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Police issue warnings over weekend parties and BBQs

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

While most people listened to advice not to travel to tourist spots and parks over the weekend, Suffolk Police said it had to deal with many reports of those who ignored social distancing guidelines by visiting other households for barbecues and parties.

The police received 119 calls from members of the public reporting people ignoring the restrictions on Saturday and a further 142 calls on Sunday.

Over the two days, a total of 178 warnings were given to those in public or gathered at other addresses.

Wildlife charity organises Grand National

Suffolk Wildlife Trust staged its own version of the Grand National at the weekend, after the real one, which had been due to take place in Liverpool on Saturday, was cancelled.

The Trust's version used snails rather than horses.

'Snail Grand National' filmed in timelapse

The wildlife charity said on its Facebook page that it used natural resources for its hurdles.

"Why not hunt for natural resources and search for snails and have a go too?" the post said.

"Remember to handle your racers with care and return them where you originally found them!"

Chocolate brownie thanks for guys and gals in blue

An anonymous admirer has left a box of chocolate brownies at the Norfolk & Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Teams' HQ with a note written on a star.

The message read: "To the guys and gals in blue, we thank you. Keep up the good work."

In this tweet the HQ staff, road police team and the armed response unit said "thanks" in return.

View more on twitter

Suffolk libraries online and interactive

Ben Parker

BBC Suffolk

Suffolk Libraries have said they are now online and interactive and making sure people at home can still get access to books, music and films as well as new streamed sessions.

Bury St Edmunds Library

In its eLibrary, people can download and stream eBooks, eAudio, magazines, newspapers, films, documentaries and music which is all free with a library card number, which can also be organised online.

Several libraries have been recording and streaming live singing and rhyme sessions for young children, as well as running craft and Lego activities to enjoy at home and the videos have been enjoyed and shared thousands of times.

Quizzes and virtual book groups are also being introduced as the service explores different ways to keep people entertained.

Full details of these new sessions can be found on the Suffolk Libraries website.

Coronavirus: Confirmed cases in the East of England

The latest figures released by Public Health England show there were 3,755 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the East of England, as of 09:00 on Sunday.

The highest increase was in Essex with a rise of 238 cases on the previous day.

Map showing BBC East region confirmed coronavirus cases as of 0900 on Sunday 5 April 2020

Across the UK, there have been 4,934 deaths from coronavirus.

Good morning

Katy Lewis

BBC News Online

Welcome to a new week on our live page where we'll bring you regional updates about the coronavirus pandemic.

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

If you have a story you wish to share - good or bad, please contact BBC News Online (East) via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Or email us.

Sheltered homes brought up to standard in seven days

Patrick Byrne

BBC News Online

Sheltered housing condemned as unsuitable for habitation last year has been brought up to scratch in seven days.

East Suffolk Council transformed the property in Avenue Mansions in Lowestoft to help accommodate vulnerable people during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Avenue Mansions
East Suffolk Council
Avenue Mansions is at the junction of Yarmouth Road and Royal Avenue

Eight flats were left empty because the water systems had been drained down, and the heating, electrical and fire detection systems had been decommissioned.

Richard Kerry, cabinet member for housing, said: "It was a huge challenge to get these flats to a standard where they could be brought back into use … and the seven-day turnaround is evidence of the effort that everyone involved put in to make it happen."

Suffolk people defy virus to Make a Difference

Stuart Howells

BBC reporter

Covid-19 may be causing problems for everyone but people in Suffolk are pulling together to Make a Difference:

  • Volunteer-led project Baby Basics Lowestoft aims to support new mothers and is appealing on Facebook for prams, also cots, bouncy chairs and microwave or cold water sterilisers
  • Jane Palmer, new owner of the Oyster Inn and village store at Butley, is offering free meals to nursery and school children and vulnerable folk working with The Teapot Project and other community groups
Oyster Inn
Oyster Inn
  • A support group in Coddenham has put flyers through every door of the village to try and help anybody that needs help - phone 01449 760429 or visit Coddenham Parish

  • Bramford is going to be doing a daily "Dancing on the Doorstep" at 11:00 to David Bowie and Mick Jagger's version of Dancing In The Street... at safe distances

To set up a scheme to help people in your area contact Community Action Suffolk for advice on 01473 345400.

Key workers applauded once again

Katy Lewis

BBC News Online

#ClapForOurCarers: People across the East of England pay tribute to key workers

People across the UK have taken part in a second "Clap for Carers" tribute, saluting NHS staff and other key workers dealing with coronavirus.

Delivery drivers, supermarket staff, care workers and bin collectors were among those honoured.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

East of England joins in with #ClapForOurCarers

#ClapForOurCarers: People across the East of England pay tribute to key workers
People across the UK have taken part in a second Clap For Our Carers tribute, saluting NHS staff and other key workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

Delivery drivers, supermarket staff, care workers and bin collectors were among those honoured by the nation with thousands across the East of England joining in the moment at 20:00 GMT on Thursday.

Households banged pots and pans, while others played the bagpipes to show their support.

A hundred hot meals delivered to paramedics

Alex Pope

BBC News Online

They say an army marches on its stomach, so a community group in Bedford has come forward to help feed staff working for the NHS.

Food being prepared
SGRS Bedford

The Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha in Bedford delievered 100 hot meals to members of the East of England Ambulance Service at its sites in Bedford and Kempston.

Food delivered to paramedic

The religious group has said it will continue "every day throughout this difficult period, in order to help support those who are tirelessly working in our NHS".

"This is a small token of our appreciation", it said.

Food being delievered to paramedics

COVID-19 deaths rise in the east

Matt Precey

BBC Look East

There were 63 more COVID-19 deaths announced by NHS England on Thursday for the east of England region.

Cases are listed by NHS Trust/Hospital.

  • Luton and Dunstable: 12 more deaths - (total 23)
  • Bedford: 11 (11)
  • Milton Keynes Hospital: 9 (22)
  • Princess Alexandra, Harlow: 5 (27)
  • Lister, Stevenage: 4 (16)
  • Essex Partnership Trust: 2 (4)
  • Kettering: 4 (9)
  • Southend: 3 (11)
  • Norfolk & Norwich: 3 (13)
  • Northampton: (11)
  • Basildon: 2 (25)
  • Queen Elizabeth, King’s Lynn: 2 (12)
  • Peterborough/Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdon: 1 (10)
  • Addenbrooke’s, Cambridge: 1 (6)
  • James Paget, Gorleston: 1 (6)
  • West Suffolk, Bury St Edmunds: 1 (5)

It's important to note these are the updated figures announced on a particular date and do not reflect when the death took place.

It brings the total number of deaths in the region to 227.

Total number of deaths across the UK stood at 2,921 according to Public Health England.

Good morning

Katy Lewis

BBC News Online

Welcome to Friday’s resumption of regular updates where we'll bring you regional news and information about the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for joining us.

We'll bring you the latest until 18:00.

Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email

Have a good evening and we are back on Friday morning

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

Thank you for joining us today for our regular updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the East of England.

The team will be back on Friday morning at 08:00 to share more news with you from across the region.

See you then.

Council asks firms for personal protective equipment

Patrick Byrne

BBC News

A county council has launched an appeal for businesses to donate any unused personal protective equipment (PPE) for critical frontline staff working in care homes, children's homes and other addresses.

Suffolk County Council needs:

  • Fluid repellent face masks
  • Nitrile non powdered disposable gloves
  • Disposable aprons
  • Disposable eye protection/splash goggles
  • Sanitiser gel

The authority has been working with experts to source these materials from across the UK and globally.

Volunteers are packing and sending 4,000 PPE kits, which will be issued to teams this week. However, more are still needed.

Council leader Matthew Hicks, said: "We would be extremely grateful to any businesses who could provide us with these items which will help us to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our county."

Appeal to name kittens born in lockdown

Sarah Jenkins

BBC News

The RSPCA is appealing for help to name four kittens that were born 24 hours after the prime minister announced a lockdown.

Puma was rescued from a multi-cat household and gave birth with the help of foster carer and RSPCA animal welfare manager Chloe Shorten.

RSPCA kittens

Staff at the Mid Norfolk and North Suffolk branch have gathered together a list of potential names and are asking people to vote for their favourite on their Facebook page.

The options are:

  • Ash, Coal, Cinder, Ember
  • Neve, Harry, Sarah and Edward
  • Neo, Morpheus, Trinity, Niobe
  • Cordelia, Viola, Tybalt and Mercutio
Puma and her kittens

Paint the whole world with a rainbow

BBC Radio Suffolk

Rainbows beautifully drawn by key workers' children are set to be placed in the windows of police and ambulance drivers' vehicles.

The works of art were made by pupils at Place Farm Primary Academy in Haverhill, Suffolk.

Crews working for the East of England Ambulance Service said they were "grateful for the kind messages".

Photo of children with a rainbow
Haverhill Police

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in East

Nikki Fox

BBC Look East

The number of people infected by the coronavirus continues to rise.

Public Health England released the latest figures last night, but they are only from hospital tests and are a few days behind.

They are as follows:

  • Hertfordshire - 480
  • Buckinghamshire - 195
  • Norfolk - 180
  • Northamptonshire - 187
  • Cambridgeshire - 141
  • Peterborough - 36
  • Suffolk - 125
  • Milton Keynes - 117
  • Central Bedfordshire - 81
  • Luton - 91
  • Bedford Borough Council - 60
  • Essex - 420
  • Southend-on-Sea - 44
  • Thurrock - 62

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.

Rickshaw volunteers in Bury St Edmunds deliver supplies to those in isolation
Volunteer rickshaw riders are bringing a "smile" to people self-isolating by dropping off supplies.

Groups in Suffolk which can offer help and support

There are plenty of groups in Suffolk ready to offer a helping hand or a friendly ear.

Here’s our round-up of organisations that can offer you support during this crisis:

  • Home But Not Alone Volunteer App: Suffolk County Council has launched a free app, called Tribe Volunteer, and phone line - 0800 876 6926 - to connect volunteers with those needing help. The number operates 09:00 to 17:00, seven days a week
  • Age UK Suffolk: 01473 357070/01473 351234
  • Community Action Suffolk: For information for volunteers and communities contact 01473 345400
  • Suffolk MIND: Help available for emotional needs and mental health on 0300 111 6000
  • Domestic Abuse: Call 0808 2000247 if you don't feel safe
  • Samaritans: 116 123 or
  • Alzheimer’s Research UK: If you, or someone you care for, needs support and information call the dementia info line on 0300 111 5 111
  • Suffolk Trading Standards: 0808 223 1133 or go to its Facebook page

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

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.

Coronavirus: Ipswich woman's garden run raises hundreds for charity
Fiona Wilson was determined to not let the coronavirus lockdown stop her raising money for charity.

What's in the papers in Suffolk?

  • Suffolk residents pay tribute to hard-working bin men working through virus pandemic, the East Anglian Daily Times reports
  • The Ipswich Star has spoken to a couple who hosted 3,000 people in their virtual fancy dress party at home
  • Markets across west Suffolk will be closed from today, the Bury Free Press has reported

Suffolk schools to stay open during Easter break

Sarah Jenkins

BBC News

Schools across Suffolk will remain open during the Easter holidays for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers, the county council said.

Schools will have broken up by the end of this week.

The council has advised key workers who are able to keep their children at home to do so in order to lower the risk of spreading the virus.

A helpline has been set up for parents to call if their usual school is not open. Parents and guardians can call 01473 263985 on weekdays between 08:00 and 17:00.

School children
Getty Images

Councillor Mary Evans, cabinet member for children’s services, said: "Once again I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone across the education sector.

"We are all working together to identify the best solutions for all pupils, especially the most vulnerable."

East Suffolk council suspends parking charges

Sarah Jenkins

BBC News Online

Felixstowe Leisure Centre and car park
Felixstowe Leisure Centre and car park

East Suffolk Council has suspended charges in all of its car parks.

The local authority said it was "to help support our local key workers and community volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak".

Councillor Norman Brooks, cabinet member for transport, said: "As well as supporting our wider communities throughout this crisis, our priority must be to make life as simple as possible for the frontline key workers and volunteers and we hope that this small step can make a difference.

"Additionally, this move will enable us to redeploy some of our operational staff to other services which are currently in great demand."

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

Former BBC radio presenter dies with coronavirus

John Hood with award
John Hood won an award for his rescue of four teenage girls in 2016

John Hood's partner Jayne Lindill says his friends and family are "heartbroken" by his death.

John Hood with award

Former BBC radio presenter dies with coronavirus

John Hood's former partner Jayne Lindill says his friends and family are "heartbroken" by his death.

Read more

What the papers are saying in Suffolk

Here's how the papers in Suffolk are reporting the coronavirus pandemic

  • The East Anglian Daily Times reports the first meals from acting couple Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory’s new scheme are due to be served up, as they aim to feed NHS staff fighting coronavirus
  • There are scenes of silent streets in Ipswich and Felixstowe in the Ipswich Star, as people obey the coronavirus lockdown message
  • And the Suffolk Free Press reports on businesses in the Sudbury area providing a vital lifeline

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.

Aldeburgh Festival cancelled

Pete Cooper

BBC News

The 2020 Aldeburgh Festival in Suffolk, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The classical music festival, based mostly at Snape Maltings, was due to be held between 12 and 28 June.

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Rafael Payare, Alisa Weilerstein - Dvorak and Shostakovich
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performed at the festival in 2018

Snape Maltings’ chief executive Roger Wright said it as with "enormous sadness" that the cancellation was made.

He said they would be contacting all ticket holders soon.

The festival was founded by local composer Benjamin Britten in Aldeburgh in 1948.

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

Daughter thanks public for staying at home and 'keeping Mummy safe'

The daughter of a NHS worker in Suffolk has posted a video on social media to thank people for staying at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

View more on twitter

The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust runs the hospital in Bury St Edmunds and community services.

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.

Clap for our carers: UK pays tribute to NHS and care workers

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Last night, people around the UK took part in a "Clap for our Carers" tribute, saluting NHS and care workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

At 20:00 GMT, well-wishers flocked to their balconies, windows, front doors and gardens to applaud.

Emergency services themselves also took part as this "amazing show of support" outside Ipswich Hospital reflects.

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.

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

Hospital appointments go online

Alex Pope

BBC News

We are all finding new ways to work at the moment, and that includes staff working within the NHS.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust is using a new video system so appointments can be made online.

I am a little jealous as Claire's headset looks better than mine.

View more on twitter

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.