News / coronavirus

Coronavirus live updates, March 31 2020: people heeding advice to stay home

By bristol247, Tuesday Mar 31, 2020

People are heeding the advice to stay at home and there are early signs that it is keeping pressure off the NHS, says the UK’s chief scientific advisor.

Sir Patrick Vallance told a news conference that social distancing measures are “making a difference”, as there are currently 9,000 people in hospitals in England with coronavirus, up from 6,000 on Friday.

Scroll down for the latest updates:

5.56pm
That’s the end of our live blog for today. See you tomorrow.

5.50pm
In today’s news:

  • Bristol mayor Marvin Rees has announced that from today, schools will be contacting families who qualify for free school meals about a new voucher scheme. The vouchers give families £15 per week for groceries.
  • A dedicated telephone hotline has been launched in Bristol to help the city’s most vulnerable citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Eat Drink Bristol Fashion is postponed until May 2021. Upfest, which was due to take place from May 30 t0 June 1 has also been postponed.
  • The University of Bristol has announced that more than 220 final year medical students will qualify early to help the NHS with the coronavirus pandemic.

5.45pm
More details have been announced about Bristol City Council’s new voucher scheme.

Families will receive weekly vouchers of £15 to use to buy food for children from major retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrison’s, Waitrose and Marks & Spencers.

More than half of the city’s schools have already joined the initiative but some have chosen not to.

Parents and carers will this week receive letters from their school advising on how to download their vouchers, allowing them to go online and select one of the retailers to shop with. The voucher will be instantly sent to their email address, allowing them to download it to their smartphone or print it out for use instore.

For families or carers without email addresses or smartphones, schools can redeem vouchers on their behalf, to be printed and distributed by hand or tracked post.

They will initially receive vouchers totalling £45, taking into account the three weeks up to the end of the Easter holiday period.

5.20pm
Professor Stephen H Powis says that the public “are following Government advice”, with evidence shown through the effects of using less public transport. He also highlights that the number of new infections has plateaued, but that these are “only green shoots”.

5.13pm
Michael Gove says that NHS capacity is increasing and that the first of thousands of ventilators will arrive in hospitals from early next week. Airbus, which is partly based in Filton, is one of the manufacturers.

4.47pm
Bristol mayor Marvin Rees has announced that from today, schools will be contacting families who qualify for free school meals about a new voucher scheme. The vouchers give families £15 per week for groceries.The first vouchers will have three weeks worth of credit.

He also notes  the slight rise in hate crime towards Chinese and South East Asian communities, as well as  abuse towards police officers and health service practitioners, saying that this “is not acceptable”.

3.19pm
TAPforBristol still need help to support the city’s homeless.

2.49pm
IndieMap is showing which Bristol independents are still delivering:

1pm
The University of Bristol has announced that more than 220 final year medical students will qualify early to help the NHS with the coronavirus pandemic. They are likely to start work at the end of April.

12.16pm
A dedicated telephone hotline has been launched in Bristol to help the city’s most vulnerable citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.

The We Are Bristol support phone number, 0117 352 3011, went live today. 30 call handlers will be available initially during office hours (8.30am-5pm, Monday to Friday) to provide support for people with a wide range of needs, including obtaining food supplies, other essential items and medication. They can also help arrange follow-up support with different organisations.

Marvin Rees, mayor of Bristol, said: “The hotline is in place to ensure we have a non-digital way for our most vulnerable residents and those at risk to access the help they may need, wherever we can. The coronavirus pandemic means many of us are worried, anxious and need help.

“Here in Bristol we have volunteers who are waiting to help you – when you most need it. We hope to move the hotline to a seven day operation soon. Anyone concerned about feeling isolated, getting food, essential items or medicine they need could benefit from the phone line. Even if you simply need someone to walk your dog or a person to talk to once a week. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.”

12pm
Bottle Yard Studios has posted on Instagram about a new fund which will become available for anyone in film and TV for anyone who has lost work due to Covid-19.

11.47am
Upfest, which was due to take place from May 30 t0 June 1 has been postponed, with the organisers saying: “In light of the current situation and Bristol City Council’s announcement last week, we will now be working with them to secure a date for rescheduling this year’s Upfest.”

The festival’s crowdfunding campaign was due to end on April 5, but this has been extended indefinitely.

11.07am
The University of Bristol have postponed all summer graduations. They were due to be held between July 17 and 24. New dates for graduation have not yet been announced.

11am
Bristol Libraries are hosting an online Story Time today at 2pm.

10.56am
Bristol mayor Marvin Rees will be hosting a coronavirus Q&A tomorrow evening at 6.30pm

10.35am
Great British Bake Off contestant and Bristol baker Briony May shares a message for NHS staff.

10.30am
There are now 92 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Bristol, according to Public Health England.

9.41am
Eat Drink Bristol Fashion is postponed until May 2021. The organisers say “the health and wellbeing of the Bristol community has to take priority over all else. In what is an extremely challenging time for so many, we look forward to bringing everyone together in 2021 to celebrate Bristol’s food and drink culture”.

9.19am
We want your content! If you have been getting creative while on lockdown, read more about how to get your work on Bristol24/7 here.

8.45am
If you’re looking for some positivity, check out some of Bristol24/7’s latest stories. There’s a new voluntary group making scrubs for NHS staff, a Bedminster design agency that has made a positive coronavirus news website, the nightclub owners offering their space to charity and the Indian restaurant cooking meals for those working in hospitals.

6.30am
Welcome to today’s live blog where we will be bringing you the latest news as it happens from across Bristol.

In the latest news:

  • EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet of aircraft due to the pandemic.
  • Some 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to work to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak
  • Hospital admission data suggests coronavirus cases are not rising as fast as feared.

Main photo by Martin Booth

Read more: Closed Indian restaurant continues to cook for NHS staff

Related articles