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'Stay at home' plea as Easter holiday starts

People are being warned to stay away from England's beauty spots amid the coronavirus lockdown, despite expected warm weather as Easter looms.

Group near Snake Pass enjoying a picnic
Derbyshire Police
Last week, Derbyshire Police found a group near Snake Pass enjoying a picnic

Pleas have been issued from the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District down to the south coast.

Despite a "dramatic reduction" in tourist visits already, the restrictions remain in place.

In the Peak District, the message is that even if the sun comes out people should not travel.

Mobile shop set up outside hospital to help NHS staff buy essential items

A coach hire company has set up a mobile pop-up shop outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital to help NHS staff

Sam Archer, from Fleetwood-based Archer Travel, said he came up with the idea after a friend who works for the NHS spent hours queuing for essential items in a supermarket after a long shift.

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Lancashire scout group play Wallace and Gromit theme

The 2nd Rossendale Scout Group Band have found a new way to rehearse during the coornavirus lockdown - and are entertaining people online at the same time!

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Police chief admits 'initial confusion' over coronavirus lockdown rules

Lancashire Police Chief Constable Andy Rhodes has admitted to "initial confusion" regarding how to enforce the government's new lockdown guidelines during the coronavirus shutdown.

Some forces around the country came under fire this week amid complaints they were being too heavy-handed in enforcing the rules on social distancing and staying at home.

Mr Rhodes said taking action against people would be a "very last option", and officers would prefer to only have to remind people of what is expected of them.

He thanked people for abiding by the new measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

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Virtual Grand National to benefit NHS

BBC Sport

The actual Grand National may be off but Saturday will still feature a televised Virtual Grand National.

Virtual Grand National animation
Inspired Entertainment

Forty runners who would have been most likely to line up will take part, using CGI technology and special algorithms.

Tiger Roll had been due to seek an unprecedented third consecutive win in the big race on Saturday before it was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bookmakers have odds, and profits will go to NHS Charities Together.

Couple's virtual wedding ceremony in living room

A couple hosted a virtual wedding ceremony at home after their big day was postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Marshall and Sue Barsby, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, held a ceremony via an electronic tablet.

Chris Marshall and Sue Barsby say 'I do' amid coronavirus pandemic

The couple's celebrant Ellie Brooks is offering the virtual service in return for a donation to the NHS.

After the service, the couple celebrated with their friends and family on a group chat video.

Clap for carers returns for a second week

Last week, people across the UK took part in a national applause of thanks to NHS workers in helping in the fight against coronavirus.

Tonight will see the people take to their doors and windows for a second time to again show their appreciation for the nation's health workers.

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Chris Marshall and Sue Barsby say 'I do' amid coronavirus pandemic
Chris Marshall and Sue Barsby held a handfasting ceremony via an electronic tablet.

Should we use drones to disinfect public spaces?

BBC News Health

A group of drone experts is calling on the government to relax regulations on chemical spraying from the air during the coronavirus pandemic.

Drone
Harper Adams University

It wants to train drone pilots from the emergency services to spray public areas with disinfectant.

It has been done in China and India - but aerial spraying is largely banned in Europe.

The drones can cover large areas - but there is debate around whether the method is effective.

The Department of Health and Social Care said there were no plans to disinfect outside on a large scale.

Boots staff feel 'unsafe' as shoppers still browse makeup

BBC News UK

Boots staff have told the BBC they feel "unsafe" at work as customers continue to browse for hair dye and fake tan despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Boots in Manchester
Google

Staff said they were frustrated some branches had reopened beauty aisles and lifted limits on the number of shoppers allowed inside at once.

Some stores were still waiting for visors, face masks and gloves for pharmacy workers, others said.

Boots said it was doing whatever it could to protect its staff.

Big Issue sellers struggle for cash in lockdown

BBC News Education

Big Issue sellers, forced off the streets by the coronavirus lockdown, are relying on emergency bailouts being provided by the magazine.

Big Issue seller
BBC

Lord Bird, founder of the magazine, which helps the homeless earn a living, says many have been left in a "parlous state" without an income.

He says sellers and the magazine are unable to get government support for lost earnings during the crisis.

The ban on street selling has threatened to take away the regular earnings of its vendors.

So the Big Issue is giving sellers cash from online sales and subscriptions.

Loan and credit card payments set to be frozen

BBC Business News

People struggling with loan repayments and overdraft fees amid the coronavirus pandemic will be granted temporary relief under new proposals.

Man with bill in hand
Getty Images

The Financial Conduct Authority is asking banks to freeze payments on loans and credit cards for up to three months for those facing difficulties.

The City watchdog also wants interest on the first £500 of existing overdrafts to be frozen for a period.

The FCA said the outbreak had caused an “unprecedented financial shock”

Testing will 'unlock puzzle', PM says

BBC News UK

Testing is the solution to "unlock the puzzle" of coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

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Mr Johnson was speaking after it was revealed only 2,000 out of some half a million frontline NHS workers in England had been tested.

The PM said the government needed to "massively ramp up" testing so that NHS staff who are self-isolating unnecessarily could return to work.

Mr Johnson, who is self-isolating in Downing Street after contracting the virus himself, has faced widespread criticism over his government's testing strategy.

Outpatient dates go on phone or video at hospitals

The trust that runs hospitals around Morecambe Bay says some outpatients will be "seen" by video link or over the telephone because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Westmorland general outpatients dept
Google

The trust’s outpatient departments at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Westmorland General Hospital (pictured) in Kendal and Furness General Hospital, along with health centres at Queen Victoria Hospital in Morecambe and Ulverston Community Health Centre are cutting back on services to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Officials say that wherever possible, clinicians will decide whether outpatient appointments and conversations have to be face-to-face, and either cancel others or hold them by other means.

Plant nursery among hundreds faces uncertain future

A pair of brothers from Clitheroe are among hundreds of garden centre and nursery owners facing an uncertain future.

Having worked hard to open their site near Clitheroe, Peter and Chris Bristol had to close four days later due to coronavirus restrictions.

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University streaming lunchtime concerts

The University of Liverpool’s free Lunchtime Concerts are continuing online while the country is in self-isolation.

"An hour of calm" will take place online every Wednesday at 13:00.

Tom Thorp
University of Liverpool/Facebook

Today's artist is saxophonist Tom Thorp, an international, award-winning jazz soloist, composer and bandleader.

Read more about the concerts and watch on the University of Liverpool Concert and Events page.

Jos Buttler auctions World Cup shirt to raise money for coronavirus fight

BBC Sport

England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler has put the shirt he wore in last summer's World Cup final victory up for auction to raise money to fight coronavirus.

Jos Buttler
Getty Images

The Lancashire star broke the stumps to run out Martin Guptill and seal a super-over win over New Zealand as England won the men's World Cup for the first time.

He has put the shirt on eBay to support two specialist heart and lung centres dealing with the coronavirus response.

The highest bid was over £65,000 on Wednesday morning.

Lancashire trust offers help on 'how to challenge unhelpful thoughts'

Dealing with the coronavirus crisis can take a mental toll on anyone, so a Lancashire NHS trust is offering some "practical tips and advice" on dealing with low mood.

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Two of latest virus deaths were at Barrow hospital

More details have been made public of deaths of patients who had given positive tests for coronavirus at hospitals run by the Morecambe Bay hospitals trust.

The trust says that two were a man aged 79, and a woman, 81, at the Furness General in Barrow, while the third was a woman aged 76 at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, which serves parts of South Cumbria.

All of them officials said, had other underlying health conditions.

Circus clowns find a way to work from home

Brothers and neighbours Mooky and Mr Boo haven't let coronavirus social distancing stop them from practising their routine.

They've found a way to rehearse at a safe distance - and entertain the neighbours while they're at it!

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'How do I get a food parcel?'

BBC Business News

Free food boxes containing essential supplies have been delivered in England to people considered to be at the highest risk from coronavirus.

One-and-a-half million people in England have been identified as being extremely medically vulnerable and the government will distribute free food parcels every week to more than 50,000 who have no family or friends to help them.

Government food parcel
PA Media

The identical parcels contain essential non-perishable supplies like pasta, cereal, fruit, tea bags, potatoes and tinned goods, as well as toilet paper.

A food distribution company will deliver the packs to people's doorsteps, although in some cases local authorities, charities or emergency services may help out.

You can register for support on the government website.

Supermarket sales in March 'busier than Christmas'

BBC Business News

Sales of groceries in the UK in March beat all previous records as shoppers stocked up for a long period at home, according to consumer analysts Kantar.

Supermarket queues
EPA

The busiest spell was 16-19 March, when 88% of households visited a food store, adding up to 42 million extra trips across four days.

In the last four weeks, year-on-year supermarket sales grew by 20.6%.

Kantar's Fraser McKevitt said £10.8bn sales in the past four weeks were "even higher than levels seen at Christmas".

Free school meals children to get food vouchers

BBC News UK

Families with children eligible for free school meals in England will be able to claim weekly shopping vouchers while schools are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, say ministers.

Children in school dinner queue
Reuters

The scheme will allow schools to issue vouchers worth £15 a week per child.

Headteachers have warned that even with the vouchers, some parents will struggle to feed their children.

But the Department for Education says the rate exceeds that normally paid to schools for free school meals.

Police told to be 'consistent' on lockdown powers

BBC News UK

Police officers have been told to take a "consistent" approach when ensuring people comply with emergency measures aimed at curbing coronavirus.

Handcuffs
BBC

Guidance to officers calls on forces to "coordinate" efforts and emphasises the importance of professionalism.

It comes amid criticism of the way some forces have handled the new measures.

A former Justice of the Supreme Court told the BBC one force's use of drones to film walkers in the Peak District had been "disgraceful".

But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said police forces were doing a difficult job and being sensible about enforcing social distancing measures.

Volunteer group offers 'countywide telephone befriending service'

Lancashire CCC chairman dies after contracting coronavirus

BBC Sport

Lancashire chairman David Hodgkiss has died at the age of 71 after contracting coronavirus.

James Anderson and David Hodgkiss
Getty Images

Hodgkiss, who had underlying health issues, took on the role in 2017 after almost two decades on the club's board.

He also had spells as treasurer and vice-chairman during his time working with the county.

"He was much loved by everyone at Lancashire and respected throughout the cricketing world," a statement on the club website said.

"Our sincere condolences and thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Warning over text message scam

Crimestoppers has warned people about a fake text message which is circulating, threatening fines for people who leave their homes too many times during the coronavirus lockdown.

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Police in Lancashire issue 123 coronavirus-related fines

Police in Lancashire have dealt with about 250 incidents connected with the new lockdown rules brought in to curb the rise in coronavirus cases, the area's deputy chief constable has said.

Handcuffs
BBC

Last Thursday, the government gave police forces new powers to fine people and organisations breaking the rules.

DCC Terry Woods said Lancashire Police had dealt with reports of businesses and pubs opening and drivers making non-essential journeys.

He said as a result, 123 fines had been issued, adding that while it had been a busy time for the force, most people were abiding by the rules.

University admissions could face emergency controls

BBC News Education

Universities in England could face fixed limits on how many students they each recruit, in a bid to create more stability and reduce financial threats.

Students
Alamy

There are concerns that the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus could leave some universities with too few applicants to stay financially viable.

It is understood that emergency controls are being considered to stop a free-for-all in student recruitment.

But Universities UK said any "stability measures" had not yet been decided.

PM says 20,000 former NHS staff return to fight virus

BBC News UK

Some 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to work to help the fight against coronavirus, Boris Johnson has revealed in a video posted online.

Boris Johnson
PA Media

The prime minister, who is self-isolating after testing positive for the virus, said the country would get through the crisis "together".

It comes after England's deputy chief medical officer said it could be six months before life returns to "normal".

The number of people who have died with the virus in the UK has reached 1,228.

Preston food company donating 150 daily meals to NHS staff

A food company in Preston is donating up to 150 freshly-made ready meals each day to NHS staff working at Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble hospitals during the coronavirus crisis.

Theatres team receive food
LTHC

Chicken supplier Gafoor Limited, which is owned by the Vaza family, has also donated £100,000 to Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to help it during the coronavirus pandemic.

The family also co-own the Imperial Banqueting Suite in St Marys Street North and have offered to make the building available free of charge to the NHS if needed.

Tahir Vaza said:

We want to show our support for those working to keep our city well during this difficult time.

Paula Wilson, head of fundraising for the hospital trust, said thanked the company for its "generosity and kindness".

She said:

It is quite overwhelming the way in which the company has stepped forward to help the trust and its staff.

I know how much the staff appreciate having tea taken care of as that’s one little less worry a day that they have to address.

Region's coronavirus deaths rise by 21

A further 21 people have died from the virus in the North West in the last seven days, bringing the total number of deaths in the region to 68, including Cumbria.

Coronavirus graphic
BBC

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the region currently stands at 930.

The region's NHS trusts released the following lists of deaths at their hospitals:

  • Countess of Chester of Chester: 1
  • Lancashire Teaching Hospitals: 2
  • Manchester University Hospitals Trust: 2
  • Pennine Acute Hospitals: 1
  • Salford Royal: 3
  • Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care: 4
  • University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay: 7
  • Wirral University Teaching Hospital: 1

Radio station helps 89-year-old woman in self-isolation

When 89-year-old Joan from Garstag called Radio Lancashire last week she was struggling to get help at home.

A staff member who also lives in the town was able to help and put Joan in touch with a local volunteer group.

Joan rang the station a second time to say thank you.

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Fire boss 'astonished' at moorland barbecues

A fire service boss said he is "astonished" by large groups gathering for barbecues on the moors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Saddleworth fire
Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said people were meeting to cook food despite a ban on moorland barbecues after huge fires in 2018.

It also flouts the government's instructions on social distancing.

Fire station manager Dave Swallow said their actions were "dangerous" and urged people to stick to the rules, adding:

It's just amazing how many people don't seem to be getting the importance of the social distancing guidelines.

It's astonishing when you to throw in the fact that people are taking disposable barbecues out there and cooking.

Police get new powers to enforce protection

BBC News UK

Anyone continuing to break coronavirus lockdown rules will be breaking the law and faces arrest.

Handcuffs
BBC

People ignoring tougher restrictions on movement could be hit with a £60 fine initially and another for £120 for a second offence.

New powers given to police mean no-one will be allowed to leave their home "without reasonable excuse".

The measures come into force on Thursday and will last six months, with a review every three weeks.

To ensure people stay at home and avoid non-essential travel, police will be able to order people to go home, leave an area or disperse.

The new powers mean officers can:

  • ensure parents are doing all they can to stop their children breaking the rules
  • issue a £60 fixed penalty, lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
  • issue a £120 fixed penalty for second-time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence

Coping with coronavirus anxiety

BBC News Health

Anxiety UK have experienced a big rise in callers since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Here are some tips on how to cope.