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Severe disruption: A124 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A124 London both ways severe disruption, at B116 Balaam Street.

A124 London - A124 Barking Road in Plaistow closed and it's slow in both directions at the B116 Balaam Street junction, because of a police investigation.

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

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

Severe disruption: A309 London westbound

BBC News Travel

A309 London westbound severe disruption, from A3 to A307 Portsmouth Road.

A309 London - A309 Kingston By Pass in Hook closed and it's slow westbound from Hook Junction to Scilly Isles, because of a burst water pipe.

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

Severe disruption: A4020 London westbound

BBC News Travel

A4020 London westbound severe disruption, before A312 The Parkway.

A4020 London - A4020 Uxbridge Road in Southall closed and it's very slow westbound before Ossie Garvin Roundabout, because of a police investigation.

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

Flouting families could close green spaces

Salt Hill Park
Don Cload

Slough council has warned it may have to close its public green spaces after police caught families using local play areas and residents meeting friends in parks.

A council spokesperson said Thames Valley Police officers had to disperse crowds of people meeting in Salt Hill Park, and that families were allowing children to use playground and exercise equipment as if it was "a bank holiday".

All play areas, green gyms and leisure areas are closed after a direct order from the government as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.The council’s parks are available to allow residents access to green spaces during the one time per day they are allowed out of their homes for essential exercise.

Josie Wragg, Slough Borough Council chief executive, said: "We are dismayed that some residents think they are exempt from the government rulings to stay at home and think they won’t get, or won’t pass on, this illness.

"Our amazing green parks are open to be used by our residents to take essential exercise but our green gyms and play parks are firmly closed.She added: "If a small minority of people do not respect everyone’s right to stay safe then we will need to close our green parks too."

Council to stop roadworks during pandemic

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Waltham Forest aims to shut down all roadworks tomorrow due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Residents had previously criticised the council for continuing to allow construction workers to work on road improvement schemes, including the “Mini-Holland”.

Work will continue in order to secure the sites and make them safe for residents before stopping until further notice.

Workers will still be allowed to do “essential reactive maintenance” such as telecoms, electric, gas or water works, according to a council statement.

London university provides corona testing equipment

The University of Westminster’s School of Life Sciences has transferred some of its equipment to the Government’s new COVID-19 testing unit in Milton Keynes.

Head of the School of Life Sciences, Professor Brendon Noble, said: "Testing individuals is absolutely crucial to our ability to slow the spread.

"When we don’t know if we have the virus, we don’t know how to change our behaviour, and this is so important.

"Healthcare and key workers are currently being sent home if they show any symptoms at all but could possibly continue working if they tested negative.”

Dr Mohammed Gulrez Zariwala, Assistant Head of the School of Life Sciences, added: "The School plans to expand its contribution to the fight through donations of critical protective equipment to hospitals and a volunteering scheme for some of our expert colleagues.

We are pleased to have been contacted by the Prime Minister‘s Office with this request."

Yemen war: A Tale of Two Kitties
A letter from the war-torn Yemeni city of Taiz reached a cat living in the outskirts of London.

Severe disruption: M25 Kent anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Kent anti-clockwise severe disruption, at J2 for A2.

M25 Kent - M25 lane closed on entry slip road anticlockwise at J2, A2 (Darenth Interchange), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

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

Tributes paid to businessman after coronavirus death

Tributes have been paid to John O'Conner, a Hertfordshire businessman, who has died after he was diagnosed with Covid-19.

The "much-loved family man" died at Lister Hospital, Stevenage on Tuesday, according to John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance, the company he founded.

The Welwyn-based firm said Mr O'Conner was admitted to hospital on 12 March.

"Due to underlying health issues he was moved to the Intensive Care Unit but died following a short battle with the illness," he said.

He started the business in 1969 and "steered it through its first 50 years", the company said.

John O'Conner
John O'Conner Grounds Maintenance

Restaurant praised for donating food to charity

An Indian restaurant in Hounslow, west London, has been praised for donating pre-packed food to humanitarian charity Khalsa Aid International.

Langar Aid which supports the homeless, vulnerable and those struggling with poverty in the UK, said on Twitter that it distributed the food to hostels.

View more on twitter

Severe accident: A4020 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A4020 London both ways severe accident, at B452 Drayton Green Road.

A4020 London - A4020 Uxbridge Road in West Ealing closed and it's very slow in both directions at the B452 Drayton Green Road junction, because of an accident.

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

Why Ralph McTell has updated his hit Streets of London for coronavirus era

Fergal Keane

BBC News

Hit 70s song gets coronavirus rewrite

It began with a conversation between a foreign correspondent who loves ballads, and his neighbour, a legend of the British folk music scene.

The result was Ralph McTell agreeing to write a new verse of his legendary hit Streets of London - something he'd always previously refused to do.

First recorded in 1969, the song at one point sold 90,000 copies a day and has been covered by more than 200 artists. It also won Ralph an Ivor Novello award for best song and continues to feature in folk music's "best of" playlists

Cancer patient's chemotherapy put on hold

Nancy Carter-Bradley
Nancy Carter-Bradley

A woman with brain cancer has been told her chemotherapy has stopped because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Nancy Carter-Bradley, 44, said the health secretary should ring-fence cancer treatment.

She said her treatment at a Charing Cross Hospital had paused as it was at full capacity and oncologists were helping with the response to coronavirus.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said it was "exploring use of private healthcare facilities".

NHS staff urged to move to conference centre hospital

ExCeL site
PA Media

Health bosses are urging staff to move quickly to work at the new 4,000-bed field hospital being set to manage a surge in seriously ill coronavirus patients, it has been reported.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced earlier this week that the ExCeL site in London will become a temporary hospital equipped with two wards of 2,000 beds to cope with any patient surge in the capital.

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported on Wednesday that leaders were "urgently" identifying staff who could be redeployed quickly at the new Nightingale Hospital.

An email from a London trust chief executive to staff, seen by the HSJ, said a response was needed within hours and accommodation could be provided if necessary.

It added: "Along with other NHS trusts, we have been asked to identify a range of our people to help staff the new Nightingale Hospital at the ExCeL centre in east London.

"This is a key element of the NHS national response to coronavirus and will provide the first major wave of 'surge' capacity.

"The urgency in identifying staff is to allow time for training to take place before opening to patients.

"We have asked divisional clinical leads to identify and approach staff who may be able to be redeployed quickly to the ExCeL and, in the interests of time, we are also asking staff directly to come forward to be considered for redeployment.

"Accommodation will be provided if required."

The email said the new hospital should take some pressure off London hospitals by absorbing demand, giving the trusts more time to increase their own capacity.

The required staff range from consultants, GPs, critical care nurses and pharmacists to non-clinical staff, such as porters and administrators, it added.

YQA: Is social distancing affecting our mental health?

BBC London

Instagram graphic

How does social distancing and isolation affect our mental health?

Psychologist Roberta Babb (@DrRBabb) will be answering your questions live on our Instagram page at 19:00 tonight.

What would you like to ask?

#StayAtHome #SocialDistancing #Isolation #MentalHealth #Q&A

Severe disruption: A102 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A102 London both ways severe disruption, at Mabley Street.

A102 London - A102 Kenworthy Road in Homerton closed and it's very slow at the Mabley Street junction, because of The bridge has been hit. Diversion in operation - affecting bus route 488.

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

Severe disruption: M25 Surrey anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Surrey anti-clockwise severe disruption, from J12 for M3 J2 to J11 for A320 St Peters Way.

M25 Surrey - One lane closed and it's heavy on M25 anticlockwise from J12 M3 J2 to J11, A320 (Chertsey), because of a lorry having a tyre changed.

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

Hospice appeals for 'vitual supplies'

"Gifts in kind" are needed at a hospice to help care for people at the end of their life.

St Clare Hospice, which covers West Essex and East Herts, urgently needs vital cleaning supplies.

Carolanne Brannan, director of patient care at the Hastingwood hospice, said: "The pandemic we’re currently facing as a nation is causing shortages in vital supplies that we are usually able to source without any issue."

It is looking for:

  • Hand sanitiser gel
  • Liquid hand wash
  • Washing-up liquid
  • Sanitising wipes
  • Face masks
  • Fabric anti-bacterial spray
  • Medical scrubs and clothing for Hospice at Home staff, including leggings and t-shirts
  • Tablets/iPads
  • Laptops
St Clare Hospice

"There are still local people who need us," she said.

"So it’s absolutely vital that we’re able to stay open, keep caring, and ensure that we do so safely with the right essential equipment and supplies."

London Underground journeys down 93%

Packed Tube train from Wednesday
Terry Dolzyc

Tube journeys have been reduced by 93%, London Underground has said.

Passengers journeys fell a further 13% on Wednesday morning compared to Tuesday and bus travel is down 8%, according to the latest figures.

But Andy Lord, Managing Director of the London Underground, said: “We want to continue to run a core Tube service so that NHS staff and other key workers can make essential journeys.

“Around a third of our own staff are themselves ill or have to self-isolate, so we are simply not able to run a full service. “We have further reduced journeys by construction workers by temporarily stopping all work on TfL and Crossrail construction sites.

"The majority of people are playing their part and avoiding travel but more people need to stop travelling immediately to save lives.”

BBC London’s transport correspondent Tom Edwards said he has been speaking to Transport for London staff who are “dropping like flies” as angry key workers complain about overcrowded Tube trains.

More from the local press

Coronavirus is the main focus of all news at the moment, and here's how it is being reported in the local press.

  • Pupils from Sancton Wood School in Cambridge and pensioners have teamed up to operate a buddy system where they write letters, draw pictures, or even telephone each other during the coronavirus pandemic, reports the Cambridge News.
  • Luton Today says that a Luton company is ramping up production of ventilators and is expected to make 5,000 within two weeks.
  • The Herts Advertiser has tips on how to de-clutter your home while in self-isolation.
  • MK Citizen has a breakdown of the number of cases of coronavirus in Milton Keynes.
  • Ipswich Town Football Club could lose £500,000 if the season is completed behind closed doors, says the Ipswich Star.

Free parking for medics, social workers and volunteers

People helping to tackle the coronavirus pandemic can park for free in one of Crawley's car parks.

NHS staff, volunteers and social care staff will not be charged at Orchard Street multi-storey, which is less than five minutes from Crawley Hospital, for the foreseeable future.

To sign up for free parking, staff and volunteers should email parking.services@crawley.gov.uk from their work email address with their name, vehicle registration number, telephone number, and the organisation they work for.

Severe accident: M25 Buckinghamshire clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Buckinghamshire clockwise severe accident, at J16 for M40 J1A.

M25 Buckinghamshire - Two lanes closed and queues on M25 clockwise at J16 M40 J1a, because of an accident.

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

Severe disruption: M25 Buckinghamshire anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Buckinghamshire anti-clockwise severe disruption, at J16 for M40.

M25 Buckinghamshire - It's very slow on M25 anticlockwise at J16 M40, because of an obstruction.

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

Severe disruption: M11 Essex southbound

BBC News Travel

M11 Essex southbound severe disruption, between J8 for Bishops Stortford and J7 for A414 Canes Lane.

M11 Essex - Temporary closure and stationary on M11 southbound between J8, Bishops Stortford and J7, A414 (Harlow), because of a vehicle on fire.

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

Max Whitlock staying positive after Olympics postponement

Everyone's lives have changed just recently, but when you're an athlete working towards the goal of yet another gold in the Olympics it can be especially hard.

Hemel Hempstead's very own Max Whitlock has been talking to BBC Breakfast about the impact the postponement of the Tokyo games has had on him and how his training in Essex has had to change.

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: A5201 London eastbound

BBC News Travel

A5201 London eastbound severe disruption, from A501 City Road to A1202 Great Eastern Street.

A5201 London - A5201 Old Street in Shoreditch blocked and it's heavy eastbound from the A501 City Road junction to the A1202 Great Eastern Street junction, because of a fire at a building.

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

'I'm stuck in isolation with my homophobic parents'

Ben Hunte

LGBTQ Correspondent


With the UK on coronavirus lockdown, some young people have been forced to isolate alongside parents who don't accept their sexuality.

Nicky, 19, is a marketing assistant from London. In January, she was "outed" as gay by a family friend.

Her mum and her mum's partner immediately asked her to leave their home, saying they did not support her "lifestyle decision". They only allowed her back after she experienced mental health problems.

"Living with my homophobic family is like having flatmates you don't like. You don't talk to them, you just get on with your life."

Read her full account

Severe disruption: A212 London both ways

BBC News Travel

A212 London both ways severe disruption, from A215 South Norwood Hill to Upper Beulah Hill.

A212 London - A212 Church Road in Upper Norwood closed in both directions from the A215 South Norwood Hill junction to the Upper Beulah Hill junction, because of roadworks.

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

Coronavirus: Gatwick Express to be suspended

Gatwick Express train at Gatwick Airport train station
Getty Images

The Gatwick Express service will be temporarily suspended until further notice from Monday, the company has announced.

The step comes in response to a significant fall in passenger numbers at the airport and to help keep other trains running, it added.

Southern and Thameslink trains will continue to serve Gatwick Airport.

Steve White, chief operating officer at Govia Thameslink Railway which operates Gatwick Express, said: "In this national emergency, we and the rest of the rail industry are doing everything we can to keep essential services running for key workers on whom we all depend.

"These changes will release our staff to concentrate their efforts on keeping these essential services running."

To check your journey next week customers are asked to visit National Rail Enquiries online where the revised timetables will be in place from the weekend.

Severe disruption: M25 London clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 London clockwise severe disruption, after J25 for A10 Great Cambridge Road.

M25 London - One lane closed on M25 clockwise after J25, A10 (Enfield), because of a spillage.

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

Coronavirus: Londoners anger over public transport woes

Londoners unhappy at the lack of space on the capital's public transport network have sent a barrage of messages to Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Dozens of passengers took to Twitter to express their frustration at their inability to follow Government guidance to keep two metres away from others to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Patricia Pereira posted: "Jubilee line service packed, Waterloo station escalators out of use forcing people to use the ones that are working and be extremely near."Three TfL staff by gate line talking, no one manage the crowd (or) helping on social distancing!"

She added: "I am a key worker, I don't want to get ill!"

A passenger with the Twitter username debzlips wrote a message to the mayor which read: "Why have you reduced the tube service?"

View more on twitter

Denise Bennett, from Newcastle, wrote: "Message from daughter, going to work as a nurse in London - 'tube station is rammed'."

View more on twitter

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs it should be possible to "run a better Tube system".

Some passengers said their Tube journeys were quieter than normal on Thursday.

Twitter user mortimusprime—x posted two pictures showing carriages with empty seats, and wrote: "Thank you to all those staying at home."

View more on twitter

The Tube is operating at about 50% of its normal capacity during peak times.

Mr Khan tweeted that "we cannot run more services" as a third of TfL staff are off sick or self-isolating."

View more on twitter

He said demand for early-morning Tube services on Thursday was 13% lower than on Wednesday.

Figures from TfL show that passenger numbers on Wednesday morning were down 92% compared with the same day last year.

Stranded NHS doctors 'desperate' to return home

Simon Tetlow and his fiancée Rachael Bygate

Four NHS doctors who are stuck in New Zealand due to the coronavirus outbreak are "desperate" to return home to help their colleagues.

Simon Tetlow and his fiancée Rachael Bygate arrived in the country with two other doctors at the start of March but are currently unable to leave.

Dr Tetlow, who works in an intensive care unit at a London hospital, said they were finding it "really painful" not being able to help the "dire" situation in the UK.

The government said it was "working to support British travellers".

Severe disruption: M25 Essex clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Essex clockwise severe disruption, before J26 for A121.

M25 Essex - One lane closed on M25 clockwise before J26, A121 (Waltham Abbey), because of a lorry that's broken down. Traffic is coping well.

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

GP surgeries appeal for masks

Doctors’ surgeries in St Albans and Harpenden are appealing for public donations of a particular kind of face mask.

While they have a supply of basic masks, GPs are asking the public if they can spare any FFP3 masks - the type commonly used within the building trade.

FFP3 mask
Masks must be marked as FFP3 as this is the correct specification to reduce COVID-19 transmission

Dr Mike Smith from the Maltings Surgery in St Albans, who is co-ordinating the appeal, said: "We are trying to be innovative because we know that these are the same masks used by people who are exposed to dust and asbestos and we’ve had people involved in crafting and sculpture who’ve donated to us already."

If you can help, please contact the Maltings Surgery by email at MaltingsSurgery@nhs.net.

Wimbledon: All England Club decision on event next week

BBC Sport

Winbledon SW19

The All England Club says a decision regarding this year's Wimbledon will be made next week.

In a statement on Wednesday, the club said postponement and cancellation of the event, scheduled between 29 June-12 July, because of the impact of coronavirus were possible outcomes.

Playing behind closed doors has been formally ruled out.

Earlier this month, the French Open, due to have begun in May, was rescheduled to 20 September-4 October.

The ATP and WTA Tours were already off until 27 April and 2 May respectively and last week that suspension was extended until 7 June.

Full story

Severe disruption: M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise

BBC News Travel

M25 Hertfordshire anti-clockwise severe disruption, from J20 for A41 Watford Road to J19 for .

M25 Hertfordshire - One lane closed on M25 anticlockwise from J20, A41 (Kings Langley) to J19, Watford, because of a vehicle on fire.

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

London's weather: Another dry and sunny day

BBC Weather

After a cold start, this morning it will be another dry day with long sunny spells, occasionally hazy.

Pleasant again in the sunshine with just a gentle south-easterly breeze.

Maximum Temperature: 10C to 13C (50F to 55F).