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Coronavirus: Schools are 3D printing visors for NHS workers
London schools are making personal protective equipment for NHS staff using class 3D printers.

Schools donate 1,000 pieces of PPE to NHS

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been donated to local hospitals in Redbridge and Waltham Forest.

Whipps Cross hospital staff with donations
Sam Jones

Every secondary school in Waltham Forest has donated to Whipps Cross Hospital, according to one head teacher.

Woodbridge High School in Woodford alone donated 360 pairs of goggles to Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

NHS staff are facing shortages of vital personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves and aprons, to prevent them catching and spreading Covid-19.

On 31 March, the headteacher of Kelmscott School in Walthamstow, Sam Jones, said: “Over 1k more goggles gratefully received by @WhippsCrossHosp today. “Donations from every secondary school in the borough. An astounding team effort.”

Medical physicist Adam Gibson added: “Stunning to see how Waltham Forest schools are pulling together to help the local hospital out."

Waltham Forest Council had previously called on local businesses, such as butchers and nail salons, to donate any spare equipment they could.

Market donates 40 tons of fruit and vegetables

Produce in crates
City of London Corporation

More than 40 tons of fruit and vegetables have been donated by traders at London's New Spitalfields Market to help food banks and vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The market, which has been operating under Royal Charter since 1682 and is currently based in Leyton, is considered the UK's premier horticultural market, offering the greatest choice of exotic fruit and vegetables of any market in Europe.

Donations from it were sent to Acton charity City Harvest which redistributes food to organisations across the city.

Products have also also being provided at cost price to campaigns like Fuel our Front Line, which aims to provide food packages to NHS frontline and support staff.

Empty London: In pictures

BBC London

Friday afternoons in central London are normally full of workers and shoppers bustling around the streets getting ready for evening drinks with colleagues or heading home early for the weekend.

But these are not normal times and central London's streets look more reminiscent of scenes from a dystopian or post-apocalyptic movie.

BBC London's Rebecca Williams took these images this afternoon while out for a brief walk.

Piccadilly Circus
Rebecca Williams
Piccadilly Circus
Rebecca Williams
Leicester Square
Rebecca Williams
Leicester Square
Paddington Bear statue in Leicester Square
Rebecca Williams
Paddington Bear statue in Leicester Square

Demand 'growing' for financial help in Bayswater

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The organiser of a community support group has said she’s concerned about the growing demand for support as the economic impact of coronavirus bites.

Nicola Spurr is helping to organise an army of 400 volunteers who make up the Bayswater Mutual Aid group helping their community just two miles from Charing Cross.

She said local food banks have suffered as people haven’t been able to get out and about to donate goods due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

“Two weeks in, there is a growing need as people run out of food and money,” she said, adding that “there are lots of pensioners and lots of pockets of deprivation and huge housing estates.”

Her team has been leafleting estates as they are concerned about reaching residents who are not online to help prevent people falling through the cracks.

Ms Spurr said: “It does not feel very co-ordinated, it feels very disparate the things that are happening.”

The Mutual Aid group raised £200 from volunteers initially and used it to give out £10 Tesco shopping vouchers.

And it has now had a grant from the Paddington Development Trust to pay for food parcels.

“In two-and-a-half weeks we have done a remarkable thing, we have links with councillors and the One Westminster charity and St Mary’s hospital through their charitable arm and links with Waitrose who have provided some food,” said Ms Spurr.

The council said it was "setting up a system to connect volunteers to those who need help.” It has published an online map of community and charity support along with pharmacies and supermarkets.

Bridge Park leisure centre transformed into a emergency food hub

Food hub
Brent Council

Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre, Brent, has been transformed into an operational Hub, delivering supplies to the most vulnerable.

The first 100 doorstep deliveries of food and essential supplies have been made to those most at risk from Covid-19 and who are self-isolating, the council said.

A further 50 deliveries are expected to be made over the next 24 hours.

A Brent Council spokesman said: "Drawn from across the Council, the team have worked tirelessly to set up stations in the sports hall for picking and packing boxes of essentials, including pasta, cereal, fruit, tea bags and toilet rolls. Stations are set up so that social distancing can be observed at all times.

"Working in partnership with the Brent Food Aid Network, the Hub’s operations will soon be expanded to cover those who need additional support with food and other essential items such as sanitary towels, nappies and toothbrushes."

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Watch: Prince Charles opens NHS Nightingale from afar

Prince Charles spoke of his gratitude as the first UK emergency field hospital to treat coronavirus patients opened, in east London's converted ExCel centre.

The temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital is able to hold as many as 4,000 patients.

He paid tribute to staff as he opened the facility via video link.

'People can feel isolated if they have additional needs'

BBC London

Claire Harris is an assistant at a library in Mottingham, south east London.

She is providing speech and language sessions online for children who don't have access to them throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Video by Gem O'Reilly

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Community spirit is inspiring - mayor of London


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is inviting Londoners "to shine a light on the inspiring examples of courage, kindness and generosity being shown amidst the coronavirus crisis."

Whether delivering supplies to vulnerable neighbours, checking in on those self-isolating or signing up as volunteers to support the NHS, Londoners’ community spirit is a beacon of light during these challenging times, the mayor said.

“We are in the grip of a major public health crisis, with all Londoners forced to make substantial changes to their day-to-day lives to help support the NHS and save others", he added.

“But one aspect of life that never changes is the remarkable way Londoners pull together in a time of crisis. From city-wide applause for carers and the NHS, to those delivering food parcels to neighbours, to the millions saving lives by staying home, Londoners are showing why this city is the best in the world.

“When times are rough we see the very best of our city, and these extraordinary acts of charity and empathy show that our sense of community is not confined by walls.

“These acts of kindness can make a big difference, and if we stay home, look after one another and follow the advice of the experts, we will beat this virus in London, together.”

Coronavirus will transform UK work and travel, says AA

Working from home

The aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis will transform the way we live, work and travel in the UK, the AA says.

It predicts a permanent reduction in the demand for travel because people have learned during the crisis to use home-working technology.

The implications are profound for commuters and for government finances.

The chancellor currently plans to spend £27bn to curb congestion on roads and £100bn on HS2 – but if demand falls, that may not be needed.

New coronavirus test 'could give results in 30 minutes'

Local Democracy Reporting Service


A new type of coronavirus test could give results in less than half an hour, London researchers have said.

The nasal swab test would cut test waiting times for Covid-19 and could be a “game changer”, scientists believe.

The UK government is carrying out 10,000 virus tests every day – but ministers have been criticised for not going further faster.

The World Health Organisation says tackling coronavirus without widespread testing is like "fighting a fire with a blindfold on".

NHS staff in particular have called for more tests so they can find out quickly if they have Covid-19 and get back to work quickly if they test negative.

Coronavirus swabs currently use a method known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR): testers take a swab from the back of a patient’s throat or deep in the nose, and the sample is then sent to a lab for analysis.

The test normally takes a few hours to process, but transportation to centralised labs adds time to the process.

Another problem is the chemical mix used in the test – the government says some of the key reagents are in short supply globally, as countries scramble to test their citizens.

Heathrow Airport to operate with only one runway

Heathrow terminal
PA Media

Heathrow will close one of its runways next week as air traffic continues to fall globally amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The west London hub will operate its landings and takeoffs from one strip from Monday to "increase resilience and safety for staff, passengers and cargo" throughout the Covid-19 outbreak.

The airport has two runways and will alternate which one they keep open on a weekly basis, a spokesman said.

They added: "Although we are seeing significantly fewer flights at the moment, Heathrow will remain open so that we can continue to play a crucial role in helping to secure vital medical goods and food for the nation during this unprecedented epidemic."

In 2018, Heathrow served 80.1 million passengers, according to their website.

Car park closed after distancing rules flouted

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Harrow Council was forced to shut a car park after people continued to flout government rules around social distancing.

It took the decision to close Old Redding Viewpoint car park after people were seen “gathering in groups” and behaving anti-socially.

It explained that some had been driving over grass while others were clearly going against government guidelines that are in place to try and stop the spread of coronavirus.

“Sorry we’ve had to do this – been happening too many times. We will review again but in the current emergency crisis and to reduce the spread of virus it will remain closed,” the council tweeted.

It noted that the area will remain open for residents to use as part of a daily exercise routine and reminded people to obey social distancing guidelines.

'Don't have picnics or sunbathe in parks as weekend set for hot weather'

Sarah Lee

BBC London

Getty Images

Londoners have been asked to obey social distancing and other rules as a warm weekend, with 20°C temperatures on 5 April, is forecast.

The London Legacy Development Corporation said: "Many people in London are not lucky enough to have a garden, many families are living in very cramped conditions.

"Our public spaces are becoming more and more important as the restrictions go on.

"As some parks have had to take the difficult decision to close down it is essential, that we all work together in making sure we can keep as much open as possible.

"Please don’t ignore the very clear instructions – go out once a day, stay as local as possible, don’t gather in groups, keep your two metre distance, take litter home, and keep dogs under control and on a lead in areas where you are told to do so.

"It’s clearly not ok to have picnics, sunbathe, cycle where it is not allowed or confront those putting themselves at risk to keep these spaces open.

" Don’t let this weekend’s fantastic weather do more harm than good."

NHS Nightingale 'unlike anything seen before'

Sarah Lee

BBC London


The scale of the new temporary hospital at London’s ExCeL centre built to treat new Covid-19 patients has been described as “daunting” and “unlike anything the NHS has ever seen before”.

NightingaleHospital will be Britain’s first coronavirus field hospital and will treat up to 4,000 previously fit and healthy people struck down by the virus.

Matthew Trainer, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Nightingale Hospital, gave BBCLondon a tour of the new ICU wards.

London Ambulance Service staff will transport patients from other hospitals where they will then be treated in one of the 500 beds on the numerous ICU wards, Mr Trainer said.

Every bay and ward has been designed to be identical to any other ICU wards so NHS staff can recognise the specialist equipment.


“The people brought to the hospital will have been suffering quite badly and will need the support of an ICU unit”, Mr Trainer added.

“They will be sedated as they will be on a ventilator and will be receiving mechanical breathing support.

“On a ward of 42 beds you will have critical care nurses and an intensive care consultant. Retired doctors have also returned to help with staffing.

“From construction to NHS staff, the Nightingale is an entire London effort and our aim is to take Londoners in and help them get better.

“We’re hoping it won’t be used that much but instead we hope it acts as extra capacity other hospitals who are struggling.

“The scale of this is daunting – it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the NHS but the staff have been fantastic.”

How NHS Nightingale was built in just nine days

The UK's newest, and largest, hospital facility is preparing to open its doors to take in coronavirus patients needing intensive care treatment.

East London's ExCeL exhibition centre, which normally plays host to lifestyle shows, expos and conferences, has been converted into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, with space for 4,000 beds.

Find out how this amazing feat was achieved.

Inside NHS Nightingale
Getty Images

Severe accident: A205 London westbound

BBC News Travel

A205 London westbound severe accident, at Canadian Avenue.

A205 London - A205 South Circular in Catford blocked and queues westbound at Catford Bridge, because of an accident.

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

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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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.

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."

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.

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.