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Ambulance trust 'could not be prouder' of staff and volunteers

East of England Ambulance NHS Trust has praised on Twitter the "incredible" work its staff and volunteers are doing across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

The trust said it wanted to "dedicate #ThankYouThursday" to all those "working incredibly hard around the clock to make sure that our patients remain safe and get help when they need it the most. We couldn't be prouder to call you #TeamEEAST."

Ambulance staff
East of England Ambulance Service

Council closes adult day centres during virus outbreak

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Lincolnshire County Council has closed nine of its adult day centres due to falling numbers created by people self-isolating.

Lincs County Council
Google

Gainsborough, Market Rasen, Skegness, Boston, Horncastle, Louth, Sleaford, Stamford and Spalding centres have all been closed by the authority.

Council leader Martin Hill said the authority had been continuing to protect services for the most vulnerable but had taken the decision due to the falling numbers.

“Although these are difficult decisions, they are the right ones,” he said.

Ancaster, Grantham and Mablethorpe centres will remain open on reduced hours, however, for a select few users with no other source of care.

Five more coronavirus deaths reported in the East

Orla Moore

BBC News

Five more deaths from coronavirus were recorded in the East of England on Wednesday evening.

Four people died in hospitals run by the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, and a fifth was reported at the West Suffolk Hospital.

They were among 28 people nationally whose deaths after testing positive for coronavirus were announced on Wednesday.

Here are the latest numbers of positive cases recorded in our region:

  • Norfolk 45
  • Suffolk 35
  • Peterborough 9
  • Cambridgeshire 41
  • Northamptonshire 43
  • Bedford 7
  • Central Bedfordshire 24
  • Milton Keynes 29
  • Buckinghamshire 59
  • Luton 29
  • Hertfordshire 147
  • Essex 88
  • Southend 9
  • Thurrock 15

Further figures can be found at Public Health England.

High streets are empty as normal life is put on hold.
Roads are deserted in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire after strict curbs on everyday life were announced.

Funeral directors prepare for coronavirus 'storm'

The director of a chain of Norfolk funeral directors says her company has ordered more coffins as it prepares in "the lull before the storm".

Anne Beckett-Allen of Rosedale Funeral Home said her staff and bereaved families were also having to cope with regulations changing almost by the day.

She told BBC Radio Norfolk funeral directors were having to restrict family members from travelling together in the same car, and "arranging funerals over Skype and conference call".

The company, which has bases in Attleborough, Diss and Wymondham, has also banded together with other firms in the region to set up a support group for employees.

Coffins lined up in Italian church
Getty Images

Free visitor parking at Lincolnshire hospitals

Car parking will be free for visitors at Lincoln County Hospital, Boston Hospital and Grantham Hospital from tomorrow.

car park
BBC

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) says staff parking will be also be free from Wednesday 1 April.

However, visiting has been suspended at all hospitals in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

There are exceptions for the maternity and paediatric units, and on compassionate grounds, according to ULHT.

The trust says County Hospital in Louth is owned by NHS Property Services, and so at this time is not included in the changes.

Lincolnshire bus services affected by coronavirus

Bus services in Lincolnshire are being cut back in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19.

One of the county's biggest operators, PC Coaches, says it will stop running services from the end of Friday:

View more on twitter

And Boston-based Brylaine Travel says after 28 March it's cancelling all Saturday services until further notice.

The company has asked for key workers who need transport across its routes on Saturdays to contact Call Connect.

Hospital worker marks 21st with extra shifts

Eastern Daily Press

A hospital worker has marked her 21st birthday by taking on extra shifts at Norfolk's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Jill Forbes said she did not need the “perfect” day, as she and her colleagues continue to deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Sandringham Flower Show cancelled

The 2020 Sandringham Flower Show is the latest event in the region to be cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It had been scheduled to take place on 29 July, but organisers say it would be "impossible" to hold the event while protecting the welfare of visitors, exhibitors and staff.

"I would like to thank all those who support the Show and have enabled us to raise so much money for charity over the years," said David Reeve, chairman. "We very much hope to be back in 2021."

Sandringham Flower Show
BBC

Parking warning from 999 service

The increased number of cars parked in residential areas could pose a problem for emergency services, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has warned.

With many more people staying at home, the service has asked people to make sure they've parked considerately - so that 999 responders can get to those in need.

View more on twitter

Coronavirus updates - the latest

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Welcome to our live updates page where you can keep up with all the regional news on the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for joining us.

We'll bring you all the latest developments and news from the East of England until 18:00 GMT.

Police offices shut because of coronavirus

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Norfolk Police is among many forces that have closed public inquiry offices where people answer bail, report crimes and find information.

The step has been taken in response to government advice, a police spokesman said.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey
Norfolk Police

Those who need to contact police can use a yellow phone on the outside of office buildings but Norfolk Police warns that in the interests of hygiene these should only be used in an emergency.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: "Public engagement is extremely important to us, our focus is firmly on front-line policing and those crimes which cause most harm.

"By changing our approach we are aiming to ensure we protect the most vulnerable at this complex and continually changing time."

Inquests postponed or suspended due to crisis

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Some coroner's courts are responding to the coronavirus crisis with inquests in Northamptonshire suspended until September.

Coroner Anne Pember said: "In view of the present COVID-19 situation it is with regret that I need to inform you that all inquests listed between now and 1 September have been suspended until further notice."I will review the situation on 31 July."

All inquests due to be heard at Buckinghamshire Coroner's Court until Monday, 27 April have been postponed and will be rescheduled.

In Cambridgeshire, the coroner and inquests website warns that "during these unprecedented times, hearings may change at short notice".

People are asked to check the website the evening before a hearing is scheduled, for the most up to date information.

Suffolk County Council said: “Due to the fast-changing situation in respect of COVID-19 the Coroner’s Service is closely monitoring the government advice and considering any impact this might have.

But no announcements have been made by the coroners in Bedfordshire, Essex, Norfolk or Hertfordshire.

What the papers are saying...

Here's how some of Cambridgeshire's newspapers are reporting on the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Cambridge pub delivers meals to Addenbrooke's to thank them during coronavirus outbreak, writes the Cambridge News
  • The Peterborough Telegraph reports that HMP Peterborough has closed to visitors to protect staff and inmates
  • Meanwhile, the Cambridge Independent carries an A-Z of retailers, pubs and companies offering deliveries and new services in the county amid the pandemic

Lincolnshire nature reserves to close due to coronavirus

The RSPB is to close all of its nature reserves in Lincolnshire because of the coronavirus outbreak.

RSPB FRAMPTON MARSH
RSPB

The charity says its reserves, including Frampton Marsh and Freiston Shore, near Boston, and Beckingham Marshes, near Gainsborough, will shut.

They had previously only closed cafes and visitor centres, now car parks and entries to the sites will be shut.

The charity says it will now move to helping people enjoy nature from their own homes.

It is with great sadness that we ask people to refrain from visiting. We are determined to do our bit to try and help connect people with the amazing wildlife to be seen in gardens or from balconies or windows, and offer some hope and joy in these difficult times."

RSPB

Shake It Off to lift our spirits

Alex Pope

BBC Local Live

Everyone needs their spirits lifting at the moment, so St John Ambulance cadets in the East of England have come up with a "banging" idea to make us feel a little bit better.

Luke Stevenson, and others, want fellow cadets and St John Ambulance members to make up dance moves.

They are putting together a video to Taylor Swift's Shake It Off - but need some help.

They want to show that everyone is "standing together" and that some "fun" can still be had.

So send your best moves via email - sjaeastrcoty@outlook.com - or via Twitter using #SJADanceForEast.

Just make sure you never miss a beat especially if you are lightning on your feet!

View more on twitter

Coronavirus isolation 'could increase abuse'

Coronavirus isolation 'could increase abuse' - Norfolk police chief
Domestic and child sexual abuse could increase due to coronavirus forcing people to stay indoors, Norfolk's police chief has warned. 

He told BBC Radio Norfolk he feared the UK-wide lockdown could lead to the "exploitation of vulnerable people".

Mr Bailey said people in safeguarding jobs had a duty to be "professionally curious", but that society as a whole had a responsibility.

"If we all pull together... we'll come through it," he said.

People acting 'as if threat from coronavirus didn’t exist' says top cop

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Two chief constables have issued strongly-worded statements calling on communities to comply with new government rules restricting people’s movements to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Steve Jupp (below), who heads Suffolk Police, said: "The moves so far to limit social distancing have not had the necessary effect, with some people still going about their business as if the threat from coronavirus didn’t exist.

"It has to stop.”

Steve Jupp
Suffolk Police

He said officers would negotiate with people seen to be flouting the new rules before resorting to the law.

Norfolk's chief constable Simon Bailey (below) said he was staggered to hear holiday resorts had been full of people over the weekend.

Simon Bailey
BBC

Public gatherings of more than two people who do not live together should stop, the government said, and shops selling non-essential items have been asked to close.

New legislation has been introduced giving police powers to enforce the new rules.

Mr Bailey said: "Officers will continue to be out in their communities, speaking to people as we always do and taking the opportunity to explain the new rules and ask what people are doing and why they are out."

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: "If the public do not comply with this lockdown the police will use their powers to enforce it, and have my full support in that."

And what about self-isolation?

Self-isolating means staying at home and not leaving it, other than for exercise. Don't go to work, school or public areas during this time, is the government's advice.

If possible, you should not go out even to buy food or other essentials. If you are unable to get supplies delivered, you should do what you can to limit social contact when you do leave the house.

Who should self-isolate?

Everyone who shows coronavirus symptoms - a fever of above 37.8C, a persistent cough or breathing problem - and everyone who lives in the same house or flat as someone with symptoms.

  • If you live alone, you must stay at home for seven days from the day symptoms start
  • If someone you live with develop symptoms, they must isolate for seven days and the rest of the household needs to isolate for 14 days and monitor for signs of COVID-19
  • If someone else does become ill during that period, their seven-day isolation starts that day. For example, it might run from day three to day 10 - when that person's isolation would then end. It would not restart if another member of the household fell ill
  • But anyone who fell ill on day 13 would see their seven-day isolation begin then - for their illness rather than to monitor for symptoms - meaning they would spend a total of 20 days at home

Lincolnshire hospitals trust issues catering staff appeal

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The health trust which runs Lincolnshire's hospitals has appealed for temporary staff to help support its catering and housekeeping services as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

Boston Pilgrim Hospital
Google

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) is looking for additional support at Lincoln County Hospital, Boston Pilgrim Hospital (pictured) and Grantham and District Hospital.

A spokesperson for ULHT said: “We are seeking people with housekeeping or catering experience. For catering, we would require only people who hold a current food hygiene certificate.

“All roles will be paid at the national living wage and will be appointed through our fast-track process.”

People who are interested should e-mail: COVID-TempRecruitment@ulh.nhs.uk

Cars seized as drivers ignore call not to meet up

Alex Pope

BBC News

Police have seized two cars whose drivers were having meet up to fit a car stereo.

Cambridgeshire officers in the Fens said although the country was in "lockdown" with people being advised to stay inside unless vital, the message did not seem to be getting across.

They tweeted that officers found the vehicles on Block Fen Drove between Chatteris and March.

cars
Fenland Police

Officers said: "Meeting up to fit a car stereo is not essential, both drivers on provisional licence and no insurance, vehicles seized, both drivers were reported and both taken home."

Cars
Cambridgeshire Police

Recycling centres close

Rubbish bins
Luton Council

To ensure the safety of staff and customers, household recycling centres across the region are now closed.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: "In accordance with current government Coronavirus guidelines of avoiding non-essential contact and preventing a risk of infection to others, the sites will close.

"It is essential that we do all we can to slow down the spread of the virus."

Here is a breakdown of each council so you can access their information directly:

Severe accident: A15 Cambridgeshire southbound

BBC News Travel

A15 Cambridgeshire southbound severe accident, from Mountsteven Avenue to A47 Soke Parkway J18.

A15 Cambridgeshire - A15 Lincoln Road in Peterborough closed and it's very slow southbound from the Mountsteven Avenue junction to the A47 Soke Parkway J18 junction, because of an accident.

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

Routine surgery cancelled at Lincolnshire hospitals

Routine surgery across Lincolnshire's hospitals is to be cancelled from tomorrow due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Boston Pilgrim Hospital
Google

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) says all day-cases and elective surgery will be cancelled at Lincoln County Hospital, Boston Pilgrim (pictured) and Grantham Hospital.

Cancer surgery and other clinically urgent cases is not included, according to ULHT.

In a statement, the trust says: "This move is being made as part of our response to the current COVID-19 outbreak, enabling hospitals to free up staff to care for patients in other areas."

All patients will be contacted directly if they're affected, the trust adds.

Parents urged to 'look for positives' after school closure

An ex-teacher and parenting author from Boston is encouraging parents to look for the positives of schools being closed.

home schooling
Getty Images

Schools are officially shut because of the coronavirus outbreak, but children who are vulnerable or whose parents are "key workers" can still attend.

Writer and former teacher Tim Atkinson, who is homeschooling his own children, says the closures will give families a chance to "come together".

Although it's not anything that we would have wished for, you have got to look at the positives and see what you can make of it. It's a great opportunity as a family to come together and try something new.

Tim AtkinsonEx-teacher and Author

School students 'devastated' over cancelled exams - Head

A Lincolnshire headteacher says some students at the school have been in tears over the cancellation of exams due to the coronavirus outbreak, fearing their hard work will have amounted to nothing.

Haven High Academy
Google

Matthew Van Lier, headteacher of Haven High Academy in Boston, said some were disappointed with the government's decision to cancel exams for Year 11 pupils.

He said: "I was inundated with students who were crying, upset, devastated. We've got some students here who have done in excess of 200 additional hours of revision already through Saturday school and after- school revision sessions and they are saying it's all come to nothing.

"I can assure our students we will do whatever it takes to ensure they get the appropriate grades which reflect the commitment they've given to their studies over the last five years."

University produces hand sanitiser amid shortage

The University of East Anglia has started to produce hand sanitiser after a request from Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and the county council.

Staff used empty teaching labs to make the alcohol-based sanitiser after they were informed of a shortage of supply.

Professor Mark Searcey, pro-vice chancellor for science and the university, said the team made their first batch in about an hour and appealed for anyone who could help with provisions of ethanol or isopropanol and bottling the sanitiser to get in touch.

View more on twitter

Severe accident: A15 Cambridgeshire northbound

BBC News Travel

A15 Cambridgeshire northbound severe accident, from B1443 to B1524 Lincoln Road.

A15 Cambridgeshire - A15 in Glinton closed and queues northbound from the B1443 junction to the B1524 Lincoln Road junction, because of an accident involving a motorbike.

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