Coronavirus updates for Essex on Gateway 97.8

Welcome to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) page, which is regularly updated. We are still bringing you the latest news on air, alongside a Coronavirus Update at 5:30pm every weekday evening, which has been running daily since March 2020.

For the Gateway Response page, click here.

Here’s the latest Coronavirus Update with Johnny Jenkins:

1st March

Johnny is on air every weekday evening at 5:30pm and on Sunday mornings from 9-12 with the latest news.



488 Basildon residents have died with COVID-19, a total which has risen by 6 in the past week (until 1st March).

433 Thurrock residents have died with COVID-19, a total which has risen by 4 in the past week (until 1st March).

Our thoughts are with the friends and family suffering from their loss. You can find the latest government figures by clicking here.


The trend of coronavirus cases in Basildon is decreasing. The rate per 100k population is at 65.7. (As of 1st March).

The trend of coronavirus cases in Thurrock is decreasing. The rate per 100k population is at 109.6. (As of 1st March).

Both of these areas have case rates below the national average.

Hospital admissions across Mid and South Essex (Basildon, Broomfield and Southend) are down 28.3% on last week (as of 21st February).

You can find the latest government figures by clicking here.


Across Mid and South Essex (Basildon, Broomfield and Southend), 318,887 vaccines have been distributed. 306,762 are first dose vaccines and 12,125 are second dose vaccines (as of 25th February)

These figures are updated weekly, on Thursdays. Data is available here.

Vaccines are currently being distributed. The oldest and those working in health and care will get the vaccine first. Your health provider will contact you by your normal method when your vaccine is available.


The UK is in lockdown, the government advice is to Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.

If you experience a cough, fever or change in smell/taste, then you should isolate for 10 days and book a test. Your social contacts should isolate for 10 days.

If you live in the Basildon borough, you are able to get a free asymptomatic COVID-19 test. For more information, click here.

Johnny Jenkins discussed the government guidance with Tim Sharpe, who is a part of the SAGE committee, which advises the government on emergencies:


Schools are operating online for all pupils, except key worker children and vulnerable children.

All children will not return to school until March, at the earliest.

Contact your school for the latest advice. For the latest government advice, visit the government website by clicking here.


As we are in lockdown, only essential shops are open. At indoor shops and shopping centres, you must wear a face covering.

Essential businesses at Basildon Market are open. Please wear a face covering if visiting. We encourage you to support local businesses.


You must wear a face covering if you travel on public transport. Non-essential travel is banned, as the UK is under a Stay At Home order.

Local events

During the coronavirus pandemic, we have suspended our Kelly’s Diary events service. If you have an online event taking place, please email [email protected]

The Towngate Theatre, in Basildon, has postponed all shows for the foreseeable future. Shows are being rescheduled. To get the latest Towngate information, listen to the weekly update on Drivetime on Fridays at 16:40.

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. 

For more information on the action group, click here.


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

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

Mental health and wellbeing

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

Be sure to check this page regularly for updates and for all the latest information, tune in to our Coronavirus Update every weekday evening at 5:30pm.

Click here for Gateway Response!