Journalists and broadcasters providing public service broadcasting have been included in the list of professionals engaged in essential services whose children will still be able to go to school from Monday after the UK government closed all schools on Friday.
Some schools will be open for children of the professionals and workers mentioned in a list of key services released on Friday. Allowing children of such professionals to be in school will allow them to continue working in the essential services.
“Schools are…being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home”, the Department of Education said.
Mainstream news websites such as BBC and The Guardian reported enhanced traffic as news organisations made special arrangements to continue to deliver credible information at a time when social media forwards include fake news and scams related to coronavirus.
The BBC re-focussed its programming to include education and other schedules to cater to children after schools are closed. Its popular Question Time programme on Thursday was held without an audience.
BBC director-general Tony Hall said: “We need to pull together to get through this. That’s why the BBC will be using all of its resources – channels, stations and output – to help keep the nation informed, educated and entertained”.
“We are making a series of changes to our output to achieve that. We will continue to deliver all the essential news and information – with special programming and content…Clearly there will be disruption to our output along the way, but we will do our very best”.
Katherine Viner, editor of The Guardian, recalled that the daily continued to publish during the 1918 flu pandemic and the two world wars, and asked readers to contribute to its crowd-funding initiatives while promising to do its best during the coronavirus pandemic.
Viner highlighted the need for credible information at a time when security officials cautioned people about growing cases of coronavirus-related scams and cyber crime.
Since February, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau said it had identified 21 reports of fraud where Coronavirus was mentioned, with victim losses totalling over £800,000.
Ten of these reports were made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers. Fraudsters are also sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails in an attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial details.
Examples include fraudsters purported to be from research organisation’s affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation contacting potential victims over email.