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


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Thousands of people across Kent will be waking up to the news they could be on a list of people considered so at risk of getting coronavirus they have been told to stay indoors for 12 weeks by the government.

It comes as Kent high streets suffered a major blow yesterday as first Primark and then McDonald's said it will close all its branches today. Nando's has also announced it is closing all its restaurants temporarily.

KMTV report on a shutdown branded "disastrous"

Follow our live blog for today's coronavirus updates:

8.30pm

The Prime Minister has put the country in lockdown and if people are caught out without a good reason, they could face a fine.

Boris Johnson addressed the nation from Downing Street and said to beat the virus, people must comply.

People are only allowed out to go shopping, exercise together with their family, get medical care and travel to work.

19.00pm Animal Park

Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve in Hythe and Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury will be closed to the public and will remain closed until at least April 24.

Bosses say they are contact with the relevant authorities and will work to reopen both parks to guests as soon as it’s appropriate to do so.

18.45pm Animal Park

The Wildwood Trust has taken the decision to close its park in Herne Bay, Near Canterbury.

Rest assured, that incredibly dedicated keepers will continue to ensure that the park's animals enjoy the same levels of care and attention as usual, and that the rest the other staff are still continuing to work hard on its many conservation projects.

18.20pm

The Tokyo Olympics will be postponed until 2021 it has been confirmed.

The International Olympics Committee member, Dick Pound, confirmed that the competition will not take place this year.

18.00pm

There's no daily Prime Minister news conference today but Boris Johnson will address the nation later this evening at 8.30pm as people who are still abroad are asked to fly back to Britain now by the Foreign Office.

17.25pm

A cathedral will close its doors entirely with immediate effect to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Rochester Cathedral had previously shut to visitors and cancelled services but remained partly open to allow private prayer.

17.15pm Cineworld employees

Employees at cinemas across the county are demanding the reinstatement of their jobs after a round of redundancies related to the ongoing coronvirus crisis.

Staff at Cineworld and Picturehouse branches in Ashford, Dover and Rochester were among hundreds across the country to receive an automated phone call explaining they no longer had jobs as the cinema chain closed its doors to the public last week.

17.00pm - children's play areas

Council chiefs have said they cannot rule out the possibility outdoor equipment will not contribute to the spread of coronavirus.

It comes as Swale council announced it will shut all children's play areas tomorrow on Sheppey and in Sittingbourne and Faversham amid fears of the potential spread of the virus.

16.45pm

The Entertainer has announced plans to close its 172 stores across the country because it says it is "putting the welfare of its employees and customers ahead of profits" during the Coronavirus pandemic.

All stores, including branches at Bluewater, Maidstone, Chatham, Ashford, Dover and Orpington will close at 5pm this evening until further notice, with customers directed to shopping online via thetoyshop.com.

16.30pm UK death toll

The UK's coronavirus death toll has jumped by 54 to 335, England confirms 46 more deaths while Wales and Scotland each announce four more deaths.

The official death toll in England is 257 although more expected this afternoon.

16.15pm - Age UK branch

Age UK Hythe and Lyminge has now transformed into a Community Support Hub.

It is offering help and advice to those who need it during the Covid-19 crisis.

This includes walking the dog, delivering groceries, picking up prescrions or just a friendly voice at the end of the phone.

If you need help in the Hythe area, call 01303 269602 and anyone who wishes to volunteer can call the same number.

3.30pm - shop closures

TK Maxx, New Look, Primark and River Island are among the long list of stores at Westwood Cross to have shut their doors to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Shopping centre bosses have published a list of the shops and restaurants at the Broadstairs outlet which have, or are planning to, close for the foreseeable future.

3.10pm - factory closure

A cosmetics factory in Kent is due to close this week due to 'falling demand' for products amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Coty, based on the Eureka Leisure Park, in Ashford, will start its four week temporarily closure from Friday.

2.40pm - holiday park

The boss of a holiday park has told residents and holidaymakers to "go home" after the company announced it is closing today due to the outbreak.

Owners of second homes and caravans, as well as visitors, at The Foxhunter Park in Monkton, near Ramsgate, have been asked to pack their bags and leave.

2.22pm

Restrictions have been put on golf clubs around the county as courses remain open.

England Golf, the country's governing body for amateurs, has ordered all championship and performance events scheduled to take place up until and including June 7 to be postponed. Read more here.

2.05pm - scammers

A pair of cold-callers claiming to work for the NHS are attempting to break into properties in a seaside town.

Public Protection Kent has issued a warning after the suit-wearing criminals were spotted operating in Herne Bay. Read more here.

1.18pm - Sean Raggett defends his trip to the pub

A footballer who was told he had coronavirus insists he put nobody at risk when eating at a Gillingham pub.

Sean Raggett, who was born and raised in the town, received a call while dining out at The Star and was told a test for Covid-19 had come back positive. Read more here.

1.01pm - Netflix studio delay

A decision on whether to allow Hollywood-style film studios to be built in Kent has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bosses want to turn the derelict Newtown railway works site in Ashford into a huge new complex featuring four studios, an 120-bedroom hotel, educational hub, film school and 303 apartments in the former engine sheds. Read more here.

12.20pm - animal park closes

A wild animal park is closing its doors to the public as a result of coronavirus - with keepers warning of "desperate" financial difficulties.

12.10pm - surgeon warning

An exhausted surgeon coming off a 65-hour shift and worn-out GPs were among the first to take advantage of Sainsbury's new shopping slots dedicated for NHS staff.

10.53am - PC Harper murder trial discharged

Three jurors have gone into self-isolation in the PC Andrew Harper's murder trial, forcing the trial to collapse.

10.08am - Italian mayor brings daughter home

The mayor of the Italian city worst-hit by the coronavirus outbreak has brought his daughter home from Kent - as he thinks she will be safer.

Benedetta Gori has been studying for a masters in ethnobotany at the University of Kent in Canterbury. Read more to follow.

8.22am - new laws racing through

The coronavirus bill will be debated later in a race to get new regulations on the pandemic passed.

8.18am - rail franchise deals suspended

The government has stepped in to help rail companies who have seen a 70% drop in numbers.

Department for transport announced they would temporarily suspend all rail franchise deals to avoid train companies from collapse. Read more here.

8.01am - trials on hold

Ongoing trials will be paused and there will be no new hearings in court to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Lord Chief Justice made the announcement today. Previously, it had been reduced to trials lasting no more than threre days.

7.48am - funding for charities

A funding organisation is urging charities to reach out for help as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to significantly damage fundraising across Kent.

The Kent Community Foundation (KCF) has more than £360,000 of grants to award to charities as part of their coronavirus emergency fund. Read more here.

7.31am - army could be brought in

The armed forces could be used to bring protetive equipment to the frontline. NHS staff trying to battle with coronavirus have said they aren't getting enough protection and are at rish of getting it themselves while treating patients.

7.14am - literary festival online

A literary festival due to be held over the VE Day bank holiday weekend has been cancelled - but organisers say people could still be able to see some of the author talks that were planned.

Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival was to have been held from Thursday, May 7 to Sunday, May 10 with authors attending including children's author Michael Morpurgo. Read more here.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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