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  1. Swings and zip wire seat removed in closed park

    Swing with no seat

    Swings and a zip wire seat have been removed from a play park that has been closed because of the coronavirus lockdown.

    A sign has been put up by Mid Devon District Council in the People's Park, in Tiverton, which said they had been removed "due to coronavirus".

    It said: "Please accept our apologies. The play area is closed until further notice."

    Zip wire with no seat
  2. Bus union calls for safe working practices during pandemic

    Charley Adams

    BBC News Online

    A trade union has written to all bus operating companies calling for safe working practices during the coronavirus crisis after a union claimed a 60-year-old bus driver had been taken to hospital seriously ill with coronavirus.

    The news that the Plymouth-based Stagecoach driver had been taken to hospital emerged from a Tweet by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

    It said the driver was in intensive care on a ventilator.

    The RMT is asking bus companies to adopt practices including changing to cashless travel, more cleaning, ensuring washing facilities are available to drivers and installing screens to give drivers extra protection.

    Mick Cash, the RMT general secretary, said: “Buses are an essential service being run for and by front line workers.

    "It is crucial the health risk to both the workers that run the buses and the passengers who have to travel are kept to an absolute minimum."

  3. Council makes plans for more burials

    Charley Adams

    BBC News Online

    A council has made plans for more burials ahead of the anticipated peak of coronavirus.

    Councillor Ken James, the leader of Torridge District Council, said he hoped the plans would not be needed.

    He stressed it was "imperative" that people adhere to the government advice to stay at home and social-distance.

    "We will continue to take any measures necessary to support this such as the closure of access to Northam Burrows to all cars effective from today."

    The councillor also expressed his admiration for how organisations and individuals have come together across the area to tackle the pandemic.

  4. Keep roads clear for essential workers, warns council

    Ed Oldfield

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    car park

    A city council is appealing to people to keep roads and junctions clear for emergency services and essential workers.

    The owners of parked cars causing an obstruction in Plymouth face being fined, the city council says.

    Councillor Mark Coker said: “We have shifted our focus to where it is most needed, which is to support those on the front line.

    “Put it simply, if you park selfishly, on double yellow lines, or cause an obstruction which could block emergency vehicles or critical support, you could get a fixed penalty notice."

    The city council said restrictions within residential areas will remain.

  5. Temporary mortuary to be set up at city fort

    BBC Radio Devon

    A temporary mortuary will be set up in Plymouth.

    The city council - alongside many other local authorities - is preparing for an increase in the number of coronavirus-related deaths.

    The temporary mortuary will be set up at Agaton Fort in Ernesettle.

    The council said: "We are making these arrangements in a calm and measured way to let people know that we are thinking ahead, but appreciate this is enormously difficult for all of us to contemplate."

    Sally Haydon, cabinet member for customer focus and community safety, said: "The fact that we are taking these precautions shows the importance of observing social-distancing and following the government’s instructions to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

    "We hope we never have to use it [the temporary mortuary]."

  6. Coronavirus: Top seaside spot Bigbury-on-Sea shuts car park

    BBC Radio Devon

    Council workers have fenced off the car park at one of south Devon's most popular seaside destinations.


    The car park at Bigbury-on-Sea is now out of bounds following concerns about people defying essential travel restrictions to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

    South Hams District Council said the car park would be closed until the restrictions were eased.

    All visitor attractions at Bigbury have already closed, including the Burgh Island Hotel and the nearby Pilchard Inn.

    Parish council chair Beth Huntley said: "At the moment we hope everyone here is free of Covid-19 but every new person who comes from an infected area brings a threat with them which would seriously affect our elderly community.

    "Everything is closed here, it's boring, so please don't come."

  7. 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."

  8. Delivering glasses to the vulnerable

    Charley Adams

    BBC News Online

    Adam Matthews

    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
  9. Harbour authority warns against non-essential activity


    A harbour authority has spoken out against people continuing to go out on the water for non-essential activity and to explain what is classed as a necessary journey or essential activity.

    Salcombe Harbour Authority in Devon has said the only people who currently should be on the water are commercial fishermen and those who live in isolated locations who need to visit Salcombe for essential provisions.

    It is not appropriate for people to use the harbour for exercise or leisure purposes at the moment, it added.

    Indulging in these activities, the limited staff members are put at further risk in the event of an emergency.

    View more on twitter
  10. Bus driver 'seriously ill' with coronavirus

    Ed Oldfield

    Local Democracy Reporting Service


    A transport workers’ union clams a 60-year-old Plymouth-based Stagecoach bus driver has been taken to hospital seriously ill with coronavirus.

    The news emerged in a social media post by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers.

    The statement on Twitter said the driver was in intensive care on a ventilator. No information was available about his condition on Friday.

    The post from the South Wales and South West branch of the union questioned whether bus companies were doing all they could to safeguard employees and travellers.

    View more on twitter

    Stagecoach South West replied on Twitter that it cared for the welfare of staff and was responding to the coronavirus situation with measures in partnership with the union.

    It says its priority is protecting staff and customers and it is following Government and public health advice, has increased cleaning and is urging passengers to use contactless payments.

    A company spokesperson said they could not discuss personal details about employees.

    They said: “Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones at this difficult time.

    “Like other individuals and organisations, we are strictly following public health advice on the right steps to take, including hand washing and additional rigorous hygiene measures on our vehicles and in our workplaces.”

  11. Exmouth watersports development paused due to pandemic

    Daniel Clark

    Local Democracy Reporting Service


    Work on Exmouth’s new watersports centre has been temporarily paused as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Property developer Grenadier and local building contractors, Devon Contractors Ltd, have confirmed they have temporarily paused work at the Sideshore watersports centre development in Exmouth.

    Grenadier’s plans for Exmouth seafront, which include a new watersports centre, are due to be finished in time for the summer of 2020.

    As well as the watersports centre, the Sideshore development will also be home to dining facilities run by local and renowned award-winning celebrity chef, Michael Caines.

    They have said that while government advice would enable them to continue work, they strongly feel the health and safety of the staff should be put first.

    Grenadier director Aiden Johnson-Hugill said: “The creation of Sideshore may have been temporarily put on hold, but we are committed to creating something rather extraordinary."

    A spokesman for Devon Contractors added: “We have been following Public Health England guidance to ensure we protect our people, our subcontractors, and our suppliers health and safety. We will continue to monitor the impact and provide an update in due course.”

    Works have been also been temporarily paused at Grenadier’s St Margaret’s Residences site in the St Leonard’s area of Exeter.

  12. Wildfire warning as lockdown coincides with dry weather

    Johanna Carr

    BBC News Online

    People are being asked to be careful and vigilant to avoid wildfires as the coronavirus lockdown coincides with a period of dry weather.

    Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service tweeted the advice after being called to tackle a gorse fire in the New Mill area of west Cornwall on Thursday afternoon.

    Four fire engines attended the blaze and it was monitored by crews throughout the night.

    View more on twitter
  13. 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

  14. Extra safety measures for Devon blood donors

    Johanna Carr

    BBC News Online

    Health worker

    People in Devon are being urged to carry on donating blood as normal during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The NHS Blood and Transplant service said extra safety measures including triage on arrival and extra cleaning had been put in place.

    A spokesman for the service said: "We’ve started triaging everyone who arrives so only people with no risk factors can enter the donation area.

    “A lot of people have called us asking if sessions are still going ahead. We need them to know that our sessions and donor centres are still open and that travel to a blood donation session is essential for the NHS."

    People must keep donating to make sure blood supplies for hospitals are kept up, he added.

    There is a permanent blood donation centre in Plymouth at Derriford Hospital.

    Appointments can be made by calling 0300 123 23 23 or going to

  15. Police explain decision to stop beehive-moving driver

    Andrew Segal

    BBC South West

    Police have explained why they classed someone who was transporting a beehive as carrying out a non-essential journey.

    The Devon and Cornwall Alliance Roads Policing team tweeted on Thursday evening that someone was stopped in Cullompton, Devon, while "taking a beehive to a field".

    The motorist was sent home "with strong words of advice"

    The move was criticised on social media, with one commentator saying bee-keeping tasks could be carried out by registered keepers "whilst complying with social distancing".

    Questions were also raised if officers acted appropriately if the person was involved in food production.

    On Friday morning, officers tweeted to clarify the situation, saying the hive was being transported "not in line with employment or essential work, instead this was a hobbie [sic]".

    "Had this been the case, then the final decision would have been different," they said.

    They added the individual was from a "Covid-19 vulnerable group, and was not adhering to social distancing".

    View more on twitter
  16. Town crier who had virus rings bell for health workers

    Exmouth's town crier, who recovered from coronavirus after 11 days in isolation rung his bell while others clapped for carers on Thursday evening.

    Video content

    Video caption: A town crier who recovered from coronavirus rung his bell while others clapped for carers.
  17. 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.