Month: March 2020

As bus services slashed for the duration, County trials taxi service for key workers

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DCC logo


Due to the reduction of bus services across the county, Devon County Council are trialling an on-demand subsidised taxi service for Devon residents for key workers accessing employment only.

This service is intended to replace those journeys which were previously made by bus – a subsidised flat fare will be charged.

Requests can only be made by email and should be sent to

Please include the following information in your email:


JOURNEY REQUIREMENTS (pick up/drop off)

We will aim to respond to all requests as soon as possible during normal office hours  – journeys should be booked 48 hours in advance of travel.

Highways safety repairs still being done, but planned maintenance stopped

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unnamed-6Devon Highways say:

‘We’ve temporarily suspended planned highway maintenance work in order to focus on the repair of critical infrastructure, and continue to deliver essential safety repairs in order to maintain the local network.”

Now that the lockdown is in place, ‘one-size fits all’ isn’t right – could Devon still contain the epidemic through testing, and quarantining contacts of cases?

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Dr KK Cheng, the director of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, has commented that in many areas of the country the epidemic is well behind London, the Midlands and other leading areas. He suggested that local authorities with relatively few cases (which I believe Devon’s still is) might contain the local expansion of the pandemic. 
His suggestions were:
  1. Expand testing to identify cases, trace contacts and isolate;
  2. Even without testing, ensure the close contacts of those admitted are properly quarantined;
  3. Testing does not even require personal protective equipment, so could be done by retired GPs, junior medical and nursing students – someone has suggested that dentists are also an under-utilised resource?

COVID-19 helpline to support parish and town councils in your community response activities: 01392 248919 or email

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DCC logoA joint message from DALC, Devon Communities Together, Devon County Council and all of Devon’s district, city & borough councils

Devon’s town and parish councils are at the heart of our communities.

Now more than ever, your role is vital in helping people through this coronavirus pandemic.  We are committed to working together to give you the support you need to ensure that Devon’s communities get through this outbreak.

We have pledged to doing everything in our power to help you directly and to support our communities to find ways to respond quickly and positively for everyone’s benefit.

We know what makes Devon special – it’s the people, and many of them have already leapt into action to offer help and to look out for elderly and vulnerable neighbours and those who may be self-isolating.

Towns and parish councils are among those setting up volunteer schemes to ensure people receive essential support.   We want to work alongside you to build on this and support the community response that’s being established.

We are going to develop a picture of what’s going on across Devon in order to share good practice. If you are already doing something in your local area or are establishing a community response group, or if you know of local initiatives, then please let us know by filling out this form so that we know where help is being offered.

We have set up COVID-19 helpline, supported by Devon Communities Together to support parish and town council’s and the Devon Village Halls Networks in your local community response and resilience activities. The helpline will be open from 9am on Monday 23rd March and will be staffed 9am to 5pm on weekdays for the foreseeable future. Please telephone 01392 248919 or email

Please also visit Devon Communities Together’s community resilience web page

We are in this together, and by standing shoulder to shoulder, we will get through this together.


The lockdown, better late than never, gives hope to the South West. Now we need testing and tracking. But a public inquiry into the Government’s mistakes must come later.

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The lockdown announced by Boris Johnson yesterday is the right policy. Respecting it will save lives.

In the South West, where it seems we still have relatively few cases – although no one really knows because the Government abandoned most testing – this policy gives the best chance of containing the epidemic to a level which will be manageable with the limited number of Intensive Care Unit beds, ventilators and nursing staff in the region’s NHS.

As the lockdown slows the spread of the disease, it should be used for widespread testing and tracking down cases, to eradicate it before lifting restrictions.

The Government’s catastrophic mistakes

A lockdown should have been done 3 weeks ago. Doing it even two weeks or a week ago would have made a big difference, as I and colleagues argued at the time.

Instead we now know that Johnson, with his advisor Dominic Cummings, initially went for a policy summed up by one leading Tory as ‘herd immunity and let the old people die’. They were prepared to allow 100,000 excess deaths. But then research showed that their policies would actually lead to 250,000-500,000 deaths, and they realised that the NHS would be destroyed.

Now, a study suggests that 35,000-70,000 deaths will still result. This is ‘only’ 10-20 times the number in China. We had the benefit of their experience, and also observing the terrible situation in Italy. But our leaders learnt too little, too late, after pursuing a terrible fantasy. Many will pay the price.

In due course, there will need to be a public inquiry. Johnson, Cummings and others responsible must be brought account for the unnecessary deaths. For now, however, we must give all our support to the NHS staff who are battling to save lives, and live with the lockdown, for all our sakes.

Two deaths from coronavirus confirmed in Devon

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UnknownStatement from Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust following news of confirmed COVID-19 deaths


A Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said:

“Sadly, we can confirm that two patients who were being cared for at Torbay Hospital, and had tested positive for COVID-19, have died.

“The patients, who were both in their 80s had underlying health conditions.

“Their families have been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult and distressing time. We will not be making any further statement.”

Recycling centres restricted to essential use only – Devon County Council

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DCC statement: Residents should only visit the Recycling Centres if absolutely necessary. Those with small amounts of waste which are suitable to be placed in the kerbside collection, those over 70, those who are self isolating (vulnerable or displaying symptoms of COVID 19) should not visit the sites from today (Mon 23 March ) until further notice.

The new measures follow thousands of people using Devon’s recycling centres over the weekend and  not adhering to Government advice and the social distancing guidelines.

Staff at Devon’s 17 open Household Waste Recycling Centres are limiting vehicle access at the gates to enforce the government’s social distancing guidelines.

There will be in a ‘no assistance/no contact’ policy in place at recycling centres and users are requested to lift/handle their own waste and adopt the social distancing guideline..

People with large volumes of waste should consider alternatives such a skip hire or Hippo bags. Home composting should be practised where possible. Residents should delay projects that generate large volumes of waste such as clearing out the shed/garage. Waste should be held at home where possible.

Credit/debit cards will be the only form of payments accepted for chargeable waste – no cash. Resale shops are already closed.

Those still wishing to use the recycling centres for essential purposes should expect lengthy traffic queues and therefore should only visit if absolutely necessary.