Coronavirus: Live updates on COVID-19 in the West Country

Credit: Katharine Grice

Welcome to the ITV News West Country coronavirus live blog for the week beginning 04 May.

Here you will find the latest information and updates regarding the pandemic.

We will also be highlighting some of the positive efforts being made by our local communities to support one another during the crisis.

Here are your headlines today

2.00pm - Coronavirus deaths increase by 20 in West Country hospitals

The total number of people who have died with coronavirus in the West Country now stands at 2022.

Of this latest total, 1041 people have died in hospital and 981 have died outside.

Friday 8 May

6.00pm - Six-year-old boy from Bristol who raised more than £280,000 for NHS Charities receives Prime Minister’s award

Credit: Family

Frank Mills, who has spina bifida, is following in the footsteps of his hero Colonel Tom by walking every day to raise money for the NHS.

Frank’s initial fundraising target of £99 - in honour of Colonel Tom’s age when he began - has been met nearly 3,000 times over.

Click here to

4.15pm - Road through Cheddar Gorge to shut for second weekend because of concerns over lockdown breaches

Credit: PA

The B3135 - also known as Cliff Road - rises up from through the dramatic scenery at Cheddar Gorge onto the top of the Mendips.

Last weekend the road was shut by police following reports of speeding drivers and people travelling long distances to the Gorge.

To put people off travelling there this weekend the road will shut from 6pm tonight (May 7) until 8am on Monday (May 11).

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3.30pm - Two-thirds of COVID-19 intensive care patients in Cheltenham and Gloucestershire's Hospitals have been discharged

Two thirds of COVID-19 patients who received intensive care at Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals have been discharged according to the local NHS Trust.

Clinicians say the high ratio of survival is a strong signal of success in response to the pandemic locally.

Gloucestershire has seen more people die with Covid-19 than any other county in the region, with more than 480 people passing away with the virus.

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2:00pm - Online Chiefs auction helps to raise £13,000 for NHS charity

Credit: Exeter Chiefs

The Exeter Chiefs Foundation has handed over a cheque in the sum of £13,000 to representatives of the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital Charity.

The money was raised from a week-long online auction, run by the club’s official charity, which saw numerous signed memorabilia collected by the club over the years put up for sale.

Signed shirts, training tops, together with international kit and shirts from rival clubs, were among the many items on offer.

Tony Rowe OBE, Chairman of the Exeter Chiefs Foundation, said:

“In these difficult times, I think it’s imperative that we do our utmost to support those people and those charities that are working on the frontline.

"It’s brilliant that not only the Foundation, the Chiefs, but our supporters, and supporters of rugby from all parts of the world have been able to raise such a brilliant sum of money.”

1:00pm - 'Carnage in the countryside' as lockdown affects West Country's food and drink producers

The owner of an award-winning farm shop near Exeter has warned of "carnage in the countryside among food and drink producers".

Michael Dart says businesses like his have been affected by a change in shopping habits.

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12:00pm - People from black backgrounds four times more likely to die from virus than people from white backgrounds, ONS finds

Credit: PA

People from black backgrounds in England and Wales are four times more likely to die from coronavirus than people from white backgrounds, new statistics suggest.

Research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that people from all other ethnic minorities - except women with Chinese ethnicity - were also more likely to die from Covid-19, compared to people from white backgrounds.

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10:00am - Devon and Cornwall authorities urge people to stay away this bank holiday

Councils, emergency services and organisations across the force area are pleading with holidaymakers and second home owners to avoid coming to the region.

The plea forms part of the #comebacklater campaign, which is calling for the nation to stop all non essential travel.

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9:00am - Drive-through testing unit to be set up in Gloucestershire by the Army

The unit will be open for five days, from today (May 7) until Monday (May 11) and will be based at the Oxstalls Tennis Centre in Gloucester. It will be erected and disassembled daily by the military.

People with symptoms of Covid-19 who are key workers and over-65s can attend the site.

Click here to

Thursday 7 May

5:00pm - West Country buses to trial new seating plans in line with social distancing

A new seating arrangement is being trialled to keep social distancing measures while travelling on buses.

First West of England has taped off areas to show passengers where they can and can't sit.

The company is preparing for an ease in lockdown measures, and trying to encourage more back on their vehicles after passenger numbers fell to 8% of their normal totals. Currently just 140 of their 600 vehicles are running.

Click here to see how journeys will be affected.

4:00pm - Councils plan to reopen recycling centers to stop fly-tipping

Many councils across the region are planning to reopen recycling centres after a rise in reports of fly-tipping.

Fly-tipping during coronavirus lockdown is up 76%, according to the dumping waste app ClearWaste.

To find out when your nearest facility is opening click here

2:00pm - Covid-19 deaths in the West Country pass 1,000

With the newest NHS England figures it can be confirmed the number of people who have died with coronavirus in our hospitals has passed 1,000.

1:00pm - New ICU ward opens for Covid-19 patients at Bath's Royal United Hospital

Credit: RUH

A new intensive care unit for coronavirus patients has been opened at Bath's Royal United Hospital.

The Pierce Intensive Care Unit, which took six weeks to build, has 14 beds available.

It means the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust now has space for 27 intensive care patients.

For the full story click here.

12:00pm - Hinkley Point workers test positive for Covid-19

Hinkley Point C is Europes biggest construction site and employs thousands of workers.

Five workers at Hinkley Point C have tested positive for coronavirus as work continues on construction of the new nuclear power station.

It comes as the site faced criticism in recent months for an alleged lack of social distancing among workers.

Unite the Union claimed individuals from different companies at the construction site had contracted the virus.

For the full story click here

11:00am - RNLI could put lifeguards back on West Country beaches

Credit: PA

The RNLI has announced it hopes to provide a lifeguard service over the summer on up to 30% of the beaches it usually covers - if government guidance allows it.

The rollout of the charity's normal seasonal lifeguard serviced ground to a halt in March when movement restrictions were introduced by the Government to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Since then the RNLI has been urging people to exercise caution when on our coasts, to stop any extra pressure on the lifeboat stations still in operation.

Click here for the full story.

10:00am - Royal Cornwall Hospital and Bristol Royal Infirmary feature on new Top Trump cards

Bristol Royal infirmary is one of the oldest hospitals in the UK. Credit: Winning movies UK

The Bristol Royal Infirmary and Royal Cornwall Hospital feature in a new special edition deck of Top Trump cards released to raise money for the NHS.

The cards are also being manufactured in the West Country by The St Austell Printing Company in Cornwall.

Read more on this here

8:35am - Single parents must not be forgotten, warns mothers from Bristol and Gloucestershire

Single mum Nehaya Zitawitold says she has been forgotten during the Covid-19 outbreak. Credit: ITV News West Country

Single parents say they feel they have been forgotten during the coronavirus outbreak.

They say it's a constant juggle homeschooling children while trying to earn money as well.

Read the full story here

8:20am - 'Don't forget about us' says Torquay care home after big rise in nationwide deaths

The home has had to rely on private purchases and donations to get enough protective equipment. Credit: Warberries Care Home

Bosses at a Torquay care home say they have been left to manage their response to Covid-19 alone, and are calling on the Government to make sure the sector is not forgotten.

Latest figures show 226 people died in the region's care homes in the last week.

Read more on this here

Here are your morning headlines

Wednesday 6 May

3:00pm - Newest figures show almost 2,000 people have died with coronavirus in the West Country

It was revealed today a further 17 people have died in South West hospitals as a result of coronavirus, and increase on numbers announced yesterday.

The total number of deaths in the West Country, including in hospitals, care homes and all other locations, is now 1,969.

1:30pm - Postponed Devon County Show has been cancelled

Credit: PA

The Devon County Show, which had been postponed until August following the coronavirus lockdown, has been cancelled.

The event was originally due to take place this month, before being moved to later in the year in the hopes lockdown rules would no longer be necessary.

However, organisers announced 'with regret' today that the show would not be taking place in 2020.

The next chance people will have to take part in the show will now be 21 and 22 May 2021.

11:30am - There's 'nowhere to hide' in lockdown warn Exeter police officers

Police officers at the Exeter Custody Centre have warned people that there is nowhere to hide in lockdown as they shared their most recent arrests.

Among those locked up were people accused of dealing drugs, driving under the influence and domestic abuse.

The information was shared in a tweet by the centre under the hashtag 'Themes of Lockdown.

The force reminded victims of domestic abuse that support is still available during lockdown.

If you need help or support for domestic abuse click here to see services available to you across the region.

11:00am - New stats reveal the total death toll across the West Country up to 24 April

8:55am - Review into how factors like ethnicity and gender affect vulnerability to coronavirus

The review will look into how different factors affect people's vulnerability to coronavirus. Credit: PA Images

A review will analyse how factors such as ethnicity, gender and obesity can affect people’s vulnerability to coronavirus, health leaders have said.

Public Health England (PHE) said thousands of health records of people who have had Covid-19 will be examined to establish more “robust” data on what can impact the number of cases and health outcomes for different groups within the population.

Find the full story here

8:50am - Whitchurch grandmother left feeling 'numb' and 'lonely' with grief after losing husband

Beryl Clark, who is in her late 80s, was told to self-isolate following the death of her partner of 15 years Ken March. Credit: Bristol Live

An elderly woman says she's been left feeling 'numb' and 'lonely' at home after her partner died from contracting Covid-19.

Beryl Clark, who is in her late 80s, was told to self-isolate following the death of her partner of 15 years, Ken March, on April 5.

Get the full story here

6:40am - Here are your morning headlines

Monday 4 May

5:00 pm - Airbus temporarily furloughs some staff at Filton

Airbus has announced this afternoon that it will be temporarily furloughing some staff at its Filton site.

The furlough periods will happen in two waves of three weeks and will involve around two thirds of the Engineering, Engineering Support and Support Function employees, which equates to approximately 1,500 people overall.

Meetings have been taking place this afternoon and the decision has been reached in agreement with its Trade Union.

3:00pm - NHS England release latest figures

The West Country has seen its lowest daily increase in the number of deaths recorded in our hospitals since March.

Five people have reportedly died with coronavirus in the past day.

Click here to see how your area is affected on our interactive map.

1:00pm - Elderly coronavirus survivor given round of applause as she leaves isolation

An elderly coronavirus survivor has been applauded by staff at her Cornwall care home as she left isolation.

86-year-old Rosemary left the isolation ward at St Martin’s in Camborne on Friday [May 1].

Rosemary, who wants to keep her surname private, had tested positive for coronavirus when she first arrived at the home 21 days ago.

She had previously been discharged from hospital following treatment for a non-virus related condition.

Click here for the full story.

12:00pm - Gloucester couple have virtual wedding thanks to the kindness of new friends

Like thousands of couples across the country, Amy Chapman and Pete Butler had to put their wedding on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But thanks to the kindness of people Amy had only recently got to know they were able to have a day they'll always treasure regardless.

It featured a trumpeter, a song written and performed by the groom and a performance from a singer many will recognise from a well known advert!

Click here for the full story.

11:25am - Bristol nurse to buy iPads for hospitals after spending final hours with dad as he died with coronavirus

Aimee said her Dad was a 'legend' Credit: Aimee Hilton

A Bristol nurse whose “legend” dad died with coronavirus is raising money to buy iPads for hospitals so families can be with loved ones in their final moments.

Aimee Hilton, who lives in Yate, has spoken about how difficult it was not being able to see her father while he was in the Royal Cornwall Hospital with Covid-19.

Read more on this here

11:20am - What will the UK's post-lockdown workplaces look like?

What might offices look like in a post-lockdown UK? Credit: PA Images

As the UK’s coronavirus cases begin to stabilise, calls for an end to the nation’s strict lockdown rules continue to grow.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to reveal a road map on Sunday, detailing exactly how restrictions will be eased in order for Britons to safely return to work amongst other things.

Get the full storyhere

8:30am - Camper van owner fined and sent home for travelling from Bristol to Devon

Trentishoe Common near Combe Martin on Exmoor. Credit: Devon Live

Police have fined a camper van owner who drove from Bristol to camp overnight at a Devon beauty spot over the weekend.

Lynton Police issued the fine for a breach of the Covid-19 regulations and sent the 'unhappy camper' back home.

Read more on this story here

7:40am - Yeovil car company pays tribute to NHS

The cars have been rearranged into a message of support for the NHS Credit: John Sugg

A Yeovil car company has paid tribute to the NHS for its efforts during the pandemic by spelling out a message of support using their vehicles.

West Country Cars used the vehicles in its stock, which have been sitting dormant since the company was forced to close amid the lockdown, to spell out the letters 'NHS' and a red cross to mark the work being done by health workers across the country.

John Sugg from the car retailer said he and his daughter moved all the cars themselves with no idea what it was going to look like from above.

7:30am - Here are your morning headlines

You can find our live blog from the week of 27 April here

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know