FOLLOW this live updates page to find the latest coronavirus advice, developments and announcements in the New Forest and Christchurch on Monday 16th March.


Have you got a story about the outbreak? Email us via or call 01425 613384. The latest government advice is here.

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  • PUBLIC Health England announced 53 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Hampshire County Council area as of 9am yesterday (Sunday), and five in the BCP Council area
  • A man with underlying health conditions has died at University Hospital Southampton after testing positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus
  • Hampshire County Council has advised vulnerable groups to get ready with day-to-day supplies and their usual medication
  • Popular annual event Christchurch Food Festival has been delayed by nearly four months


AT the new daily coronavirus press conference at Number 10, the public have been advised to start “social distancing” and avoid pubs, clubs and mass gatherings. No school closures yet or bans on activity.

Entire households should self-isolate for 14 days if a single member experiences symptoms (persistent cough and / or fever).

Most vulnerable groups – aged 70-plus, people advised to take flu vaccines, and pregnant women – urged to minimise their social contact.


THE number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK has climbed to 1,543 – up by 152 (11%) from yesterday when the total was 1,391, according to Public Health England.

As of 9am this morning, 44,105 people have been tested in the UK, of which 42,562 were confirmed negative and 1,543 were confirmed as positive.


CALSHOT RNLI has shut its lifeboat station doors to the public in a bid to protect its volun-teer lifesavers.

The closure of the base, at the Calshot Activities Centre, off Jack Maynard Road, was an-nounced on the RNLI Calshot Lifeboat Facebook page on Saturday night.

“In order to reduce the risk of infection to our operational team, and to ensure we can main-tain our lifesaving service, we have taken the decision to close the lifeboat station to the public,” the post said., The situation will be reviewed on a “two-weekly rolling basis”.


THE popular Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum, off Bashley Cross Road on the edge of New Milton, has announced it will only open at the weekend until further notice.

post on its Facebook page said: “This decision has been made due to the coronavirus outbreak. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Sammy Miller’s motorcycle museum

As reported in the A&T, bookings are down by half for some tourism businesses in the New Forest as the coronavirus scares off visitors, according to Anthony Climpson, chief executive at tourism group Go New Forest. Full story here.


A MAN with underlying health conditions has died at University Hospital Southampton after testing positive for Covid-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.

The man was 69, said University Hospital Southampton

A hospital spokesperson said: “Sadly, we can confirm that a man who was being cared for at University Hospital Southampton and had tested positive for Covid-19, has died. The patient was aged 69 and had underlying health conditions.

“His family has been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult and distressing time.”


A SPECIAL meeting between police and Lyndhurst residents has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Hampshire police announced the Policing in your Community event at St Michael and All Angels Church in High Street will no longer take place on Wednesday 18th March. A new date will be announced later.


IN updated national coronavirus guidance, the government is recommending all education settings remain open unless they are directly advised to close by their local Public Health England health protection team.

Staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal, it said.

If anyone becomes unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home.


HAMPSHIRE police’s New Milton safer neighbourhood team has cancelled future beat surgeries at the town Hall in Ashley Road and at Costa Coffee in Station Road probably until May. However, an online opportunity to speak with officers is set to be announced soon.


THE Christchurch Food Festival, one of the biggest events in the town’s calendar, has been delayed by nearly four months over the coronavirus outbreak.

The popular celebration, which attracts crowds of thousands of people every year, has been shifted from 8th-10th May to the bank holiday weekend of 29th-31st August.

Crowds enjoy the Christchurch Food Festival

Organisers said it was a “very difficult decision” and thanked BCP and Christchurch town councils for agreeing new dates for the venue and road closure. Full story here.


BROADCASTER Dame Esther Rantzen revealed this morning (Monday) she is self-isolating at her Bramshaw home with her daughter.

Dame Esther, who is 79, told ITV show This Morning via Skype that she had cancelled a scheduled cruise to stay home in the New Forest as it was the “sensible thing to do”.

The mother of three added she was accompanied by daughter Emily (42), who has chronic fatigue condition ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis).

Dame Esther Rantzen at her home in Bramshaw when she spoke to the A&T in 2017

The founder of Childline said she was continuing to conduct meetings and make calls, adding she had made a “dawn raid” on her local grocery store to stock up on supplies for a fortnight.

She added: “I think we’re getting that Second World War feeling of pulling together. People are setting up online book clubs. I think this is a time where we can focus on the things we enjoy, such as music and comedy.”


THE following events have been cancelled:

  • Coach and Horses in Cadnam charity music festival on 9th-12th April for Helping Homeless Veterans UK and Southampton Doing it for the Kids
  • In Lyndhurst the parish council has confirmed cancellations of the St George’s day parade in April and Picnic on the Pitch to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day in May
  • Lyndhurst Parish Council has also decided to cancel its annual parish meeting due tomorrow (Tuesday)
  • Choral concert at Beaulieu Abbey on Saturday 28th March


HAMPSHIRE County Council has advised older people and vulnerable groups to prepare now for developments in the coronavirus outbreak. Full story here.

The authority said at-risk groups, including those aged 70-plus, should be prepared, along with their families.

HCC’s director of public health, Simon Bryant, said: “I would urge everyone to increase and enhance the same precautions they would take to keep themselves safe and well during flu season, with an emphasis on following the hygiene advice – particularly hand washing often and for 20 seconds.

Hampshire County Council HQ in Winchester

“We can also help the elderly and vulnerable in our families and communities to be prepared by making sure they have supplies of their usual medication and day-to-day items.”

At the weekend the government indicated people over 70 might be among those advised to self-isolate in the coming weeks to avoid catching the coronavirus, which has a more severe effect on older people.


TV LICENCE fee changes that would have required some over-75s to start paying the charge from 1st June have been delayed to 1st August.

In a joint statement the BBC and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “The BBC’s priority over the coming period will be to do everything we can to serve the nation at this uniquely challenging time.

“As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a vital role to play in supplying information to the public in the weeks and months ahead.

“Recognising the exceptional circumstances, the BBC Board has therefore decided to change the start date of the new policy. Our current plan is to now bring it into place on 1 August. We will of course keep the issue under review as the situation continues to evolve.”


FACE-TO-FACE assessments for all sickness and disability benefits will be suspended for the next three months, the government has announced.

The temporary move, effective tomorrow (Tuesday), is being taken as a precautionary measure to protect vulnerable people from unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus.

It affects claimants of Personal Independence Payment, those on Employment and Support Allowance and some on Universal Credit, and recipients of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

Work and pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “As we move into the next phase of our response to coronavirus, it is right we take steps to protect those with health problems.

“Temporarily suspending face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits will allow us to ensure we continue to provide a safety net for those in need, while removing unnecessary risk of exposure to this disease.”


THE following events have been cancelled:

  • New Forest Organ Society Dirkjan Ranzijn Concert on Tuesday 24th March and all other concerts until further notice
  • Milford Stamp Club annual auction on Saturday 21st March
  • Christchurch Priory’s 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with  Bryanston School’s St Nicolas Choir, Big Band and Choral Society on Wednesday 18th March
  • New Forest Players’ Curtain Up! at the performing arts centre at Ballard School, New Milton, has been switched from 1st-4th April to 15th-18th July
  • Barton Methodist Church table top sale on Saturday 28th March


The public session of the Verderers’ Court in Lyndhurst has been cancelled for Wednesday 18th March.

A spokesperson said this morning (Monday): “We feel this is a sensible precaution to take in view of the risks posed by Covid-19.”

The verderers office in Lyndhurst

The verderers still intend to meet in closed committee. Anyone intending to make a presentment can send their text by email, to be received no later than 4pm tomorrows.

Announcements, presentments and the animal accident report will be published on the website


LYMINGTON and Pennington Town Council has cancelled the annual town meeting which was due to be held at the town hall on Wednesday 18th March as a precaution against spreading the coronavirus.

Lymington and Pennington Town Council offices

A spokesperson said: “We will aim to hold this meeting again at some point in the future and will let you know the revised date when we are in a position to do so.”

The meeting is usually when the new town mayor is elected and gives residents the chance to raise concerns to councillors.

The announcement did not include whether other meetings would go ahead. The next is the amenities committee on 30th March.


THERE was a record season-high crowd at Bashley Road, near New Milton, as fans turned to their local teams after the English Premier league was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It was the home side that took the bragging rights as Bashley FC won 3-1 against Brockenhurst FC. Full match report here.

Harry Morgan of Bashley on the ball

The game attracted an attendance of 339 which surpassed the previous 241 high for 2019/20 set by Fleet Town in September.

There were also increases in attendance at Christchurch which opened their doors to 143 fans. New Milton Town had 84 people at their clash with Whitchurch United.


The Sydenhams Wessex League has called an emergency managerial board meeting tonight (Monday) to discuss whether they should postpone upcoming league games due to the coronavirus.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at 7pm and follows the FA’s decision to postpone Premier League and Football League fixtures until 3rd April.

Wessex League games went ahead this weekend with record crowds turning out for the matches. The league has already banned handshakes between officials and players before and after the games.

The Hampshire League, which include Lyndhurst FC, is pressing ahead with its fixture list

The Hampshire League, which includes New Forest clubs Sway and Lyndhurst, has decided to continue its fixture list as usual after sending out an update this morning.

HPFL representative Paul Proctor said: “The league fixture list will continue but, if a club has a situation that it thinks wise not to proceed with a game, then they will be allowed to postpone without facing a charge of failing to fulfil a fixture.”


THE Regent Centre in Christchurch has warned customers its scheduled line-up is likely to change amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In an email to patrons this morning (Monday) general manager Matthew Vass-White said the venue remained open and it was “taking all the precautions recommended to our industry and where possible exceeding these in light of current events”.

Regent Centre
The Regent Centre in High Street, Christchurch

But he added: “As a result, our schedule and line-up is subject to change so if you regularly use our printed marketing content to plan, we’d recommend that you check our website for the most accurate listings information.

“Should any event be subject to postponement or cancellation, we’ll be in contact with our ticket purchasers directly as soon as we’re able with the next steps.”

To find out more go to


THE Men’s Shed project in Ringwood has been forced to shelve a weekly meet-up due to the spread of coronavirus.

The man behind the project, ex-Ringwood mayor Tim Ward, set up weekly Thursday meetings at the town’s Conservative club for people interested in joining the project.

But this morning (Monday), he confirmed: “In view of the rapidly changing situation with the coronavirus we have decided it would be irresponsible to go ahead with the weekly meetings in the Conservative Club.

“Sadly, they are postponed until further notice.”


DEVELOPER Pennyfarthing Homes has postponed a public consultation event over proposals for 173 houses off Brockhills Lane in the green belt on the edge of New Milton.

The event had been planned for Monday 23rd March at New Milton Community Centre before an application is formally submitted to New Forest District Council.

A spokesperson for Pennyfarthing Homes said: “We are disappointed to have to postpone the public exhibition as we were looking forward to sharing our plans, which we believe will be an exciting new development for the local community. However, we feel it is the right thing to do.

“At present advice provided by the government and Public Health England does not recommend that gatherings such as a public exhibition be postponed, but we wanted to be proactive and do our bit to reduce and avoid any risk, however small it may be.”

Brockhillls Lane
The site outlined in red off Brockhills Lane (pictured centre), running north to south

She added: “We are conscious of members of the local community possibly feeling uneasy about attending events like these under the current circumstances, and we do not want them to feel excluded from the process.”

Residents can instead ask questions and leave comments on the consultation website or post back, without charge, the comment card circulated with a leaflet to residents.

The spokesperson added: “We will be monitoring the situation as it unfolds over the coming weeks and we will be updating the community on further developments in due course. Rest assured the public exhibition will go ahead at some point, hopefully later this spring.”


Hampshire and Dorset police and crime commissioner elections that were due to take place in May will be postponed until May 2021, the government confirmed last week.

A government spokesperson said the decision – which includes all local elections around the UK – was taken following advice from its medical experts in relation to the response to the coronavirus and the advice of those delivering elections.

Michael Lane
Michael Lane, Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner

Legislation will now be brought forward to postpone the elections for 12 months. Further details will be set out in due course.

It means Michael Lane will remain as Hampshire PCC for a further year. He was due to stand down after being deselected by Hampshire Conservatives.

Independent Martyn Underhill is the PCC for Dorset. He was also due to stand down after deciding not to seek reelection having served two terms.


LYNDHURST Drama and Music Society has decided to postpone its performance of Life of Riley until the autumn.

The show had been scheduled for 23rd, 24th & 25th April at the Vernon Theatre in Lyndhurst.

A society spokesperson said some of the performers’ age put them in the “high risk” category, as well as members of the audience.

She said: “This is the best course of action for us to take to control with the current situation and within the government health lines. This unpredictable scenario is too high risk to continue with our production at present.”


THE Coates Centre, at Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington, has suspended its programme of support services for people living with long-term illness, and their families.

In a Facebook statement on Friday it said: “Please be advised that due to the current situation regarding the coronavirus, our Coates Centre services and programme has been suspended until further notice.

Oakhaven Hospice
The Coates Centre services have been suspended

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you. This decision came after much consideration and is for the protection of our vulnerable patients, visitors, staff and volunteers.

“Please be assured we will open services again as soon as we feel it is appropriate to do so.”


PUBLIC Health England (PHE) has announced 53 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Hampshire County Council area as of 9am yesterday (Sunday), up from 15 on Thursday.

In the BCP Council area the number rose from three to five over the same period.

Nationally, the number of confirmed cases stands at 1,391, up by 330 on the day before. PHE said there have been 35 deaths.