all London deaths

Sam Francis

BBC News, London

Data pic

Coronavirus was linked to 4% of all deaths in London, four times more than the national average, according to new figures.

London recorded 44 deaths in the week ending March 20 where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal.

What’s different about the data is it looks at community deaths – people who died at home or in residential care who doctors recorded on the death certificate as probably having Covid-19.

By contrast, official numbers from the Department for Health and Social Care have so far only included deaths inside hospitals, though this is changing from Tuesday.

As of Monday there have been 22,141 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK and 1,408 deaths according to Public Health England.

Southwark cemeteries to be restricted to mourners only

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Cemeteries in Southwark are closed to everyone except mourners attending funerals until further notice.

Camberwell New Cemetry, London

A spokesperson for Southwark Council said: “In line with government legislation during this emergency period, we will tonight be closing all of our cemeteries and our crematorium grounds, to all but those attending funerals."

The closures came into effect last night.

“This will help make the area safer for grieving family and friends, at an incredibly difficult time,” Southwark Council said.

Nunhead Cemetery, Camberwell Old Cemetery, and Camberwell New Cemetery will all be affected by the new rules.

Southwark has the highest recorded level of confirmed Covid-19 cases in London and the fourth highest in the country.

The latest figures show there are 368 confirmed cases in Southwark, the fourth highest in the country after Sheffield, Hampshire and Birmingham.

Met police find Gin-ventive hand sanitiser suppliers

Met officers
Getty Images

Gin distilleries and breweries are to begin supplying the Met police with hand sanitiser.

Portobello Road Gin in Notting Hill, 58 Gin Ltd in Haggerston and Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham have all agreed contracts to ensure the Met's supply of hand sanitiser doesn't dry up.

Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, has also agreed to donate 6,000 litres to the country's largest police force.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK has led to an increased demand across the country for hygiene products such as hand sanitiser.

Hand sanitiser is a crucial item for officers and staff in the Met especially those on the frontline who are patrolling the streets of London, dealing with prisoners in custody and attending crime scenes.

All potential suppliers are producing and selling the hand sanitisers using the formulation provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), allowing the product to be made in a timely manner.

The Met Police's Director of Commercial Services, Mark Roberts, said: “I am extremely grateful to all of the suppliers who have agreed to work with us and provide us with this vital commodity, which will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives."

Wembley IKEA turns into coronavirus test centre

Thomas Mackintosh

BBC London News


A coronavirus test centre for NHS workers has opened at Ikea's store in Wembley.

The firm has offered the store as an additional medical facility and said it has also been donating food to local hospials, food banks and homeless shelters.

"We're enormously proud of the NHS and proud to be able to offer Wembley as an additional medical facility," an IKEA spokesman said.

"We have also responded to requests from intensive care units and doctors across the country by delivering tens of thousands of our disposable paper tape measures, to help them continue their amazing care for their patients."

Farm 'overwhelmed' by donations

newborn lamb
Deen City Farm

A south London farm has been "overwhelmed" by the response to a crowdfunding appeal to help sustain the animals during the coronavirus lockdown.

Last week the Deen City Farm, in Merton, launched an emergency fundraising appeal which has already raised nearly £22,000.

The farm has been closed to visitors during what is usually its busiest time of year as people come to see new born lambs.

Funds will be used to feed and look after the nearly 40 animals while the farm is closed.

Nick Golson, Manager of Deen City Farm, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the amazing response to our fundraising appeal.

"It has made us even more determined to make sure we can get through this difficult time and welcome everyone back to the farm as soon as we can.”

London makes up over a quarter of all UK coronavirus cases

Thomas Mackintosh

BBC London News

London stats

The amount of confirmed coronavirus cases in London have almost doubled in the space of five days, official government figures show.

Yesterday, Public Health England said there were 564 new cases of the virus in the capital bringing London's total to 6,521 - just under 30% of all UK cases.

Southwark still has the most out of all the boroughs with 368 confirmed cases, and is followed by Lambeth (366) and Brent (359).

Ealing and Wandsworth also have more than 300 cases, while Kingston is the only London borough to have less than 100 confirmed cases.

According to NHS England figures there are 1,284 patients who have died in English NHS Trusts from coronavirus - 407 are known to have died in London hospitals.

British Airways suspends all Gatwick flights

Gatwick Airport
PA Media

British Airways is suspending all of its flights to and from Gatwick Airport, the BBC has learned.

It comes hours after EasyJet grounded all of its flights because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline sent a message to all of its Gatwick-based crew last night saying that the company was facing a challenging market environment in "unprecedented circumstances".

In a statement British Airways said they were contacting affected customers to discuss their options as a result of the decision.

British Airways flights to and from Heathrow are still operating but at a severely reduced schedule.

Last week, the airline said it was moving all of its flights from Terminal 3 solely to Terminal 5 to cope with a drop in demand of passengers.

Southall restaurant donates hot meals to hospital staff

Thomas Mackintosh

BBC London News

Ealing Hospital
TKC Chaudhry

A Southall business has been delivering hot meals to staff at Ealing Hospital amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Dalawar Chaudhry said his restaurant, TKC Chaudhry, has had to close due to the epidemic and recent restrictions imposed by the government on social distancing.

But, he says his company has been aiming to deliver thousands of meals to doctors, nurses and other health care workers at Ealing Hospital.

In the last week, Ealing has seen a steep increase in the amount of confirmed coroanvirus cases in the borough.

Recent government figures show that positive cases of Covid-19 in Ealing have nearly tripled since last Monday from 106 to 304 as of yesterday morning.

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."

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

Severe disruption: A503 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A503 London both ways severe disruption, from Isledon Road to A1201 Blackstock Road.

A503 London - A503 Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park closed one way street from Finsbury Park Station to Twelve Pins Traffic Lights, because of crane operation.

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

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.

'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."

Grenfell tower wrapping replacement work paused

Grenfell tower
Getty Images

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.

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.

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."

Police stop M1 driver on 180-mile trip to see friends

A driver has been caught flouting lockdown procedures after setting out on a 180-mile round trip to pick up a friend from London.

police jacket
PA Media

The driver, from Spalding, was stopped on the M1 by Hertfordshire Police at the weekend.

When officer asked what they were doing they told officers they were en route to London to pick up a friend before driving to Peterborough to see others.

Writing on Twitter the force said: "REALLY is this essential? Come on people COVID19 is a KILLER, STAY AT HOME."

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.

Severe accident: A123 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A123 London both ways severe accident, at Kingston Road.

A123 London - A123 Ilford Lane in Ilford blocked and it's very slow in both directions at the Kingston Road junction, because of an accident. Diversion in operation - affecting bus routes EL1 and 169.

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

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.

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.