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MPs send messages of support to Boris Johnson

MPs across the South East have been sending their messages of support to Boris Johnson who is "in good spirits" after spending the night in intensive care being treated for coronavirus, according to a No 10 spokesman.

The prime minister was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital in London on Sunday after being diagnosed with the virus 10 days ago.

The former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, MP for South West Surrey, sent a video of support.

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Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, posted on Twitter on Monday evening: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Boris tonight. But he is a toughie and I have no doubt that Covid-19 might just have bitten off more than it can chew."

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Tattooists and nail bars asked to donate PPE

Surrey County Council has appealed to businesses to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to help protect frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The council said there is a "very limited supply" coming into the county for social workers, care home staff, firefighters and volunteers.

A council spokesman said: "Businesses such as tattoo artists, beauty salons, nail bars and others using these products daily can help by offering stocks while they are closed."

Donations can be made by contacting and delivery and collection can be arranged, the council said.

Sunbathers found at beauty spot during lockdown

Scores of people were found sunbathing at a Surrey beauty spot at the weekend, despite government advice for people to stay at home, Surrey Police has said.

Officers found the sun seekers when they responded to reports of more than 40 cars parked at Box Hill, near Dorking, on Sunday.

The force said a passing police helicopter prompted some to disperse, while officers on the ground had to engage with a "significant number" to persuade them to leave.

It said cars continued to arrive throughout the afternoon and officers were also alerted to a similar situation at Epsom Downs.

Meanwhile, Surrey Police had to deal with eight people "having a mini street party" in a front garden.

Supt Chris Colley said: "We understand that in normal situations the warm weather is appealing and we all want to get out and about. However, these are not normal times. This is a national health emergency."

Thousands volunteer for new community group

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

A new community group has been set up in Surrey Heath, to bring together volunteers with those who need their help.

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Bowler making different kind of deliveries

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

With no professional cricket likely this summer, Surrey all-rounder Rikki Clark is putting his time off to good use - by volunteering for the NHS.

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Call for Clap for Carers to recognise other key workers

Clap for key workers

Those taking part in the second Clap for Carers later are being asked to extend their support to other key workers, including supermarket workers, warehouse staff and delivery drivers.

Last Thursday, households across the UK stood on their doorsteps and balconies and applauded the efforts of the NHS and care workers in treating those affected by Covid-19.

The second display of support will take place at 20:00 BST.

Council defends car park closures

Rebecca Curley

Local Democracy Reporter

A council has defended its decision to close car parks at open spaces in the countryside due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Surrey County Council closed all car parks in places like commons and heaths on 23 March.

Responding to criticism of the decision on social media, a council spokesman said the decision was taken to meet government advice after large crowds gathered on 21 March. “While people can still visit the countryside, we would advise residents who are going out for their daily exercise to visit quiet locations close to their homes and not travel,” the spokesman added.

No plans to suspend council tax bills in Surrey

Rebecca Curley

Local Democracy Reporter

Surrey County Council’s leader says there are no plans to suspend council tax bills or freeze payments as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

Councillor Tim Oliver said services such as social workers and teachers were vital and despite financial help from central government there still needed to be funds to support the work of the local authority.

He did say borough and districts councils have the ability to suspend payments from residents if they wanted to.

But they would still need to meet the financial obligations and payment deadlines set by the county council.

Councillor Oliver said: “There’s more pressure on our services than ever before."

Frontline ambulance staff sought amid coronavirus pandemic

An appeal has gone out for ex-frontline ambulance staff to come forward to help with the response to coronavirus.

South East Coast Ambulance Service, which covers Kent, Sussex, Surrey and parts of Hampshire, has made a Twitter appeal calling on ex-staff to come forward.

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University gives space to NHS staff

Royal Surrey County Hospital
Royal Surrey County Hospital

The University of Surrey is making its office space available to NHS staff who would otherwise be working in high-risk areas of the Royal Surrey County Hospital.

The university says it has installed network lines in their Leggett Building, giving it a direct connection with the neighbouring hospital.

RSCH staff will also be able to use more than 200 free car parking spaces, just a few minutes walk away.

Andy Chalklin, the University of Surrey's chief operation officer, said: “In comparison to the extraordinary efforts being made and risks faced by NHS workers every day – including many of our own nursing and paramedic students and staff – this is only a small gesture of gratitude and solidarity on our part."

Fire service union suspends Surrey action

A Fire Engine
PA Media

The Fire Brigades Union has temporarily suspended its industrial action in Surrey during the coronavirus outbreak.

The union launched six months of action in December, including an overtime ban and a refusal to “work up” to more senior roles.

The union said it had now reached a "landmark agreement" with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and fire service employers on how to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

If agreed locally, it said firefighters would be able to drive ambulances, deliver food and medicines to vulnerable people, and retrieve the deceased.

Jay Devey, FBU brigade secretary, said: "For now it is essential that we all pull together and do our bit to beat this crisis."

But Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, added: "When we eventually see through this crisis, we hope they will remember the value of properly resourced services and bring an end to a decade of dangerous cuts.”

Police urge people to stay at home

Surrey Police have re-stated their advice for people to stay at home to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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British Airways suspending London Gatwick flights

Planes lined up
Getty Images

All BA flights to and from London’s Gatwick airport will be suspended, according to an email from the airline to staff seen by the BBC.

BA is facing “unprecedented circumstances” in a challenging market, the email says, as the British government advises against all non-essential travel for 30 days.

The airline says it will be contacting its customers to discuss their options.

On Monday EasyJet grounded all of its planes owing to the pandemic. BA is still operating some flights from Heathrow airport.

Retired police staff sought

Police in Surrey and Sussex are creating a database of retired staff who may wish to return for a temporary period during the coronavirus pandemic.

The forces are looking at contingencies in case their resources reduce or if they need additional specific skills and experience.

As well as retired police staff, they are also looking for members of the public who may have specific skills that would be of use.

Those interested are being asked to register online.

Police disperse house party guests

Sue Nicholson

BBC News

Spelthorne beat of Surrey Police
Surrey Police

Police in Surrey were called to break up a house party on Saturday night.

Guests attending the birthday party in Stanwell were "sent on their way", officers said.

Writing on Facebook, Surrey Police said: "It is not acceptable to invite your friends over."

Coronavirus drive-through test centres for NHS workers

Sue Nicholson

BBC News

NHS testing station at Chessington World of Adventures

NHS workers are being tested for coronavirus at two temporary drive-through testing stations.

Retailer Boots opened the facilities in the car park of Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey, and at its headquarters in Beeston, Nottinghamshire.

The centres are there to support the government's bid to test doctors and nurses who have been self-isolating and are unsure whether they have the virus.

The sites are for NHS staff by invitation only, the company said.

Free DAB radios for over 70s

DAB digital radio

Vulnerable people aged over 70 are to be offered free DAB digital radios as millions are forced to stay in their homes and isolate because of the coronavirus outbreak.

BBC local radio is teaming up with manufacturers, retailers and a loneliness charity in order to ensure as many people as possible have access to news, information and companionship.

It will be giving away DAB digital radios to people nominated by local radio listeners as part of the BBC’s Make A Difference campaign, which was launched in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

It is running across all 39 BBC local radio stations in England and is aimed at connecting communities.

From Monday, anyone can nominate someone for a free radio by completing an online application form at

The South East joins Clap for Carers tribute

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

At 2000 GMT last night, people came out of their houses and opened their windows to applaud NHS staff tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

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M25 closed as overturned lorry in flames

M25 fire
George Killoughery

A three-mile stretch of motorway is closed after a lorry rolled over and caught fire.

Firefighters are trying to put out the blazing vehicle, which has sent a plume of dark smoke over the M25.

All lanes have been closed between junctions 6 and 7, Highways England said. Traffic is being diverted along the A22.

Surrey Police

Police officers 'being coughed at'

People have been coughing in the faces of front line police officers in Surrey, according to the county's chief constable.

Ch Con Gavin Stevens branded the behaviour as "disgraceful and disgusting" and said it was happening not just to police officers but also to other front line emergency services workers.

"There needs to be strong and swift justice", he added.

'It's like having a friend in the kitchen'

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Despite having to cancel face to face classes, this award-winning baker from Surrey has moved her service online.

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Hotel firm offers venues for NHS use

Harbour Hotel, Southampton

Hotel chain Harbour Hotels is offering its Southampton and Guidford hotels to the NHS "for any required support", it has said.

Its hotels are currently closed to the public.

In a statement the firm said: "No official partnership has been confirmed as yet, but we remain committed to doing all that we can to help in these challenging times."

The NHS has not yet responded to a BBC request for comment.

Severe disruption: A281 Surrey both ways

BBC News Travel

A281 Surrey both ways severe disruption, from East Shalford Lane to Pilgrims Way.

A281 Surrey - A281 Shalford Road in Shalford closed in both directions from the East Shalford Lane junction to near The Seahorse Pub, because of a vehicle that was on fire earlier and recovery work.

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

Today's South East news website headlines

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The Argus: Coronavirus: Panic-buying at Newhaven Sainsbury's

Kent Online: Sainsbury's stores open for the over 70s and vulnerable people only for first hour

Get Surrey: Nine more coronavirus cases in Surrey

Chichester Observer: Coronavirus: Chichester farmers’ market called off

Eastbourne Herald: Coronavirus: Don’t forget charities in Eastbourne

Crawley and Horley Observer: Hazelwick School in Crawley closes with immediate effect

Worthing Herald: Lancing school crossing campaign takes a step forward

Mid Sussex Times: Coronavirus: Mid Sussex charity urgently needs young volunteers to help elderly

Brighton & Hove News: Two held after £80k burglary at Hove shop

Hastings Observer: Motorcyclist dies in A21 collision at Sedlescombe

Brighton & Hove Independent: Crown Prosecution Service South East moves into Brighton Police Station

Burglars claimed they were "disinfecting the street"

Bob Dale

BBC Live reporter

Three men stole cash and jewellery from a house, after telling the homeowner they were there to disinfect it.

The men, who were wearing black masks, gloves and hoodies, said they were going to do the same work in every house in the street, in Camberley, when they called at the property about 20:45 GMT on 16 March.

One man kept the householder talking, while the other two went upstairs to steal bangles, necklaces, earrings and cash.

The gang, who all had Eastern European accents, are thought to have driven away in a car which had been parked in Portsmouth Road.

Today's South East news website headlines

A pile of newspapers
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The Argus: Coronavirus - Tenth case confirmed in city

Kent Online: Inside Kent's abandoned floating hotel

Get Surrey: How to protect yourself from coronavirus during your rail commute

Chichester Observer: Festival cancelled amid coronavirus fears

Eastbourne Herald: Eastbourne post office to provide home delivery service

Crawley and Horley Observer: Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner elections cancelled

Worthing Herald: Doctors' surgery outside Worthing 'closes doors'

Mid Sussex Times: First case confirmed in East Sussex

Brighton & Hove News: Travel restrictions prompt cricketers to return

Hastings Observer: Hastings and Rother seniors meeting cancelled due to outbreak

Brighton & Hove Independent: Brighton Marathon postponed due to virus outbreak

Today's South East news website headlines

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The Argus: Coronavirus: East Sussex case of Covid-19 confirmed

Kent Online: Coronavirus Kent: Live updates on the impact of Covid-19 across the county

Get Surrey: Dog at Hurst Farm 'choosing to waste away' rather than eat due to dental pain, court hears

Chichester Observer: Sussex Police accused of failing victims of suspected domestic abusers within the force

Eastbourne Herald: Climate sex strike postponed over coronavirus

Crawley and Horley Observer: Coronavirus: West Sussex care homes ask families to limit visits to loved ones

Worthing Herald: Police issue statement following Lancing sheep killing

Mid Sussex Times: £16,000 truck stolen from farm near Steyning

Brighton & Hove News: Has Brighton bike share scheme saddled coucil with hefty bill?

Hastings Observer: Coronavirus: Hastings elections could be postponed

Brighton & Hove Independent: Transgender woman from Portslade nominated for LGBT award for fourth time

Today's South East news website headlines

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The Argus: Health authorities urge school pupil and family to self-isolate

Kent Online: Schools could close and events may be cancelled

Get Surrey: Surrey 'not far' from widespread coronavirus outbreak, says professor

Chichester Observer: Fresh hope for major Chichester A27 improvements delivered by Chancellor’s Budget

Eastbourne Herald: Eastbourne GPs may have no room if station walk-in centre closes, says MP

Crawley and Horley Observer: Coronavirus hits tourism in Sussex

Worthing Herald: A27 Worthing bypass ‘only practical answer’ to road issues

Mid Sussex Times: Haywards Heath girl with heart condition to run Brighton Marathon mile to help other children

Brighton & Hove News: Student blocks start to ease pressure on family homes, says housing chief

Hastings Observer: Voice alert tells smokers at Conquest Hospital to stop

Brighton & Hove Independent: Sussex Bishop gives advice in time of ‘plague and anxiety’

Today's South East news website headlines

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The Argus: Thug attacked seven during rampage at seafront pub

Kent Online: New images reveal flats plan at Leas Pavilion in Folkestone

Get Surrey: Taylor Wimpey buys Wisley Airfield site near Guildford

Chichester Observer: Ignored warnings over ‘potentially explosive underground petrol tank’ land firm with £2,000 fine

Eastbourne Herald: Confusion over when Eastbourne’s Grand Parade could reopen

Crawley and Horley Observer: Coronavirus: West Sussex firefighter self-isolating ‘as a precaution’

Worthing Herald: Worthing road to be resurfaced as councillors celebrate potholes victory

Mid Sussex Times: Coronavirus: Burgess Hill doctor’s surgery closes as a ‘precautionary measure’

Brighton & Hove News: Hove bar owner hands back his licence after machete attack outside premises

Hastings Observer: Hundreds call for major St Leonards road to be repaired

Brighton & Hove Independent: Man arrested following Shoreham rape

Today's South East news website headlines

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The Argus: Murder trial jury leave court after harrowing call

Kent Online: More than 100 Southeastern trains delayed by drunk man on railway lines

Get Surrey: Teen's crime spree started after becoming involved with members of 'GU7 crew'

Chichester Observer: Manhood Peninsula facing housing ‘double threat’

Eastbourne Herald: Sussex leaders call for government funding to fix ‘congested roads’

Crawley and Horley Observer: Person cut out of car after serious collision

Worthing Herald: Parents keep up fight to save small Worthing school from closure

Mid Sussex Times: Two teenagers arrested on suspicion of robbery in Hassocks

Brighton & Hove News: East Coastway line closed after person hit by train

Hastings Observer: St Leonards boy suffered fractured jaw in Hastings police pursuit

Brighton & Hove Independent: Major revamp of Sussex Cricket’s County Ground in Hove approved