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Five more people die with coronavirus in Yorkshire

A further five people have died at hospitals in Yorkshire after testing positive for coronavirus, according to the latest NHS figures.

A NHS sign
BBC

In total 759 people diagnosed with the virus have now died across the UK, with 14,579 people testing positive for the disease.

The deaths happened in hospitals in Doncaster and Bassetlaw, Sheffield, York and at a Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust.

Kirsten Major, from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said since 17 March ten people have died at hospitals in the city.

"The families of these patients have been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this very difficult time."

Yorkshire people stuck abroad call for government help

Corinne Wheatley

BBC Look North

Tourists from Yorkshire stranded abroad due to coronavirus have been telling Look North that they are desperate to get home - and are calling for extra help from the UK government.

The foreign secretary Dominic Raab said earlier this week that any Britons on holiday should consider travelling home now while they still can. But a number of travellers have told us they've unable to get any flights and some are running out of money

Appeal after police van has tyre slashed

Frontline police officers had their tyre slashed as they attended an incident in a Sheffield suburb last night, South Yorkshire Police has said.

The police van
South Yorkshire Police

The van was parked on Hazlebarrow Road in Jordanthorpe just after 18:00 when the damage was done, police say.

Two men on an electric-powered bike are wanted by police in connection with the incident.

Supt Cherie Buttle said: "Our officers are working harder than ever to carry out their duties and keep the public safe and this is completely unacceptable behaviour.

"Frontline officers were attending an incident when their vehicle was targeted by vandals, it meant we had to deploy extra resources which is unnecessary and a waste of officer time."

The damaged tyre
South Yorkshire Police

Network Rail asks former signallers to return to railways

Retired rail workers are being asked to consider coming back to work to help keep the railways running during the coronavirus crisis.

Trains
Getty Images

Network Rail is appealing to former signallers to help man signal boxes and control centres and it looks to provide crucial cover for members of the workforce who may need to self-isolate.

Chris Gee, Head of Operations (Eastern Region) for Network Rail, said: “We are working hard to keep vital services, which get key workers to their jobs and food and medical supplies across the country, moving.

“We are appealing for signallers who’ve retired, moved on to other careers at Network Rail or left the railway to come back and help us keep signal boxes and control centres open.

“Signallers are crucial to keep the railway open and we need more former workers to help us provide back-up if some of our staff can’t come to work. Full re-training will be given.”

Any former professional signallers interested in helping to keep trains moving should email: RetiredSignallersEasternRegion@networkrail.co.uk

'Give blood' plea as donations drop

People are being urged to give blood after a drop off in donations because of the coronavirus outbreak.

A person with bags of blood
Getty Images

The NHS says going to give blood is essential and people should, where possible, keep going to appointments.

"We need people to keep donating as normal", an appeal said.

"We have extra safety measures in place and travel to donate blood is essential for the NHS.

"Our blood donor sessions and donor centres are open and our staff are taking special measures to provide a clean and safe space for you to donate."

Yorkshire joins 'Clap for Carers' NHS tribute

People around Yorkshire have taken part in a "Clap for Carers" tribute, saluting NHS and care workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Clap for Carers campaign, which started online, was staged because "during these unprecedented times they need to know we are grateful", according to the organisers.

A message from the NHS on social media described the countrywide tribute as "emotional":

Fire service may look to recently-retired firefighters

Firefighters who have recently retired might be asked to come back to help if staffing levels become "critical", South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) has said.

A fire engine
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

SYFR said it's been contacted by some retired firefighters asking if they'll be needed should staffing levels drop.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen some SYFR firefighters forced to self-isolate - meaning they won't be able to help on the frontline.

However, the fire service says it has a list of recently retired firefighers and "will be contacting them in the event of our staffing levels reaching critical levels".

Warning over 'tax refund' text message scam

People are being warned not to click on links in text messages which have been sent from what claims to be Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The fake text
HMRC

Text messages telling people about government refunds have been circulating - something the government has said is a scam.

During the coronavirus outbreak, scammers have looked to take advantage of people who might be unemployed or on a reduced income.

But the government says texts and emails saying people can apply for tax breaks or relief are fake.

It said: "Do not reply if you get a text message claiming to be from HMRC offering you a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details. Do not open any links in the message."

'Keep kids home' appeal as groups on Sheffield streets

Police in Shefffield say they've had to take groups of youths home after finding them together in the city.

They're appealing to parents to keep their children at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Writing on social media, police said: "Whilst on patrols we are witnessing groups of children out together without any parent in sight - this is not school holidays":

Gang jailed after sledgehammer attack on police car

A "brazen group of criminals" has been jailed after gang members armed with machetes, axes and crowbars, raided homes and businesses across the north, including some in West and South Yorkshire.

CCTV of gang members
GMP

The group stole £1.5m worth of items and caused £230,000 worth of damage.

Eleven gang members were jailed for up to 16 years at Minshull Street Crown Court.

Using stolen cars, the gang would ram-raid buildings and use weapons to threaten members of the public and police officers when challenged, police said.

On one occasion, officers stopped a vehicle for displaying false number plates, unaware the occupants had just burgled a business.

Two men emerged from the car wearing "Scream" masks and attacked the police vehicle with sledgehammers.

Four of the men were arrested after a burglary at a business in West Yorkshire, while a further nine were arrested during police raids in Oldham.

"This dangerous group of offenders showed blatant disregard for the safety of others as they savagely attacked members of the public as well as police officers and security staff," said Det Insp Rachel Smith.

Eleven men have been jailed for their involvement with the gang, who committed more than 50 burglaries and robberies between July 2018 and May 2019.

Police chief's message to 'protect the vulnerable'

The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police has issued a statement following the prime minister's announcement telling people not to leave their homes except for a few "very limited purposes."

Stephen Watson
South Yorkshire Police

Stephen Watson says: “We are all now being enlisted, not to fight in a war, but to play a very small but crucial role in the fight against Covid-19.

"All that is required of you is to stay at home and to cherish some time with those closest to you.

"In doing so, we are protecting the vulnerable and the elderly, many of whom have given more than this to protect us," he added.

The Chief Constable says his force will "inform, encourage and support," but says if it finds people "not willing to comply with the new rules" it will move to enforcement once it understands the detail of the legislation.

'A test we can't afford to fail' - Dan Jarvis MP

The Mayor of the Sheffield City Region has described tough new measures introduced to tackle the spread of coronavirus as a "test for our country that we can't afford to fail".

Dan Jarvis
Sheffield City Region

“These are unprecedented times and we all have a responsibility to work together and do everything we can to slow this virus down," said Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis in the wake of Boris Johnson's address to the nation last night.

"The situation is grave and each day more people are dying from this disease.

“I welcome the new measures introduced by the Prime Minister [and] I urge everyone to follow this advice and in particular to stay at home unless there is a compelling reason to leave.

“My heartfelt thanks goes to our NHS workers and all those on the frontline who are each day risking their lives to save others. We will forever be in their debt.

“It’s now time for everyone to follow the advice and take every measure to contain this disease. Lives depend upon it.”

Coronavirus: UK wakes to strict new curbs on life

The UK's woken to strict new curbs on life following an announcement by the prime minister last night of new rules imposed to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

In a televised statement the prime minister ordered people only to leave their homes under a list of "very limited purposes".

Police will be given powers to enforce measures forcing people to stay at home unless shopping for food, exercising or going out for any medical need.

Under the new rules people can also leave home to provide care for someone, or to attend essential work which can't be done anywhere else.

The restrictions are in place for at least three weeks and will be kept under constant review, the prime minister said:

More about coronavirus:

Firefighters 'appalled' after increase in deliberate fires

Firefighters in South Yorkshire say they're "appalled, baffled, angry and upset" after being called to a growing number of deliberate fires.

Fire engine
South Yorkshire Fire Service

On social media the service said: "Our firefighters were called to repeat fires overnight, all started deliberately - you name it, they extinguished it, rubbish, cars, bins and even some scrubland.

"It's really frustrating when we're meant to be pulling together that a small minority of people do things like this."

The service says it had far more calls last night than is usual and is asking people to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour to the police.

Laura Ashley to close 70 stores with loss of 721 jobs

Fashion and furniture chain Laura Ashley has announced it plans to close 70 stores with 721 employees set to lose their jobs.

Laura Ashley
Getty Images

Last week the retailer, which has 13 branches in Yorkshire, said it would have to call in administrators after it was hit by a drop in trade linked to the coronavirus outbreak.

A host of retailers, including John Lewis and Ikea, have announced temporary store closures in the face of the pandemic over the weekend.

However, Laura Ashley is one of the first to announce permanent closures.

It said it will continue to trade from its remaining 77 UK stores, which will remain open while online operations also continue to trade.

Details of which stores are due to be closed have not been published.

Monday's weather forecast for Yorkshire

Lisa Gallagher

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

After a cold start, today will be dry with plenty of sunshine with temperatures up to 12C.

Tonight will be dry with long clear spells and just some patches of cloud.

weather graphic
BBC

Coronavirus: How close are we to getting a vaccine?

James Gallagher

Health and science correspondent, BBC News

Research into coronavirus is happening at breakneck speed.

There are more than 20 vaccines in development.

One has begun human trials after unusually skipping any animal research to test either the safety or the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Other scientists are at the animal research stage and hope to get the results of human trials later in the year.

But even if scientists can celebrate having developed a vaccine this year, there is still the massive job of being able to mass-produce it.

It means, realistically, one would not be ready until at least the middle of next year.

All of this is happening on an unprecedented timescale and using new approaches to vaccines, so there are no guarantees everything will go smoothly.

Remember there are four coronaviruses that already circulate in human beings. They cause the common cold, and we don't have vaccines for any of them.

TransPennine to run reduced service from Monday

Train operator TransPennine Express (TPE) is to begin running a reduced timetable from Monday "due to the implications of coronavirus", it's been confirmed.

TransPennine Express train
BBC

The "emergency timetable" will see services reduced in a bid to "provide a reliable and consistent service for thos customers who need to still use our trains", the firm says.

During the period the timetable is in operation, TPE says it will run the following services, with additional extra services at peak times.

  • Two-hourly service between Liverpool and Scarborough
  • Two-hourly service between Liverpool and Newcastle
  • Two-hourly service between Hull and Manchester Piccadilly
  • Hourly stopping service between Leeds and Manchester Piccadilly
  • Two-hourly service between Cleethorpes and Manchester Piccadilly
  • Two-hourly service between Preston and Edinburgh

Additionally, there will be limited TPE services between Newcastle and Edinburgh, Redcar Central and York, Preston and Manchester, along with Glasgow and Carlisle, the firm says.

Liz Collins, interim managing director for TPE, said: "These are truly extraordinary times and I’d like to thank our customers who are still travelling with us."

Coronavirus: Train cancellations due to outbreak

Train operators are continuing to run reduced timetables across several routes in Yorkshire and the north of England amid a collapse in demand due to coronavirus.

TransPennine train
TransPennine

Northern and TransPennine Express services are among those affected by cancellations.

The cuts are down to a decrease in travel and an increase in staffing absence caused by the virus.

Northern apologised for any inconvenience caused but said the cancellations were due to increased staff absence.

TransPennine Express said: "It is anticipated that an increasing number of our services may be altered, delayed or cancelled for all or part of their journey as more of our colleagues are affected".

More about coronavirus:

Yorkshire's Friday weather forecast

BBC Weather

This morning will be largely dry but with some areas of cloud.

Remaining fine in the afternoon with more in the way of sunny spells.

Moderate to fresh north-easterly wind:

Weather graphic
BBC

Coronavirus: Train cancellations due to outbreak

Train operators across the north of England will be running reduced timetables across several routes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Northern said services would be affected by cancellations, while TransPennine Express said it would be operating a limited service.

The alterations are down to a decrease in travel and an increase in staffing absence caused by the virus.

Rail services in Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria and Tyne and Wear will be affected, Northern has confirmed.

It apologised for any inconvenience caused but said the cancellations were due to increased staff absence:

View more on twitter

TransPennine Express has also confirmed cancellations as "a number of our personnel have been unable to attend work".

Yorkshire's Thursday weather forecast

BBC Weather

Following a cold start across Yorkshire, it will be dry with spells of sunshine, especially this morning

In the afternoon, it will stay dry but cloud may push in from the south with light winds:

Weather graphic
BBC

Check your Yorkshire train journey

BBC News Travel

If you're making a journey on the rails in Yorkshire this Thursday morning, many services from our main stations appear to be generally running on time.

However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, train operators are warning that passengers do face some cancellations to services on several routes today.

Passengers are being urged to check the train operators' website for the very latest details.

So far, all these services have been CANCELLED this morning, according to National Rail Enquiries:

  • 08:19 Sheffield to Leeds via Barnsley
  • 08:32 Sheffield to Doncaster
  • 08:33 Bradford Interchange to Manchester Victoria
  • 08:42 Doncaster to Manchester Airport
  • 08:53 Sheffield to Gainsborough Central
  • 09:02 Bradford Interchange to Leeds
  • 09:06 Sheffield to Nottingham
  • 09:09 Leeds to Nottingham
  • 09:12 Leeds to Manchester Victoria
  • 09:15 Leeds to Harrogate
  • 09:18 Sheffield to Leeds via Barnsley
  • 09:33 Bradford Interchange to Manchester Victoria

For all the latest live updates from the county's main railway stations, click on the links below:

Charities and schools aim to keep children fed

School kitchens in Yorkshire are among those being called on to provide dinners for children on free school meals after pupils are sent home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

School dinner being served
Getty Images

Schools across England will close on Friday, except for looking after the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

The prime minister said the government will help parents by providing vouchers to those who receive free school meals.

Almost 1.3 million children, about 15% of those in England's state schools, receive free school meals because they come from low income families.

Charity Feeding Britain, which operates in several parts of the country including Yorkshire, said it was working with schools to provide meals for parents to take home.

Feeding Britain says it's working with a "core group" of schools in areas such as Yorkshire to use their canteens to produce the meals, whereas in normal holidays they would remain closed.

Its plans would see schools offer hot meals for parents to collect and take home. Others would offer "cold but nutritious meals" and in some cases "particularly vulnerable" families would have them delivered.

Other charities are planning to provide food packages to leave on the doorsteps of self-isolating families.

More about coronavirus:

Schools to close until further notice from Friday

Schools in England are to shut from Friday until further notice, the education secretary has said.

school children
Getty Images

Gavin Williamson said schools would close except for the children of keyworkers such as NHS staff and vulnerable children.

It comes after Scotland and Wales said schools would close from the same day in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

UK deaths reached 104 as the NHS said a further 32 people had died in England.

Warning over weekend rail engineering works

If you're planning to travel on Yorkshire's rail network this coming weekend, you're being warned to expect some disruption.

TransPennine Express has tweeted this reminder:

View more on twitter

Yorkshire's Tuesday weather forecast

BBC Weather

A wet and grey day with bands of rain which should ease by the afternoon ahead of some sunny spells.

Tonight should be dry, calm and clear, with a risk of frost in some places:

WEather graphic
BBC

Check your Yorkshire train journey

BBC News Travel

If you're making a journey on the rails in Yorkshire this Wednesday morning, most services from our main stations appear to be generally running on time.

However:

  • The 08:43 Doncaster to Leeds service has been cancelled
  • The 09:01 Wakefield Westgate to Leeds service has been cancelled
  • The 09:21 Sheffield to Glasgow Central service has been cancelled
  • The 09:45 Leeds to London Kings Cross service has been cancelled
  • The 09:47 Wakefield Westgate to Glasgow Central service has been cancelled
  • The 09:53 Bradford Interchange to Leeds service has been cancelled
  • The 09:58 Wakefield Westgate to London Kings Cross service has been cancelled
  • The 10:05 York to Liverpool Lime Street service has been cancelled
  • The 10:08 Leeds to Glasgow Central service has been cancelled

For all the latest live updates from the county's main railway stations, click on the links below:

Yorkshire's Tuesday weather forecast

BBC Weather

A mostly cloudy and dry day, with occasional rain and feeling mild for mid-March.

Tonight will be dry and cloudy with some rain in the early hours which could be heavy in places:

Weather graphic
BBC

Yorkshire's Monday weather forecast

BBC Weather

Today will be largely fine and dry with lengthy spells of sunshine.

Tonight will be cloudy and windy with outbreaks of light rain or drizzle at times:

Weather graphic
BBC

Check your Yorkshire train journey

BBC News Travel

If you're making a journey on the rails in Yorkshire this Monday morning, most services from our main stations appear to be generally running on time.

However:

  • The 09:42 Leeds to Newcastle service has been cancelled

For all the latest live updates from the county's main railway stations, click on the links below:

Football suspensions: League announces guidance for clubs

All professional Yorkshire football clubs are being advised to limit "all non-essential activities" for players after games were postponed until April.

A person kicks a football
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The decision to suspend games until 3 April "has not been taken lightly", the English Football League (EFL) has said.

The league added it must "prioritise the health and well-being of players, staff and supporters".

This means that all FA, Premier League, EFL and Barclays FA Women's Super League and FA Women's Championship has agreed to postpone matches.

A number of clubs have had to self-isolate their players and staff because of coronavirus concerns.

Clubs are being advised to "suspend indefinitely all non-essential activities" including player appearances, training ground visits and fan meetings.

BreakingPremier League games suspended

BBC Sport

All Premier League matches have been postponed until 3 April because of the coronavirus.

That means all professional football in England is off after the English Football League announced it was also suspending games until April.

BreakingFootball league agrees to suspend all games until April

The English Football League has agreed to suspend all games until at least 3 April due to the coronavirus outbreak, it's been announced.

Watch: Friday's forecast for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Katerina Christodoulou

Look North weather presenter

After a very chilly start we're going to see some lovely, lengthy sunny spells today.

It will still feel cool in the sunshine though, with top temperatures of 8C or 9C.

Overnight we will see some showers developing and Saturday is looking cloudy and wet: