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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Friday'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 Monday when a live page will resume at 08:00.

    Find it via your BBC News county index.

  2. Council spends nearly £2m on PPE so far

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Hertfordshire County Council paid almost £2m for vital personal protective equipment (PPE) in April, as the price of face masks and disposable gloves soared during the peak of the pandemic.


    Thousands of pieces of PPE are now being provided to care homes and front-line council workers by the council every day.

    It has emerged that in April the cost of items including masks, goggles, gloves and aprons to the county council topped £1.9m and at times it was having to pay up to £1.75 for a face mask – items that had been just 20p in December.

    Director of adult social care, Iain MacBeath, said following the announcement of government funding, the county council had been making PPE available to care homes throughout the county, either by supplying directly or reimbursing their costs. And that has meant the bulk purchases made by the county council have kept prices relatively low and ensured availability.

    The amount of PPE being supplied to care homes has now increased to 25,000 items a day and within three months the council’s expenditure on it is expected to reach up to £9m, despite prices having normalised.

  3. Bedford looks to larger venues for autumn flu vaccinations

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Places of worship and indoor venues in Bedford are being lined up as possible places where at-risk people could receive their free flu vaccinations in the autumn.

    Bedford Borough Council’s health and wellbeing board heard that public health officials are looking at how to give people their annual jabs while everyone has to stay socially distant.

    Responding to a question from Dr Roshan Jayalath, of the King Street surgery, the borough's elected mayor Dave Hodgson, said: "We have venues. Maybe using the Corn Exchange is a good one, or places not being used, churches, gurdwara or mosques."

    The board also looked at convincing people to get a flu jab, and other immunisations, during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    Dr Nicola Smith, who chairs the new NHS clinical commissioning group covering Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, said the health system is geared up but added: "It’s about convincing the public to get their vaccinations done. It is a really big thing and we will all be behind it."

  4. Self-drive day boat hire to resume on the Broads

    Katy Lewis

    BBC News Online

    Self-drive boats, canoes and other paddle craft can now be hired for the day again on The Broads, under the latest government guidance.

    Norfolk Borads

    The Broads Authority said they can be hired by members of a single household or "support bubble" and operators will have to fulfil requirements to observe social distancing and cleanliness.

    While overnight stays, holidays, skippered hire and boat trips in the Broads cannot yet resume, "families can now get back on the waterways for a few hours to enjoy the special qualities, wildlife and beauty of the Broads which will be a welcome escape from the challenges of the last few weeks", it said.

    Further advice on boating in the Broads can be found on Visit the Broads.

  5. Lockdown teacher says it's been a 'crazy 12 weeks'

    Katy Lewis

    BBC News Online

    Earlier we told you that English teacher Holly King-Mand is finishing her daily live lessons on YouTube today.

    The mother of two from Leighton Buzzard has provided English Live lessons every weekday since 23 March and now has 54,000 followers across three social media platforms.

    Finishing the lesson today she posted a message, along with a picture of her with one of her two young daughters, saying "That’s a wrap! What a crazy 12 weeks that was".

    On Monday, she's starting a new weekly video magazine for "all things English" called Chapter and Verse.

    Holly King-Mand
  6. What the papers are saying in Northamptonshire

    • More than one-third of Northamptonshire's workers have been forced to stop work by the Covid-19 crisis, the Northants Telegraph reports
    • The Northampton Chronicle and Echo reports on the faces and stories of households that have been captured in an online photography project during lockdown
    • It also reports that a selfless builder is offering to complete a home project for a NHS worker free of charge
  7. Woburn Safari Park to reopen on Monday

    Katy Lewis

    BBC News Online

    Woburn Safari Park has announced its drive-through road safari will reopen on Monday, with tickets on sale on its website on Saturday morning.

    The park is split into two sections - the road safari and the foot safari - and during the initial reopening phase, only the road safari will reopen and so it can "provide a safe, fun and much-needed family day out, from the comfort and safety of your own car".

    "This approach allows for social distancing during the Covid-19 virus pandemic and we are taking every necessary precaution to ensure our staff and visitors' safety during this time," a statement said.

    Protective measures include limiting ticket purchases to online only to limit numbers visiting.

    Full details can be found on its website.

    View more on twitter
  8. New coronavirus testing centre to open

    A new regional drive-through Covid-19 testing centre is opening at Tesco headquarers in Welwyn Garden City from Monday.

    It is due to operate from Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 20:00.

    If you have symptoms, you can book a test on the government's website.

    Tesco headquarters
  9. Colchester Zoo's 'excitement' at reopening

    Katy Lewis

    BBC News Online

    Colchester Zoo has confirmed that it will reopen next Thursday after the coronavirus lockdown rules are eased again.

    In a letter to supporters it said it was "almost ready to open now" but it needs to understand the government guidance which will be sent to them on Saturday and there are still questions surrounding social distancing that need to be addressed.

    "We will embrace the reopening and there is the buzz and excitement in everyone’s eyes here because of it," the letter said.

    "It is fair to say we have gone through a roller coaster of emotions, but right now I can see there is willingness and energy in the true Colchester Zoo style to re-open and put all the horrors we have experienced behind us."

    View more on twitter
  10. Rail passengers must wear face coverings from Monday

    Train operators are reminding passengers that if you need to travel on public transport, from Monday you will be required to wear a face covering, in line with new government guidance.

    Current government advice is to avoid public transport and to only use it if you cannot travel another way, in which case you must wear a face covering.

    Children under the age of 11 and people with a disability or illness which means they cannot wear a face covering are exempt – and are still able to travel by train.

    Greater Anglia said its staff will be encouraging customers to wear face coverings – which could be a scarf or bandanna or a face mask - to comply with the new regulation.

    View more on twitter

    You can find out how to wear the mask and how you can make a cloth face covering using items found in your home on the government website.

  11. Explore history of town’s oldest house in lockdown

    Katy Lewis

    BBC News Online

    A virtual tour through the history of what is thought to be Northampton’s oldest house, is to be screened on YouTube on Sunday.

    Hazelrigg House

    The Grade II listed Hazelrigg House, on Mare Fair, is one of the few buildings to survive the 1675 Great Fire of Northampton, and is thought to date back to the late 16th Century, when it was more than twice its current size.

    Viewers will see the various rooms brought to life by actors from the town’s Looking Glass Theatre Company, alongside photographs and documents charting the building’s fascinating past.

    Theatre director, James Smith, said: "Many interesting inhabitants and visitors have passed through the house, and research has revealed its connections to Northampton Castle and the Hazelrigg family themselves, not to mention a ghostly presence that many people have felt."

    More history about the house can be found on the council’s website.

    View more on youtube
  12. 'What happened at our Covid-19 drive-through test?'

    Katy Lewis

    BBC News Online

    In the past few weeks, you'll have heard about where you can go to get a drive-through Covid-19 test if you have symptoms, who is eligible and how to book one.

    But what is it like to actually go to one?

    Blogger Rebecca Chamberlain has written an account of what happened when she needed to take her six-year-old to be tested in Milton Keynes, which she describes as "probably one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had".

    In the blog, she described visiting the test centre as "like entering an unreal, apocalyptic reality" and that when trying to take a swab of her child's tonsils "he was furious about it, and performed some choking and gagging that would rival an I’m a Celebrity bushtucker trial".

    "I hope that if you or your child develops a symptom, this account of what it’s like has made you feel even more comfortable with getting tested as soon as possible," she added.

    She said the test centre staff were "universally lovely" and they ended up with a negative test.

    View more on twitter
  13. Can in a Van fills up with residents’ donations

    The Brentwood Can in a Van initiative has been taking place at Sainsbury’s and the Chapel Ruins in the High Street in the Essex town.

    Councillor Cliff Poppy

    Shoppers have been filling red boxes with food and toiletries to help support families and people who are vulnerable or in need of a helping hand.

    The council-run scheme is backed by voluntary groups including Manna Meals, The Food Bank, BRAG, Mutual Aid, Daily Bread Café and the Lighthouse.

    Councillor Cliff Poppy said: "Our residents are so generous. All donations go to the Town Hall hub where they are sorted out so our community groups can get supplies to those that need them quickly and efficiently.

    "There are plenty of people and families out there that need a bit of help and support at the moment, people are still on furlough, others have lost their jobs and for some the added pressures of the last two months of lockdown is taking its toll."

  14. What the papers are saying in Suffolk...

    • The East Anglian Daily Times reports that Ipswich Town could be hauling special trains across the rail network once the lockdown is finally over
    • Teacher and mum warns ‘summer school is a must’ to catch up on lost learning, the Ipswich Star reports
    • Landladies call time on Three Kings pub due to coronavirus, the Bury Free Press says
  15. 'I won't be forming a support bubble'

    Mariam Issimdar

    BBC News

    Further down the page, we heard about a single woman delighted to be coming out of isolation and being allowed to expand her social "bubble" and being allowed to visit her mother again.

    However, despite single people being able to regularly spend the night at one other household, single dad Kevin Copplestone, 32, from Watton in Norfolk, fears a resurgence of Covid-19 cases from the relaxation of the rules and will not be forming a social bubble.

    The pig farm worker said "my son misses his nanny and granddad a lot" and since his own father is shielding, it means they cannot meet.

    He has also kept his five-year-old son off school.

    Kevin Copplestone and his son Riely

    Mr Copplestone said he believed the easing of the rules means "we will be back to square one soon".

    "I think he's not quite right with what he {Prime Minister Boris Johnson] is doing, as he says he's following the science, but they are all saying he's doing it too quickly," he said.

    "We're coping not too bad to be honest in this situation, just strange not seeing family everyday like it was before, so it's to social media for the video calls."

  16. St Albans Cathedral to reopen for private prayer

    Katy Lewis

    BBC News Online

    St Albans Cathedral is one of many places of worship that will reopen its doors from Monday for private prayer, following the closure of religious buildings in March.

    St Albans Abbey

    Entry will remain through the welcome centre and will be limited with a new one-way route introduced. There will also be hand sanitiser units positioned at key points.

    Dean of the cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, said it was a "real joy as well as a relief to be able to let people into the cathedral again".

    "Of course for the time being we will have to be careful about numbers and distancing," he said.

    "I hope everyone will feel able to come and enjoy the peace and sense of presence, and perhaps to light a candle and pray for an end to the pandemic, and for those it has most badly affected."

    Full details can be found on the cathedral's website.