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England, United Kingdom

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Wiltshire 'ribbon of light' art installation finished
Artist Bruce Munro uses 66,000 CDs to create a huge public artwork to thank NHS workers.

Public health investigating social-life links to Covid-19 cases

Dorcan mail centre
BBC
Royal Mail said there had been two confirmed cases of coronavirus earlier this week at its Dorcan office

Public health officials are working to contain a "small outbreak" of coronavirus among workers at some of Swindon's biggest employers.

There has been one confirmed case at Honda and 14 spread across Royal Mail, the fire service, and XPO which runs Iceland's distribution centre.

It is believed all of the cases involve people catching Covid-19 outside of the workplace.

Contact tracers will be focussed on the victims' social life.

Public Health England described the numbers as not too concerning adding that local outbreaks will happen.

Steve Maddern, who is the Director of Public Health at Swindon Borough Council, said as people were socialising more, and not necessarily in pubs or restaurants, it more it was important to follow the guidelines.

"People are probably doing what they should be in their workplaces because a lot of support has been wrapped round that.

"[But] they may not have been adhering to the protective messages while out socialising."

The indications are that people comply quite robustly with the measures put in place in their place of work but perhaps aren't quite so attentive in their social life so that's the avenue we're exploring at the moment.

David RenardLeader, Swindon Borough Council

Giant eight-acre thank you for NHS

The maze
Ansty Pick Your Own

A huge maze has been cut in an eight-acre (3.24 hectare) field of maize at Ansty Pick Your Own near Salisbury in Wiltshire, as a thank you to the NHS.

Owner, Karren Price, said: "We designed it with social distancing in mind.

"Normally there are loads of dead ends and places to get lost but we have done one continuous loop this year, which means you have to walk the entire eight-acre maze."

She said despite uncertainty over lockdown restrictions, they had "decided to take the chance”.

"It was obvious to us to dedicate it to the NHS and show our appreciation in the only way we knew how," she said.

"Build them an eight-acre thank you."

On Sunday, people are being encouraged to celebrate the NHS's 72nd birthday and thank key workers for their support during the coronavirus pandemic with a nationwide clap next month.

School ‘bubble’ closed after two test positive for Covid-19

Shaw Ridge Primary School
BBC

A pupil and teacher at a school in Wiltshire have tested positive for Covid-19, it has been revealed.

Shaw Ridge Primary School in Shaw, Swindon, has confirmed a year-six pupil tested positive last week.

The teacher of the ‘bubble’ they were in has now also tested positive.

A spokesman for the school said: “We are continuing to take all necessary steps as advised by Public Health England to ensure this does not spread further.”

All staff who have been in close contact with the infected staff member are now self-isolating and waiting to be tested.

Due to this staff shortage, year six pupils have been told to stay at home for the ensuing week at least, or until the teachers have received their test results.

The rest of the school remains open for keyworker children, nursery, reception and year one children.

Burglar sentenced after being found hanging upside down from window

Groundwell Road
Google

A man who was rescued by firefighters after trying to break into a building and getting stuck in a window, has been sentenced at Swindon magistrates.

On Friday, Frederick Moulton, aged 53, from Spring Close, Swindon was handed an 18-month community order after admitting burglary and possession of a class A drug.

Wiltshire Police arrived at a derelict building in Groundwell Road, Swindon at 01:00 GMT on Thursday after Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service received a call from the man saying he was trapped.

'Returning to school makes me family's weak link for coronavirus'

Socially distanced desks
BBC

As secondary schools across the West re-open, teachers have been talking to us about how they feel about it.

Charlie, from Wiltshire, said he is worried students won't take social distancing as seriously as teachers and therefore he might be more at risk of bringing coronavirus home.

He said: "I am anxious about a formal return to school for larger groups of students.

"My school is very concerned about protecting our health and well-being, but at the end of the day we'll have to be in close contact with youngsters who simply don't have the same worries as me.

"I'll suddenly become the weak link in my family unit - I'm in my fifties so I'm worried, but my wife has asthma which is scary.

“She also supports her mum who is shielding herself while living alone, so if any of us do fall ill we would have that worry."

He said he feared the return to school would be hard for some students in particular.

"We've all been isolated for so long, returning will be really hard for many students, it's not the same as a summer holiday.

"Managing emotions and balancing some normality of schoolwork will be an ongoing issue."

BAME coronavirus safety plan not published

People in the street in masks
PA Media

A report containing measures to protect ethnic minority groups from coronavirus has been drawn up for government, BBC News has learned.

Public Health England (PHE) published a review last week confirming coronavirus kills people from ethnic minorities at disproportionately high rates.

PA MediaCopyright: PA Media

But a senior academic told BBC News a second report, containing safeguarding proposals to tackle this, also existed.

And PHE now says this report will be published next week.

Ambulance crews faced 290 'aggressive' lockdown incidents

BBC Radio Devon

Ambulance staff in the South West of England experienced 290 violent and aggressive incidents against them during the first 10 weeks of lockdown.

This includes 46 physical assaults against staff.

Ambulance crews and control room staff said 84% of cases were verbal abuse from patients, relatives and members of the public.

The South West Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust says that such behaviour will not be tolerated, and action will be taken to prosecute offenders and protect staff.

Pupils tense as teachers submit estimated grades

Branwen Jeffreys

Education Editor

Schools and colleges in England have to submit their estimated grades for GCSE and A-levels by the end of this week.

In each subject, pupils will also be ranked from highest to lowest achieving.

Exam regulator Ofqual has issued extra guidance following a consultation on how to make the process as fair and accurate as possible.

Any pupils unhappy with their grades will be able to sit the actual exam in October or November.

The arrangements, put in place after exams were cancelled during the coronavirus lockdown, are a source of concern for pupils.

Ethan Simpson, from Wiltshire, said: "I was so relieved to begin with, when they said 'no GCSE exams', but then I realised that I was just gearing up to really improve my grades with revision, and my grades at school would not reflect that. So now I am scared."

Ella Keeble, in Somerset, wants to know what the universities are going to do: "Not having an exam has not given me the best chance to show what I can do - none of us knew that the school work we were doing was going to count - but the offers I've had from unis for grades has not changed. Surely there has to be some news about flexibility on that?"

Groups of students with results
PA

A right to protest, but violence never acceptable

Robert Buckland
PA Media

Justice minister Robert Buckland said peaceful protests were a "hallmark of a mature democracy" but that violence and criminality would not be tolerated.

The MP for South Swindon addressed the House of Commons this morning after several days of demonstrations held across the world by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.

He told fellow MPs that everyone had a duty to stand up to racism and that he was working with the BAME community to "address racial disparity in our justice system".

“Protests taking place across the globe are stark reminders that we are living in a world where prejudice, sadly and unacceptably, continues to play a role.

"The right to peaceful protest is one of the hallmarks of a mature democracy like ours, but under the rule of law, and we must never accept violence or criminal conduct as a legitimate tool of protest.

"At a time when we face the national trial of Covid-19, when for months this country has come together to fight a deadly plague, I believe on this issue we too can and must come together,” he said.

New £3m fund for historic sites' maintenance and repairs

Andrew Segal

BBC News

Hayle ropeworks. Pic: Historic England
Historic England

Historic England has launched a second emergency fund to support the heritage sector recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund of up to £3m was awarding grants to those who cared for some of England’s most significant historic sites in the South West, managers of the preservation public body said.

They said grants of up to £25,000 were being offered to fix urgent problems at locally-cherished historic buildings and sites which are normally visited by the public, so that they could reopen as quickly as possible, subject to Covid-19 restrictions, "and thrive once again".

The fund would also help generate business for heritage specialists, whose livelihoods had been severely affected by the outbreak.

As well as loss of income to heritage sites, those hardest hit in the sector included craft workers, such as stonemasons and glaziers, as well as professionals such as architects and surveyors.

Applicants can apply until 28 June.

'We can get through anything' school pupils sing with one voice

Calder House school pupils celebrate overcoming lockdown 'with help from their friends'
Pupils, teachers and families of Calder House near, Colerne in Wiltshire, have celebrated overcoming difficulties during lockdown by recording a socially distant version of 'With A Little Help From My Friends'.

The school's 47 children, who all have specific learning difficulties, followed personal timetables tailored to their needs, and received remedial support from home.

"We have carried on learning in many ways. One of the things that lockdown has taught us is that we can get through almost anything if we all pull together," said the school's Managing Director.

This video was created by their music teacher Hannah Buckley.