Coronavirus Live Blog: Friday, March 20

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

4:37 PM

PM orders pubs, restaurants and gyms to close across the UK

Boris Johnson has ordered cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants and gyms to close from tonight in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

It comes after the total number of people who have died in the UK after contracting COVID-19 rose to 177 after England saw 39 more deaths – the biggest rise in a day.

There were 3,269 confirmed cases in the UK recorded by Thursday evening – that figure will be updated later today.



5 Ibuprofen and other Coronavirus medicine confusion

Cornish Claire is in a panic over what medicines her and her family should or shouldn’t be taking


3.23 PM

GCSE, AS and A-Level exams:
Here’s the government’s plan

The government has finally revealed what will happen to exam results since they announced all schools must close.

Results will be awarded in July based on mock data, individual assessment and prior attainment.

Students who do not believe the correct process has been followed in their case will be able to appeal.

In a statement, the government said:

“The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer, following our actions to slow the spread of coronavirus.

University representatives have confirmed that they expect universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.

The Government’s priority is now to ensure affected students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including going into employment, starting university, college or sixth form courses, or an apprenticeship in the autumn.

This means ensuring GCSE, A and AS level students are awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in. There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Cancelling exams is something no Education Secretary would ever want to do, however these are extraordinary times and this measure is a vital but unprecedented step in the country’s efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

My priority now is to ensure no young person faces a barrier when it comes to moving onto the next stage of their lives – whether that’s further or higher education, an apprenticeship or a job.”


Cash Generator Redruth:

The staff at Cashgenerator in redruth are willing to help out where we can. Dropping things off etc.
So long as we are allowed to remain open.
We are quite spread apart,so can cover from redruth to truro,camborne to hayle


Geoffery Harris Tyres:

We can come to any home or business to fit new tyres, repair tyres or fit batteries on site. No face to face contact needs to be made. Large stocks of tyres for all cars, vans, 4×4 and agricultural vehicles. 24 hour emergency service provided.
Depot open in Liskeard as usual 8.30am -5.30pm Monday-Friday 8.30am-1.00pm Saturdays


3.03 PM

Surge in freezer sales may force local stores to shut

Electrical stores across Cornwall and Devon are struggling to keep up with demand for freezers, fridges and laptops as customers prepare to stock up with food and work from home.

The demand has led with many products selling out completely. Replenishing stock is also proving problematic, as the distribution and logistical networks struggle to cope with unprecedented demand and a depleted workforce.

One store manager said they would soon have no option but to reduce opening hours.

“It’s definitely on the cards as we’re struggling to run the store safely with less staff. We’ve sold as many goods in three days as we’d expect to sell in a week. It’s taken us completely by surprise,” he said.

2.55 PM

Cornish criminals ‘not self isolating’

Baker Tom update

2.53 PM

Ibuprofen and Coronavirus

In light of anecdotal cases of ibuprofen worsening symptoms in some sufferers, the official advice is to stick to paracetamol instead.

The condition of 4-year-old Amelia Collins from Bristol reportedly deteriorated when her parents ran out of Calpol and gave her ibuprofen, causing vomiting, an increased heart rate and severe panting.

It is currently unknown whether ibuprofen has a particular effect on those suffering with COVID-19, but it is known that the drug can sometimes cause complications in similar respiratory infections. This advice extends to other non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs including naproxen.

The NHS is now advising the use of paracetamol to relieve symptoms, unless an individual has been told by their doctor paracetamol is unsuitable for them. Anyone who has be advised by a doctor to take ibuprofen should check first before they stop.

2.50 PM


Learner drivers expecting to take their tests this week will have to wait a little longer to lose their ‘L’ plates.

Due to the unfolding coronavirus situation, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency have postponed all tests booked for the remainder of the week. Anyone due take a test on the 19th or 20th of March will have their test automatically rebooked by the DVSA free of charge, with candidates notified of their new test date via email.

Candidates had been told not to attend theory or practical tests if they or anyone accompanying them had been in self-isolation, with tests cancelled if they displayed symptoms of coronavirus.

Cornish MP writes open letting urging holiday makers not to come to Cornwall

In an open letter, signed together with Leader of Cornwall Council Cllr Julian German, Steve Double addressed those still coming to Cornwall for holidays.

I have taken the step, along with Leader of Cornwall Council Cllr Julian German, of writing an open letter to people…

Posted by Steve Double MP on Friday, March 20, 2020

2:14 PM

Ring O Bells:

At the Ring O Bells, St Columb Major, we are offering a takeaway and delivery service with our full menu and themed night options – curry night, steak night, fish chips and fizz, Saturday specials and Sunday lunch. We will also be offering a ‘wine round’ delivery for those in need.


1:32 PM

A Cornish MP is insisting that there is no shortage of food as the UK battles coronavirus.

Environment Secretary George Eustice, who also represents Camborne and Redruth, made the promise as supermarkets ramp up efforts.

They will be allowed to work together to keep shelves stocked, shops open and delivery vans running.

The government will relax competition laws next week to allow stores to cooperate to keep Britons fed as they are being asked to isolate from each other.

In a meeting with supermarket bosses and food industry chiefs on Thursday, George Eustice confirmed some elements of legislation would be temporarily waived.

“We have a well established way of working with the food industry during disruption.

“Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and other products that they need.”

George Eustice, MP for Camborne and Redruth


1:20 PM

Cornwall couple left stranded abroad due to coronavirus outbreak

An elderly couple from St Austell have been left stranded abroad after Ryanair cancelled flights over the coronavirus outbreak. 

Sally and Zeb Banks had been enjoying their holiday in Lanzarote and were due to fly back to Bristol Airport on Monday.

However, the couple found out their flight had been cancelled and are angry that the airline company failed to tell them. 

“Ryanair have not had the courtesy to inform us either by text or email.  

“I only found this out by checking our boarding passes on the Ryanair app yesterday [Wednesday] morning.

“It is really frightening as we have to be out of our accommodation by Tuesday and cannot find any alternative flight home before then.”

Sally Banks


1:12 PM

L’Occitane gives out free hand cream to NHS workers


To support our community in these troubled times we now offer home delivery
*Card Payment Only
CALL: 01803 664422


12.40 PM

Baker Tom goes mobile

Baker Tom is heading out on the road with a mobile van to offer food during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Find them at:
Goldsithney: 1.15pm St Pirans hall car park
Helston: 3pm Cattle market car park
Cash and contactless card payments taken. 

12.37 PM

This is the COVID Response Force

The Great Cornish Food Store:

The Great Cornish Food Store in Truro has started a home-delivery service to help customers continue to receive their favourite Cornish produce through the current Covid-19 pandemic. The delivery service will be offered initially to customers within a 10-mile radius of the store, located next door to Waitrose. However, if you live further afield and have a large order, please do call and we can see if we can help you too, but we only have one van!
Orders of more than £30 which are received by 4pm every day will be delivered the following day. Available groceries include a wide choice of quality meats, local fresh fish, delicious Cornish cheeses and other dairy produce, plus local wines and spirits from across Cornwall. Fresh bread, veg, eggs and delicious, chef-made, ready-made meals are also be available to purchase.
Orders can be taken over the telephone by calling the dedicated order line 01872 306063 or order forms can be downloaded from our website and emailed to Delivery charges will be a standard £5 on orders of more than £30 (minimum), free on orders of more than £100.


12.28 PM

Prima Bakeries offering discounted pasties throughout March

Prima Bakeries has said it is lowering the price of pasties during the Coronavirus crisis.

The firm said it wanted to do something to help struggling families.

They said they don’t foresee any problems with supply.

Given the financial impact of the virus on families in Cornwall, as of 8am on Wednesday March 18th, we will be cutting the price of our “homebake” frozen medium steak (350g) pasties to £1.35 each (collect from Scorrier Shop only, no 12 for 10 offer). This price will continue at least until the end of March. Please share with friends and family who might have some spare freezer space to stock up.
We have also had several calls from customers concerned about potential shortages. We are monitoring all aspects of our supply chain daily but currently foresee no immediate issues that will prevent us from operating as normal. Prima is keen to do all we can to help our customers, our Scorrier shop has plenty of stock of all the basics including bread, milk and eggs. We are also selling 1 kg bags of flour and sugar as we understand these are in short supply in some areas.
Take care everyone and look after each other

Prima Bakeries

11:50 AM

Pianist and saxophonist spontaneously play ‘My Heart Will Go On’ to neighbours during lockdown in Spain

This spontaneous duet, against the backdrop of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia, started with pianist Alberto Gestoso performing the famous Titanic theme. Little did he know, his solo was about to become a duet. Tissues ready? Take a watch!

11.39 AM

Horse rescue charity closes

11:15 AM

BF Adventures remains open offering lengthened child care

They told us:

BF Adventure is desperately trying to remain open to continue supporting some of Cornwall’s most vulnerable young people who rely on the charity each week.
Because we utilise the outdoors, we are adapting the way we work and hope to continue to operate with safety as our main priority.
If anyone is in need of childcare, we are offering extended Holiday Activity Days for key workers, who are desperately needed to fulfil their jobs at this time.
We will be open for this from 23rd March and continue into the Easter holidays. This will be carefully managed and follow best practice guidelines. For more information please visit our site:  or contact us: 01326 340912

Penrose Kitchen:

Dear Everyone.

Doing our bit.

For collection only with 24 hrs notice and an order by 3pm daily, for collection next day, within our trading hours excluding Sunday

We can get.

Meat & Fish
Dairy products
Loo roll
Dried pasta and flour
Gluten free pasta and flour
Alcoholic beverages
Fruit juice cartoons
750ml bottles of water
Fruit & Vegetables

All we ask is you message with your order and will message you back with a code and collect times.

Card and cash taken.

Regards Ben & Sam


11.09 AM

TK Maxx closes

TK Maxx in Truro has closed because of Coronavirus.

More follows….

10.32 AM

A reminder from Cornwall’s NHS


Nurse begs us to stop panic buying

10.21 AM

You MUST have a valid MOT for your car

We’re told the government has stated that there is no ‘holiday’ for MOTs and all vehicles must have valid certificates during the Coronavirus outbreak.

David Self, who runs Darcroft Garage and MOT Centre in Bodmin, said: “Since I run this station on behalf of the DVSA/Ministry of Transport, I need to stay open and continue to test and repair vehicles. In short, I and my staff are now key workers.

“We are taking all necessary precautions to safeguard our customers and ourselves and will be open as usual.”

10.10 AM

Cornish Primary School’s Hand Washing Song!

9.23 AM


The Queen and Prince Phillip. CREDIT: carfax2

Queen issues message as UK enters ‘period of great concern’

The Queen has issued a message of solidarity following the coronavirus outbreak, saying families around the UK were entering “a period of great concern and uncertainty”.

It comes after she moved from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle a week earlier than planned for the Easter period – and will likely stay there longer than originally thought – with coronavirus at its most widespread in London.

She has also cancelled a number of her public appearances in the coming months.

“As Philip and I arrive at Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty.

“We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them.

“At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal.

“We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals – today and in the coming days, weeks and months.

“Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.”



9.59 AM

College cancels events

In the interests of the safety of our learners and our staff, The Cornwall College Group is cancelling the following advice events as well as its Apprenticeships Jobs Fair.

We are contacting those who have already booked to explain the situation.

28th March         FALMOUTH MARINE SCHOOL CACAE (Courses and Careers Advice Event)

21st March         DUCHY COLLEGE CACAE (Courses and Careers Advice Event)

28th March         BICTON COLLEGE CACAE (Courses and Careers Advice Event)



9.28 AM

Coronavirus being used by scammers to rip people off

8.58 AM

Cornish headteacher speaks out over school closures

A headteacher from Cornwall has spoken out as schools close across the UK over the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Matthews is the headteacher at Truro High School for Girls.

She has told Pirate FM how they have created an online virtual school so pupils can attend lessons from home.

“There will be a significant impact of course, the best thing about school is that the children get to spend time with each other, it’s the extra curricular activities, and it means things like concerts and even our prom might not to be able to go ahead

Sarah Matthews, headteacher at Truro High School for Girls


8.45 AM

A weird, final school-run drop off

Pirate’s MD Mark Peters drops his daughter Ayla off at school for the last time … until when?

7.45 AM

The latest UK Coronavirus stats

3,269 cases confirmed in the UK

144 deaths, 52 of which were in London

7.44 AM

‘All workers should get a higher sick pay’

7.43 AM

Police out at Plymouth supermarkets

Would you like to see the same thing happen at Cornish stores as reports of panic buying continue?

7.40 AM

These are the ‘key workers’ who children will continue at school

The Department for Education has published a list of “key workers” deemed “essential” to the COVID-19 response and whose children will continue to be cared for at school amid the pandemic.

“If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision,” the Department for Education said.

There are 8 categories:

Health and social care
Such as doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, as well as support and specialist staff. Also people working in supply chains of medicines and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare
Nursery, teaching staff and social workers.

Key public services
Journalists in public service broadcasting, staff in the justice system, religious staff and anyone managing the deceased.

Local and national government
Only admin jobs “essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services” and benefits payments.

Food and other necessary goods
Those working in the production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery of food.

Public safety and national security
Police, support staff, MoD civilian staff and armed forces personnel, fire and rescue staff, border security, prison and probation staff.

Air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport staff.

Utilities, communication and financial services
Postal workers, essential financial services staff, oil, gas, electricity, water and sewerage operations staff, civil nuclear, chemical and telecommunications workers.

Parents of vulnerable children are the other group of people allowed to continue sending their children to school.

7.30 AM

Good news for mobile phone users

7.26 AM

‘Big’ measures to protect workers?

7.18 AM

Golf goes ahead in Cornwall

7.13 AM

image: Friends of Jubilee Pool

Cornish pool has free food for local residents

The Jubilee Pool Cafe in Penzance is closing temporarily because of the outbreak – and they’re giving away food so it doesn’t go to waste.

The takeaway counter will be open on Saturday with soup, tortillas and tarts to hand out.

It is restricted to one item each.

Here’s what the cafe team said on Facebook:

A little ray of sunshine…Due to the temporary closure of Jubilee Pool Café, we have some perishable items which should not go to waste. We have thought about how best to utilise these ingredients for our community whilst also following Government guidance.From 11am on Saturday 21st March, we will be opening our Café takeaway counter to offer the following items free of charge Penzance residents.Butternut, carrot and coconut soup with a slice of St Ives Bakery Sourdough (vg)Or Vegetable tortilla (v) (gf)OrSpinach and mushroom tart (v)We have very limited amounts and would like them to go to those in genuine need.However, should anyone wish to make a small donation it will be used in full to buy more produce and takeaway packaging from local suppliers to hopefully enable us to repeat this.This is for takeaway only. Sadly, we do not currently have a facility to deliver items. For everyone’s health, we ask that you please leave the site once you have collected your items and not use the outside tables.There will be no toilet facilities available on site, but public toilets are located close by.We don’t have much, so please be considerate and understand why it’s one item each. This way we can brighten the day for as many people as possible.Jubilee Pool Café

School Closures

Friday, 20 March 2020

  • Bodmin College – Year 12 closed until 14 April
  • Brannel School – Years 8 and 9 closed
  • Budehaven School – Years 8, 9, 10,11 and 12 closed
  • Callywith College
  • Caradon APA Academy – closed to 27 March
  • Carrick APA Academy – closed to 27 March
  • CHES Academy – closed to 14 April
  • Coverack School
  • Curnow School – closed until after Easter holidays
  • Doubletrees School – closed
  • Falmouth School – Years 7 and 8 closed
  • Hayle School – Years 8, 9, 10 and 11 closed
  • Humphry Davy – Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 closed
  • Liskeard School and Community College – Year 9 closed
  • Mounts Bay Academy – Years 8 and 9 closed until further notice
  • 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 8 closed
  • South Petherwin – closed
  • Taliesin Education (TPlus Centres) – closed until 27 March
  • 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

6.59 AM

Who is most vulnerable to Coronavirus?

Anyone can catch Coronavirus.

However, some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.

This includes:

  • are 70 or over 
  • have a long-term condition, such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease
  • are pregnant 
  • have a weakened immune system 

READ NEXT: How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus

6.58 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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