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Newborn baby found in shopping bag 'was less than an hour old'

A baby found in a shopping bag in east London "was less than an hour old" when she was discovered, police have said.

The little girl, who is safe and well, has been given a temporary name of Elsa. They believe she is a black or mixed-race child.

She was discovered near a junction in Newham on Thursday night by a dog walker who kept her warm with blankets until paramedics arrived.

The passer-by, who discovered Elsa after they heard her crying, "contributed to saving her life", police added.

Police do not yet know how long Elsa was in the bag before she was discovered, but believe she was found "reasonably quickly".

Temperatures dropped as low as -4C around London on Thursday night, the Met Office said.

Officers are still trying to trace the girl's mother, who they said will be in need of immediate medical attention.

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The force was called to the junction of Greenway and High Street South in Newham by a member of the public who was walking their dog at around 9.13pm on Thursday night.

Chief Superintendent Simon Crick of the Metropolitan Police, speaking at a press conference near where the baby was found, said: "I am delighted to report that she wasn't injured in any way and is safe and well in the care of hospital staff.

"I am grateful to the members of the public who stayed at the scene to speak with officers and medics - your actions contributed to saving the baby's life.

"Our thoughts now turn to the baby mother; we are extremely concerned for her welfare as she will have been through a traumatic ordeal and will be in need of immediate medical attention following the birth."

They urged the mother to contact officers by phone or by attending the nearest police station.

"Trained medics and specialist officers are ready to support her, and we urge her to get in touch," Mr Crick said.