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London's roads are almost empty because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Met Police says it has seen drivers at almost double the legal limit since the lockdown began.

Severe disruption: A214 London southbound

BBC News Travel

A214 London southbound severe disruption, at B237 St James's Drive.

A214 London - A214 Trinity Road in Tooting closed and it's heavy southbound at the B237 St James's Drive junction, because of emergency repairs.

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

Taxi firm to provide free rides for NHS staff

A taxi firm has launched a campaign to raise funds to provide free taxi rides for NHS staff travelling to and from work across the capital.

Addison Lee

Addison Lee's ‘Donate a Ride’ campaign saw it kick start the fundraising with a £50,000 contribution of its own.

This has doubled to £100,000 in little over 12 hours, the firm said.

The private hire company which serves mostly corporate customers is hoping its partners will also donate.

For members of the public who still want to contribute, Addison Lee has established a GoFundMe page.

Over the coming days, it will work with health trusts to distribute the donations and allow their workers to access the initial free rides.

Liam Griffin of Addison Lee, said: “At this crucial stage in the fight against coronavirus, it has never been more important to support our NHS heroes."

All rides will be within the M25, the firm said.

London streets eerily quiet during pandemic

Claire Timms

BBC London News

BBC London senior journalist Rebecca Williams took these photos while out for a brief spot of exercise during her lunch break today in central London.

Hard to believe it was lunchtime on a Thursday in the capital but since the government ordered workers to work from home, for shops to shut and for people to socially isolate this is our new reality.

Regent Street
Rebecca Williams
London Street W1A
Rebecca Williams
Alley off Bond Street
Rebecca Williams
Bond Street
Rebecca Williams

Londoners cite 'shocking lack of testing' at Heathrow


Londoners returning to the UK from abroad have lambasted the "shocking" lack of testing and medical advice upon arriving back on home soil following the coronavirus outbreak.

Some passengers said other countries appeared to be taking the Covid-19 pandemic much more seriously, with medical questionnaires and health checks at land borders and travel terminals.

Mete Coban, a 27-year-old charity pioneer and Hackney councillor, who returned to Heathrow Airport from the US on 16 March, said: "Considering just how seriously authorities were treating Covid-19 in the US, I was shocked at just how little the UK authorities seemed to care when arriving at Heathrow.

"I think it's completely irresponsible that we're not at least providing guidance to people about social distancing and giving medical advice."

Chloe Sloggett, a 24-year-old aesthetics practitioner from north London, said there were far more medical checks in place in Cambodia and Malaysia than upon her arrival in the UK.

Ms Sloggett, who arrived at Heathrow on Saturday with her fiance Toby Hastie, said: "As we walked through Heathrow there were posters to explain dos/don'ts and signs to keep two metres' distance, but no-one there was enforcing it.

"We had our temperature checked in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) twice and then again in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), but nothing when we landed in the UK."

The government said Boris Johnson had outlined strict new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

'Over 70 GOSH staff test positive for Covid-19'

Sarah Lee

BBC London


More than 70 members of staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) have tested positive for Covid-19, it has been claimed.

Anthony Costello, a former director of the World Health Organization (WHO), tweeted that he had been sent an email detailing the outbreak at the children’s hospital in London.

The email stated 73 out of 181 members of staff had tested positive with the illness, while another 318 were off sick due to them or members of their family showing symptoms.

A Great Ormond Street Hospital spokesperson said: “We continue to monitor Covid-19 related staff absence carefully which currently equates to 6%of our workforce.

"We are able to fully staff all of the services we have planned to run at this time.”

The figures relate to a staff email sent out on 1 April.

There are more than 4,000 members of staff who deal with more than 268,000 patient appointments every year, according to the GOSH website.

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MP demands more tests after uncle dies of Covid-19 caught in hospital

The MP for Brent says she's "angry" and has called for more testing for Covid-19 after her uncle caught the virus while in hospital and died.

View more on twitter

The criticism by Dawn Butler who is on Labour's frontbench comes after the government said they were "ramping up" testing.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said testing was "massively increasing" and it was "the way through" the pandemic.

But cabinet minister Michael Gove claimed this was being hindered by a worldwide shortage of chemicals needed for the tests.

It meant the NHS - which employs 1.2m in England - could not screen all workers.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK is on the rise, with more than 29,000 now testing positive across the country.

At least 2,352 people confirmed to have had the the virus have died; over a third of those in London.

BBC Make a Difference campaign helps people in pandemic

BBC Make A Difference

The BBC's local radio stations have launched a phone-in service to help people feel less isolated during the coronavirus lockdown.

As part of its Make a Difference campaign, callers to BBC Radio London are sharing details of top tips and information about where people can find help and support from organisations and individuals in their area.

Caller Michael in Shoreditch was very anxious about leaving his house, so asked for help in getting some shopping. He only pops out for the essentials like bread and milk. He has also recently been bereaved after losing his long term partner and it was clear from conversations that he could do with some company as well.

The station found Father Gabriel at St. Monica’s Priory at Hoxton Square. Once it was established that Michael was in their parish, Father Gabriel organised a parishioner to assist Michael. He was extremely appreciative!

Chris Barclay is the Project Manager at Cherry Tree House in Brentford. He called about finding a volunteer to do some shopping for some of their vulnerable clients with physical and mental health issues.

Puja on the Hounslow Community Facebook page, responded and has done her first shopping trip for them and wants this to be a regular arrangement with them.

These are just two cases which show how the BBC's Make a Difference campaign has been helping people to help one another feel supported and less isolated.

If you need help, the number to call BBC Radio London is: 0800 731 2000

Or you can email and put "Make a Difference" into the subject title.

Company warns against flushing toilet roll 'alternatives'

Sewage plant blockage
Thames Water

Thames Water has warned people to stop flushing "alternatives" to toilet paper because large amounts of unflushable items have been blocking up sewage plant machinery.

Engineers at Beddington sewage works in Croydon have had to remove three large blockages from the inlet filter screens at the site in three weeks. The company said they usually would only be cleared every two to three months.

Thames Water believes perceived scarcity of toilet rolls due to bulk buying in the current coronavirus lockdown had meant some people had turned to "alternatives" which were now clogging up pipes and machinery and could lead to the creation of fatbergs.

Adrian Wallis, Beddington sewage works manager, said: “Wipes and things like kitchen roll if used instead of toilet paper can’t go down the loo.

"As nasty as it sounds, if people do use them as a last resort they need to put them in a bin and dispose of them safely.”

BBC to air memorable sporting highlights

BBC Sport

London 2012
Getty Images

The London 2012 Olympics and Euro '96 are just some of the memorable moments that viewers on the BBC can relive this summer after the coronavirus pandemic decimated the sporting calendar.

The 2012 opening ceremony will air on BBC One in the spring, along with a number of highlights programmes showcasing the key moments from the Games, including Super Saturday.

With Euro 2020 postponed to 2021, the BBC will air some of football’s most memorable football matches in June and July - including the best of Euro '96.

July will also see some of Wimbledon’s greatest moments air once again, including Andy Murray’s maiden triumph at SW19 in 2013.

Aircraft museum offers virtual tours

Katy Lewis

BBC News Online

The de Havilland Museum in Hertfordshire is offering virtual museum tours to show visitors its treasures during its enforced closure.

The opening of its new £3m hangar just six weeks ago at the site near London Colney was described as a "game-changer", because it would make it a weather-proof attraction.

De Havilland Museum
De Havilland Museum

But, like other museums, it is not UK lockdown-proof - so curator Alistair Hodgson is making films about the vintage aircraft that can be seen there and is posting them on its Facebook page.

Visitors can discover fascinating facts about exhibits including the Hornet Moth, Mosquito, Tiger Moth and Comet 4 flight simulator, plus aerodynamic concepts are explained.

"Because you can't come to the museum, I want to bring the museum to you," Mr Hodgson said.

Mayfair hotel opens its doors to NHS staff

Sarah Lee

BBC London

Anthony O'Neil

A five star Mayfair hotel has said it will provide refuge for dozens of London NHS workers who cannot live at home during the crisis.

Up to 40 doctors, nurses and other key staff from St Mary’s Hospital Paddington will move into the 208-year-old Claridge Hotel tomorrow.

They will be given free accommodation in bedrooms that usually start from around £650 a night, as well as breakfast and dinner.

Teams across the hotel group's three hotels Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley, have been asked to volunteer to help.

Paddy McKillen, co-owner Maybourne Hotel Group, said :"We have already donated 1000’s of hotel amenities from soaps to toothbrushes to shampoos.

"Just as it has in the past world wars, Claridge’s has a duty to step up and support the people of London.

"Teams from all our hotels have volunteered, and we are honoured to help and support the dedicated NHS workers at this critical time. We are forever in their debt."

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

How to host an awards ceremony in lockdown

BBC Newsbeat

Queen Elizabeth Hall

When you're hosting an awards ceremony during lockdown, the first thing you do is ask all the nominees to record a winners speech - just in case.

Well that's what Bafta has done in preparation for its pre-recorded Games Awards.

There might not be a traditional red carpet, champagne reception or live audience but organisers are still hoping to capture some of the magic of a live event.

"Sounds crazy doesn't it," says Emma Baehr who's in charge of the ceremony, "but that's where I think the excitement will come in".

Bafta made the decision to cancel its annual live Games Awards event at the the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank back in March.

It's been recognising achievements in the gaming industry for more than a decade and became one of the first major awards ceremonies to be impacted by coronavirus.

Given the rules around social distancing, host Dara O'Brien has been filming in his basement (still wearing a tuxedo).

The pre-recorded show will go out on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter and Facebook.

Coronavirus death: NHS worker 'just had gloves and flimsy apron'
The family of Thomas Harvey, who died after getting coronavirus, believe his death could have been prevented.

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in East

Nikki Fox

BBC Look East

The number of people infected by the coronavirus continues to rise.

Public Health England released the latest figures last night, but they are only from hospital tests and are a few days behind.

They are as follows:

  • Hertfordshire - 480
  • Buckinghamshire - 195
  • Norfolk - 180
  • Northamptonshire - 187
  • Cambridgeshire - 141
  • Peterborough - 36
  • Suffolk - 125
  • Milton Keynes - 117
  • Central Bedfordshire - 81
  • Luton - 91
  • Bedford Borough Council - 60
  • Essex - 420
  • Southend-on-Sea - 44
  • Thurrock - 62

How Dua Lipa released an album from lockdown

Mark Savage

Music reporter, BBC News

Dua Lipa

Four weeks ago, Dua Lipa flew back to London after playing Sydney's Mardi Gras to discover her flat had flooded.

The singer-songwriter rented an Airbnb while the repairs were carried out. Now, she and her boyfriend are stuck there for the duration of the lockdown.

"I'm really enjoying it," she tells the BBC over the phone. "I'm doing stuff that I don't normally get the chance to do, just sleeping in and reading a book and catching up on TV shows."

Sleeping in wasn't supposed be on the agenda this month.

Dua's second album, Future Nostalgia, was primed for release at the start of April, and her diary for the rest of 2020 was packed - with a world tour, a Glastonbury slot and an appearance on Saturday Night Live all scheduled for the coming weeks.

But while artists like Lady Gaga, Sam Smith and Haim have delayed their albums due to the coronavirus, Dua chose to bring hers forward, giving it to fans a week earlier than planned.

Find out why she did it here.

People seen 'climbing into play area'

BBC Essex

Barriers, tape and padlocks have been removed from a play area that was cordoned off by a local authority.

Thurrock Council in Essex said it had reports that people were "climbing into these areas".

"This kind of behaviour puts the most vulnerable at risk and will only help spread the virus and possibly prolong restrictions," a spokesman said.

Play area
Thurrock Council

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.

Secret artist 'painting streets' during coronavirus outbreak

BBC London

Graduate doctor finishes course early to help

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Stephen Naullis

A new graduate from medical school who is stepping up to help the NHS deal with the coronavirus crisis said the public’s reaction has “put fire in our belly”.

Stephen Naulls is one of 300 new doctors who have just graduated from Imperial College’s School of Medicine and are preparing for a challenging entry to the NHS frontline.

The 24-year-old, who has trained in hospitals throughout West London, said: “I am frightened, I am nervous, I have trepidation. It’s forcing me to face all the feelings I would have had in August if I had started then, as normal.”

But the Clap for Carers nationwide gesture where people throughout the country applauded the frontline carers touched him and his fellow medical graduates.

“For me and my friends it was very inspiring and it gave us fire in the belly. It confirmed the decision to help," he said.

The college allowed them to sit their final exams at home because of the coronavirus crisis.

He is currently waiting for deployment.

Council providing nearly 1,000 daily meals for homeless

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Westminster Council

Nine-hundred meals for homeless people are being prepared every single day in the kitchens at Westminster Council’s HQ.

The authority – which looks after the West End and has the highest population of rough sleepers in Britain – is providing two meals for 450 people each day.

Help with making and distributing the meals is being provided by McDonald’s and Chelsea FC.

Nearly 300 places in central London hotels have also been provided to Westminster’s homeless population during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Black cab drivers have also been enlisted to transport homeless people to the hotels.

On the eve of the lockdown, rough sleepers in Victoria were fearful of no longer getting donations from passers-by, and worried about how to maintain social distancing in homeless hostels.

Westminster Council has now unveiled the huge catering operation that’s happening daily on the 19th floor of its Victoria Street offices.

The council’s catering is run by Unity Works, an organisation that also supports people with learning disabilities.

Severe accident: M4 Berkshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M4 Berkshire eastbound severe accident, from J5 for A4 London Road to J4B for M25.

M4 Berkshire - Temporary closure and stationary on M4 eastbound from J5, A4 (Langley) to J4b M25, because of an accident involving car.

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

Severe accident: London both ways

BBC News Travel

London both ways severe accident, from Basing Hill to Preston Road.

London - The Avenue in Wembley closed in both directions from the Basing Hill junction to the Preston Road junction, because of an accident.

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

Severe disruption: A123 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A123 London both ways severe disruption, between A118 Winston Way and the Great Spoon Of Ilford pub.

A123 London - A123 Cranbrook Road in Ilford closed in both directions between the A118 Winston Way junction and the the Great Spoon Of Ilford pub junction, because of work taking place at Ilford Station. Diversion in operation - affecting bus routes 123, 128, 145, 150, 167, 179, 296, 364, 366, 396 and 462.

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 and it's heavy on M25 anticlockwise from J25, A10 (Enfield) to J24, A111 (Potters Bar), because of a break down.

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

Evening Standard to furlough staff and cut pay

Evening standard

The Evening Standard is putting a number of staff on furlough, while those that remain will have their salaries cut.

Editor George Osborne, the former chancellor, said the newspaper has seen a "big fall in advertising" since the coronavirus outbreak.

The measures are the latest to be taken by the free daily newspaper, owned by Russian billionaire Evgeny Lebedev.

The Standard has begun delivering to homes, for the first time, after a sharp fall in the number of commuters, who would normally pick up a copy at from vendors across London's transport hubs.

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Man arrested over fatal stabbing

A man has been fatally stabbed in east London, say the Met Police.

The victim, who was in his 30s, was found seriously injured in Alexandra Road, Walthamstow, at about 22:5 on Tuesday.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene a short time afterwards.

Officers have arrested a man in his 20s on suspicion of murder.

Severe disruption: A4020 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A4020 London both ways severe disruption, from Shepherds Bush Market to B408 Askew Road.

A4020 London - A4020 Uxbridge Road in Shepherds Bush closed and it's slow in both directions from Shepherd's Bush Market Station to the B408 Askew Road junction, because of a police investigation.

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

British backpackers in India on way home but 'sad' to leave

Mariam Issimdar

BBC News

Three British backpackers have managed to get a place on one of the few commercial flights leaving India.

Three travellers in India
Will Stammers
Danny (left) Will Stammers (centre) Joseph Hunt (right)

The country went into lockdown on 23 March including grounding most flights and stopping all travel, to try and curtail its coronavirus epidemic.

Graduate Joseph Hunt, 21, from Putney, west London, Will Stammers, 20, from Snetterton, Norfolk and Danny from Attleborough, Norfolk arrived in India at the beginning of March.

They along with 30 other travellers have been staying at the Moustach Hostel, in Pushkar.

Mr Stammers said he had been in a hotel at first but was forced to leave by police who said foreigners "had to go".

He added they were extremely sad to be leaving India, and that they had been very well taken care of by the hostel staff, with regular meals of dhal daily.

"We had a meeting last night and they were going to shut the hostel. So we all got into a bit of a panic and bought the flight," Stammers said.

Mr Hunt said they had not heard from the British Embassy unlike German and Isreali travellers whose embassies had organised flights for their nationals soon after India declared a lockdown.

The London graduate said both his parents have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and that he was concerned what he will face on his return home.

The travellers, who were not allowed to leave the hostel during their stay, kept their spirits up by playing football on the building's roof top.

They each paid £450 for a Finn air flight which they will board on Thursday morning.

backpackers at a hostel in India
Will Stammers