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Live Reporting

Alex Pope and Mariam Issimdar

All times stated are UK

  1. Thursday's updates as they happened

    Thanks for joining us to find out how the East of England is reacting to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

    Live updates have now finished for the day.

    Join us again on Friday when a live page will resume at 08:00.

    Find it via your BBC News county index.

  2. 'Be like E.T' and stay at home, says artwork

    Alex Pope

    BBC News Online

    "Be like E.T. and stay home when you can".

    This is the message from the Northampton General Hospital Play Team, who have shared artwork of the famous extra terrestrial from the 1980's film, which is on display at the hospital.

    Let us hope that everyone will "be good" just like him...

    Picture of ET
  3. Postie delivers a colourful array of happiness

    Postman Stewart Lennox likes to dress up for work...

    Postman in rainbow outfit

    "I've been trying to wear something different each day just to bring some cheer to Ipswich," said Mr Lennox.

    "I'm having fun and just hope it raises a smile somewhere.

    "I've actually been outdone by a colleague who dresses up as a genie, but he does a rural area, so possibly gets a few less 'views'."

  4. Bus company want 'exact fare' but extra will go to charity

    Stagecoach in the East have said they will only accept "exact fares" on their bus from 18 May, or contactless payment.

    But, it said any left-over change will go to the new charitable foundation set up by Captain Tom Moore.

    View more on twitter
  5. Coroner drops demand GP's confirm deaths in person

    A senior coroner has withdrawn her demand that GPs should verify deaths in person during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The UK's biggest doctors' union, the British Medical Association (BMA), had threatened legal action over the direction from Essex Coroner's Service.

    It said it was "contrary to English law", risked exposing staff to Covid-19 and would take them away from direct patient care "at a time when they are most needed".

    The demand was made in an email from senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray sent on April 29, but the position was changed after the Department of Health and Social Care published guidance on May 5.

    An Essex County Council spokesman said the coroner's office has "full regard for and accepts the Department of Health guidance published on May 5".

  6. Church to stream live 'Songs of Praise'

    St John’s Church Elmswell, in Suffolk, will be hosting a live church service dubbed "Songs of Praise" this Sunday at 18:30.

    The religious programme has been put together with the help of a BAFTA award-winning sound supervisor who lives in the parish.

    Photographs of the village, key workers and volunteers, will form the back drop for the show.

    As well as the songs, there will stories from about how people are coping with lockdown, helping each other out in the community and prayers.

    The show will be streamed on the St John’s web site, Facebook page and YouTube.

  7. Woman thanks hospital for 'risking their lives'

    An open letter has been written to a hospital to thank them for risking their lives and going "above and beyond".

    The handwritten note, signed by "a very grateful lady" was shared by Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire.

    She said he had had her life saved "more than once" and she wanted to pass on her thanks to "each and every member of your frontline NHS staff".

    Letter of thanks
  8. Warning over disposable gloves discarded on streets

    A warning has been issued after a number of disposable gloves and face masks were thrown away in streets.

    Luton Borough Council said they may be "contaminated" and pose "a threat to people", including bin collection crews picking them up.

    It is asking people to dispose of them property and safely.

    Abandoned glove
  9. 'Prestigious' art exhibition goes online

    Alex Pope

    BBC News Online

    Although places are starting to reopen, art galleries and exhibitions spaces remain closed.

    To get round this, the BP Portrait Awards 2020, has gone virtual, featuring self-taught Bedford artist Martyn Burdon.

    His work of Sir Lenny Henry is hanging on the illustrious walls of the National Portrait Gallery.

    He said the managers have "done a fantastic job" making it available online.

    "It's a great honour that my work has been selected again for this prestigious exhibition," he said.

    His portrait of Matt Berry also featured in 2017.

    Sir Lenny Henry

    Sir Lenny said: "Martyn Burdon has captured elements of the way I am, in a way that I don't think has ever been seen by the public before.

    "I owe him a debt of gratitude."

  10. Car parks to country parks could re-open

    While country parks have remained open in Northamptonshire, the car parks have been closed.

    Now Northamptonshire County Council is looking at re-opening them, before the next bank holiday weekend.

    "We know you’re as keen as us to get back outdoors and we are busy working out how to make it safe for you to visit the council’s country parks", it said.

    The closure applies to Irchester, Sywell, Brixworth, Barnwell and Fermyn Woods Country Parks.

    Irchester Country Park
  11. Spend time outdoors safely, says government

    We are now all able to spend more time outdoors, but only if we stick social distancing rules.

    View more on twitter
  12. Chilterns 'concerned' about visitor number increase

    The custodians of the Chilterns have said it is "concerned that more visitors than normal" will come to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, putting the landscape and those that live and work there more at risk.

    To cope with the expected rise in visitors since lockdown rules were eased, Chilterns Conservation Board has set out a number of guidelines for people to follow.

    It includes sticking to the social distancing rules, planning your route in advance, asking people not to block gates and paths and to take their rubbish home.


    It is also reminding people that restaurants, cafes and most shops remain closed, along with toilets, so to plan accordingly.

    "Be kind, be patient, be safe. We are all adjusting to this situation.

    "Please think about others so visiting the Chilterns can stay a safe, welcoming place for everyone," it said.

  13. Exercise relay raises thousands for NHS

    A metaphorical baton has been passed from team members of a trampoline group to raise funds for the NHS.

    The Northamptonshire Trampoline Gymnastics Academy, started a four-day exercise relay on Monday, which finishes at midnight.

    The Moulton Park club have already "smashed their target of raising £1,000", it said, and has raised about £4,000.

    Children taking part in exercise

    Charlie Vassel, from the fundraising committee, said: "I am so proud of everyone for working so hard and it is amazing to see parents joining in the fun too. The response has been fantastic.”

  14. Shopkeeper moves 12,000 plants into home to carry on trading

    A shopkeeper who has moved 12,000 plants through her two-bedroom bungalow since lockdown began has said her online business is blooming.

    Plants fill a house

    Kerri Notman, 29, decided to close the doors at her plant and gift shop in Norwich a day before the coronavirus lockdown was formally announced.

    She said she felt it was safer for customers and her family to run a delivery operation from her home near Mattishall in Norfolk, and that since doing so her online orders have tripled.

    "We're doing 200 to 300 plants easily per day. I think everyone's just sitting at home bored and they want to buy more stuff, they want to make their houses look good and with all the shops closed they're spending their money online," she said.

  15. All quiet in Norwich city centre

    Despite the government lifting restrictions on people going to public spaces, Norwich city centre remained quiet, as captured in these images by Imogen Baker.

    Norwich City Centre
    Norwich City Centre

    She took these pictures a few hours ago on a trip to the bank.

  16. Norwich anti-body testing zone 'would help nation'

    Mariam Issimdar

    BBC News

    Earlier we told you about calls from scientists for Norwich's population to carry out mass anti-body testing for coronavirus, now that a more reliable test has been found.

    Coronavirus model

    Prof Neil Hall, from the Earlham Institute, a Norwich based research centre, would like to run a pilot of some 10,000 residents first.

    "One of the reasons why this virus has been so difficult to control is that you have asymptomatic carriage of the virus in the population, people who don't know that they're ill, and this is why it's moved so rapidly around the world," he said.

    He added that by knowing more about where the "key points of transmission are" in Norwich, the knowledge would help the rest of the country know where to relax restrictions and where to keep them in place.

    "The way we'd envisage doing it is we'd post out test kits to people, they would be barcoded, they'd self-swab and then someone would come round once a week to pick up the tests," said Prof Hall.

    Earlham Institute board member, the former North Norfolk MP and health minister, Sir Norman Lamb said he had been in talks with the Department of Health about funding the mass test programme, which would cost in the region of £5m.

    A government spokesman said: "We continually consider options to extend testing, but have no immediate plans for city-wide testing."

  17. Norwich put forward for coronavirus testing zone

    Mariam Issimdar

    BBC News

    Scientists in Norwich are working on a plan to test the city's population for Covid-19.

    Norwich market

    The Earlham Institute in Norwich says the city centre, which has about about 140,000 people, is ideal to see if mass testing would be more effective in stopping the virus spreading.

    A range of tests which the public could easily administer are being looked at including swabs and simple spit tests.

    Professor Neil Hall, director of the Earlham Institute, admitted some people may not carry out the tests correctly but said testing on such a scale would still have some "positive impact" in helping the economy resume and public health.

  18. Slipknot cancels Milton Keynes festival

    Sarah Jenkins

    BBC News

    Slipknot has cancelled its festival, Knotfest UK, which was due to take place in Milton Keynes in summer.

    The heavy metal band was due to take to the stage at The National Bowl in Milton Keynes on 22 August.

    A statement on social media said the event would not be happening but that the band "looks forward to performing for its fans again...when everyone's safety can be assured".

    View more on twitter
  19. EastEnders to resume filming at Elstree by end of June

    The BBC soap EastEnders is set to resume filming at Elstree studios in Hertfordshire by the end of June after closing down due to coronavirus.

    The BBC's director of content Charlotte Moore has said crews will be strictly limited, with cast members doing their own hair and make-up.

    Social distancing will also be in place.

    Eastenders cast
  20. Check your cars before driving, says fire service

    For the past few weeks the vast majority of cars have sat idle.

    If your vehicle is one of them, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has made a video showing you some simple checks that could be made before you get in it and drive again.

    View more on twitter