News / coronavirus

Coronavirus live updates, April 15 2020: Supporting each other as the lockdown continues

By bristol247, Tuesday Apr 14, 2020

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees will hold his weekly Facebook Live Q&A at 6.30pm today to update the city on the coronavirus pandemic.

The lockdown looks set to continue for a while longer, and Bristol24/7 will be reporting on all the changes as they happen.

5.32pm
Thank you for joining us today. See you again at 9am tomorrow.

5.24pm
Here’s a summary of today’s latest news:

  • NHS Trusts in the West of England will have more than £250m worth of debt written off.
  • The number of people applying for Bristol’s council tax reduction scheme has increased fivefold.
  • Tributes have been paid to a “kind-hearted and caring” Southmead Hospital worker who died after contracting coronavirus.
  • Portishead musician Geoff Barrow and Bake Off contestant Briony Williams are among the celebrities who have made videos to support the NHS.

5.18pm
The number of people applying for Bristol’s council tax reduction scheme has increased by more than 400 per cent as the financial impact of coronavirus takes its toll.

Since mid-March, the applications for reduced payments have gone from an average of around 100 a week to 642 in the past week.

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The means-tested scheme is open to householders who can show a change in circumstances have led to hardship, while Bristol City Council has said those who are immediately worried about payments will not be charged interest if they miss instalments throughout the crisis.

Speaking during a press briefing on Wednesday, mayor Marvin Rees spoke about the challenge of balancing the need to contain coronavirus with the “health price to be paid for the damage done to the economy”.

4.44pm
An Eastville couple is shouting their love for the NHS from the roof tops.

Luke Champion and Paula Clough both work for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and decided to make good use of scaffolding after getting their chimney fixed.

We Love NHS poster in Eastville. Photo courtesy of Luke Champion and Paula Clough

3.53pm
NHS Trusts in the West of England will have more than £250m worth of debt written off.

The move is part of government measures to scrap £13.4 billion of NHS debt across the country at a time when health care staff need all the support and funding they can get.

North Bristol NHS Trust will see £171m written off, Weston Area Health Trust more than £57m and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust more than £23m to help them invest in maintaining vital services and longer-term infrastructure improvements.

It comes as the government has been criticised for its response to the coronavirus crisis and, in particular, the lack of personal protective equipment and testing for frontline workers.

The West of England mayor Tim Bowles has welcomed the news, saying: “It means that the West of England’s NHS Trusts can concentrate on saving lives in the fight against COVID-19 and maintaining vital services rather than servicing old debts.

“Writing off more than a quarter of a million pounds of debt will help reset the finances for the West of England’s NHS hospitals, mental health and community services that are on the front-line of tackling the pandemic and put them on a stable footing for the future, when we have won this fight.”

2.20pm
People who are unsafe in their own homes are urged to seek support amid fears lockdown measures create a “perfect storm” for domestic abuse.

Police and specialist support services across Bristol are still in operation for anyone who needs them. Read the full story here.

2pm
Some beautiful artwork and Eva the police dog are helping spread an important message in Horfield:

1.24pm
Staff and students at Cotham School are making protective visors to support NHS workers on the frontline.

12.25pm
Teams of volunteers across Bristol are doing incredible work getting food supplies to those who need them.

11.10am
Tributes have been paid to a “kind-hearted and caring” Southmead Hospital worker who died after contracting coronavirus.

The heartbroken family of Maureen Ellington say she would light up any room she entered, adding that the much-loved wife, mother and grandmother would always be in their hearts.

The healthcare assistant at Southmead Hospital died in the early hours of Sunday morning after testing positive for coronavirus. She was in her early 60s.

Maureen worked for the NHS for more than 25 years and hospital bosses say she would always put the patients and colleagues before herself and always had a smile on her face. Read more here.

Family and colleagues have paid tribute to Maureen Ellington, a healthcare assistant at Southmead Hospital who died after contracting coronavrus. Photo courtesy of Southmead Hospital

10.32am
Members of the public are being asked for pictures, memories and anecdotes to help create a virtual gallery of Bristol’s museums and galleries.

Tweet your contributions with the hashtag #MuseumsUnlocked and tag the venue.

9.50am
Portishead musician Geoff Barrow and Bake Off contestant Briony Williams are among the celebrities who have made videos to support the NHS.

Sports stars, presenters and actors have all joined the campaign thanking those working on the frontline and urging people to stay home.

Dr Jon Hayes, a GP and chair of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) Clinical Commissioning Group,  said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the fantastic support we’ve had from people across BNSSG, from those who have volunteered their support, everyone who has come out to Clap for Carers on Thursday evenings and the positive messages of support people have displayed in their windows.

“It helps so much to keep spirits up at this challenging time and remind our health and care workers how much they are appreciated and supported.

“We’re also incredibly grateful to all the well-known people who have helped us to share the message of how important it is to stay at home and help to stop the virus from spreading.”

8.55am
Bristol City Council is set to hold remote council meetings via zoom from next week. Read the full story here.

8.45am
Good morning and welcome to Wednesday’s live blog.

Here is the latest news from Bristol and across the UK:

  • Prime minister Boris Johnson continues to recuperate at Chequers after being discharged from hospital.
  • From next week, Bristol City Council will hold public, political meetings via Zoom.
  • In response to the public health emergency, Colston Hall is reopening its foyer from today on select days to allow extra blood donation sessions to take place.
  • Bristol City Council will invest more than £9m into adult social care in the next three months to meet the increased demand placed on the service by the coronavirus pandemic.

Main photo: Martin Booth

Read more: Supporting mothers in difficult circumstances through the coronavirus pandemic

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