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Domestic abuse fear in coronavirus clampdown

Devon and Cornwall Police and victim support agencies are warning that more people may experience domestic abuse, as we are encouraged to self-isolate at home.

Abuse generic
Getty Images

But they're keen to reassure communities that victims will still have access to support services.

Supt Sharon Donald, from Devon & Cornwall Police, said: “Sadly, as schools close and home working is encouraged, Covid-19 may cause a rise in domestic abuse."

Live Chat is a web-based support service that will be available to victims in Devon and Cornwall 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The service is anonymous, confidential and free to use. To access it visit Victim Support or Victim Care.

Victim Support will still offer telephone support on 0808 031 8178.

In addition to the web chat facility, other channels for victim support are still available.

Victim Care can be contacted on 01392 475900 from 08:00 to 20:00 on Monday to Friday and 09:00 to 17:00 at the weekend.

Three more people die of coronavirus in Devon

BBC Radio Devon

A further three people have died in Devon after testing positive for coronavirus.


Latest figures show two people died at Torbay Hospital on Saturday and one person died at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on Friday.

The total number of deaths in Devon now stands at 12 and seven in Cornwall.

Staying 'local' could save lives, says police chief

BBC Spotlight

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer

A police chief has spoken out to try and urge people to stay "local" this weekend and save lives.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer told the BBC he could not have "1.7 million adults and children deciding this weekend to drive to beauty spots and beaches".

He is asking people not to drive anywhere this weekend unless it is necessary and to not drive somewhere for their session of exercise.

"Local means local - stay local at home and stay socially responsible. This is about saving human lives, it's that serious.

"If you're driving somewhere, that is not in the spirit of what is intended."

The chief constable said he was "concerned" about maintaining law and order during this time.

"The day that I issue a ticket or have to arrest people... is a very sad day. If it's needed I will do it, but I want that to be our last resort, not out first."

Delivering glasses to the vulnerable

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

Adam Matthews
Matthews Opticians & Hearing Care

An opticians has been delivering glasses and prescriptions to vulnerable people who are unable to leave their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Matthews Opticians and Hearing Care in Helston, Cornwall, has been providing free delivery in and around the area to people who are unable to collect their glasses.

Director Adam Matthews said the surgery is also providing glasses for essential workers or those in isolation who would be "vulnerable" without their glasses.

In isolation "patients are relying more heavily on their senses" he said.

"We had to get some sort of way of getting these glasses out."

Adam Matthews
Matthews Opticians & Hearing Care

Urgent recruitment drive for Cornwall carers

Johanna Carr

BBC News Online

Cornwall Council is leading an urgent recruitment drive for carers to work looking after some of the region's most vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis.

The local authority said it was mobilising as many workers as it could spare but said more people would be needed.

Councillor Rob Rotchell said: "We are currently in the process of increasing the capacity of beds in our care sector to make sure that people are able to leave hospital much quicker."


Mr Rotchell said 30 employees from the council-owned company Corserv had already been redeployed and more would join them next week.

He said: “We now need as many people in Cornwall as possible to think about how they can help.

"A large number of people have already registered their interest and availability to help with Volunteer Cornwall, which is great to see, and we are working closely with them to see how many of those people could help in the care sector, with many paid roles available.

"We are now asking any of you who are currently unemployed or have time to spare to think about whether you could help people in their time of need.

"There is also a strong message for anyone who has worked in care before, now is the time to rejoin. We need you.”

To find out more go to

Officers redeployed to frontline policing

Johanna Carr

BBC News Online

Devon and Cornwall Police is redeploying staff to frontline policing as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The force said 125 officers had so far been redeployed from back office roles including 40 who would be handling phone calls and sergeants being given custody training.

Police cars

Devon and Cornwall Police said more incidents would be handled over the phone to reduce the risk to staff and the public of spreading the virus.

The public were asked to be patient as the force may take more time to follow up reports relating to lower-level crimes but the force said there were "no types of crime which we will not respond to or log and we will not stop arresting people".

Since the stay at home measures were introduced the force said it had seen a significant reduction in reports of some crimes, such as those related to the evening and night-time economy and motoring, while domestic abuse had increased.

A spokesman said: “Requests for police attendance and the investigations of crimes will be ranked on a basis of the threat, risk and harm and will be responded to proportionately.

“When policing is under strain, from either demand or capacity issues, some services will have to be reduced – such as historic investigations that have a low risk attached to them.

"We will always focus on core policing and serious and violent crime.”

Members of the public are asked to think twice before they contact the force so officers are able to respond to the most pressing matters.

Coronavirus: Summer weather may change spread of virus

David Braine

Weather Forecaster

We have had several emails asking if the weather or climate can affect the spread or severity of coronavirus and whilst information on this new disease is very sparse we can look at how the weather has affected similar viruses in the past and try to make some observations.

Coronavirus graphic

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease that moves from human to human in a similar way to other viruses such as seasonal flu or coughs and colds, it is spread in mucous or water droplets from coughs, sneezes, and breathing from one person to another, and there are a variety of theories as to how long it can survive on a surface outside of the human body.

Seasonal flu or influenza has affected the human population for thousands of years, typically being more virulent in the world’s temperate regions, and more specifically in the winter months of both the northern and southern hemispheres.

There is evidence that seasonal flu has a harder time spreading in hot dry countries, where the viruses living outside of the body struggle with high temperature and arid environments.

There are some studies from scientists from universities in China, who have examined how the coronavirus has been transmitted in several Chinese cities, and have concluded that “high temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce the transmission of Covid-19”.

The research also suggests that, as with many viruses, it may transmit more effectively between humans when humidity is low and the temperature is between 5C (41F) and 11C (52F).

At the moment the areas most affected by coronavirus lie between 30-50 degrees north of the equator and, as with seasonal flu, spring and summer could reduce the infection rate with higher temperatures and more UV light, which is known to have an effect on similar viruses.

No one has the answers as to what weather type can help or reduce the spread of Covid-19 but there are similarities to how seasonal flu behaves and there seem to be three critical factors:

  • Viruses live well within the body at approximately 37C (99F) - normal body temperature. During a fever the virus can be killed which is the body’s response to the infection, normal flu viruses survive and transmit better outside the human body at a much lower temperature and level of humidity.
  • Those who live in temperate regions tend to spend a lot of the winter time indoors and in close proximity to each other thus aiding the spread of viruses
  • Vitamin D may play a part in the human immune system to fight viruses, in winter time when the sun is low in temperate regions and people spend more time indoors they typically get less sunshine and therefore make less vitamin D, and that might reduce the immune system.

There are no clear answers as to whether Covid-19 conforms to other types of virus that we know more about, and how much impact the weather will have on it, but sunshine does bring benefits to the immune system in the production of vitamin D, and a higher temperature may help control the survivability of the virus on surfaces.

So heading into spring and summer the sunshine may have an impact on the virus and how we cope with it.

Council supports crisis groups under huge demand

Charley Adams

BBC News Online

Cornwall Council has contributed £100,000 to support community groups, which are in high demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Council staff have been working with the community and voluntary sector to help the residents of Cornwall who are most vulnerable during the crisis.

As a priority, staff have been working with central government and local partners to ensure community hubs are ready to respond where needed.

As the pandemic has developed, the council has seen huge demands placed on crisis groups such as Foodbank, homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

To help ensure these groups can continue to support vulnerable residents, Cornwall Council has contributed money to Cornwall Community Foundation’s Cornwall Coronavirus Emergency Appeal.

The foundation has taken a lead role in providing crisis support, offering small grants of £500 to £3,000 to organisations in Cornwall, to cover the additional costs of supporting people during the coronavirus crisis.

Domestic abuse campaign launched


A new campaign has been launched to tackle domestic abuse as cases are expected to increase due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and reassure victims that they will still have access to support services during the pandemic.

Police and victim support services have warned that domestic abuse may increase due to restrictions to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

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Police target beauty spots in push for exercising locally

Adam Durbin

BBC News Online

Police will be visiting "beauty spots" across the south west to inform people they must exercise in their local area, senior police officers have said.

Ch Supt Ian Drummond-Smith said officers would be patrolling beaches to "ensure everyone is following the new rules", following reports of "large gatherings" on Thursday.

The move follows the emergency legislation passed by parliament, but the legal status of driving to exercise remains unclear.

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Supt Adrian Leisk tweeted that officers would be visiting beaches and car parks today to "reinforce" the message that people should not drive for their exercise.

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Ever fancied putting the bins out in your ballgown?

Emma Thomasson

BBC Spotlight

Have you ever thought about doing the ironing in a party frock or mowing the lawn in a tuxedo?

Amid restrictions on movement - people are staying at home and wearing their finest clothes.

Dressing up at home is the new going out.

The "Put your bins out in your ballgown" group started in Cornwall...

Council leader warns of 'significant number of deaths'

Johanna Carr

BBC News Online

The leader of Cornwall Council has warned the authority is preparing for a "significant numbers of deaths in Cornwall" due to coronavirus.

Julian German said the council was making preparations in cemeteries for burials and setting up a temporary mortuary "to cope with additional pressure on the system".

He said: "We are making these arrangements in a calm and measured way and are not proposing to give further details at this time. However we would stress the gravity of these preparatory actions reinforces the message to all of our communities of the importance of observing social distancing."

Mr German said people should follow government instructions and stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

Council urges people to stay vigilant on beaches

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On their Facebook page Penzance Police warned driving to exercise at another location was not an essential journey.

Cornwall business grants 'to be paid in April'

Johanna Carr

BBC News Online

Grants of up to £25,000 will be paid to Cornish businesses in April to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

Cornwall Council said it would be contacting more than 25,000 Cornish businesses which are eligible for the government's financial support packages.

The local authority said it expects to receive the grant funding in early April and will make the cash immediately available to struggling businesses.

The council said there was no need to apply for the money and its staff would be in touch to check or obtain bank details.

Council leader Julian German said: “We are committed to helping our residents and businesses through this crisis."

County Hall

The following grants will be made available:

The Small Business Grant Fund will be available for those in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief. About 19,500 Businesses will receive £10,000.

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant will be available to about 5,600 businesses in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount:

  • Rateable value over £15,000 to £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000
  • Businesses with a rateable value over £51,000 are not eligible
  • Rateable value up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000

Police appeal for past employees to get in touch

Johanna Carr

BBC News Online

Devon and Cornwall Police is appealing for anyone who has previously worked for them to get in touch by 17:00 on Thursday.

People willing to offer their skills to help the fight against coronavirus are asked to email

Dorset Police is co-ordinating the response for both forces.

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Clap for our Carers at 20:00

Adam Durbin

BBC News Online

Medical staff holding signs
Samantha Rowe

People in the south west are being asked to take part in a collective round of applause to show their appreciation for all those working to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The picture above shows Derriford Hospital staff on Brent Ward holding up the message 'We stay here for you, please stay home for us'.

The Clap for our Carers campaign has organised for people across the UK to go outside and applaud health and social care workers together on Thursday at 20:00.

Please send us any video or pictures of yourselves or your friends and family via facebook or email at

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Newquay airport 'temporarily' closed

Adam Durbin

BBC News Online

Newquay Airport

Newquay airport has been "temporarily" closed with all scheduled flights suspended, the airport has announced.

The aerodrome will stay open to support "vital services", including Cornwall Air Ambulance, HM Coastguard Search and Rescue and military operations.

Staff will be redeployed throughout Cornwall "where possible" to support the wider response to the coronavirus pandemic, the airport said.

Coastguard warning over reports of people on beaches

Johanna Carr

BBC News Online

The coastguard has urged people to stay at home after getting reports of groups of people on beaches around the UK during the coronavirus lockdown.


Pete Mizen, assistant director for HM Coastguard, said: “The rules are very simple and can be found on the government website.

"Stay at home. The risk of spreading coronavirus is huge and while you might be okay, the person you give it to may not.

"And if you get into trouble and have to call 999 and ask for the coastguard, you’re then putting frontline emergency responders at risk of Covid-19 too."

Mr Mizen said beaches were not lifeguarded meaning there was extra risk to beachgoers and to emergency responders.

Resort's lodges now housing Cornwall doctors and nurses

Johanna Carr

BBC News Online

Landal Gwel an Mor
The lodges are self-contained and each have their own washing and cooking facilities

A resort in Cornwall is providing free accommodation to doctors and nurses working at the Duchy's main hospital.

The Landal Gwel an Mor resort in Portreath is 12 miles from the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske Truro.

The resort said doctors and nurses started moving in early this week, with the majority opting to leave their own homes to protect vulnerable family members.Matt Way, director of the resort, which has 114 lodges, said: “We felt compelled to do something proactive and positive, working as quickly as we could to help, this dire situation.

"With us sitting on empty lodges, we decided we needed to look into how we could support our local efforts, so offering accommodation to nurses and doctors at Treliske was the obvious answer.”

He said they had worked with the NHS around safety and cleaning procedures and the communal areas would remain closed.

Cornwall tourism businesses 'bombarded' by cancellations

BBC Radio Cornwall

Cornwall tourism chiefs have urged "patience and understanding" by visitors trying to get refunds for abandoned visits amid the coronavirus crisis.

Creative Commons

The government has advised people not to travel on holiday amid restrictions on movement.

"We have tremendous sympathy for our visitors who have had their holidays and breaks in Cornwall cancelled as a result of the current crisis," said Visit Cornwall.

"We feel for them... and we fully understand their worries and concerns regarding their deposits and booking payments."

Visit Cornwall, as well as "hundreds of tourism businesses" were "being bombarded with emails and calls from concerned customers".

Tourist destinations were facing laying off or furloughing staff as well as having no income themselves and no guarantee that their insurers would pay out due to the forced closure, it said.

In some cases businesses were "pushed" to say they would not refund.

Visit Cornwall asked people to "allow businesses reasonable time to cope with this situation".

It said "everyone" was "trying their best to resolve matters as quickly as possible".

"Put simply, businesses are struggling and almost all are in a position of ‘can’t pay’ and not necessarily ‘won’t pay’."

Customers are also asked to check with their personal travel insurance provider.

BreakingRNLI suspends beach lifeguard service

Miles Davis

BBC News Online


The RNLi has suspended lifeguard patrols at beaches around Devon and Cornwall due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A spokesperson said: "Following the Government’s instruction as of 23 March for people to stay at home and avoid gathering outdoors, the RNLI has made the decision to immediately pause the rollout of lifeguard patrols onto beaches."

The RNLI said it hoped to bring the service back "when the situation changes".

'Do not go surfing' - advice from Surfing England

Adam Durbin

BBC News Online


The national governing body for surfing in England has advised surfers to avoid riding the waves during the lockdown.

Surfing England said surfers should "stay at home" to avoid putting themselves and others at risk with "non-essential travel".

The organisation said: "There may be a lucky few who can walk out their door and jump into the sea, but for the vast majority of us who need to travel to the beach, it should now be considered off limits.

"This is a tough call to make, but one we should all respect as we collectively fight the spread of Covid 19."

Under the new government restrictions outside exercise should only be done once a day, either on your own or with the people you share a house with.

Coronavirus could cost Cornish economy "as much as £2.4bn"

Polly Joke

The tourism ban triggered by the coronavirus outbreak will leave Cornwall’s retail sector in tatters, costing the local economy up to £2.4 billion this year, business leaders have warned.

Tourism bosses in the South West peninsular and other popular holiday destinations joined politicians in taking the unprecedented step last week of urging travellers and day-trippers to stay away amid concerns over the spread of Covid-19.

Kim Conchie, chief executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, said: "Tourism is 25%-28% of gross value added of Cornwall, and the visitor economy could be as much as £2.4 billion over the year. If people aren’t allowed to come, that money will be lost."

Pub local gives anonymous £100 donation

BBC Radio Cornwall


A kind anonymous note was posted through the letterbox of a restaurant on Sunday since it was forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The card sent to The Seaview Inn in Falmouth also contained £100 towards the cook's wages.

Boris Johnson said all cafes, pubs and restaurants had to close by Friday, except for takeaway food, to tackle coronavirus.

Within the card it said: "Thinking of you at this difficult time - that last evening must have been tough.

"Don't know how best to support a much-loved local establishment, but here's some £ towards the cook's wages as a small gesture.

"We all need you to hang in there and come back as strong and fab as ever when the crisis is over."


BreakingPrince Charles tests positive for coronavirus

BBC News

The Prince of Wales has tested positive for coronavirus, Clarence House has confirmed.

Prince Charles, 71, is displaying mild symptoms "but otherwise remains in good health", a spokesman said.

The Duchess of Cornwall has also been tested but does not have the virus.

Police conducting stop checks on roads in Devon and Cornwall

Golf club offers car park to NHS staff and visitors

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

Truro Golf Club
Truro Golf Club

Truro Golf Club has closed its club house due to government guidelines on coronavirus and is offering about 100 free car park spaces to staff and visitors from the Royal Cornwall Hospital nearby.

A spokesman for the club said: "Hopefully this helps a little in these very testing times and thanks goes to all the NHS staff doing an amazing job."

Coronavirus: Tamar Bridge and ferry tolls suspended

BBC Radio Devon

Tolls are being suspended on the Tamar Bridge and Tamar ferries connecting Devon and Cornwall.

Tamar Bridge
Creative Commons

The move which takes place tonight is to "help reduce the spread of coronavirus" said bridge bosses.

The bridge saw 7,600 crossings up to 15:00 today, half the number it would normally get on a weekday in March.

The Tamar ferry has also seen a similar drop in vehicle volumes.

All Cornwall libraries closed

Johanna Carr

BBC News Online

All of the library sites in Cornwall are now closed until further notice, Cornwall Council has said.

The local authority said mobile library services would also stop and anyone with items on loan should keep them at home.


Coronavirus: Postcard bid to help self-isolating neighbours

Rebecca Thorn

BBC News Online

The coronavirus pandemic has seen many acts of people looking out for each other, inspiring one woman from the South West with the idea of creating a postcard to assist people looking after self-isolating neighbours.

Becky Wass, from Falmouth, Cornwall, hit the headlines with the idea, saying the idea came to her as she and her husband discussed ways to help

You can find out more here about how she came up with the print-at-home template.

Becky Wass coronavirus help postcard
Becky Wass

School staff given advice on how to stay 'virus free'

Claire Gilbody-Dickerson

BBC News

School staff should strip off and put their clothes in the wash as soon as they return from a shift where they have been in contact with children.

In advice sent by councils across the region, staff have been told they are less likely to get coronavirus from children coughing than from the surfaces they touch.

Washing machine
Getty Images

They have been advised to tie their hair back and take any jewellery off.

They should leave a black bin liner outside their house so when they return from work they can put their clothes straight in it and into the washing machine.

The advice is to then go straight to the shower and not touch any door handles. If that is not possible then all handles should be wiped down. Body and hair must be thoroughly washed with shampoo before they are "virus free".

All recycling centres in Cornwall closed

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

All 14 recycling centres in Cornwall are now closed until further notice in line with government guidelines relating to the coronavirus outbreak.The council said kerbside collections of waste and recycling would continue and asked residents to continue placing bags and recycling out at usual collection times.

Cornwall Council statement
Cornwall Council

Which businesses have been ordered to close?

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

The government extended the list of the types of businesses that must close due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The businesses told to close are:

  • all non-essential retail stores - this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities
  • communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms
  • places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families
  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers)

"We will enforce it" - Police chief on new restrictions

Johnny O'Shea

BBC News Online

The head of policing in Devon and Cornwall says he believes “very few people will break this wilfully” in relation to new coronavirus restrictions.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said there will be an increased number of patrols and his officers will approach people who are not following the new advice.

People are being told to stay at home except in specific circumstances deemed essential.

He said: “We now move to a new stage, the stage that we have seen in Europe. For the few people that wont abide by those key messages we will be challenging people on the street in a friendly Devon and Cornwall way. We really do need people to now listen and learn those messages and comply, and I think the majority will.

“Those that don’t, we will enforce it.”

Shaun Sawyer

It’s necessary, this is about saving lives. We have got to be discreet and professional.”

Shaun SawyerChief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police

Coronavirus: Ten of your most-asked questions answered

The UK government has introduced strict new measures to try and slow the spread of coronavirus. But what does the virus mean for your health? And what are the chances of you catching it?

Here are the answers to ten of the most common readers' questions.

Motorhomes 'move on to streets after coronavirus closures'

Richard Whitehouse

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Viewer's picture

Caravans and motorhomes which have been turfed out of holiday parks are now clogging up residential streets – and there’s little Cornwall Council can do about it.

After holiday parks shut their gates over the weekend – following a backlash against people who had decided to come to Cornwall during the coronavirus crisis – there have been reports of people setting up camp in residential streets.

Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council cabinet member for transport, said the council’s powers were limited in what it could do to tackle the problem.

He said: “We don’t have any powers to move people on unless they are parked illegally and there are yellow lines."

He added: "The ideal thing would be for the government to say ‘if you are on holiday, go home’ – that is the message that we need to get out there right now."

Truro & Falmouth MP Cherilyn Mackrory and St Austell & Newquay MP Steve Double supported this stance.

Ms Mackrory said: “Coming on holiday during this time to Cornwall or anywhere else is not necessary travel. My message to anyone considering travelling to Cornwall for a holiday at this time is simple: 'Do not come'."

Mr Double said: "This is first and foremost a medical and health crisis. We must not underestimate how serious this is and our first priority has to be to protect the public from this dangerous virus."

BreakingTwo more coronavirus patient deaths in Cornwall

Jenny Walrond

Health Correspondent, BBC Spotlight

Two more people with coronavirus have died in Cornwall.

The latest deaths bring the number of people with Covid-19 who have died to seven.

There are 20 reported cases of the virus in the county.

Former police ask to help during coronavirus crisis

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

The government has already appealed for retired and fromer NHS staff to come back to work to help during the coronavirus crisis.

But other former members of the emergency services area have also been willing to step forward, a senior Devon and Cornwall Police officer says.

Supt Ian Drummond-Smith said offers from retired officers and former special constables were "amazing" and staff on the force were "working on what we can do".

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