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Coronavirus: Homeschooling questions

Coronavirus: Your homeschooling questions answered
How do you motivate a hormonal teenager to get out of bed and study?

Sam Barlow, a head teacher at two Suffolk primary schools, has some tips to help you homeschool your children.

Good morning

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

Thank you for joining us this morning as we continue our regular updates about the coronavirus pandemic.

The team will be here sharing news from the East of England until 18:00.

Weather forecasts could be hampered by grounded flights

Weather forecasts could be affected by the global pandemic, a BBC meteorologist from Norwich has said.

Dan Holley

Planes help to gather weather data, but the high number of those now grounded could start to hamper forecasters.

So far there has not been a massive impact on forecasting quality, but Dan Holley, from Weatherquest based at the University of East Anglia, said there was a developing problem.

"There are still a lot of flights going on in America right now... a lot of our weather depends on the jet stream configuration over the US, so as more flights get grounded over there it may have a knock-on effect," he said.

Elderly people warned over phone scams following spate of fake calls

Elderly people are being warned to be on their guard following a spate of scam phone calls from fraudsters pretending to be police officers or government workers.

Someone on a computer

In the last 24 hours, Norfolk Police said a number of pensioners have been targeted by callers telling them their bank cards were being used fraudulently or asking them to visit banks to withdraw money.

Another elderly resident was phoned by someone who said they were from Public Health England, before being asked if they were being supported by family and friends during the coronavirus lockdown and then trying to get personal details.

The force said neither banks nor its officers would ever ask for PIN numbers or bank card details over the phone.

Joint county lines operation sees five arrested

Police officers arrested five people linked to a county lines drug line being run from Hackney to Norwich.

cash found by police
Met Police

Nine searches were carried out at addresses in Hackney, Ilford, Tottenham, Enfield and Islington.

All five have been arrested for conspiracy to supply class A drugs between April 2019 to the present day.

A large amount of cash was seized as part of the raids, the Met Police said.

The investigation, code-named Operation Clovet, commenced in early 2019 after officers received intelligence that established that gang members in Hackney were running a county line to Norwich and using vulnerable adults and children to do so.

Based on the information Met officers had, as well as intelligence from officers from Norfolk police, Operation Clovet was established to dismantle this drug line.

Coronavirus deaths rise in the East

Nikki Fox

BBC Look East

The number of people who have died from coronavirus continues to rise in the East of England.

Last night, Public Health England announced the statistics for 31 March at the region's hospital trusts:

  • Basildon - 10 more deaths
  • Luton & Dunstable - 1
  • East & North Herts - 5
  • Norfolk & Norwich - 2
  • Northampton - 2
  • Southend - 3
  • Queen Elizabeth, King's Lynn - 3
  • James Paget, Gorleston - 2
  • Addenbrooke's, Cambridge - 2
  • Essex partnership (mental health inpatient) - 1
  • West Herts Hospitals - 4
  • Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury - 2
  • Wycombe Hospital - 3

If a hospital trust is not listed it means no deaths were recorded there on Tuesday.

The total number of confirmed (tested) regional cases now stands at 1,945.

Across the UK, the death toll stands at 1,789.

Mall sends 'appreciation package' to ambulance crew

Sarah Jenkins

BBC News

The Mall in Luton has sent an "appreciation package" to ambulance workers in the town.

The shopping centre tweeted that it wanted to thank crews for "all their hard work" so sent a package "full of tasty treats".

View more on twitter

'If you are in need, we will be there,' Norfolk councils' pledge

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Councils across Norfolk are telling people “if you are in need, we will be there for you”.

Food parcel

The government has told 1.4m vulnerable people in the UK not to leave their homes for 12 weeks, with the list also sent to local authorities to tell them what support people need.

Trevor Holden, in charge of Norfolk’s public services’ response, said councils had gone a step further and would write to everyone in the county to ask if they needed help, while a helpline - 0344 8008020 – had also been set up.

He said: "We should be getting food today which should find its way to people by the end of the week - but if someone is reading this and thinking ‘but I need food now’ please don’t wait. Give us a call and we will help you."

Coronavirus: Age UK answers your questions

Caroline Abrahams talks to Susie Fowler-Watt about Covid-19 for the over 70s.
From medication deliveries to being able to walk your dog if you have underlying health conditions - Caroline Abrahams talks Covid-19 for the over 70s.

Good morning

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Welcome to our live page where we'll bring you regular regional updates about the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for joining us.

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

Medical students step in to help NHS workers with childcare

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Medical students in Norwich have been providing free childcare to NHS medics who are busy trying to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Child playing

Trainee doctors, nurses and therapists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have had their courses put on hold due to the national lockdown.

They have offered free childcare for key workers so staff can continue working despite school and nursery closures.

The group Helping Hands East Anglia is part of a national movement to bring together medical students and families of healthcare workers.

Volunteers have been given exemptions from the lockdown.

Student Tanya Ta said: "We’re just trying to help those who are providing so much help for others in the most effective way we can."

Woman faces court accused of flouting 'go home' requests

A woman is due to appear in court accused of repeatedly ignoring officers' requests to return home under new police powers brought in over the coronavirus crisis.

The woman, in her 40s, will be the first person in the county to be prosecuted since the policing measures were brought in on Thursday.

The force said a woman was asked to return home three times in Great Yarmouth on Monday, and will now be summonsed to attend magistrates' court.

Police have been given powers to fine people who are outside without "reasonable excuse" as part of the government's Covid-19 containment strategy.

Norfolk Constabulary's Chief Constable Simon Bailey

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: "Our communities are looking out for each other and listening to the government's message to stay at home, and I thank them for that."

Meanwhile, he also warned that anyone deliberately spitting or coughing on others would be dealt with "robustly".

Cornavirus deaths rise in the East

Nikki Fox

BBC Look East

The number of people who have died from the coronavirus continues to rise the East.

Last night, Public Health England announced the statistics for the previous 24 hours at regional hospitals.

They are from Sunday evening to Monday evening.

  • Colchester 3 more deaths
  • Herts Community Trust 1
  • Luton and Dunstable 4
  • Mid Essex 3
  • Norfolk and Norwich 1
  • Northampton 3
  • Princess Alexandra, Harlow 9

It brings the total number of deaths in the East region since the outbreak began to 100.

Colchester Hospital
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Nick Hulme, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust which runs Colchester and Ipswich hospitals, said: "We can confirm that sadly, three patients, one in their 90s and one in their 70s, both of whom had underlying health conditions, together with another patient in their early 80s who did not have underlying health conditions, have passed away at Colchester Hospital.

"They had tested positive for COVID-19.

"Our thoughts and condolences remain with the patients family and loved ones at this difficult time."

Coronavirus cases continue to rise

The number of coronavirus cases for the east of England were released by Public Health England on Monday evening.

Here is latest breakdown confirmed from hospital tests:.

  • Bedford Borough 34
  • Cambridgeshire 109
  • Central Bedfordshire 60
  • Essex 301
  • Hertfordshire 339
  • Luton 69
  • Milton Keynes 94
  • Norfolk 133
  • Northamptonshire 153
  • Peterborough 24
  • Suffolk 100
  • Southend 31
  • Thurrock 41

College donates personal protection equipment to hospital and police

A Norfolk and Suffolk college has donated thousands of items of personal protection equipment to its local hospital and police.

East Coast College, which is based in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, dropped off masks, disposable aprons and gloves to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston and Norfolk Police.

It said the items would have been used by students on a variety of courses.

"We will continue to support our local community during these unprecedented times," it tweeted.

View more on twitter

Stall for feeding homeless removed

Stall at the Haymarket, Norwich

A stall which was used by volunteer groups handing out food to homeless people has been removed.

Norwich City Council said it had taken down the covered stall on the Haymarket opposite Primark, following advice on social distancing during the Coronavirus outbreak.

"We’re not planning to bring our stall back," it added.

"The expert medical guidance on social distancing has highlighted the importance of best practice around food provision for the most vulnerable.

"This is about making sure we get food to people safely, rather than bringing people to food, and we are working positively with a number of groups involved in providing food in this way."

It said it was working with organisations to engage with rough sleepers, secure temporary accommodation and deliver food to people directly.

Some volunteer groups criticised the decision on social media, as reported in the Eastern Daily Press.

Norwich homeless food stall
The People's Picnic

What the papers are saying in Norfolk

Here's how the newspapers are reporting the coronavirus pandemic...

  • The Norwich Evening News reports that OPEN, a Norwich charity supporting thousands of vulnerable young people, is fighting for survival after losing funding
  • One of Norfolk’s oldest auction houses has cancelled auctions for the first time in more than 150 years, according to the Eastern Daily Press
  • While the Great Yarmouth Mercury reports that a family has offered a four-pack of toilet roll as a reward for find their missing cockatiel

Co-op to stop accepting loyalty card and handing out charity tokens

The East of England Co-operative have announced a series of changes to how they operate their food stores to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The group, based in Ipswich and with stores across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk said it would be no longer accepting member reward cards to avoid handling them, but advised customers to keep receipts to add the points at a later date.

Stores will also no longer hand out green tokens, which go in the charity-of-your-choice boxes.

East of England Co-operative
EoE Co-op

In line with many other supermarket the Co-op will also be installing screens at checkouts and have signs on the floor to keep shoppers 2m (6ft 6in) apart.

English Heritage open up sites online

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

If you're missing being able to get out and about to some of the region's interesting historic sites, then English Heritage can bring some of them to you - online.

It has highlighted 30 of its buildings, monuments and sites across the country available to visit online - including a few in the East of England.

Audley End
English Heritage

The sites, including Audley End House and Gardens in Essex, Wrest Park and its Collections Store in Bedfordshire and Grime’s Graves in Norfolk, use digital technology, to bring their stories to life via the Google Arts & Culture platform.

Last week, the organisation took the decision to close all its staffed historic sites and cancel all public events.

Curatorial director Anna Eavis said: "We look forward to welcoming visitors back to those sites as soon as it is safe to do so, but until then we hope these online experiences will allow people an escape, and the chance to learn something new."

Doorstep flowers 'a kind gesture in tough times'

Residents' photos

A "thoughtful" garden centre worker has been thanked by his neighbours for leaving flowers on their doorstep.

David Barton, who works at Sprowston Garden Centre near Norwich, saved pot plants from going to waste while the business was closed during lockdown.

Last week, he put them outside front doors on his cul-de-sac in Sprowston, and was thanked on a community Facebook page.

"I can’t thank [in person] the lovely man who just delivered this beautiful flower to my door," said one neighbour.

"Such a kind gesture in these tough times."

"It has certainly put a smile on my face," said another.

Mr Barton said: "With the situation at the moment there would not have been adequate staff to care for the houseplants.

"We decided to distribute to the local community so people could enjoy them while they were looking their best and spread some happiness in this uncertain time."

Hope for couple who've left coronavirus cruise ship

Pete Cooper

BBC News

It is hoped a couple from south Norfolk will be able to get refuge in the US after four people died of suspected coronavirus on their cruise ship.

David and Heather Haycox from Brooke were transferred from the contaminated vessel Zaandam close to Panama over the weekend.

It is hoped their new liner will be allowed to dock in America, after numerous countries turned away their original cruise ship.


The couple's daughter, Sami Haycox, said: "The next big thing is to be lobbying America to let the boat dock so they can come home from there but we don't know if that will happen."

'The sun will shine again' says Canaries boss

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke has posted a message on Twitter to Canaries fans.

In he says "the sun will shine again" and asks supports to "look after each other and stay healthy".

View more on twitter

James Paget University Hospital confirms coronavirus death

James Paget University Hospital has announced that a patient with coronvirus died on Sunday.

It said the man, in his 80s, had underlying health conditions.

His family had been informed, said a spokesman for the hospital, which is in Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk.

James Paget University Hospital

Youth football team combines toilet rolls with Stormzy

View more on facebook

Normally thousands of people all ages are playing football matches at the weekend.

Covid-19 has put a stop to that, so how do you keep the young footballers’ team spirit alive?

Norfolk youth side Stoke United FC came up with the idea of a video, featuring a Stormzy soundtrack, to keep the team practising.

Chairman and coach Rob Ward said: "We wanted to do something for their well-being, to make sure they’re still connected, and they were still playing the game which they obviously miss.

"Whilst it’s not the same, we thought it was probably the next best thing."

Stoke United FC, based in Stoke Holy Cross near Norwich, is an under-eleven side in the Norfolk Combined Youth Football League.

Sharing countryside beauty during self-isolation

Adam Williams

BBC England

Norfolk countryside
Brad Damms

A photographer is sharing his images on social media in a bid to help those self-isolating "see the beauty of the countryside".

Brad Damms, from Norfolk, has been posting landscape and wildlife images daily.

He says he hopes that, for people who can't leave the house, his photos will "lift spirits and take their mind off our current situation".

See a selection of his images here.

Charity supporting youngsters could close due to coronavirus

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A Norwich charity supporting thousands of vulnerable young people is fighting for survival after losing funding due to the spread of the coronavirus.

OPEN Norwich has postponed all events at its Bank Plain venue, meaning the organisation’s Youth Trust could lose its funding from next month.

Open Norwich

Chief executive Laura Rycroft has warned OPEN could soon face the "difficult decision" to close the service for good.

Its lottery funding runs out at the end of April, and Mrs Rycroft said the timing "couldn’t be any worse".

The youth service costs OPEN about £25,000 a month to run and offers support to about 3,000 vulnerable young people a year.

Mrs Rycroft said although the government has offered support for business, charities risked falling through the cracks.

The Treasury has been approached for comment.

Advertising slump 'threat' to EDP and Evening News

Nic Rigby

BBC News

A drop in advertising revenue resulting from the coronavirus lockdown has put a major newspaper group's future in jeopardy, a senior manager has warned.

Archant's main building in Norwich

Tim Youngman, the head of marketing for Archant - which publishes the Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News, East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, said the lack of advertising was a "threat".

"We are a mainly advertising-funded business and if we don't get that advertising revenue unfortunately the future looks bleak not just for us but for newspapers," he said.

"We want to support those local businesses that are forced to close but are also asking larger businesses not in jeopardy to continue to support us."

He said newspapers were playing a key role in supporting the community during the coronavirus lockdown.

Cheers all round as the East says thanks to NHS

Coronavirus: Cheers all round as the East says thanks to NHS
There was clapping, cheering, pots clanging and car horns honking as people across the East of England gave their thanks to the NHS.

Many people took part in the social media campaign on Thursday night, where people across the UK applauded the work of the health service treating coronavirus patients.

'Thank you NHS'

Oscar's been using his time off to create a masterpiece thanking the NHS for all their hard work.

The ambulance service were definitely impressed by his artistic talent.

View more on twitter

Six more coronavirus deaths reported in East of England

Nikki Fox

BBC Look East

Six more deaths from coronavirus were recorded in the BBC East region on Thursday evening.

Thee people died in hospitals run by East and North Herts NHS Trust and three at Princess Alexandra in Harlow.

The UK death date rose to more than 550 as of yesterday evening.

Here are the latest numbers of positive cases (not deaths) recorded in our region:

  • Norfolk 51 (a rise of 6 on previous day)
  • Suffolk 42 (up 7)
  • Peterborough 10 (up 1)
  • Cambridgeshire 47 (up 6)
  • Northamptonshire 64 (up 21)
  • Bedford 10 (up 3)
  • Central Bedfordshire 28 (up 4)
  • Milton Keynes 38 (up 9)
  • Buckinghamshire 66 (up 7)
  • Luton 30 (up 1)
  • Hertfordshire 170 (up 23)
  • Essex 130 (up 42)
  • Southend12 (up 3)
  • Thurrock 20 (up 5)

These figures will not include people have show symptoms, but have not been tested.

Further figures can be found at Public Health England.

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.

Clap for our Carers

Set your alarms for 20:00 this evening when a big round of applause is planned to thank all the NHS staff working tirelessly to keep us safe.

If you want to take part all you need do is put your hands together from your windows and doors.

View more on twitter

Library's singalong an online hit

Adam and Hannah performing Bounce and Rhyme
Norfolk Libraries and Information Service

A nursery rhyme singalong by staff at a Norfolk library has proved an online hit with parents and children around the UK.

A rousing performance of Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes; Five Little Monkeys; Wind the Bobbin Up and other pre-school favourites was broadcast on Facebook on Tuesday morning. The video has since racked up more than 20,000 views online.

Librarians Adam and Hannah, who host weekly singalongs at Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library, said: "We know you can't come to us, so we're bringing our Bounce and Rhyme to you."

A mum from Surrey commented: "Thank you for making us giggle and providing some happiness during this crazy time."

"Loving this from Somerset," said another. Others tuned in from Wales and Scotland.

The library is also providing a daily storytime online and a weekly Lego club.

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities at Norfolk County Council, said: “We’ve even had viewers logging on from other parts of the country and the response so far has been wonderful, showing just how brilliant and well-loved these activities are.”

View more on facebook

Norfolk’s World Dumpling Championships to take place online

Eastern Daily Press

The organiser of the World Dumpling Championships, launched in Norwich last year, has announced that, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the competition will run online in 2020.

Beginning this Saturday, March 28, and running for two weeks, participants are encouraged to post pictures of their dumpling-making attempts on social media, with the chance to win the ultimate prize – the Crystal Dumpling.

Family unable to celebrate diamond wedding aniversay

BBC Look East

Clare Gray says her family will be unable to celebrate the diamond wedding anniversary of grandparents Margaret and Frank Gray in Norwich due to the coronavirus.

As the couple have been married for 60 years, they should also be receiving a card from the Queen.

Margaret and Frank Gray
Clare Gray

Happy anniversary, Margaret and Frank.

'Bored Stiff': Oliver's poem cheers up grandmother

Pam Hayward in Brooke, Norfolk, sent us this poem written by her seven-year-old grandson Oliver Hayward from Little Easton, Essex.

She said he sent it to her "to cheer me up as I'm in self-imposed isolation."

Pam Hayward

Coronavirus: 'The beauty of the outside remains'

Strumpshaw Fen: The isolated beauty of nature
With the government's request for us to stay at home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, many people are now missing the opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors.

On the morning before the government announced its new guidelines resulting in the closure of many nature reserves, BBC Look East cameraman Shaun Whitmore was at Strumpshaw Fen in Norfolk.

Here he shares his last trip to the reserve for a while.

Staff shortages could affect fruit and veg from the East

Pete Cooper

BBC News

The Country Land and Business Association has warned of staff shortages in the farming sector across the East of England due to coronavirus.

If farmers could not find the workers they needed, it could lead to a shortage of fruit and vegetables, it said.

PA Media

Cath Crowther from the association said: "There are staff shortages because of travel restrictions and illness which could impact on fruit and vegetable supply going forward."

She also said that those farms that had diversified into leisure and tourism were also suffering, and that those with cafes were trying to "redirect" their supplies.

What the papers are saying...

Here's how some of the newspapers in our region have been reporting the coronavirus pandemic...

  • The Northampton Chronicle reports that a Northampton banking campus has faced scrutiny from employees who believe they could work from home but are not being allowed to so.
  • Tenants and owners have remained defiant after being told to leave their caravans from holiday parks across Essex, reports the Essex Chronicle.
  • The Eastern Daily Press has a story on Amazona Zoo in Cromer calling on closed restaurants, café and hotel owners to donate fruit and vegetables to help feed its animals.

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

Egg farmer tells of four-fold rise in gate sales

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

A free-range egg farmer has seen a four-fold rise in sales to neighbours during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Rob Norman outside his egg shed
Rob Norman
Rob Norman's egg shed uses an honesty box system

Robert Norman, who has 32,000 hens at the Norman Farming Partnership in Hickling, Norfolk, produces eggs mainly for Tesco.

"It is great to see people buying from local producers. It is extremely worrying what is happening, but one positive thing is that people do seem to be embracing their local suppliers," he said.

"The nature of farming is that farmers are usually self-isolating anyway. We are following necessary precautions here and everybody is pulling together."

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.