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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.. as well as coverage of other stories.

    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. Ed Sheeran kick-starts Suffolk Covid-19 appeal

    Pop star Ed Sheeran has helped kick-start a new appeal to help communities in his home county recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Suffolk Community Foundation (SCF) wants to raise £2m as part of its Rebuilding Local Lives initiative.

    The BBC Radio Suffolk-backed campaign will get vital funds to community groups and charities helping those in need during the Covid-19 crisis and as the nation emerges from it.

    Ed Sheeran

    SCF did not disclose the amount donated by the Framlingham singer.

    Tim Holder, SCF's head of public affairs, said they were "excited and grateful" to receive the support from the 29-year-old.

    He said: "Ed’s visibility as a supporter will really boost to our ability to raise awareness of the fund and this new appeal, and now we can inspire even more people to support Suffolk charities and community groups to get Suffolk lives back on track as we come out of lockdown."

  3. Wildlife park reopens with restrictions on entry

    Shepreth Wildlife Park will reopen on Monday, but with a new socially-distanced walkway path.

    Visitors will need to purchase an online ticket for entrance to the Cambridgeshire zoo which is not allowed to accept walk-ins due to strict regulations introduced for the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The website has all the instruction for visitors to book as well as plenty of advice.

    Guided route map
  4. PM observes social distancing as £1bn school 'catch-up' fund announced

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson was visiting a school as the government announced a £1bn fund to help children use tutors to catch up with work missed during lockdown.

    The PM was social-distancing at Bovingdon Primary near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire as plans were revealed to offer more help both in and out of schools.

    Boris Johnson at Bovingdon Primary School

    Labour's shadow education secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said the plans "lack detail and appear to be a tiny fraction of the support" needed.

    Schools minister Nick Gibb told the BBC there was lee-way for heads to set up summer schemes if they so wished.

  5. Coronavirus: Four new deaths in the East

    Matt Precey

    BBC Look East

    The latest daily government figures released on Friday show there were four more coronavirus deaths in the region's hospitals, taking the total in the East of England to 3,912.

    There were 12 more deaths in statistics issued on Thursday.

    The new deaths, listed by NHS trust, were:

    • Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals: 1
    • Kettering General: 1
    • North West Anglia (Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals): 1
    • West Hertfordshire Hospitals: 1

    The total number of Covid-19 deaths across the UK now stands at 42,461.

  6. Six arrested as police raid suspected brothels

    Patrick Byrne

    BBC News

    Police raiding three addresses in Luton found six women and arrested six people in an operation to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

    The properties were suspected of being used as brothels with links to organised crime.

    Police raid

    All of the women, who were from Romania, have been offered support through a national organisation for victims of modern slavery.

    Specialist support workers from local charity Azalea, Luton Council public health’s vulnerable women’s group and sexual health services joined Bedfordshire Police on the operation.

    Three men and two women from Luton and one man from Kent were arrested on suspicion of keeping a brothel.

    All six remained in police custody while inquiries continued.

  7. Test kit shortage halts work of new processing machine

    Simon Dedman

    BBC Essex health reporter

    A national shortage of testing kits has stopped the work of a new coronavirus test processing machine that produced results on the same day.

    Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust said its Rapid Covid PCT testing machine was "fantastic" and "made a real difference", but the shortage has meant any test and trace work will have to be done through the national programme.


    Staff at Basildon and Southend hospitals have also been told internal testing for Covid-19 had been suspended because of the shortage of kits.

    The director of public health in Southend, Krishna Ramkhedlawon, said local coronavirus track and trace activities will work alongside the national programme which was running smoothly.

  8. What the papers are saying in Essex

    • The Southend Echo reports that a leading businessman and owner of Adventure Island suggests the Kursaal on Southend’s seafront has potential to become a budget hotel
    • The Colchester Gazette reports that as skateparks, a council has advised skaters to stick to new guidelines released by Skateboard England
    • The Basildon Standard reports that Adam Jones, who will stand down as a Tory councillor in the forthcoming elections, has signed up for a 'brutal' cycle race between Paris and Roubaix to raise money for Southend Hospital's keyhole cancer appeal
  9. Live music and theatre shows planned at racecourse and Bowl

    Newmarket Racecourses is one of several outdoor venues planning to host a series of socially-distanced drive-in music concerts.

    The programme will see stars like the Kaiser Chiefs (pictured) and Tony Hadley perform as well as staging West End theatre, interactive science shows, DJs and family events.

    Kaiser Chiefs

    Each audience member will be given a designated area around their cars where they can stand and/or sit.

    The live drive-in concerts will also be coming to the National Bowl in Milton Keynes.

    Some of the biggest names in UK music will perform live at the open air venues backed by a full concert production that audiences can experience from their safe designated area, organisers said.

  10. Cannabis user jailed over 'sustained' Christmas attack on partner

    Patrick Byrne

    BBC News

    A man who beat his partner in a "sustained and repeated" attack that put her in hospital for five days over Christmas has been jailed for nine years and eight months.

    Ryan Brady, 26, blamed his victim for not planning for the festive season and has now left her living in fear of his release, Luton Crown Court was told by prosecutors.

    She was treated for a head injury, multiple rib fractures, injuries to her chest, lungs and kidneys and bruising to her arms and legs.

    Ryan Brady

    Brady, of Bathurst Road, Hemel Hempstead pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent on 21 and 22 December last year.

    Prosecutor Simon Ward said the couple had been in a relationship since 2013 and after Brady lost his job, he started to use cannabis and became violent towards her.

    The attacks started in Brady's BMW after the woman had left her baby son with her mother and continued the next morning at home, until she phoned her brother to call the police.

    The woman spent five days in Watford Hospital over the Christmas period and the court heard she missed seeing her son take his first steps.