Coronavirus Live Blog: Thursday, March 19

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  • Last Updated –

Thursday's live updates, local stories and light relief as Cornwall battles Coronavirus.


UK ‘can beat coronavirus in the next 12 weeks’, Boris Johnson says

Boris Johnson has said the UK “can beat coronavirus in the next 12 weeks” – as he revealed the government is in talks to buy “hundreds of thousands” of tests to reveal if people are immune.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, the prime minister also said the first British patient had been put in a randomised trial for a treatment for COVID-19.

Mr Johnson thanked Britons for their “huge efforts” in complying with government advice on stopping the spread of the disease.

He said: “We’re asking students to put their education on hold, we’re asking people not to socialise in the normal way and already we can see the impact this is having on the UK economy and on business, on great, great companies.

“So it’s vital that we in government stand behind them when what we are asking everyone to do is so crucial for saving literally thousands of lives by fighting this virus.”

It comes as the number of people who have died after contracting coronavirus in the UK has risen to 137.

Also in his daily press conference, the PM said the government is in negotiations to buy antibody tests but there is ‘no prospect’ of closing London public transport.


7:40 PM

Lego have temporarily closed all stores, apart from China where they reopen!

6:48 PM

Pencarrow House closes to the public

The house, cafe and shop are are closed until further notice, following Government guidelines.

6:42 PM

Deadline extended for the Cornwall Business Awards

You now have until midnight on Tuesday 30th June to submit your entries to the Cornwall Business Awards.

In a statement from the team:

In recognition of the challenging conditions facing all businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, we are extending the deadline to allow time to focus on addressing the impact coronavirus may have on their organisations.

The new timetable also includes a longer online judging period and the postponement of the Awards ceremony which was due to take place at the end of June. The organisers, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth & Skills Hub and Cornwall Development Company, will monitor the evolving situation closely and make a decision about rescheduling the gala event informed by the latest advice.”


6.14 PM

Invictus Games called off

6.04 PM

How precise is phone location data?

5:58 PM

Cornwall’s help is needed to feed the animals at Cornish Birds of Prey Centre

Go Fund Me page has been set up to feed the animals at the Cornish Birds of Prey Centre after they discovered from their insurers they weren’t covered in the event of pandemics.

Due to people now not coming through the door, heeding advice from the Government, Kelly and Andy are now struggling to feed all the animals in their care.

You can also donate food for the animals of the Cornish Birds of Prey Centre. They’re looking for:

  • Bales of Hay
  • Carrots and all types of fruit
  • Buxton Elite Complete Parrot Mix
  • Sow Nuts
  • Flaked Maize
  • Poultry Corn
  • Reindeer Pellets
  • Best Budgie
  • Goat Course Mix

Find the Go Fund Me Page and more information on the full article here.

5.49 PM

More people have now died in Italy than in China

10 tips to reduce Coronavirus anxiety

4:36 PM

Carn Brea Leisure Centre closing from Friday 20th March

*Customer Update* We are extremely sorry to inform you that the Board of Trustees and CEO have had to make the…

Posted by Carn Brea Leisure Centre Trust on Thursday, March 19, 2020

4:10 PM

Trevithick Learning Academy are warming all of our hearts today!

3:32 PM

How much loo roll do you actually need?

Some uni students have handily created a whole website, dedicated to answering that exact question.

We’ve all seen the pictures of the empty shelves and the urges not to panic buy, but if you ever need confirmation there was no need to stockpile toilet roll, here it is.

In a bid to make people see sense, all you have to do is answer some basic questions and hey presto! Your loo roll total is revealed.

Find all the answers in our full article here.

3:04 PM

Archbishop of Canterbury to lead first virtual Church of England service

The Archbishop of Canterbury is due to lead the Church of England’s first virtual Sunday service for worshippers staying at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The service has been recorded in the crypt chapel at Lambeth Palace in London and includes prayers, hymns and a short sermon, the Church of England said.


2.58 PM

Archive photo: Andrew Thomas

RAF denies lockdown rumours at Cornish air force base

RAF St Mawgan has denied the base is preparing for a military lockdown.

Rumours have been circulating in the town and online that extra troops were being sent to the military site in Newquay.

But a spokesman for the airbase today told Pirate FM that there was nothing out of the ordinary going on.

“I know that there are a lot of rumours circulating about a military lockdown, but I’m afraid the reality here at RAF St Mawgan is rather more mundane.

“There are no additional troops, no new distribution centre, or any other activity related to what we call “Military Aid to the Civilian Authorities (MACA)”. 

“We are simply ensuring, as most people are, that our core business goes on despite the very necessary self-isolation of affected personnel and their families.  We will respond to any MACA taskings in any way we can, but to this date there has been no such request.”

Owen Crossby, Media & Communications Officer, RAF St Mawgan

2.24 PM

Cadets meetings cancelled

Cornwall Army Cadets have stopped their weekly meetings and weekend activities due to the coronavirus.

Sergeant Major Gavin Tyler has asked all cadets not to attend.

2.12 PM

Good work Cornwall – keep those coffee donations coming

2.11 PM

Events cancelled, wild places open

Johnny on the Bog

No one, not even Pirate FM Hometime presenters, are immune from the fallout from Coronavirus.

Three die in Scotland, bringing the Scottish total of deaths to six

Three more people in Scotland have died after testing positive for coronavirus, taking the country’s total number of deaths to six.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the number doubled as she addressed MSPs in Holyrood, sending her condolences to those who had loved ones.

The total number of people in Scotland who have contracted COVID-19 stands at 266 – a rise of 39 in 24 hours.


Downing Street: ‘Zero prospect’ of restrictions on travel in and out of London

There is “zero prospect” of restrictions on travel in and out of London over the coronavirus pandemic, Downing Street has said.

The government has moved to dampen down speculation that a full-scale lockdown of the capital could be enforced in order to combat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “There are no plans to close down the transport network in London and there is zero prospect of any restrictions being placed on travelling in and out of London.”



Never one to miss out on a world event, this morning #MyQuarantineInSixWords has been trending globally on twitter after Jimmy Fallon began the challenge.

We’ve gone through them, to find the cream of the crop – if you need a little smile – have a little look through these.

Falmouth Classics Cancelled

The 33rd Falmouth Classics Event, that was meant to be taking place on the 12th -14th of June has been cancelled.

Their statement read:

“The Falmouth Classics has, over the last three years, become the largest UK heritage and classic sailing event with upwards of 200 vessels. It is a national and international event, which attracts over 500 skippers and crews together with the public from the UK and Europe. The Association feels it is important to play its part in managing the spread of the virus and has thus taken this step to protect crews, our team of volunteers and the public.”

Chairman, Keith Tullett said “Falmouth Classics Association would like to thank all those who have already entered, our very supportive sponsors and our advertisers. This is an unprecedented occurrence in the long history of the Classics but we look forward to a healthy 2021, when the Classics will take place from 11 – 13 June. We hope all those who have supported the 2020 event will be prepared to do so next year.”

Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival which was also to take place at the same time has also been cancelled

Proper Cornish:

We are helping our local community by offering pasties by the smaller case size, so they are able to fit into people’s freezers – they are able to be collected from our Bakery in Bodmin. We will also be out on the road selling pasties from tomorrow. Please call our order sales line for more information on 01208 265838

Full details here

6 Top Tips to keep your dog happy if you’re self isolating

This week the RSPCA has been issuing the country with advice as to how best look after their pets during the Coronavirus outbreak.

To keep you dogs happy inside, mental stimulation is the key. It’s a great way to keep your dog entertained and occupied even if you’re replacing exercise with other activities, until you are able to take them back out for their usual walks.

Find their 6 top tips in the full article here!

Cornish foodbank ‘won’t let children go without food’

The Camborne, Pool and Redruth foodbank will be dishing out free meals for kids who would normally get them at school.

“We will be doing food bags for the children, any child that’s off school, if they’re entitled to free school meals, then obviously we’ll get around that. We will make sure that they still have enough food to keep them going. The more we can get the better it is, we can fight the virus through foodbanks and everybody can fight it, if they’ve got the isolate themselves at least they’re going to have something in their bellies.”

Warehouse manager, Ray Richards

Find the full article on the Pirate FM news pages.

Credit: Ben Shread / UK Ministry of Defence 2019

Up to 20,000 troops on standby to help deal with COVID-19 outbreak

Up to 20,000 service personnel will be put on standby to help combat the coronavirus, with troops gearing up to drive oxygen tankers, support the police and boost hospital capacity.

On Thursday, reservists will be put on notice to mobilise if required as part of a war-like effort to prepare the armed forces in case the government calls upon them in large numbers.

But the military must also deal with the threat posed by COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.


Emergency Fund for Cornwall

New funding has been made available to organisations in Cornwall struggling because of Coronavirus.

Cornwall Community Foundation said it was offering grants of up to £3,000 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The grants are to cover the costs for additional work, over and above normal activities.

A statement issued by the foundation on Thursday said local charities and community organisations “have a special role to play in reaching some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, developing trusted relationships and implementing practical support programmes that work well.”


10.20 AM

Mevagissey Feast Week Postponed

In a statement released from the team:

Mevagissey Feast Week Committee have also taken the reluctant but necessary decision to cancel this years week-long traditional celebrations which had been due to take place from Sun 28th June to Sat 4th July. We will look forward to welcoming everyone back again to celebrate with us in 2021!

9.40 AM

Padstow Obby Oss cancelled

Organisers said: “The Old Oss and Blue Ribbon Obby Oss parties jointly announce, with regret, that the Padstow May Day celebrations for this year will be cancelled and will return in 2021.”

IoS Travel lets passengers decide if their journey is necessary

In a statement, the company said:

“The UK Government are now advising against “all unnecessary travel”. It is for passengers to decide if their journey meets this definition. There are currently no restrictions on our services but when you travel you will be aware of additional sanitisation measures and advisory notices. The safety of our passengers and employees is our priority.”

Changes to Supermarket opening times

Many supermarkets have shifted their opening times, either to allow for the elderly or vulnerable to shop more safely, or to allow for restocking. Find out all the changes to current opening times in the full article here.

Poignant message from doctor goes viral

I Stayed at Work for YOU! Please Stay at Home for US!#StayHomeForUs#Covid19 #StopCovid19

Posted by Rodney Jimenez on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dr Rodney Jimenez has gone viral this week after posting this very simple, yet poignant message to his social media in an effort to help protect medical staff on the coronavirus front line.

School closures and scrapped exams – Cornish Claire’s video diary

Cornish Claire reacts to Boris Johnson’s press conference that schools will close.

7.05 AM

Australia shuts its borders

Non-residents will be banned from entering Australia.

Prime minister Scott Morrison says 80 per cent of virus cases were brought in from overseas.

The change will come into effect on Friday at 9pm.

6.56 AM

Here come the Coronavirus choirs

6.50 AM

The latest school closures

Thursday, 19 March 2020

  • Bodmin College – Year 12 closed until 14 April
  • Brannel School – Years 8 and 9 closed
  • Budehaven School – Years 8, 9, 10 and 12 closed
  • Caradon APA Academy – closed to 27 March
  • Carrick APA Academy – closed to 27 March
  • CHES Academy – closed to 14 April
  • Falmouth School – Years 7 and 8 closed
  • Hayle Academy – Years 8, 9, 10 closed
  • Liskeard School and Community College – Year 10 closed with the exception of Hair and Beauty students
  • Mounts Bay Academy – Years 8 and 9 closed
  • Newquay Tretherras School – Sixth Form closed – last day of term was 18 March
  • Nine Maidens APA  Academy – closed to 27 March
  • North Cornwall APA Academy – closed to 27 March
  • Penair School – Year 8 closed
  • Penrice Academy – Years 9 and 10 closed
  • Penwith APA Academy – closed to 27 March
  • Poltair School – Years 9 and 10 closed
  • Restormel APA Academy – closed to 27 March
  • Richard Lander School – Years, 8, 9 and 10 closed
  • Saltash Community School – Year 9 closed
  • South Petherwin – closed
  • The Roseland Academy – closed to all year group until 27 March, from then they will switch to remote learning
  • Tregolls School – Area Resource Base closed until further notice
  • Windmill Hill Academy

6.45 AM

First TV adverts to offer government advice

6.49 AM

HOMESCHOOLING: 5 ways to keep your kids learning, happy & healthy

Tom Rose and Jack Pannett are qualified teachers and sports coaches and run an activity business that helps children learn. 

Here are their five top tips on how to homeschool your children while schools are closed because of coronavirus.

1. Plan and prioritise: The core subjects

If you’re not a teacher by trade, give yourself some realistic goals – trying to conquer the whole curriculum is probably going to make you and your child anxious (especially if you’re juggling your work and this new teaching role). Prioritise the core curriculum – Maths and English. We are firm believers that your best is enough.

2. Opening your new school

Starting with ‘why’ is key. It helps the children understand the purpose of the task and enables them to understand why they’re being asked to do it. Each household’s ‘why’ will be different but just make sure you don’t use “because I said so, or you’re grounded”.
They could then give their new school a name and design its badge.

3. Fresh start: Establish routines

Children and adults react well to structure, especially a morning routine. Maybe even get out of your PJs and put on your new school uniform? If possible, allocate a specific work space for your new class – their new classroom. Consider setting break and lunch times.

4. Tips on teaching core subjects

When you were at school, who was your favourite teacher? Remember them? Even if you can’t, this is your opportunity to be THAT teacher. Try to see it from your child’s perspective: this will shape a lot of your decision making and allow you to optimise their learning experience.
Champion progress.

5. You can’t pour from an empty cup

The school canteen needs to have brain healthy foods where possible, such as fruit and veg, lots of water and avoid sugar. Exercise is something we’d advise should place early in the school day to get your class energised, but not fatigued. A good teacher also leads by example, so remember to put plans in place to take care of your staff too. Take time to relax, have a varied and balanced diet and partake in physical exercise.

It’s the dream job you never expected. Stay positive, don’t be too harsh on yourself or your class, and remember… your best will be enough.

:: Tom and Jack have set an English competition for kids to try from home and they’re offering a £100 prize for the winner.


6.39 AM

SCHOOLS: Key questions over closures

Schools across the UK will close from the end of lessons on Friday until further notice as part of the government’s effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Nurseries, sixth forms, further education colleges, independent schools and boarding schools are also expected to shut.

Some key questions about the action have been answered, but others haven’t.

Will schools stay shut completely?

Not quite. The children of key workers and vulnerable children will still be allowed to attend schools.

Examples of key workers include NHS staff, police and supermarket delivery drivers, who will be needed to continue to go to work as the UK battles coronavirus.

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans – a legal document that describes a child’s special educational needs and the support they require.

The government is also encouraging schools to look after key workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.

All other children should remain at home.

How long will schools stay shut for?

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has only said schools in England will close “until further notice”.


  • What’s happening to A-Level, GCSEs and SATs?
  • What about childminders?
  • Will university students still have to pay tuition fees?


6.31 AM

THE BASICS: Find out what to do if you think you have symptoms

The 111 online assessment is being updated with new information from the Chief Medical Officer.
It will ask you a few questions and tell you what to do next.

Click here to go to the NHS symptom checker and click START NOW

COVID-19 is caused by coronavirus. It’s a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways.

The NHS says you should stay at home if you have either:

  1. a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  2. a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
  • Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
  • You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.
  • Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  1. you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  2. your condition gets worse
  3. your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Use the 111 coronavirus service

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

6.28 AM

Welcome to Pirate’s Coronavirus SUPERBLOG!

We’ll be bringing you live updates, local stories and light relief as Cornwall battles Coronavirus.
And don’t miss Cornish Claire’s video diary as she talks us through her experience of living in isolation.

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