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Changes designed to keep people safe while shopping

Colchester High Street
Keith Edkin/Geograph

A number of Essex shopping areas are to be altered, starting on Monday, to get them ready for retail reopening a week later following further relaxation of lockdown rules.

Officials are hoping the changes will give people more room to practice social distancing.

In Chelmsford, pavements will be widened and an area around the railway station will be made one-way.

In Colchester (pictured), people will be asked to keep on the left-hand side of pavements and hand sanitiser would be available next to parking machines.

The deputy leader of Essex County Council, Conservative Kevin Bentley,said public safety was a top priority and he wanted to see people better segregated from traffic.

Coronavirus: Daily deaths in the East fall

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

The latest number of new daily coronavirus deaths in the region's hospitals show an increase of 19*, a fall in the rate following the previous day's figure of 29.

The latest reported deaths were at the following NHS trusts:

  • Anglian Community Enterprise (CIC, Harwich and Clacton hospitals): 1
  • Buckinghamshire Healthcare: 3
  • East and North Hertfordshire: 2
  • Kettering General Hospital: 2
  • Mid Essex Hospital Services: 2
  • Norfolk Community Health and Care: 1
  • North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 1
  • Northampton General Hospital: 2
  • Southend University Hospital: 1
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn: 2
  • West Suffolk Hospital: 2

The total number of Covid-19 associated UK deaths now stands at 39,417.

The total number of deaths in the BBC East region is 3,744.

* Earlier we said there was a discrepancy in one hospital trust's figures. This was due to post-mortem tests showing that people previously thought to have died from Covid-19 had actually died from other causes. The figures listed above are correct and do not include any new deaths at the trust in question.

Thousands donated to air ambulance to buy PPE

Nearly £10,000 has been given to an air ambulance to pay for personal protective equipment (PPE).

The cash from Lions Clubs is being distributed to the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT).

Stuart Elms, its clinical director, said: “Our crews are working hard to care for the most seriously sick and injured patients around the clock, and this generous grant from the Lions Clubs will help keep them safe during this difficult time.

"The lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on our fundraising, with many events being postponed or cancelled, so we are very grateful for this grant."

Dr Chris King in PPE
EHAAT

Lifeboat volunteers have 'busiest May for seven years'

A lifeboat crew has had its "busiest May for seven years".

The RNLI volunteer crew in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, said it launched 23 times throughout the month.

"This is all despite the government guidelines and restrictions in place, advising people to stay at home for the large portion of the month", it said.

Lifeboat
RNLI Southend Lifeboat

Welcome to Thursday's coronavirus updates

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

We will be bringing you all the latest pandemic news from across the East of England - from the latest statistics to how key workers and our communities are coping.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

Labour councillors call for recycling centre booking system

Labour councillors in Essex are calling for a system to allow people to select a time slot to visit tips run by the county council, after long queues formed at sites after they reopened when lockdown rules were eased.

Queue for Colchester tip
Essex Labour Group

Lee Scordis, who represents Abbey ward in Colchester, said the situation had left him "very frustrated":

"For the last week, we've seen huge queues blocking two roundabouts and at Colchester the average wait is around 90 minutes," he said.

"The thing that's annoyed me the most is that police time has been wasted on this.

"The police have got better things to do and the county council's response is we're going to rely on common sense and frankly that's not good enough."

The Conservative-run county council said people should only visit a tip if they have waste that poses a health and safety risk.

Some other county councils, such as Suffolk, reopened waste sites with a booking system in place.

What the papers are saying in Essex...

  • The Gazette reports that as many as 200 jobs could be lost at a Colchester-based facilities management firm
  • It also reports that the Harwich Motorcycle Run has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic
  • The Echo reports that Southend traffic pollution has been cut by half during lockdown

Shops urged to prepare for safe reopening

As non-essential shopping looks set to resume later this month, businesses are being urged to make sure they are ready to open in a Covid-secure way.

Clacton-on-Sea High Street
Google

Tendring District Council in Essex, which covers Clacton, Frinton, Walton-on-the-Naze, Brightlingsea, Manningtree and Harwich, will install signs across town centres to remind shoppers about social distancing, while businesses are being told they have a responsibility to ensure staff and public safety in their stores, and to manage queues effectively.

Councillor Mary Newton said: "There is a lot of useful advice available on practical measures retailers can put in place, and I would urge business owners to read about and implement them.

"It’s also vital that you work with your neighbours so that your plans can be co-ordinated with theirs, such as putting queues along your shop front or one-way systems.

"We want to see Tendring get back to business, but only when stores have appropriate measures in place – do not feel pressured to open your doors if you are not ready to do so."

Coronavirus death rate for the East steady

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

The latest number of new daily coronavirus deaths has been released by the government and there was an increase of 19 deaths in the region's hospitals, taking the total number to 3,696.

The previous day's figures recorded 18 deaths. The news deaths were at the following NHS trusts:

·Bedford Hospital: 6

·East and North Hertfordshire: 1

·Luton and Dunstable Hospital: 1

·Mid Essex Hospitals: 2

·North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 5

·Northamptonshire Healthcare: 1

·Southend University Hospital: 2

·West Hertfordshire Hospitals: 1

The total number of Covid-19 associated UK deaths now stands at 39,369.

Some libraries in Essex to reopen next month

Pete Cooper

BBC News

Essex County Council said it will be re-opening 16 of its libraries on 6 July.

The authority said the sites were selected as they also provide registration services, which will also be available to the public.

The plan is in line with other counties and government guidelines, the council said.

Library
EPA
Libraries in Spain, such as this one in Ibiza, reopened last month with social distancing, perspex screens and staff in personal protective equipment

Councillor Susan Barker said "the safety of customers and staff is paramount".

She said more libraries would reopen "when we are confident we can do so safely".

The 16 libraries are: Basildon, Billericay, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Clacton, Colchester, Dunmow, Epping, Harlow, Harwich, Maldon, Rayleigh, Rochford, South Benfleet and Witham.

Basildon Library is in the Basildon Centre and its reopening was conditional on the Centre's owners reopening their building.

What the papers are saying in Essex

  • The Essex Chronicle features the county's biggest employers, including Ford and Anglia Ruskin, on the "challenging" impacts of coronavirus
  • The public has been told not to visit Colchester's recycling centre "until further notice unless absolutely necessary",reports the Daily Gazette
  • The Echo says that Southend Council has posted a notice banning public parking from tomorrow on streets around a McDonald's which is due to reopen tomorrow amid fears of long queues forming

Coronavirus deaths in the East rise by 18

The latest number of new daily coronavirus deaths has been released by the government.

In the East of England, they show an increase of 18 deaths in hospitals, taking the total number to 3,677. The new deaths have been recorded at the following NHS trusts:

  • Basildon and Thurrock: 2
  • Buckinghshire Healthcare (Stoke Mandeville): 2
  • East Suffolk and North Essex (Ipswich and Colchester hospitals): 1
  • Essex Partnership (Wickford): 1
  • Kettering: 3
  • Mid Essex (Broomfield): 2
  • Norfolk Community Care: 1
  • North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 2
  • Northampton General: 4

The total number of UK deaths associated with Covid-19 has reached 39,045.

Boost of £250,000 for Essex Citizens Advice

Nic Rigby

BBC News

The Citizens Advice network in Essex is getting £250,000 of funding to help it provide help to individuals and small businesses during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Citizens Advice
Getty Images

Each year, local Citizens Advice supports thousands of people in financial difficulty and this has increasingly included sole traders and small business owners

Most businesses in Essex are small - 91% have between one and nine employees.

The funding from Essex County Council will help Citizens Advice provide support and legal advice in areas such as employment advice to small businesses.

Coronavirus deaths in the East

The latest number of new daily coronavirus deaths has been released by the government.

In the East of England, they show an increase of 25 deaths in hospitals, taking the total number to 3,659. The new deaths have been recorded at the following NHS trusts:

  • Basildon and Thurrock: 1
  • Bedford Hospital: 5
  • East and North Hertfordshire: 6
  • East Suffolk and North Essex (Ipswich and Colchester hospitals): 1
  • Luton and Dunstable: 8
  • North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 2
  • Northampton General: 1
  • West Hertfordshire Hospitals: 1

The total number of UK deaths associated with Covid-19 stands at 38,489.

'Make a Difference' poet pines for normality, friends and the pub

BBC Essex commissioned local poet Maria Ferguson to Make a Difference and she wrote about the county's people, herself and the way neighbours have displayed togetherness while alone in lockdown.

She also expresses in her words how she pines for normality, meeting friends and simple things like going to the pub.

View more on twitter

Most Ford staff back to work from furlough

BBC Essex

Motor manufacturer Ford, which has a plant at Dagenham and a research and development establishment employing 3,000 staff at Dunton, Essex, says 400 or so of its workers still on furlough will have jobs to go back to.

The car giant put about 3,600 employees on the government's coronavirus job retention scheme but said nearly 90% of them were now back at work.

Masked workers
Ford Europe

Graham Hoare, from Ford UK, told BBC Essex social distancing measures were in place.

"We're using detection of temperature on entry to our facilities and we're also wearing face masks across the whole of the company.

"Occasionally, it is necessary for two people to get closer together temporarily. Then a shield is used for both employees.

"All of our common areas, like canteens and workplaces, have been organised into one-way systems to allow us to move around the building safely," he added.

A fifth of primary schools expected to remain closed

Piers Meyler, Local Democracy Reporter

About 20% of primary schools in Essex could fail to reopen from June 1, the date set by Prime Minister Johnson for younger children and Year 6 pupils to return to education, Essex County Council has said.

Teachers' unions have raised concerns over the safety of both staff and children in some schools, causing a possible delay.

Essex County Council
BBC

A council spokesman said: “We do not yet have a full picture from all primary schools, but current indications are that approximately between 75% and 80% of primary schools will be open in some form and 20% have indicated that they will not be opening on 1 June.

“We will update these figures throughout the week.”

Each school is responsible for communicating with parents and the school community about their individual decisions, the spokesman added.

Coronavirus deaths in the East

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

The latest number of new daily coronavirus deaths has been released by the government.

In the East, there was an increase of 26 deaths in the region's hospitals, taking the total number to 3,580.

The previous day's figure was 39.

·Anglian Community, Clacton Hospital: 1

·Basildon and Thurrock: 2

·East and North Hertfordshire: 1

·East Suffolk and North Essex (Ipswich and Colchester hospitals): 2

·Kettering General Hospital: 5

·Luton and Dunstable: 3

·Mid Essex Hospital: 3

·Norfolk Community Health and Care: 1

·North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 4

·Southend Hospital: 1

·Princess Alexandra: 2

·West Suffolk Hospital: 1

The total number of Covid-19 associated UK deaths now stands at 37,837.

Welcome to Friday's coronavirus updates

We will be bringing you all the latest coronavirus news from across the East of England - from the latest statistics to how key workers and our communities are coping.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

Councils to refund parents cost of driving kids to school

Some councils are to reimburse parents any costs they might incur for taking their children to school from next week.

School books and bell
Reuters

Social distancing rules has meant pupils should avoid public transport (including school transport) and either walk, cycle, or use their own car to get to school.

"If your child is eligible for home to school transport assistance and normally travels on a school bus or coach, but you are planning to drive them to and from school instead, we can refund you for the mileage you drive," Central Bedfordshire Council said on its website.

It will be offering 36p per mile but Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire county councils will be paying more, at 45p. All will be offering a reduced school bus service.

School transport will still be provided in the usual way for those pupils that cannot make their own way to school, though with a reduced number of seats due to social distancing rules," said Sue Clark, of Central Bedfordshire.

Essex County Council said it would not be reimbursing parents who chose to make their own arrangements as they would still be providing "tax-payer funded" buses.

Coronavirus deaths increase in East

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

The latest number of new daily coronavirus deaths has been released by the government.

In the East, up to the end of Tuesday there was an increase of 39 deaths in the region's hospitals, taking the total number to 3,554. Monday's figures recorded 18 deaths, but the jump is likely to be a result of the reporting lag over the bank holiday.

·Basildon and Thurrock: 1

·Bedford Hospital: 3

·Cambridge University Hospitals: 1

·East and North Hertfordshire: 2

·East Suffolk and North Essex (Ipswich and Colchester hospitals): 4

·James Paget, Gorleston: 1

·Luton and Dunstable Hospital: 7

·Mid Essex Hospital: 4

·Milton Keynes Hospital: 1

·Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals: 3

·Northampton General: 1

·Southend Hospital: 3

Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn: 6

·West Hertfordshire Hospitals: 2

The total number of Covid-19 associated UK deaths now stands at 37,460.

Welcome to Thursday's coronavirus updates

Katy Lewis

BBC News Online

We will be bringing you all the latest coronavirus news from across the East of England - from the latest statistics to how key workers and our communities are coping.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

Quarantine rules will stymie airline industries, say firms

Richard Bond

BBC Look East business correspondent

Companies in and around Stansted Airport say business has been hit by the lockdown and they are worried new rules requiring travellers to go into quarantine for two weeks, will hold back their recovery.

Planes stacked at Stansted Airport
BBC

In normal times, about 12,000 people are employed directly at the airport with some 9,000 in the vicinity.

Penny Stephens, of Inflite Jet Centre, runs one of several private jet firms flying executives around the world and has seen business dip by 60%, with three-quarters of staff furloughed.

"Businessmen won't want to be coming to the UK and having to go into quarantine for two weeks," she said.

Meanwhile Terry Farthing of London Jet Charter expects trade to pick up once there are changes to the quarantine regulations, adding the measure was "like a brick wall to UK PLC".

Karen Slater, whose Inspire Me Travel company supplies specialist holidays such as wildlife and opera tours, said her bookings were down 99% and that the quarantine rules made it "impossible" for her to promote her business.

Coronavirus death rate increases in East

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

The latest statistics showing the daily rise in coronavirus deaths has been released by the government.

In the East of England, there was an increase of 18 deaths in the region's hospitals in the latest daily figures, taking the total number to 3,515.

The new deaths were at the following hospital trusts:

·Anglian Community Enterprise (Clacton and Harwich): 1

·Bedford Hospital: 3

·East Suffolk and North Essex (Ipswich and Colchester hospitals): 2

·James Paget, Gorleston: 2

·Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals: 1

·North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 5

·Northampton General: 3

·West Suffolk Hospital: 1

The total number of Covid-19 associated UK deaths now stands at 37,048.

Welcome to Wednesday's coronavirus updates

Katy Lewis

BBC News Online

We will be bringing you all the latest coronavirus news from across the East of England - from the latest statistics to how key workers and our communities are coping.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

You can catch up with yesterday's live page here.

Coronavirus death rate falls again in the East

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

The latest number of new daily coronavirus deaths has been released by the government.

In the East, in Monday's figures there was an increase of 11 deaths in the region's hospitals, taking the total number to 3,497.

·Basildon and Thurrock: 2

·East and North Hertfordshire: 1

·East Suffolk and North Essex (Ipswich and Colchester hospitals): 1

·James Paget, Gorleston: 1

·Northamptonshire Healthcare: 1

·Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn: 1

·West Hertfordshire Hospitals: 2

·West Suffolk Hospital: 2

Figures released on Sunday showed a rise of 33 deaths, and there was a rise of 24 in Saturday's figures.

The total number of UK deaths associated with Covid-19 stands at 36,914.

Welcome to Tuesday's coronavirus updates

Katy Lewis

BBC News Online

We will be bringing you all the latest coronavirus news from across the East of England - from the latest statistics to how key workers and our communities are coping.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

'Blanket quarantine' will put economy at risk, says airline boss

London Stansted Airport
MAG

The boss of three major airports has said a "blanket quarantine" of 14 days of people arriving in the UK "will seriously jeopardise the long-term future of the sector and put tens of thousands of jobs, and billions of pounds of economic value, at risk”.

Charlie Cornish, the group chief executive officer of MAG, which operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports said: "For as long as it lasts, a blanket quarantine policy will be a brick wall to the recovery of the UK aviation and tourism industries, with huge consequences for UK jobs and GDP.

“By enabling people to travel between the UK and low-risk countries, the aviation industry is able to help lead the UK economy out of this crisis, just as it has in previous recessions.

"But in order for this to happen, the government must work quickly to create a smart and targeted approach that recognises that many countries are already low risk."

Charlie Cornish
MAG

The government said the news rules would slow the spread of the coronavirus.

'Don't travel, stay local' says seaside town

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

Southend beach
BBC
Southend beach on Wednesday

A seaside town that saw an influx of visitors to its beach this week is calling on people to "don't travel, stay local".

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has got a campaign to make people think twice before coming to the town this bank holiday weekend.

Leader Ian Gilbert said: “For many weeks we ran a successful Don’t Visit Southend campaign, but the government’s lifting of restrictions have put us in a very difficult position as day trips and sunbathing are allowed, and takeaways can be open for business."

Community safety officers, parking enforcement officers, marshals, police, beach welfare officers and "stay safe stay apart" volunteer marshals will be in place, the council said.

What the papers are saying in Essex

  • A Walton-on-the-Naze primary school has decided to close down following confirmed cases of Covid-19 in two children from the same family, the East Anglian Daily Times reports
  • Southend Council has confirmed if a school’s risk assessment suggests it is not safe to open during the pandemic on grounds of health and safety, the council will support it, the Southend Echo reports
  • The Clacton and Frinton Gazette reports that day trippers "flocking" to the coast will find attractions closed this bank holiday weekend

Reopening businesses warned about Legionnaires' disease

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A warning has been issued about possible bacteria infestations in water supplies at businesses planning to reopen after the long lockdown because of Covid-19.

Epping Forest District Council said Legionnaires' disease bacteria could be present in water systems and could cause serious illness to staff when buildings reopen after a lengthy closure.

Legionella bacteria
Science Photo Library

Possible vulnerable businesses include shops, hairdressers, beauty salons, gyms, hotels, pubs and campsites, the council said.

A statement said "water systems that are not being used and maintained effectively are very likely to have increased levels of bacteria present, including the Legionella bacteria".

"The warmer summer months will lead to more Legionella bacteria in water systems that are not being used or maintained," it continued.

"Groups of people susceptible to Legionnaires' disease are similar to those most susceptible to serious complications from Covid-19 infection."

The council recommended the Health and Safety Executive website for further advice.

Coronavirus deaths in the East falls again

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

Figures revealing the latest number of new daily coronavirus deaths have been released by the government and it shows a declining trend in the East of England again.

In Thursday's statistics, there was an increase of 29 deaths in the region's hospitals, compared to a rise of 44 new deaths in the previous day's figures.

It takes the region's total number of Covid-19-related deaths to 3,402. The latest daily figures show deaths by hospital trust:

·Anglian Community, Fryatt Hospital: 1

·East Suffolk and North Essex (Ipswich and Colchester hospitals): 5

·James Paget, Gorleston: 1

·Kettering General Hospital: 1

·Mid Essex Hospital: 3

·Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals: 2

·North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 5

·Northampton General: 3

·Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow: 1

·Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn: 2

·Southend: 3

·West Hertfordshire Hospitals: 2

The total number of Covid-19 deaths across the whole UK now stands at 36,042.

Welcome to Friday's coronavirus updates

Katy Lewis

BBC News Online

We will be bringing you all the latest coronavirus news from across the East of England - from the latest statistics to how key workers and our communities are coping.

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad - please contact BBC News Online (East).

Reach us via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email us.

Lockdown beach visitor numbers 'ridiculous'

Coronavirus: Southend beach visitor numbers 'ridiculous'
Thousands have made the most of the sunshine on Southend beach and the locals are not happy.

Coronavirus deaths in the East up again

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

The latest number of new daily coronavirus deaths has been released by the government.

In the East there was an increase of 44 deaths in the region's hospitals, taking the total number so far to 3,373.

·Basildon and Thurrock: 1

·Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust: 1

·East and North Hertfordshire: 1

·East Suffolk and North Essex (Ipswich and Colchester hospitals): 1

·Hertfordshire Partnership: 1

·Kettering General Hospital: 8

·Luton and Dunstable: 14

·Mid Essex Hospital: 1

·Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals: 1

·North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 5

·Northampton General: 2

·Southend Hospital: 8

The total number of Covid-19 associated UK deaths now stands at 35,704.