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Coronavirus Kent: Live updates on the impact of Covid-19 across the county


Six new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Kent.

This takes the total number in the county to 13. Across the rest of the country almost 800 people have Covid-19 and yesterday Boris Johnson announced the UK's plan of action following the Cobra meeting.

11 people in Kent have been diagnosed with coronavirus
11 people in Kent have been diagnosed with coronavirus

The Prime Minister announced the government was moving into the 'Delay' phase of its efforts to contain the virus.

For all of the latest follow our live blog.

Live updates

7.40pm - Hand gel

A Snodland company has said it's received abuse for the rocketing price of the hand gel it makes - but it's explained why the price hike is needed.

7.30pm - US

It's been a long day but it seems to have quietened down now, except Donald Trump has just declared a national emergency in the US.

"Two very big words" he says. It comes after he banned all travel from Europe - bar the UK - as the World Health Organisation declared the continent was now the "epicentre" of the virus.

By the way, if you're interested Gills beat Fleetwood 16-0 earlier.


5.36pm - NHS

The Welsh NHS has suspended all non-urgent outpatient appointments and non-urgent surgery.

5.32pm - Sport

Football is off in Canterbury too, although the council has admitted it jumped the gun.

Over in Paris The Eiffel Tower has closed.

Will anywhere stay open?

5.13pm - Marathon

The London Marathon, due to take place next month, has been pushed to October.

The Open is still on but organisers are monitoring the situation as are Kent Cricket.

4.54pm - New cases

There are now 13 cases of coronavirus in Kent and Medway, 4 in Bromley and 1 in Bexley.

This is up from 11, 2 and 0 respectively.

Meanwhile football is off in Medway.

4.30pm - Sport

For light relief and with their game off Gills have simulated it on Fifa. Predictions?

4.20pm - P&O step up measures

P&O has assured customers it is stepping up germ-busting measures in the battle against the virus .

Meanwhile Radio 1's Big Weekend in Scotland has also been cancelled. It was due to run from May 22 to May 24.

3.58pm - Eurostar statement

"Eurotunnel services are operating as usual, but with the increase in cases of Covid-19 across Europe we wanted to let you know that the health and safety of our customers and team members is our utmost priority.

"We are in close contact with official authorities to ensure we have the latest information and are monitoring any changes. Currently there are no travel restrictions in place between the UK and France and we continue to run our passenger shuttles as normal.

"We have reinforced best hygiene practices across our business and with our partners, including the retailers in our terminal buildings. Automatic hand sanitisers have been installed in passenger areas in both the UK and France, but as WHO guidelines explain, washing hands with soap and water is the most effective course of action. We have, therefore, increased cleaning and checks of supplies in all toilet facilities.

"Whilst most customers travelling with us choose to remain in the comfort of their own cars throughout the crossing, we have increased the levels of cleaning of the interiors of our passenger shuttles for extra peace of mind.

"We know the current circumstances mean people’s plans may change. It’s helpful to know that you can amend bookings up to 24 hours before your departure time, if you’re travelling in the same direction and we have space available.

"You only need to pay the difference if the new ticket is more expensive, but we will not charge any amendment fees. Most ticket types have a full year from date of original purchase to be used. Customers who book a Flexiplus ticket can choose to cancel travel and get a refund at any time.

"Due to increased demand it may be slightly more difficult than usual to get through to our Contact Centre. Most ticket types can be amended online (check the information in your confirmation email to see how to do this). If you are unable to get through and need to speak to us please fill in our contact form.

"The situation is evolving rapidly and we will continue to monitor official advice. We will keep this page on our website up to date, so please check it if you have any questions or concerns: eurotunnel.com/covid-19.

"Thank you for your support at this time."

3.49pm - Elections

The police and crime commissioner and local elections in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone have been postponed for a year.

Meanwhile The Queen is rearranging planned events and trips because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Buckingham Palace says the changes to Her Majesty's diary are being made in consultation with doctors and ministers.

Among the visits being put off are trips later this month to Cheshire and Camden in north London.

3.31pm - GP closes

A doctor's surgery in Maidstone is no longer accepting walk-in appointments after three people arrived presenting with symptoms of the coronavirus.

Albion Place have made the decision in order to protect their elderly patients, who are more likely to catch the disease.

Deepa Robin, general practice manager, said: "Three people have come in over the past two days with coughs and respiratory problems even though there are signs up saying do not enter if you have coronavirus symptoms. One rang later and said they were self-isolating, but didn't confirm that they had caught it. We don't want our elderly patients to get infected."

"Please stay at home unless you have to go the practice. We don't want any deaths at our surgery."

The surgery's front doors are now locked but patients with booked appointment or those who need to come into the building, can buzz the bell through the back door.

2.49pm - KM charity abseil cancelled

Abi Lewer and Georgia Hewish taking part in the KM Charity Team summer abseil
Abi Lewer and Georgia Hewish taking part in the KM Charity Team summer abseil

The KM Charity Team has announced that the KM Abseil Challenge scheduled for Saturday, March 21 has been cancelled due to Coronavirus and will be rescheduled for a later date.

The venue, Thomas Place in Maidstone, is a residential care home with many of its residents having respiratory illnesses and all of them are within the high-risk category.

Anyone who booked for the abseil has been emailed by the KM Charity Team offering to hold their place over to a time the event can be rescheduled or a full refund. The charity offers sincere apologies for any inconvenience this cancellation has caused.

2.37pm - helping the elderly

A convenience store owner in Faversham has reassured elderly and vulnerable residents he will deliver products to them if they need to self-isolate.

Simply Fresh owner Sandip Bains said customers can order via the Snappy Shopper app or phone the store.

“It is developing day-by-day but we are urging people not to bulk buy,” the 31-year-old said.

“We are a community store so we have got to make sure we can spread our products across everyone.

“But there doesn’t seem to be any panic here at the moment.”

The delivery charge is £3 but there is a voucher available via the store’s Facebook page which gives a £5 discount.

2.34pm - public consultation cancelled

In line with official advice to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus, Kennington Community Council and Ashford Borough Council have postponed the Bockhanger public consultation event due to take place from 10am on Saturday, March 14 at the Phoenix Primary School.

We will let everyone know when a new date is arranged, sorry for any inconvenience caused.

2.26pm - Darent Valley restricts visitors to maternity unit

Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford is only allowing one person to visit new mums and mums-to-be - and this has to remain the same person. Read more here.

2.04pm - 798 cases confirmed


Latest figures from the Department of Health has revealed 798 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed.

32,771 people have been tested. 10 people have died

1.35pm - RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat station

"Due to the situation in the country with the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) disease, it has been decided to cancel the Easter Craft Fair at the Dungeness RNLI lifeboat station on Sunday 5 April."

1.03pm - Cracked Repairs

The phone repair shop in Chatham has said: "We will be disinfecting all items arriving into our repair facility as well as disinfecting them post repair.

"All surfaces including door handles and the front desk will be disinfected after each customer has visited.

"If you prefer not to enter the repair centre you can wait outside and we will be happy to serve you outside.

"These measures are in place to protect both our customers and ourselves and would appreciate your support at this difficult time.

"Business has certainly been affected both with the cost of parts increasing and lack of custom through fear so we are doing everything possible to keep trading as best we can."

12.25pm - Leigh Academies Trust issues statement on school trips

A trust which runs 25 schools in Kent, Medway and South East London has confirmed it has cancelled all foreign school trips.

A parent contacted KentOnline yesterday because they were concerned a planned visit to Belgium by pupils from Longfield Academy in Dartford, which is part of the Leigh Academies Trust, was still going ahead.

But following the new advice issued by the government yesterday, this and other travel plans have been called off.

A spokesman for the trust said: "Following on from the advice of the government yesterday we have cancelled all overseas trips across all of our academies until further notice."

Among the schools which are part of the trust are Strood Academy, Rochester Math School, Wilmington Academy and Paddock Wood Primary.

12.17pm - Morrisons

3,000 small businesses, including 1,750 farmers, will be paid by Morrisons quicker to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

The move is to help businesses with cash flow.

12.09pm - coach travel

Crosskeys Coaches & Travel based in Folkestone has withdrawn from the Holiday & Leisure Show at Detling Showground this weekend.

Managing Director, Alan Johnson, said: “Taking this decision is hugely disappointing for Crosskeys as a considerable amount of work had been put into what is a very positive event, however I must prioritise the avoidance of placing of our employees and customers at any risk.

"I apologise for any inconvenience and disappointment caused but very much look forward to being at the show next year”.

12.07pm - Guernsey

12.05pm - Sports editor Matt Panting

12.03pm - primary school closure

Cecil Road Primary School in Gravesend has sent pupils home today and closed after a suspected case of coronavirus.

Reception staff confirmed the school would close for two days in order to carry out a deep clean, but said the case of Covid-19 has not been confirmed.

11.51am - Steve Evans reacts

11.44am - ...and the rest of the football

Kent's biggest non-league teams are still due to be in action on Saturday.

Relegation-threatened Ebbsfleet visit FC Halifax in a televised National League fixture while Dover host Chesterfield at Crabble.

Maidstone, Dartford, Welling and Tonbridge are all due to play in National League South.

A statement from the FA has said: "We are liaising with the National League and will continue to offer guidance and support. Any decision to continue playing or to postpone respective competitions is a matter for each league as autonomous bodies within the game."

The FA stated on Thursday that they would issue a daily update to non-league clubs, including those in the Isthmian League and Southern Counties East, to keep them fully informed of the situation.

11.37am - KCC

Kent County Council says it has no plans to cancel committee meetings in response to the escalating Corona crisis.

Opposition councillors have suggested that meetings could be cancelled to help minimise the risk of the infection spreading.

Conservative deputy leader Peter Oakford said: “We are looking at whether or not we can do more remotely. We've got a full council meeting coming up but we certainly haven't got any plans to postpone that yet. But we watch daily, the advice that's coming out.

“There are certainly meetings we can do remotely and we are looking at that. But at the moment, cabinet committees will carry on, until we're advised otherwise, or something happens and we get people at County Hall who get sick that make us think differently.”

On the issue of school closures, he said the council was adhering to national guidance.

“We will work to whatever advice that Public Health England and the government are giving us, and if they say, now's the time to do X, Y and Z, that's what we'll do, but we believe that the expertise is with the government so we have to be guided by it.”

11.35am - what about the Olympics?

11.33am - Lowfield Street Medical

A doctors surgery in Dartford has shut their doors in order to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus.

Lowfield Street Medical centre had to turn away patients this morning, a poster on the door read: "The surgery is NOT closed. We've locked the front door in order to minimise the spread of Coronavirus and reduce the risk to our patients."

A Facebook post in the Dartford Gossip page read: "I had an emergency appointment today at 8.40am but I was told to go home (the receptionist opened the door and spoke through a small gap in the door that she was holding open with her foot) and wait for a phone call from them as appointments are now over the phone."

11.03am - Saga

Holiday company Saga has cancelled all operations until May. This comes after it was confirmed a member of staff has Covid-19.

10.43am - Gills

BREAKING: EFL suspend all games including Gills' match against Fleetwood. Read the full story here.

10.33am - Gills

Steve Evans
Steve Evans

Gills boss Steve Evans: "Our policy is that we prepare for tomorrow but await for a decision from the governing bodies."

10.16am - Football

All Champions League and Europe League matches next week have been postponed.

It's also understood England's cricket tour of Sri Lanka is being called off.

10.12am - Saga

Saga cruises has cancelled all operations until May 1. Story to follow. A member of staff had tested positive.

10.02am - The Grand, Folkestone

Despite no suspected cases at the hotel, a post on the Facebook page has reassured guests by saying: "To our guests, future and present,

"Coronavirus is striking the heart of the nation, bringing down businesses, morale, and most importantly and sadly the health to those it has unfortunately reached.

"We assure all our guests that our hygiene is our priority. We have always ensured our grounds and hotel are kept clean, and will always do so. Our amazing team are working effortlessly around the clock disinfecting and cleaning all areas as much as possible. Our staff are prioritizing giving great customer service as much as they do washing their hands frequently too.

"Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this horrendous virus. Let's keep following government advice, and keep hand washing."

9.48am - Women's Health Conference

9.32am Bluewater


Bluewater has responded to questions about how it is being affected in terms of visitor numbers. In a statement, it said: "We are following all guidelines issued by Public Health England and continue to take a stringent and proactive approach to the cleanliness and hygiene of Bluewater. We are unable to share information around footfall."

9.22am - Disney parks are closing

Disney is shutting it's theme parks in California and Florida and its resort in Paris from this weekend.

Rome's catholic churches have also been ordered to close.

8.51m - football update

An EFL Spokesman said: “The EFL Board will meet this morning to make a decision on this weekend’s fixtures and beyond.”

8.41am - sensible precaution

8.39am - no school vote, sadly


Going to the pub tonight? It's business as usual.


The Gillingham game against Fleetwood is still going ahead. We'll update you on any changes.


After dropping by more than 10% yesterday, the FTSE has recovered slightly this morning.


This is what Boris Johnson announced after the Cobra meeting yesterday.

7.26am - Premier League

Overnight it was confirmed Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi have the virus

Arsenal's game with Brighton tomorrow has been postponed and the Premier League is holding an emergency meeting later to discuss future fixtures.

Elsewhere, Tom Hanks and his wife are self isolating after their diagnosis.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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