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LIVE: Latest coronavirus news from across East Berkshire

This page will provide the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak from Thursday, March 26 to Wednesday, April 1. Check back regularly to keep up with the latest news from Maidenhead, Windsor and Slough.

Reporting team

WINDSOR 132646-1

Tuesday, March 31

5:51pm

UK 'not out of the woods', health chief warns

Also talking at today's media briefing was national medical director of NHS England, Stephen Powis.

Mr Powis displayed a graph showing a drop in the number of people using public transport since social distancing measures were imposed.

But Mr Powis warned that we should not 'take our foot off the pedal'.

He said: "We are not out of the woods, we are very much in the woods. We must not be complacent and must not take our foot off the pedal."

The UK saw an increase of 381 in the number of deaths as of 5pm yesterday (Monday), bringing the total to 1,789.


5:38pm

Increase in oxygen and ventilators

The Government is working to 'get material we need to increase tests' and is upping the number of ventilators in hospitals.

At today's daily press conference in Downing Street, Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove MP updated the country on the UK's coronavirus situation.

He said the country must go 'further, faster', and that there will be an increase in both oxygen and ventilators in our hospitals.

4.50pm

Charvil's Clean Up Day postponed

A litter pick due to take place in Charvil has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Writing on its Facebook Page, Charvil Parish Council, said: “Top priority has always been making sure everyone stays safe and so the decision has been taken to postpone this year’s Charvil's Clean Up Day until September.

“If you had already planned to take part in the Charvil's Clean Up Day, you can reschedule your activity for the new campaign period, instead of cancelling it. Date to be confirmed but will be between 11-27 September.”


3:09pm

Maidenhead's Sausage and Cider Festival, which was due to take place this weekend, has been cancelled.

Organisers of the inaugural event have said ticket purchasers will be contacted by email regarding next steps once 'appropriate arrangements for tour dates' have been sorted.

Elsewhere, the Marlow Dragon Boat Festival, which forms part of the Marlow Town Regatta, has been deferred to Sunday, June 13, 2021 after the regatta was cancelled for this year.

14.33pm

Community effort sees meals delivered daily to vulnerable Slough residents

Slough Outreach is helping to deliver more than 100 meals a day to those in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

Read more here.


1pm

'The church has not closed - it has changed'

Church of England churches around Marlow have closed their buildings but thousands are still enjoying virtual services.

On Mother's Day, two services were streamed from All Saints Church and have now been viewed nearly 2,500 times. 

Reverend Dave Bull, team rector, said: "The church has not closed - it has just changed. We all need hope in the current crisis."


12:27pm

Weekend M4 closures

For the key workers who need to travel on the roads, the M4 is set to be closed over two weekends next month.

Read the latest.


10:49am

Councillor 'appalled' at coronavirus scam increase

A Bucks councillor has expressed his disappointment after a rise in scam complaints related to the coronavirus.

Read the full story here.


Monday, March 30

5.59pm

Foreign Secretary 'fully supports' police enforcement of social distancing measures

MP Dominic Raab said he ‘fully supports’ the police force in its enforcement of social distancing measures.

The Foreign Secretary was asked if he felt officers had been ‘over-zealous’ in their interpretation of the Government’s new guidelines around socialising outdoors.

He replied: “I’ve got huge admiration for the incredible job all our emergency services are doing, including the police.

“Obviously we need some common sense in the way that is approached.

“Let’s bear in mind the number one message the police are rightly trying to convey is people need to follow the guidance, not just to the letter but also to the spirit.

“That is the way we tackle this challenge and get through it quicker.

“I fully support the police in what they’re trying to achieve.”

5.27pm 

Keeping commercial flights running Government's 'first priority'

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says the Government's first priority is to keep as many commercial flights running in order to get citizens stranded abroad back to the UK.

Where commercial flights are no longer available, the Government will provide financial support for special chartered flights.

He told a press conference: "We’ve not faced challenges like this in getting people home from abroad on this scale in recent memory."


5:05pm

Rise in coronavirus cases across East Berkshire

Public Health England figures as of today (Monday) show that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Royal Borough stands at 48.

There are 73 in Slough, 140 in Buckinghamshire and 23 in Wokingham.


4:47pm

Latest figures revealed 

Latest figures from the Department of Health and Social Care show, of those hospitalised in the UK, the death rate for the virus now stands at 1,408.


4.40pm

Desborough College gives away protective gear to medical centres 

More community spirit is on display as Desborough College in Maidenhead announces that is has given away all of its protective gear to medical centres nearby.

In a Facebook post today (Monday), the Shoppenhangers Road school said that items such as goggles, glasses and masks have been 'gratefully received' by St Mark’s Hospital, The Marlow Medical Group, and paramedics returning to service.


1.28pm

Police officers stop more than 100 cars to check journeys were necessary

Police officers in Windsor and Maidenhead said they are "pleased" to see the vast majority of residents have been following national guidance on restricted movements.

The force said more than 100 cars were stopped over the last two days, and 99 per cent of these were necessary journeys.

A post on TVP Windsor and Maidenhead added: "Officers have been patrolling parks, supporting key workers in food distribution and the NHS, and stopping vehicles all over RBWM to help spread the message.

"Over one hundred cars have been stopped in RBWM over the last two days from which 99 per cent of those stopped were necessary journeys to the supermarket or key workers places of work.

"Those who were not following guidance were often driving somewhere to do exercise. The guidance says we are all able to do one piece of exercise a day, but unnecessary journeys shouldn’t be taken. We need to keep the roads clear for key workers, emergency services and to prevent the spread of Covid19 any further.

"Please do stay at home. We appreciate your walk round the block may not be as enjoyable as a walk or run around Virgina Water or along The Long Walk, but that small change may make a big difference. These measures are only temporary and really will save lives."


1:14pm

Youngsters send pictures to nearby care home 

Youngsters from Marlow have been getting creative by sending artistic pieces to residents at a nearby care home.

Drawings and paintings from children have been sent to Cliveden Manor Care Home in Little Marlow Road after it appealed on social media for more ideas to keep residents occupied during the coronavirus outbreak.

Since the home posted on Facebook calling on the young artists to devise something, cards and pictures were delivered from Spinfield School and Marlow C of E, as well as from families at home.


12:56pm

Train services in the area to continue following Government deals

Vital rail services in the area will continue to run thanks to an agreement between the Government and rail firms.

The new deals for both Great Western Railway (GWR) and Southeastern will see critical routes remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Services should only be used by people who need to travel and cannot work from home.

Read the full story here.


11.35am

Advice for charities organising food deliveries

The Royal Borough is offering advice for charities and community groups making food deliveries.

The Borough’s environmental health service is pointing groups towards Government guidance in the first instance.

On March 25, the Government released ‘Guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)’, found here

The guidance covers everything organisations need to know about food – relevant for both businesses and non-profits.

Residents requiring more advice or information can contact the Royal Borough environmental health team using their online form, found here.


11.32am

New 'breached regulations' scam

Trading Standards has identified a new coronavirus scam.

Last week, a resident went out for exercise on his bicycle more than once in a day.

Upon returning home, he received a text message to say that the authorities were aware that he had breached the current regulations and he was therefore being fined £200.

He was prompted to click on a link included in the text message, in order to make the payment.

The Trading Standards team stated: “This is an example of fraudulent text messages from .GOV.UK issuing fines for leaving home.”


11.11am

Thousands released to organisations helping the police amid COVID-19 outbreak

A £100,000 fund for organisations which support the police is being released early as an emergency response to the impact of coronavirus.

The Police Property Act Fund (PPAF) is created from money recovered by the police, and the proceeds from the sale of items which cannot be returned to identified owners.

The next round of the PPAF would normally be made available in the summer, but applications are now invited from voluntary and community groups which can support the police in delivering the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The decision was made by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, and the Chief Constable, John Campbell, who jointly manage the fund.

Earlier this year, £166,800 was distributed to 42 different organisations in addressing Police and Crime Plan priorities.

PCC for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld said: “Now more than ever, we are seeing what important work the voluntary and community sector is having on the efforts to support those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are pleased to be offering funding to those organisations who are supporting the police in delivering the response to this pandemic.

“Working in partnership with both statutory and voluntary organisations is crucial when addressing issues such as the prevention and reduction of crime.

“We have taken the decision to launch this fund early so that we can support this sector, and therefore our communities, at this challenging time.”

Chief Constable, John Campbell said: “We are keen to receive bids from those organisations who have been supporting our officers in delivering the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Working together as a community is key for us to get through this difficult period and we want to do anything we can to support our communities - one way of which is launching this fund early.”

The closing date for applications is 12pm Monday, April 20. Further information and the application form can be found here


10:38am:

RSPCA calling for more support during virus outbreak

Animal charity the RSPCA has launched an appeal to help keep its rescue teams on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rescuers have been designated as 'key workers' by the government but funding is needed to keep them on the road.

The charity says it is facing financial strains on its fundraising income, while the costs of saving, treating and caring for animals continue.

The appeal is being supported by comedian and animal lover Ricky Gervais.

He said: “It is really important for us all to pull together to help each other at this difficult time and someone needs to be there for animals, too."

You can donate whatever you can spare at rspca.org.uk/covid


Sunday, March 29

7:16pm:

Government to review lockdown measures for first time in three weeks  

The Government will review the country's lockdown measures for the first time in three weeks.

The deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said during the daily press briefing that it could take six months for the UK to get back to normal.

She said: "Over time, probably over the next six months, we will have a three-week review. We will see where we are going."


3.00pm:

Domestic abuse victims still allowed to leave home

The Government has said that victims of domestic violence will be allowed to leave home and seek help at refuges.

Slough-based domestic abuse charity Dash recommends people call the National Domestic Violence helpline, which operates 24 hours a day, on 0808 2000247 for advice including refuge accommodation.


2.37pm:

Prime Minister to send letter to 30m households

Every UK household will receive a letter from Boris Johnson this week, urging the public to stay at home. It warns 'things will get worse before they get better'.


12.10pm:

Engage, Explain, Encourage, Enforce

Police have released more details of their four phase approach to enforcing social distancing measures.

 


12.04pm:

Update on confirmed cases

As of yesterday (Saturday), the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, compiled by Public Health England, stood at 44 in the Royal Borough, 69 in Slough and 23 in Wokingham.


Saturday, March 28

3.56pm:

Thames Valley Police front counters close

Thames Valley Police is closing its front counters to protect staff and encourage people to self-isolate.

Front counter staff will be re-deployed to support the force.

Only people needing to answer bail or registered offenders that need to sign on can still visit the station during normal opening hours.


1.06pm:

Call for local authorities to house all rough sleepers

The Government has called on local authorities to find homes for rough sleepers by this weekend to protect them from coronavirus.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is redoubling its efforts to find a home for everyone during the pandemic.


11.07am:

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the Royal Borough rise to 37

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Royal Borough has risen to 37.

As of yesterday (Friday), data from Public Health England based on confirmed positive tests for COVID-19 showed 37 cases in Windsor and Maidenhead, 59 in Slough and 22 in Wokingham.


Friday, March 27

8.19pm:

Buckinghamshire council lift all parking charges

All council car park charges have been lifted and on-street parking restrictions relaxed across Buckinghamshire. 

All council car parks across the county will be completely free to use and most parking restrictions lifted. This includes parking on single yellow lines, limited waiting areas and in pay and display bays. 

Restrictions on disabled parking and on double yellow lines will however remain in force and penalty tickets will continue to be issued for these offences.

Leader of Buckinghamshire's Shadow Executive, Martin Tett said: "It should also make it easier for those key workers and volunteers who need to get around to help those most vulnerable in our communities."

6.00pm:

Dorney Lake closed

Dorney Lake closed at 6pm to all access by car and on foot to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

A spokesperson said: “Despite best efforts to remain open, the health and wellbeing of our staff and visitors has to be our top priority.”

5.30pm:

Government to test frontline workers

During the Government’s daily press briefing, Michael Gove announced the Prime Minister has brought together businesses, research institutes and universities to increase the testing capacity for frontline workers.

The tests will determine if NHS workers have coronavirus, and if the test is negative they will be able to return to work immediately.

Hundreds of tests are expected to take place over the weekend.

The news comes after the Prime Minister and the health secretary Matt Hancock tested positive for the virus.

4.45pm:

SPORT: Underwood calls for clarity from FA and National League on how promotion and relegation situation will be sorted

Slough Town joint manager Jon Underwood called for clarity from the FA and National League on whether the league season is going to be terminated and, if so, what the ramifications will be for clubs battling for promotion or against relegation.

He says the information is needed as soon as possible to give clubs the best possible chance of being ready when football finally does return.

More here.


4.09pm:

Braywick Court School's online lessons prove popular

Educational establishments were closed by the Government on Friday but schools are finding new ways to keep teaching their pupils.

Some have turned to making YouTube videos, including Braywick Court School, which is making its films available to anyone – not just its pupils – to use.

More here.


3.34pm:

Books, games and virtual workshops requested for John West House

The not-for-profit organisation that co-runs John West House (JWH) is asking for donations of books, board games, and offers of virtual workshops.

Browns Community Services (BCS) CIC has made the request on behalf of the 23 men staying at the provision who, like the rest of the UK, are asked to stay inside.

Council-owned JWH is run by Browns and the council and aims to get people off the streets and into long-term sustainable housing through a three-stage accommodation programme.

More here


2.37pm:

Courtney Buses praises drivers

Courtney Buses has praised its drivers for being ‘heroes’ during the coronavirus crisis.

Courtney Buses General Manager Simon Fisher said: “With the Prime Minister’s declaration of a national emergency earlier this week we are firmly part of the effort to fight coronavirus.

“Our drivers really matter. They are providing the essential service to get critical workers to hospitals and care homes and for customers to get to the shops for basic necessities."

He added:  “I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all our employees. Over the past two weeks, as the situation has quickly escalated, they have truly worked as a team to help keep us moving."


1.24pm:

Maidenhead, Windsor and Slough residents Clap for Carers

Compassionate residents showed their support for the NHS and its staff last night by taking part in the Clap for Carers.

Well-wishers nationwide put their hands together as a show of gratitude for the NHS staff working tirelessly to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Watch video footage of residents getting involved here


1.13pm:

Slough Foodbank has teamed up with Crowdfunder UK to raise emergency funds during the coronavirus crisis.

The charity, based in Montrose Avenue, said the virus is impacting its service on several fronts.

Full story here.

Thursday, March 26

6.26pm:

Wexham Park Hospital has temporarily suspended all visitors to the hospital, including the maternity department.

Women are permitted to have one, well adult as a birth partner but this birth partner is only able to attend during the labour and birth. 

Birth partners will be asked to remain outside the wards when picking people up from the hospital.

The decisions were made to prioritise the safety of mothers, babies and staff.

6.20pm:

Grants for self-employed people will match those for workers currently in furlough, it was announced this afternoon.

At 5pm today (March 26), Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced measures to protect the incomes of self-employed people against disruptions due to coronavirus.

The Government will pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus a taxable grant equivalent to 80 per cent of their average monthly profit over the last three years – up to £2,500 a month.

Read more here.


11.18am:

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust car parks free for public and NHS staff

Members of the public and NHS staff parking at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust car parks will no longer have to pay.

The trust announced yesterday that the car parks at its hospitals and community sites will be free for all users.

The trust's hospitals are: Amersham Hospital, Buckingham Community Hospital, Chalfonts and Gerrards Cross Community Hospital, Marlow Community Hospital, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Thame Community Hospital, Wycombe Hospital.


11.03am:

Free car parking for NHS workers

NHS staff will get free car parking at hospitals, the Government has announced.

The parking costs will be covered by the Government, Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed yesterday (Wednesday).

Local authorities will also offer free car parking to all NHS workers and social care staff during the COVID-19 outbreak.

NHS trusts are responsible for setting car parking charges locally.

Mr Hancock said: “Our NHS is facing an unprecedented challenge, and I will do everything I can to ensure our dedicated staff have whatever they need during this unprecedented time.

“So we will provide free car parking for our NHS staff who are going above and beyond every day in hospitals across England.

“My enormous gratitude goes out to the many NHS Trusts and other organisations already providing free car parking and I urge other Trusts to do the same with our backing.

“We will do what is needed to protect the NHS, support our health and care staff, and save lives as we tackle COVID-19.”


10.05am:

Tips to reduce garden waste following suspension of green waste collections

The Royal Borough has offered tips on how to reduce garden waste, following the cecasion of garden waste collections announced yesterday.

This includes reducing the frequency of lawn mowing, letting the grass grow longer, and building a compost heap or buying a compost bin to compost your garden waste.

The Royal Borough has also recommended 'grasscycling'. Grasscycling is the natural recycling of grass by leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing.  

Grass clippings contain moisture, valuable nutrients, and decompose quickly. Grasscycling saves time and money and helps the environment.

Mowing time is reduced since bagging and disposal of clippings is eliminated. Grass clippings add valuable nutrients and organic matter to the soil and produce healthy, green lawns.

More information can be found at www.getcomposting.com 


9.55am:

Royal Borough working on support for Council Tax Hardship Fund

The Royal Borough has released some information regarding the Council Tax Hardship Fund, and how it will apply to residents.

The fund is a maximum of £150 one-off payment for the year 2020/21. Residents will not need to apply for this. It will be automatically posted through council tax accounts as soon as the Royal Borough is able to do so.

The Royal Borough is working with its software supplier to ensure that each Council Tax Reduction customer receives support.

For any queries, contact benefits@rbwm.gov.uk. 


9.10am:

Thames Valley Police 'will enforce' bans on public gatherings

Thames Valley Police has released a video advising residents that the police will 'enforce where necessary' the ban on meeting in public.

In a video on the force's YouTube, chief constable John Campbell reiterated Government guidance to stay indoors, except to exercise (in twos, alone, or only with people you live with) or undertake essential tasks.

"Please be assured that Thames Valley Police will approach these matters with common sense and empathy. We will seek to encourage and persuade, but we will enforce where necessary," said the chief constable.

The full video can be viewed here.


8.50am:

Good morning, and welcome to the Advertiser and Express's second live blog on coronavirus updates. Every Thursday a new blog will be created and will be updated regularly. 

The latest edition of the Maidenhead Advertiser is now on shelves. If you are able to pick up a copy while you are out shopping for essential supplies, make sure you do. If that's not possible, you can still read many of our articles on the website.

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  • be_ transparent

    11:30, 31 March 2020

    Centreforcities.org has Slough listed as a Coronavirus hotspot, it comments that this is most likely caused by Slough coronavirus cases between the 20th and 26th all being entered in one day.

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