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


The chancellor is expected to announce how the government will support the self-employed during the coronavirus lockdown.

Last week, Rishi Sunak made a wage pledge allowing businesses to claim 80% of their workers pay. But so far the self-employed has not been given the same promises.

People are now only allowed out for four reasons, in a bid to stop the virus
People are now only allowed out for four reasons, in a bid to stop the virus

The government has faced calls from the opposition to offer the same measures and the plans are expected to be announced today.

Elsewhere, the government announced yesterday more than 400,000 people have come forward to volunteer for the NHS in the fight against Covid-19.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock called for a quarter of a million volunteers to help health services up and down the country.

Boris Johnson said: "We hoped to get 250,000 volunteers but I can tell you in just 24-hours 405,000 people have responded to the call.

"They will be driving medicines to people, bringing patients home to hospital, and making regular phone calls to check on and support people. They will be absolutely crucial in the fight against this virus."

The Queen later paid tribute to the army of volunteers saying 'We salute you'.

On Tuesday, The Department of Health and Social Care said sadly 463 patients who tested positive for coronavirus have now died in Britain.

Follow our live blog for today's coronavirus updates:


The coronavirus death toll jumped to 578 today after 113 more fatalities were confirmed, making today the biggest rise yet, since the outbreak.

Health officials also say more than 2,100 new patients have tested positive for the virus, meaning almost 12,000 cases of COVID-19 have now been recorded in Britain.


Only close family members can now attend funeral services at a Maidstone crematorium, to try and curb the spread of coronavirus.

Vinters Park Crematorium has come to the decision following government advice to distance ourselves from others as much as possible. Read more here.


The government has today announced financial support for people who are self-employed as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to upend the country.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled yet another "unprecedented" package of measures, including a taxable grant worth up to 80% of average monthly profits over the last three years.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced plans to support self-employed workers
Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced plans to support self-employed workers

The Chancellor said the financial relief"matches" the provisions announced for employed people last week, in which the government announced it will pay 80% of people's salaries up to £2,500 a month. Read more here.


A charity which helps those with autism wants to assure people they will still be supported during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Kent Autistic Trust, based in Brompton High Street, has also opened up opportunities for people to help them.

Read more here.


A man fears he will run out of food and essential supplies after being told he must self-isolate.

John Bottomley, from Maidstone, has Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and the medication he takes suppresses his immune system. This means he is at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

So the government have advised Mr Bottomley to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks.

But, after complying for several days, the 61-year-old found himself running very low on food, hygiene products and toilet paper.

Read more here.


The lower leagues of football have agreed to end the season with immediate affect.

Folkestone Invicta were in with a chance of promotion Picture: Andy Jones
Folkestone Invicta were in with a chance of promotion Picture: Andy Jones

All results from the 2019/20 season between steps three to six of the non-league pyramid have been expunged and there will be no promotion or relegation between the divisions. Read more here.


A little girl became the star of her own video willing people to stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

Zara Clift is now a star
Zara Clift is now a star

Zara Clift, from Wainscott near Rochester, can be seen talking about her mother Emily who works as a midwife. Read more here.

3.16pm - blue for the NHS

Rochester Cathedral has been lighting its spire each evening since March 17 Picture: Rochester Cathedral
Rochester Cathedral has been lighting its spire each evening since March 17 Picture: Rochester Cathedral

Key landmarks in Kent will join thousands of households as they take to their doorsteps to applaud NHS workers tonight.

Rochester Cathedral is leading the way by lighting its spire blue - the colour of the health service - not just tonight but every night since March 17.

2.47pm - firefighters helping the elderly

Firefighters are delivering hot meals to those most in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Working with Age UK, crews and support staff have volunteered their time to help out and have been taking supplies to people living in Sittingbourne, Faversham, Hythe and Lyminge, near Folkestone. Read more here.

2.24pm - anger over a coke bottle

A man verbally abused supermarket staff in an apparent row over fizzy drink rationing amid the coronavirus crisis.

In a video posted on Facebook, the man swears and shouts at staff in Tesco in Gillingham this morning. Read more here.

2.12pm - International picture

Public Health Wales has confirmed six more people have died and another 113 cases have been reported, brining the country's total to 741 confirmed. 28 people have died.

In Spain, 665 victims died in one day taking their total to more than 4,000.

2.06pm - CPS announce coughing on key workers as common assault as 73-year-old shares her story

A 73-year-old woman was left scared and shaken after a gang of men taunted her with cries of “corona, corona” as they coughed over her.

Margaret Reeves had left her Beltinge home for a stroll along the Herne Bay seafront at about 3.30pm yesterday, before being confronted by the louts along a footpath near Hazelmere Drive.

Read more here.

1.25pm - Shepherd Neame ask 1,300 staff to step down

Brewery giant Shepherd Neame is asking 85% of its staff to go on 'furlough' as a result of the coronavirus crisis as it turns its focus on producing beers for supermarkets.

It is requesting around 1,300 people across its head office and pub staff step aside from their current roles on a temporary basis. Read more here.

1.02pm - Produced in Kent highlighting local food producers

New website will help point you in the direction of local food and drink suppliers
New website will help point you in the direction of local food and drink suppliers

A website has been set up to highlight which local food and drink producers are still operating during the coronavirus lockdown.

Produced in Kent, an organisation which champions local suppliers, hopes helpkentbuylocal.co.uk will allow many producers to keep trading successfully during the challenging period. Read more here.

12.37pm - barista doing her bit

Coffee chains may now be shut but one barista is still busy refuelling the nation's army of key workers.

Christine Kelly, 55, is delivering food and drinks to frontline staff operating from the Acorn and White Oak business parks in Dartford and Swanley.

Read more here.

12.14pm -nurse is returning to work

A former nurse is returning to the frontline to help battle the coronavirus outbreak - and is encouraging others to do the same.

Debbie Higgs will be working in the critical care unit at the QEQM hospital in Margate. Read more here.

11.52am - Scally guarantees wages

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has confirmed that staff wages will be honoured in full this month.

The pressure on finances during the football shutdown has been immense and Championship side Birmingham City have asked their players to take wage deferrals. Read more here.

11.15am - train graffiti

The graffiti on the Southeastern train
The graffiti on the Southeastern train

Graffiti has appeared on a train in Kent urging people to stay at home to support the NHS amid the coronavirus crisis.

The message was sprayed on the carriage at Ramsgate, with a group of youngsters being blamed. Read more here.

11.06am - big plans on hold

Controversial plans to give Canterbury high street a £630,000 facelift have been put on hold because of coronavirus. Read more here.

10.27am - routine dentist appointments cancelled

Health chiefs have scrapped all non-urgent, routine dental care as they fight to halt the spread of coronavirus.

In a letter to dentists, including those at surgeries across Kent, NHS England announced an immediate halt to all appointments which can be safely postponed and ordered new cases to be assessed by telephone rather than in person. Read more here.

10.18am - binmen defended

Serco workers collecting bins on Albert Street, in Whitstable
Serco workers collecting bins on Albert Street, in Whitstable

The boss of a crew of binmen pictured standing close together has defended his staff - who had "briefly forgotten" about the new coronavirus social distancing restrictions.

A photo of the Serco workers taking a break in Canterbury after a "tough shift" was shared on social media yesterday. Read more here.

9.53am - Macknade update

A popular food shop is to stop retailing at its branch in Ashford.

Macknade Fine Foods, based on the Elwick Place development, opened that branch only last month, having run a shop in Faversham since 1979. Read more here.

9.40am - changes to bus timetables

A reduced bus timetable will be introduced across Kent in a matter of days as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stagecoach South East has dropped a number of its services in response to government restrictions on non-essential travel. Read more here.

9.30am - Brexit extension?

Hauliers say they want an extension to the Brexit deadline because the focus on the coronavirus crisis is leaving too little time to implement legislation needed.

The Freight Transport Association says the challenges to the industry posed by Covid19 will make the effective implementation of any new legislation impossible in the short term. Read more here.

9.06am - Folkestone Coastguard warning

The Folkestone Coastguard shared a warning from the national office on their Facebook page, advising people to stay away from the beach.

It comes after the service received a number ofcalls reporting groups of people on beaches across the UK, despite government warnings to stay at home because of COVID-19.

Pete Mizen, assistant director for HM Coastguard said: “The rules are very simple and can be found on the Government website. Stay at home. The risk of spreading coronavirus is huge and while you might be okay, the person you give it to may not. And if you get into trouble and have to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, you’re then putting frontline emergency responders at risk of COVID-19 too.

“At this time of the year the beaches aren’t lifeguarded which is a double risk to you and our emergency responders. Help us to help you. Stay at home.”

8.07am - nurse's anger at Southeastern

Kirsty Wickenden, A&E nurse from Tunbridge Wells
Kirsty Wickenden, A&E nurse from Tunbridge Wells

A front line NHS nurse working in the fight against the coronavirus says she feels let down by rail operator Southeastern for changing its prices.

Kirsty Wickenden, 35, works in A&E at a central London hospital and lives in Tunbridge Wells. Read more here.

7.45am - 6 ways the virus crisis will change Kent forever

As the coronavirus outbreak forces people across Kent to change the way they live their lives, leading business forecaster Professor Richard Scase predicts how the county will adapt when we emerge from the outbreak. Read more here.

7.20am - national headlines this morning

Military planners are thought to be examining locations suitable for more makeshift hospitals

London's ExCel centre is alreadybeing converted into a field hospital, but it is thought 10 more sites around the UK are being looked at.

Dyson has designed a new ventilator to help with the pandemic. Owner James Dyson says he is now just waiting for approval from regulators after his engineers have worked on it solidily.

7.11am - pregnant mum's heartbreaking video

A heavily pregnant mum-of-three "fighting for her baby's life" after contracting coronavirus has shared a heartbreaking video from her hospital bed.

Struggling for breath, Karen Mannering, from Herne Bay, fights back tears as she tells how she has been ill for two weeks and now has pneumonia in both of her lungs. Read more here.

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