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Council's 'real life heroes' praised for Covid-19 support

Trafford Council leader Andrew Western has thanked the local authority's "dedicated staff" for their work in delivering essential services.

He said: “These are the real life heroes in our society as we face one of the most difficult public health challenges this country has ever seen.”

A dedicated helpline has launched to support self-isolating residents in Trafford and provide help with shopping as well as general support and advice.

For more advice on help and support visit the Trafford Community Response webpage.

'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.

Manchester music stars to stream live during pandemic

A free live streaming service showcasing Manchester's top DJs and other artists during the coronavirus pandemic has launched.


The founder of the cancelled Parklife festival set up the channel to keep the city's much-lauded music scene alive while clubs are closed.

Ex-Hacienda DJ Graeme Park and poet Lemn Sissay will be among those performing.

Organiser Sacha Lord said he was "overwhelmed" by the support.

Thieves raid elderly woman's Oldham home

Thieves tricked a 92-year-old woman into believing her neighbour had died of coronavirus so they could raid her home.

Grasmere Road in Oldham

They knocked on her door in Oldham, Greater Manchester, lied about the death and offered to clean the house.

They presented themselves as a "helping hand" police said, but they stole a purse, money and jewellery.

Ch Insp Trevor Harrison, from Greater Manchester Police, described it as an appalling crime.

The victim was not injured, but was left "understandably distraught" by the theft in Grasmere Road.

Former football manager Joe Royle's 'big thank you' to key workers

Former Manchester City, Everton and Oldham manager Joe Royle says he wants to give a "big, big thank you" to key workers "from the NHS to people delivering food" during the coronavirus pandemic.

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North Wales 'closed to visitors'

Police have tweeted to remind people not to travel to North Wales over the Easter break, as people might be tempted by an upturn in the weather.

In a tweet, the area's police force said: "We all have a shared responsibility to protect the NHS"

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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.

Severe disruption: M62 Greater Manchester eastbound

BBC News Travel

M62 Greater Manchester eastbound severe disruption, from J21 for A6193 Sir Isaac Newton Way to J22 for A672.

M62 Greater Manchester - One lane closed on M62 eastbound from J21, A6193 (Milnrow) to J22, A672 (Rishworth Moor), because of a lorry having a tyre changed. Traffic is coping well.

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

Police snap empty Manchester streets

Police in Manchester have been sharing more photographs of the city centre's empty streets.

These were taken this morning on what would usually be a bustling rush hour.

The force has thanked people for staying at home and following the government's advice.

Deansgate, Manchester
Deansgate, Manchester
Manchester Central
Manchester tram stop
St Peter's Square tram stop

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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Manchester-based firm donates £10m

A Manchester-based company says it is donating the equivalent of £10m to help in the battle against coronavirus.

The Hut Group products
The Hut Group

The Hut Group is making all 70 rooms at its Great John Street Hotel and King Street Townhouse available to NHS staff and police.

The company is also giving £1m to charity, and making and distributing £1m of hand sanitiser.

CEO Matthew Moulding said the firm wanted to "support vulnerable communities, key workers and the emergency services”.

Trapped cruise passenger Dr Partha Basu falls ill

A passenger trapped on a cruise ship has been taken ill hours before his family hoped he would reach dry land.

Retired doctor Partha Basu
Family photograph

Dr Partha Basu, 86, and wife Marion, 69, are on the MS Rotterdam, which hopes to dock in Florida at 18:00 BST.

The couple, from Greater Manchester, have been confined to their cabin for 11 days, after being transferred from sister ship MS Zaandam.

The Zaandam was denied access to the US last month after four people died when coronavirus was detected on board.

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.

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


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

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

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.

Police share empty 'rush hour' tram stop image

Greater Manchester Police have thanked local people for following government guidelines and staying at home.

Officers shared this picture of Deansgate Metrolink station this morning during what would usually be a very busy rush hour.

Deansgate station

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


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.

GMP officers get PPE kit

Greater Manchester Police officers have been issued with personal protection equipment to keep them safe while carrying out their duties in the coronavirus pandemic.

Ian Hopkins with ppe

The single-use kits include a surgical mask, gloves, apron and hazardous waste bag.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins was the first to look at the kit.

Last week, he contacted Home Secretary Priti Patel saying his officers urgently needed the equipment as he only had kit for those who have to deal with dead bodies and did not have enough fluid-resistant masks for frontline officers.

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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.

GMP 'working hard for consistency' in policing during coronavirus outbreak

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said the force is "is working very hard for consistency" in policing as new legislation introduced in wake of the coornavirus pandemic.

He said the GMP policy is to "to engage, explain encourage and lastly to enforce" and the thanked people for following government guidelines on which has resulted in a "huge decrease of people in streets and cars on the roads".

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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.

Rochdale food parcels were 'additional supplies', says Defra

We reported earlier that Rochdale Council topped up "unhealthy" government food supplies for people most at risk from Covid-19.

Food items
Rochdale Council

It said the first delivery, received on Monday, consisted of chocolate bars, biscuits, cordial, teabags, noodles and an apple.

Council leader Allen Brett called on the government to improve them and claimed other areas are getting "more nutritionally balanced" ones.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has responded by saying the items were to supplement councils' provisions and "should not be confused with" its food boxes containing enough food for one person for a week it was delivering directly to vulnerable people.

Manchester over-65s to receive activity packs

More than 600 elderly residents living in Manchester will receive activity packs to keep them engaged while staying at home.

Activity pack letters and drawings
Manchester Cares

Volunteers from community charity Manchester Cares have posted 630 letters of support, drawings and poems to people aged over 65 suffering from loneliness.

The Alone Together packs contain an activity to complete for each day in April.

'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

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


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

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


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


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.

Best of Greater Manchester's culture to be streamed online

A new website streaming the best of Greater Manchester's art and culture launches this week with a "diverse blend of entertainment and creativity on one free online platform".

United We Stream GM

Created by the region's Nighttime Economy Adviser Sacha Lord and other partners, United We Stream GM will be free to watch, though anyone tuning in can "buy a ‘virtual ticket’ for whatever price they choose to enjoy the channel", a spokesman said.

All income will go directly to a relief fund to support the region's nighttime economy, he said, adding:

Performances will take place at artists' homes, gardens, or from selected host venues around the region, making sure all performances adhere to government advice around isolating, distancing and infection control.

Sacha Lord tweeted the first week's line-up, which includes gigs from The Lottery Winners and The Slow Readers Club, comedy from Justin Moorhouse, poetry from Tony 'Longfella' Walsh and a cooking class from renowned chef Gary Usher.

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'Toiletry bank' donates essential packs to NHS workers

A "toiletry bank" has provided packs of essentials for NHS workers who have been redeployed across Greater Manchester.

Toiletry donations
Bare Necessities

Wilmslow-based charity Bare Necessities wanted to help staff who have been sent to work in different facilities and will not be staying with friends or family.

Volunteers sent 73 bags of soap, hand cream, shower gel and toothpaste.

The charity is now appealing for more donations.

Spokeswoman Wendy Hobson said:

The Manchester University Foundation Trust has said it will take as many packs as we are able to provide. Please hunt down your hotel minis for us, we will repurpose them and put them to good use.

Scientists and clinicians form Covid-19 research group

Scientists, clinicians and analysts from the University of Manchester have formed a research group in attempts to tackle Covid-19.

Scientist with test tubes
Getty Images

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group will join scientists to try to understand more about the coronavirus disease and identify anti-viral treatments.

Researchers will also use data science to monitor patient's symptoms, and look to prioritise those whose condition is deteriorating.

Leading the initiative, Prof Ian Bruce said the group hopes to "relieve pressure on the NHS and social care systems".

Prof Bruce added:

The speed at which our scientific community has stepped up to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak is outstanding and a testament to Greater Manchester’s strong clinical-academic leadership and research assets.

Carluccio's collapses putting 2,000 jobs at risk

BBC Business News

Italian restaurant chain Carluccio's, which has five restaurants in Greater Manchester and Cheshire, has gone into administration, "blaming challenging trading conditions" exacerbated by the coronavirus.

Carluccio's, Spinningfields, Manchester

Administrator FRP is "urgently looking at options" for the future of the firm.

These include mothballing the business using government support, as well as trying to sell all or parts of it.

Most of the company's 2,000 employees will be paid through the government's job retention scheme while these options are explored.

This allows for staff to be paid up to 80% of their salary.

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."

Union 'appalled' at JD Sports workers' safety concerns

Union bosses say they are "appalled" at claims by JD Sports staff that the company is ignoring safety concerns over coronavirus.

JD Sports shop front
Getty Images

Workers have complained to the shopworkers' union Usdaw about dirty toilets and a lack of hand sanitiser at the firm's warehouse in Rochdale.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham called for "a stronger policy on workplaces"after 1,000 complaints.

JD Sports said the "health, safety and wellbeing" of its staff was a priority.

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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Manchester Misses You archive offers virtual visit to the city

Tourism body Visit Manchester has gathered together their "favourite ideas, inspirations and resources so that you can continue to enjoy Greater Manchester and stay fit and healthy during social distancing measures".

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Titled Manchester Misses You, the archive includes virtual tours of the area's cultural attractions, educational resources, podcasts, blogs and even Manchester-themed colouring pages.

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.


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.

EasyJet grounds entire fleet of planes due to coronavirus

BBC Business News

EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet of planes and said it cannot give a date for when they will restart.

EasyJet plane

The budget airline, which flies from both Liverpool John Lennon and Manchester airports, said it had made the move due to the "unprecedented travel restrictions" imposed by governments globally due to the virus pandemic.

It had already cancelled most flights but had been running rescue flights to repatriate Britons stranded abroad.

The move came as regional airline Loganair, which serves the North West and the Isle of Man, said airlines were unlikely to survive without a government bailout.

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


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.

Manchester launches website to stream live music

Rumeana Jahangir

BBC North West News

Following the closure of bars and music venues, the Greater Manchester local authority is launching a website showing live performances every night.

Singer Phoebe Green performing for BBC Introducing at the Manchester International Festival in 2019.

The region’s night-time economy adviser, Sacha Lord, has helped set up the free United We Stream website, where from Monday users can watch free performances and donate to help affected businesses and local charities.