Coronavirus updates for Essex on Gateway 97.8

Gateway 97.8 is keeping you safe and up-to-date with all the latest coronavirus news. We’re bringing you all the latest news all day, alongside an extra Coronavirus Update at 6pm every evening.

For the Gateway Response page, click here.

Here’s the latest Coronavirus Update with Johnny Jenkins:

We’re giving away radios to vulnerable members of our community in our On The Radio project. For more information on how to apply, click here.


There have been 273 deaths from the coronavirus at Basildon Hospital, making the hospital the worst-affected in Essex.

Basildon Hospital has stopped all non-time critical outpatient appointments

St Luke’s Hospice has set up a bereavement support line for those affected by coronavirus. For the full story, click here.

Johnny spoke to Gateway presenter, Ros Connors, who has experienced the symptoms of the coronavirus, but has not been tested:

Johnny spoke to Amy Martin about how to keep fit at home:


All schools in the UK have closed, except for children of Key Workers (health workers, delivery drivers etc.)

Essex County Council has released a statement regarding school closures. For the full story, click here.


Basildon Council has been providing grants to local businesses. For the full story, click here.

There are government grants available for some businesses – make sure Thurrock Council has your information. For the full story, click here.


Road usage in the county has reduced as Essex stays at home. For the full story, click here.

Rail operator, C2C is resuming its standard weekday timetable from Monday 18th May. C2C has asked customers to continue to avoid public transport if possible. 

Greater Anglia is running a reduced service. For the details, click here.

First Buses are running a reduced, Sunday service, for the foreseeable. There are earlier and later buses scheduled for key workers travelling to/from work. For info, click here.

Public spaces

The Essex Police Chief, BJ Harrington has thanked Essex for staying at home. For the full story, click here.

Country parks in Essex have closed. For the full story, click here.

Local events

During the coronavirus pandemic, we have suspended our Kelly’s Diary events service. However, if you have an event which has been suspended or altered, please email [email protected] with the information. Danny Lawrence explains:

All Basildon Council activity centres have been closed. For the full story, click here.

For the latest Thurrock information, click here.

The Towngate Theatre, in Basildon, has postponed all shows for the foreseeable future. Shows are being rescheduled. For the full story, click here.

Ros discussed this with Louise Frankton:

Many events have been cancelled:

  • The Thameside Theatre in Thurrock is to close, as Thurrock Council takes coronavirus action. For the full story, click here.
  • Billericay Swimming Pool, managed by First Strokes, has closed. For the full story, click here.
  • Essex County FA has postponed all competitions for three weeks. For the full story, click here.
  • Basildon Mayfest has been cancelled. The event was due to take place in May.
  • Basildon and Pitsea Carnival has been cancelled.
  • Basildon Pride has been cancelled

Essex Coronavirus Action group

The Essex Coronavirus Action is a collaboration between Essex County Council, The Essex Public Health Team, and local Facebook group owners to provide three main services during the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Registration is now open for any residents or businesses who want to volunteer in their local area. By using one of the links below:

Individuals –
Businesses –

For more information on the action group, click here.

Johnny spoke to Kirsty O’Callaghan from Essex County Council about the group:

Johnny also spoke to Paul Findlay, the co-admin of the Covid-19 Mutual Aid Basildon Facebook group:


Ros discussed coronavirus in New Zealand with Dr Michelle Dickinson:


All libraries in Essex have closed amid the coronavirus outbreak. For the full story, click here.


Essex County Council is providing accommodation for rough sleepers in Essex. For the full story, click here.


RSPCA is still rescuing and rehoming animals in Essex. For the details, click here.


Ros spoke to Katy Cole from Childline about increased demand for NSPCC services:

Johnny spoke to Laura Anderson about the effect of the coronavirus on pregnant women:

How should you tell your children about the coronavirus? Tyler spoke to Dave Traxson, from the British Psychological Society. For the interview and advice, click here.

NSPCC has warned that coronavirus creates a ‘perfect storm’ for abusers. For the full story, click here.


There’s a lot of misinformation around. For more info, click here.

Mental health and wellbeing

Isolation and social distancing can be a difficult time. If you are struggling, our friends at the Happy Hub have a lot of resources on their Facebook page. Just click here.

Johnny spoke to Carla Andrews, the Managing Director of Motivated Minds:

Ros discussed this with Mark Simmonds aka, Mental Health Mark:

Ros also discussed mental health with life coach, Pradip Mistry:

Johnny spoke to Lewis Baxter, who has set up a chat line – chitchat:

Johnny discussed the importance of chatting to neighbours with Andrew Nevitt from the Co-op:

London Southend Airport

London Southend Airport has released an operational update. For the full story, click here.

The Airport has donated care packages to the NHS. For the full story, click here.


Danny discussed coronavirus and its effect on the Easter Weekend with Rev Tim Brampton of St Martin’s Church:

Ros discussed the effect of coronavirus on the Muslim faith with Lady Sidra Naeem:

Political reaction

Basildon Council has launched an appeal for people to stay home. For the full story, click here.

The leader of Essex County Council has written a stark warning to residents. For the full story, click here.

Essex County Council has launched an urgent appeal for protective equipment. For the full story, click here.

For the latest Thurrock Council service information, click here.

Johnny discussed the coronavirus outbreak with the Mayor of Basildon. To hear the interview, click here.

Basildon Council has cancelled all council meetings and closed all activity centres. For the full story, click here.

Be sure to check this page regularly for updates and for all the latest information, tune in to our Coronavirus Update every evening at 6pm, following the daily government press conferences.

Click here for Gateway Response!