Coronavirus updates for Essex on Gateway 97.8

Welcome to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) page, which is regularly updated. Even though the government briefings have ended, we are still bringing you the latest news on air, alongside a Coronavirus Update at 6pm every weekday evening, which has been running daily since March.

For the Gateway Response page, click here.

Here’s the latest Coronavirus Update with Johnny Jenkins:

Johnny is on air every weekday evening at 6pm and on Sunday mornings from 9-12 with the latest news.



There have been 429 deaths from the coronavirus at Basildon and Thurrock Hospital, a total which has risen by 16 in the 7 days until 3rd December. Our thoughts are with the friends and family suffering from their loss. You can find the latest NHS figures by clicking here.


The trend of coronavirus cases in Basildon is upward. The rate per 100k resident population is at 304 (As of 3rd December). This is the highest rate in the East of England and one of the highest rates nationally.

The trend of coronavirus cases in Thurrock is downward. The rate per 100k resident population is at 193. (As of 3rd December)

Both of these areas have case numbers above the national average and the Essex average.

You can find the latest government figures by clicking here.


The whole of Essex will be in tier 2. This means that shops will be open, but household mixing indoors is banned.

If you experience a cough, fever or change in smell/taste, then you should isolate for 14 days and book a test.

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

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


Schools, universities and colleges are open, in line with government guidance. Contact your school for the latest advice. For the latest government advice, visit the government website by clicking here.


Shops have now re-opened, in line with government guidance. At indoor shops and shopping centres, you must now wear a face covering.

Basildon Market is open every day from Thursday 3rd December up to and including Christmas Eve. We encourage you to support local businesses.


You must wear a face covering if you travel on public transport:

Local events

During the coronavirus pandemic, we have suspended our Kelly’s Diary events service. Danny Lawrence explains:

The Towngate Theatre, in Basildon, has postponed all shows for the foreseeable future. Shows are being rescheduled. The popular winter pantomime has also been postponed. 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. 

Registration is 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:


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:

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.

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

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.

Click here for Gateway Response!