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Live Reporting

Alex Pope and Kris Holland

All times stated are UK

  1. Live updates for the day

    Thanks for joining us for our ongoing coverage of how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the East of England.

    Join us again from 08:00 on Thursday via the BBC News Online regional and county index.

  2. 'More PPE needed' - Essex council in donations plea

    A council is appealing for companies that have donated any unwanted or extra personal protective equipment (PPE) to care homes to keep it coming.


    John Spence, Essex County Council's cabinet member for health and social care, said the authority was "incredibly grateful for any stock, but much more is needed".

    The council still needs all items of PPE - masks, disposable gloves, aprons, eye goggles and sanitising gel - for staff caring for vulnerable residents.

    Mr Spence said: "The response from local companies has been great but we equally recognise the challenge they face in reaching beyond the NHS into other parts of the caring system.

    "Quite simply we need more stock and so if you are able to help please get in touch, particularly if you have large quantities of items."

    To donate please email Essex County Council with details.

  3. In the papers: Essex

    Here's the headlines making the newspapers across Essex:

    • Care home staff in Clacton are raising concerns they have to keep using the same mask for a week because of rationed stocks of PPE, reports the Colchester Gazette
    • An engineering firm in Basildon is putting its 3D printing skills to good use by making more than 70 protective visors a week for the NHS, according to the Southend Echo
    • And an 11-year-old from Harlow has become the talk of her local hospital, making "ear savers" for front line staff who have to wear masks, reports Essex Live
  4. Dogs being trained to sniff for coronavirus at airports

    BBC Radio 4

    Dogs are being trained to detect coronavirus in passengers arriving at UK airports once the lockdown has been lifted.

    The Medical Detection Dogs charity, based in Milton Keynes, said its animals have previously been used to find cancer and malaria in patients.

    Dr Claire Guest, from the charity, said: "You walk through and as you do a dog is sniffing each person in turn. It takes 0.5 seconds, the dog quickly identifies which people need a test and need to go into isolation to prevent the further spread around the UK."

    Dogs being trained to sniff for coronavirus
  5. Majority of coronavirus deaths in Herts in care homes

    Simon Oxley

    BBC Three Counties Radio

    New figures suggest the majority of coronavirus deaths in Hertfordshire have been in care homes.

    County Council data, from 20 March to 17 April, suggests 172 care home residents have died from presumed or confirmed Covid-19 - either in hospital or at home.

    That would account for the majority of the 254 hospital deaths in Hertfordshire in that time.

    Person with a walking stick
  6. Tulips from Northamptonshire for key workers

    A grow-your-own family-run tulip farm is giving away its blooms to key workers instead of letting them rot unpicked

    Overstone Grange Farm planted the bulbs for the first time in November, with the plan that 20,000 flowers would be sold on the farm in Moulton, Northamptonshire.

    As customers are unable to pick them owner Tom Harris decided to give them away.

    About 7,000 have already been handed out to doctors, nurses, teachers, carers, and given to care homes and paramedics, he said.


    "It's frustrating we can't invite people onto the field as it is in full bloom," he added.

    "We just hope we can help to brighten up key workers days."

    Gus the dog in a tulip field
    Image caption: Gus is proud to work at Overstone Grange Farm

    He said anyone who would like some of the flowers to contact him, via their Facebook page, as they can only be collected by pre-arranged appointment.

  7. Driver training under way to help front line ambulances

    Emergency services

    More than 130 student paramedics, community first responders, military personnel and other new recruits at the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) are receiving specialist driver training to help them support the front-line services.

    The six-week training, offered by the police and fire service in Suffolk, will teach people to drive patient transport service vehicles.

    Des Pooley, lead for driving training at Suffolk Police, said: "We are looking to train at least 132 people to drive ambulances in the next six weeks and this valuable, practical work is already successfully underway.

    Marcus Bailey, chief operating officer with EEAS, said: "Covid-19 represents an unprecedented challenge and we truly appreciate the fantastic support we have received."

  8. Green waste collections to start again in Bedford area

    Green waste bin

    Green waste will be collected again by Bedford Borough Council.

    From Monday, cuttings and waste from gardens will be picked up by refuse collectors.

    The council said as crews have settled into new working practices, the wheelie bins, to begin with, will be collected once a month.

    Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “Unfortunately we are not able to accept bagged green waste in addition to the bins, as bags would contaminate the whole collection.

    "We know that people may have accumulated green waste during this brief pause, so would ask that you keep composting where you can."

  9. In the papers: Suffolk

    • A painting by renowned Suffolk artist Sir Cedric Morris is due to be sold months after another of his works broke auction records, reports the Ipswich Star
    • Ipswich Town fans fear a proposal to "regionalise" League One to help struggling clubs during the lockdown could be "disastrous", according to the East Anglian Daily Times
    • And plans have been submitted to create a two-storey, two-bedroom flat above the Grade II-listed Mumfords shop in High Street, Southwold, the Lowestoft Journal reports
  10. Cancer patients to be treated at private hospital

    Nikki Fox

    BBC Look East

    Cancer patients are to receive treatment at a private centre to protect them from coronavirus and free up space in NHS hospitals.

    The entire chemotherapy unit at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital has moved to the nearby Spire Hospital along with 60 NHS nurses.

    It's part of a government deal to use private hospitals which will operate on a "not for profit basis".

    Cancer treatment
  11. Family creates rainbow wall in Peterborough

    BBC Make A Difference


    A family in Peterborough has brightened up a wall to honour a local front line nursing team.


    Tegan Friel, 14, and her twin sisters Evie and Isla, eight, have decorated their house wall with their 10-year-old neighbour, Lilly.

    The girls have also been making colourful NHS bracelets - and raised £488.

    The money will be donated to "local hero" Zoe Wareham and her team - who are working in the intensive care unit at Peterborough City Hospital.

  12. Social-distancing marks appear on roads

    The message is simple from Luton Borough Council, it wants people to use their local green spaces to get their daily exercise, but only at a two-metre distance......

    View more on twitter
  13. Clothes designer making eye masks for NHS

    Grace Sanderson with an eye mask on her head

    A children's clothes designer has created 50 handmade blackout eye masks for staff at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

    Dawn Clarke, wanted to help as a relative works at one of its hospitals in Hemel Hempstead, Watford or St Albans.

    “I’m in awe of our NHS workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. So when I read they had been asking for eye masks to help them sleep, I knew I wanted to help," she said.

    Grace Sanderson, senior sister on Bluebell ward, said: "Getting a good night’s sleep is more important now than ever so we’re really grateful to Dawn Clarke for sending these in."

  14. Smudge the Jack Russell 'claps for carers'

    This talented dog has joined the rest of the country in clapping to show his appreciation for NHS and care workers, animal shelter staff have said.

    Jack Russell Smudge, six, lives at the RSPCA Eau Brink centre near King's Lynn in Norfolk, as his previous owners could no longer look after him.

    Video content

    Video caption: Smudge the Jack Russell claps for carers

    Penny Skate, chairman of the Norfolk West branch trustees, said: "Every time he’s asked to clap for the carers it really looks like he is putting his heart and soul into it.

    "It’s a lovely sight to see Smudge so happy and enjoying himself. We really want to share his video with the country and hopefully Smudge clapping can help to put a smile on people’s faces during these uncertain times."

  15. 'Job waiting' for little firefighter

    If you're having a tough day, this video shared by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service might put a smile on your face.

    They say there's a "job waiting" for this future firefighter...

    View more on twitter
  16. Couple re-enact Morecambe and Wise sketch

    A couple from Northamptonshire have passed time while social distancing measure are in place by recreating a famous Morecambe & Wise sketch.

    Jeff and Lel Campton, from Daventry, said their version of the duo's breakfast scene was the result of "lockdown boredom".

    View more on twitter

    If you aren't familiar, here's the original from the comic duo, who starred in The Morecambe & Wise Show on the BBC from 1968 to 1977.

  17. Mechanic fixes nurses' cars for free

    BBC Make A Difference

    A Cambridgeshire mechanic is giving back to the NHS by fixing nurses' cars for free.

    Aaron Ginn, of AG Motors in Papworth Everard, said the gesture was a "thank you" after he received treatment for cancer last year.

    View more on twitter

    Read more BBC Make a Difference here.