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Manchester Central to open as temporary hospital

The Manchester Central Conference Centre (formerly the GMEX Centre) will be set up as a temporary hospital able to deal with a thousand patients during the coronoavirus pandemic.

It will be run by the armed forces and will open in mid April.

Manchester Central

Supermarket shoppers 'keep calm' and queue

The supermarket shop suddenly looks a little different. So how are people managing under the new restrictions?

Shoppers at Heaton Park in Manchester
Shoppers at Heaton Park in Manchester showing how it's done

Social media has been full of people sharing their experience of shopping while keeping 2m (6ft 6in) apart.

People queuing outside Tesco in Stretford, Manchester
The scene at Tesco in Stretford, Manchester, on Friday as shoppers prepare for the weekend

Adrian Barrowdale said he had felt nervous before a shopping trip in Manchester but was relieved by how well the supermarket managed shoppers.

He said:

I've just been to Aldi in Sharston and have to say I was really impressed.

It was queuing out the door, which gave me the fear, but it turns out they are just doing one in, one out, and keeping no more than approx 30 people in the store at any one time.

It was very quiet, very peaceful and well-stocked.

Severe disruption: M56 Cheshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M56 Cheshire eastbound severe disruption, from J7 for A556 Chester Road to J6 for A538 Wilmslow Road.

M56 Cheshire - One lane closed on M56 eastbound from J7, A556 (Bowdon) to J6, A538 (Hale Four Seasons Roundabout), 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

Parklife festival cancelled

Manchester's Parklife festival has been cancelled amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The two-day event was due to take place in June in Heaton Park.

Organisers said they were "really disappointed" but had to make the "unavoidable decision".

Parklife announcement

In a tweet, organiser Sacha Lord said: "The safety of our customers, staff and artists come first."

People who have already bought tickets will be contacted about a refund or the option of keeping their tickets for the 2021 festival.

Severe accident: A650 West Yorkshire westbound

BBC News Travel

A650 West Yorkshire westbound severe accident, from A658 Barkerend Road to A647 Croft Street.

A650 West Yorkshire - A650 Shipley Airedale Road in Bradford closed and it's slow inbound from the A658 Barkerend Road junction to the A647 Croft Street junction, because of an accident.

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

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

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

Children's hospital appeals for donations to help staff

Royal Manchester Children's Hospital is appealing for businesses to donate food, drink and toiletries to support their staff.

But the hospital is asking that donations are not taken directly to the hospital.

Here is a full list of items the hospital needs.

Royal Manchester Children's Hospital

To enable deliveries to be made safely and in line with current social distancing rules, businesses are asked to contact the charity team on 0161 276 4522 or email

Scaled-down bin collections to start in Oldham

Bins will be collected once a week in Oldham from Monday, replacing the usual three weekly collections.

Grey bins

Residents are asked to only put out grey bins by 07:00 on the usual collection day.

No other bins will be collected for the time being.

For now all waste materials - including food and recycling - can be placed in the grey bins, the council said.

Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council, said:

This temporary change will allow us to prioritise general waste and food collections, which must come first at this time to help keep our streets clean.

Arkwright Street Household Waste Recycling Centre, and the other sites across the area, have been closed by Recycle for Greater Manchester following the government announcement that people should stay at home.

Further more information visit the Oldham Council website.

Severe disruption: M62 West Yorkshire eastbound

BBC News Travel

M62 West Yorkshire eastbound severe disruption, between J22 for A672 and J23 for A640 New Hey Road.

M62 West Yorkshire - One lane closed on M62 eastbound between J22, A672 (Rishworth Moor) and J23, A640 (Huddersfield), because of debris on the road. Traffic is coping well.

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

Supermarket shoppers 'keep calm' and queue

The supermarket shop suddenly looks a little different. So how are people managing under the new restrictions?

social distancing

Britons are known around the world for their queuing skills, and it would seem we still love to line up even when maintaining social distance.

Social media has been full of people sharing their experience of shopping while keeping 2m (6ft 6in) apart.

While supermarket bosses have been sending guides to the new shopping etiquette designed to protect employees and customers.

Adrian Barrowdale said he had felt nervous before a shopping trip in Manchester but was relieved by how well the supermarket managed shoppers.

Aldi in Sharston

Severe disruption: M56 Greater Manchester westbound

BBC News Travel

M56 Greater Manchester westbound severe disruption, between J6 for A538 Wilmslow Road and J7 for A556 Chester Road.

M56 Greater Manchester - One lane closed on M56 westbound between J6, A538 (Hale Four Seasons Roundabout) and J7, A556 (Bowdon), because of a break down. Traffic is coping well.

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

Severe disruption: M602 Greater Manchester westbound

BBC News Travel

M602 Greater Manchester westbound severe disruption, at J2 for A576 Gilda Brook Road Trafford Park.

M602 Greater Manchester - M602 lane closed on exit slip road westbound at J2, A576 (Trafford Park), because of a break down.

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

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 want to close 'crime hot spot' Piccadilly Gardens

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said he is working with Manchester City Council to close Piccadilly Gardens which he says is a "hot spot" for crime.

He said issues with drug dealing and other crime is continuing despite the government guidance to avoid congregating in public spaces.

View more on twitter

Barbecue causes moor fire despite gathering ban

Firefighters in West Yorkshire had to put out a fire in Keighley caused by an abandoned barbecue.

A barbecue
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue were called to the blaze in the open, with a disposable barbecue still smoking nearby.

Despite people being told to stay at home and only travel unless absolutely necessary due to coronavirus, the fire service said the blaze could have created "another large incident".

A fire last year on Marsden Moor was started by a barbecue, prompting a summer of campaigns telling the public about the dangers of having fires and barbecues in moorland.

It is against the law to have fires or barbecues in some parts of West Yorkshire, the fire service added.

Police get new powers to enforce protection


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


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

'Thank you NHS' banner brings 'smiles and grateful tears'

Hospital staff have said thank you after a banner was left outside a hospital praising NHS workers for their hard work during the coronavirus crisis.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which has sites in Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract, posted on Facebook: "Thank you to the kind person who left this on our car park railings.

"It's brought a smile (and a few grateful tears) to the faces of many workers this morning."

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.

Northern closes waiting rooms and opens station barriers

Rail operator Northern has closed all waiting rooms at its stations, opened all gates and barriers and suspended issuing penalty fares until further notice.

Manchester Victoria

The firm, which manages dozens of stations across the north of England, said the closure of waiting rooms was in line with government advice, adding that in the event of bad weather, it would "review the situation and may look to re-open areas if appropriate".

A spokesman added that the opening of gates would mean "passengers do not have to pass paper or season tickets through the barriers or present them to staff", though customers still required a ticket to travel.

Commercial and customer director Mark Powles said:

Our trains and stations remain open for business to help key workers get where they need to be across the north of England.

For those who have to make essential journeys – and for our staff who continue to work across the network – we want to make the railway as safe as possible [and] the measure we have introduced today further limit person-to-person contact.

Our ticket offices remain open to provide help and advice to passengers [but] we will only accept payment via card. Customers who want to pay by cash will be asked to use ticket machines if they are available.

The firm is currently running an amended timetable for key workers and essential travel across all its services.

Greater Manchester '10 days to two weeks behind London'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Greater Manchester is between 10 days and two weeks behind London in its trajectory of coronavirus cases, the region's mayor has said.

Andy Burnham

The total number of people who have died in Greater Manchester after testing positive for COVID-19 now stands at 27 and Andy Burnham said there had been an increase in cases in the region "over the last couple of days", adding that the area's hospital capacity had also "dropped" in the same period.

However, he said he was "very confident in colleagues working to plan the capacity across the system".

We have to keep a very close eye on this day by day, but I’m confident that the NHS system is as prepared as it could be.

We are looking at every possible contingency. It’s not just a question of beds and buildings. This is a question of people.

It’s hard to say at this moment in time that everything is sorted because it’s a fast-moving situation. But what I can say is we are doing everything we possibly can.

He said "no decisions have been made yet" about the use of any non-medical buildings as temporary hospitals, as is being done in London.

He also said he expected "in the next 24 hours... [for] every police officer to be issued with a kit which will include a mask, gloves and wipes".

However, he added that for most officers, "a surgical mask is not required as standard".

'Is losing sense of taste and smell a coronavirus symptom?'


BBC News has been trying to answer some of the questions that have been sent in about coronavirus and the new rules set out by the government to try and stop it spreading.

Liz Clarke in Manchester asked:

I lost my sense of taste and smell over seven days ago. Is this a symptom?

Ear, nose and throat specialists in the UK have also noticed rising reports of anosmia - the term for loss of smell.

And increasing numbers of people on social media have been reporting a lost sense of smell and taste. Some have tested positive for coronavirus.

However, the evidence so far is only anecdotal and viruses behind the common cold often lead to lost senses of smell and/or taste.

Severe disruption: M1 West Yorkshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 West Yorkshire northbound severe disruption, between J40 for A638 Wakefield Road Ossett and J41 for A650.

M1 West Yorkshire - One lane closed on M1 northbound between J40, A638 (Ossett) and J41, A650 (Carrgate), because of debris on the road. Traffic is coping well.

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

Mr Motivator to offer fitness advice on new BBC One show

Manchester-based fitness expert Mr Motivator is joining the team for a new daily BBC One show, HealthCheck UK Live, which will start on Monday at 10:00.

He says that "now more than ever it is important to keep our bodies and minds healthy", adding: "Everybody say yeah, let’s get happy and be wicked at home.”

View more on twitter

Sir Patrick shares sonnets in bid to live long and prosper

Veteran West Yorkshire-born actor Sir Patrick Stewart is among the ever-growing number of famous faces doing their best to raise people's spirits as the coronavirus lockdown continues.

Sir Patrick Stewart
PA Media

The Star Trek and X-Men star, who's originally from Mirfield, is performing Shakespeare's sonnets, recording one a day and sharing it via his Twitter page.

Introducing the plan, he said: "When I was a child in the 1940s, my mother would cut up slices of fruit for me - there wasn't much - and as she put it in front of me she would say, 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away.' How about, 'A sonnet a day keeps the doctor away'?":

View more on twitter

The worry of working in supermarkets and pharmacies

BBC Newsbeat

There are many people around the country who have been following the government's advice around social distancing - that's avoiding going out for non-essential reasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For quite a few of us, that means having to work from home, but that's not an option everyone can take.

Mehfuz Dasu Patel

Mehfuz Dasu Patel helps run a group of community pharmacies in north west England, which serve 250 care homes and deliver medicines to around 20,000 patients.

And those patients are the reason he's still going to work.

If Mehfuz decides to stop working, "vulnerable people will go without medicines", he says, adding:

It's not the sort of business that can just disappear or you can work from home. We have to keep delivering to them, despite what's happening in the world.

Read more about the workers who have go out to work here.

Severe disruption: M1 South Yorkshire northbound

BBC News Travel

M1 South Yorkshire northbound severe disruption, between J37 for A628 Whinby Road Barnsley and J38 for A637 Huddersfield Road Woolley.

M1 South Yorkshire - One lane closed on M1 northbound between J37, A628 (Barnsley) and J38, A637 (Woolley), 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

Doctor Who delivers 'We'll get through this' message

The Doctor has issued a message to people who are worried about the coronavirus outbreak - telling them, "We will get through this".

View more on twitter

Jodie Whittaker, from Skelmanthorpe, West Yorkshire, is the current Doctor and wanted to do her bit to help others who might be worried.

She posted a video on the Doctor Who Twitter account outlining five things people should do.

They are:

  1. You will get through this and things will be alright
  2. Tell jokes - even bad ones
  3. Be kind - and look out for each other
  4. Listen to science and doctors
  5. Stay strong and stay positive

The firms hiring thousands of new staff

BBC Business News

Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus crisis as restaurants, bars, hotels and gyms have been forced to close.

But many companies still in business are urgently seeking more staff to meet orders, help with deliveries and just to keep things moving.

Man puts hiring sign in a window
Getty Images

The major supermarkets are searching for 35,000 additional workers, but many other firms supplying essential goods or services are also looking for extra help so they can cope with the increased demand.

Home care company Cera has just created 10,000 new jobs for people to work as part of the home carer community.

Meanwhile, chemist chain Lloyds Pharmacy is seeking 1,500 workers across the country in the next few days. And Virgin Media says it needs 500 new people at Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester and Teesside.

Police in Fallowfield offer light timer switches to 'more vulnerable' homes

Severe accident: A58 Greater Manchester both ways

BBC News Travel

A58 Greater Manchester both ways severe accident, between Wash Lane and Albert Street.

A58 Greater Manchester - A58 Rochdale Road in Bury closed in both directions between Petrol Station and the Albert Street junction, because of an accident involving motorcycle.

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

Severe accident: M60 Greater Manchester both ways

BBC News Travel

M60 Greater Manchester both ways severe accident, at J19 for A576 Middleton Road.

M60 Greater Manchester - Two lanes closed on M60 at J19, A576 (Heaton Park Three Arrows Roundabout), because of an accident.

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

Royal Exchange makes 'incredibly difficult and complex' decision to close until Autumn

The stages of Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre will remain closed until Autumn 2020, its executive team has said, adding that making the decision had been "incredibly difficult and complex" for the institution's executive team.

Royal Exchange Theatre
David Hawgood/Geograph

The theatre closed with immediate effect last week, a move which saw "a wealth of work both on and off our stages suspended", the team said in a statement, adding that ever since, they had been "working hard to understand what the coming months can and will look like [and] developing a pragmatic model that safeguards the future of this incredible theatre.

They said:

The impact of this crisis remains unknown and we will not emerge from it the same, but we are putting everything we can in place in order to ensure the strongest and most resilient return when we are able to light up our stages once again.

Practically, this decision provides us with the time to plan and negotiate the rapidly-changing world around us [and] it affords us the space to carefully develop both a sustainable business model and a robust artistic programme.

Putting this radical plan in place will enable us to carry on creating shared experiences, plan innovative community work and provide much needed escapism for audiences and participants in these unsettling times.

They said "exciting plans" were already in place to move forward.

When our doors closed, we were about to open Winsome Pinnock’s powerful new play Rockets and Blue Lights. We captured this on film and are looking at ways that we can share that with audiences.

We are also carefully looking at ways in which the rest of our current Spring/Summer season can have a future life.