ENTERTAINMENT

Boris is considering a new ban as SAGE scientists call for stricter measures


Boris Johnson has been faced with fucking numbers that show local restrictions fail to contain coronavirus cases today as ministers and advisors go to war to ponder what to do next.

At a stormy PMQ meeting, Mr Johnson stressed that the effects of the surge were being felt worst in the north. This shows that the mix of tough local bans and national restrictions such as the curfew for pubs after rule 6 and 10 p.m. is the right one.

Support for "differentiated" action in England suggests that the Prime Minister is still resisting pressure from academics for blanket action – an obvious boost for Cabinet Ministers alarmed by the threat to millions of jobs and civil liberties.

But union leader Keir Starmer launched a furious attack on Mr Johnson in the House of Commons, saying that 19 out of 20 areas exposed to local curbs in the past two months have actually seen increases in infections. He insisted that the measures "do not work" and highlighted the controversial curfew at 10 pm for pubs, according to which the government had not provided a "scientific basis".

As chaotic fighting threatened to engulf the government, allies of Chancellor Rishi Sunak, seen as the leading "hawk" on the need to protect the economy, today denied allegations that he tried to deter Michael Gove from making decisions on which areas he succumbs the most draconian restrictions.

The dispute is believed to hold back the announcement of a new three-tier traffic light system designed to remove confusion about which rules apply where in England.

Meanwhile, executives from four Covid-affected cities in the north, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle, have written to Mr Johnson asking him not to ride up the coronavirus curbs again – which could mean pubs and restaurants are completely closed will.

Tensions between ministers were underscored this morning when Matt Hancock told executives that hospitalization rates have risen "very sharply" and the government has a "very serious problem". But Trade Secretary Liz Truss suggested in a round of interviews that the current balance of restrictions is "right".

The situation is also moving quickly in Scotland, where Nicola Sturgeon will reveal a dramatic new pressures on the hospitality sector and local travel this afternoon.

The move she emphasized will not result in a full lockdown like it did in March after the First Minister received "very strong" advice on the need to respond to a surge in infections.

In other twists of today's coronavirus crisis:

  • Sir Keir hinted that Labor will join Tory rebels in a key vote next week against the controversial 10 p.m. pub curfew, increasing the prospect of losing the government.
  • Scientists from the world's top universities have written an open letter calling on the UK and US to strengthen herd immunity to Covid-19 by letting it spread to young people.
  • Concerns have been raised about the supply of vital test materials for a number of conditions, including Covid-19following a supply chain problem with pharmaceutical giant Roche;
  • The number of Covid-19 hospital admissions in England has increased 25 percent in one day, according to government data.

Rishi Sunak took an 11th hour intervention to delay the announcement of a new three-tier Covid warning system, the Telegraph reports.

Boris Johnson (pictured left at PMQs today) is desperate to allay fears of an increase in infections and hospital stays, particularly in the north. However, union leader Keir Starmer (right) said that 19 out of 20 areas exposed to local curbs in the past two months have actually seen an increase in infections

Leaders from four Covid-hit cities in the north, Manchester (pictured), Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle have written to Mr Johnson asking him not to increase coronavirus restrictions.

Leaders from four Covid-hit cities in the north, Manchester (pictured), Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle have written to Mr Johnson asking him not to increase coronavirus restrictions.

Scotland could shut down PUBS as Sturgeon unveils the lockdown plan today

Scots face the prospect of even tighter restrictions on pubs and restaurants amid fears the coronavirus is spiraling out of control.

Nicola Sturgeon is set to unveil a dramatic new print this afternoon that is expected to include swaying hospitality curbs and local travel.

The move she emphasized will not result in a full lockdown like it did in March after the First Minister received "very strong" advice on the need to respond to a surge in infections.

The action could be an indication of curbs looming in England, with Boris Johnson under great pressure to tighten the rules despite a growing Tory uprising over violations of civil liberties and harm to the economy.

Experts have warned that the current outbreak across the UK could peak in March by the end of October unless "drastic" steps are taken. Some are pushing for a short circuit break in school half-time or a ban on shuffling households in order to break the chain of transmission.

At her daily meeting yesterday, Ms. Sturgeon said the infections are gradually spreading from younger populations to older age groups.

The average number of daily cases has risen to 729 from 285 two weeks ago – when a ban on indoor mixing was introduced.

Upon bruising Sir Keir, Mr Johnson appeared to rule out the possibility of an impending national clash.

"Although cases in the country have increased significantly across the country this week from last week, the 7-day statistics show that there are now 497 cases per 100,000 in Liverpool, 522 cases per 100,000 in Manchester and 422 in Newcastle" , he said .

"The key point is that the local regional approach combined with the national approach remains correct as two-thirds of those hospitalized on Sunday were in the North West, North East and Yorkshire."

But Sir Keir sparked a rant, pointing out that the government's local lockdown is clearly "not working".

& # 39; On nursing homes, protective gear, exams, tests. The prime minister ignores the warning signs, speeds towards a car accident, then looks in the rearview mirror and says, "What's this about?" he said.

"In hindsight, it's literally government."

Sir Keir added, "All the Prime Minister has to say is that it is too early to say if restrictions are working, but it is obvious that something has gone wrong here. What is the Prime Minister going to do about it?" "

The Labor leader pointed out that there were currently 62 cases per 100,000 in Mr Johnson's local authority, Hillingdon, with no local restrictions.

'But restrictions were imposed in 20 local areas across England when infection rates were much lower. In Kirklees it was only 29 per 100,000, ”he said.

“The local communities, Prime Ministers, really don't understand these differences. Can he please explain it to you? & # 39;

Mr Johnson replied, “I wish I could pretend everything was going to be rosy in the Midlands or in London, which is unfortunately also where infections are increasing.

"So we need a concerted national effort, we need to follow the directions, we need hands, face, space, a test if you have symptoms and follow the rule of six."

Sir Keir insisted that he support the government's rule of six.

But he took on a completely different tone as to whether Labor would support the 10 p.m. bar and restaurant curfew in England, which does more harm than good to critics as night owls only take to the streets.

"The Prime Minister cannot explain why an area is restricted, he cannot explain what the various restrictions are, he cannot explain how restrictions end – it is getting ridiculous," said Sir Keir.

& # 39; Next week this House will vote on whether to approve the 10pm rule. The Prime Minister knows that there are differently ingrained views across the country. A question now screams: Is there a scientific basis for the 10pm rule? & # 39;

Mr Johnson replied, "The basis on which we set out the hospitality restriction was the basis on which he accepted it two weeks ago – that is, to reduce the spread of the virus, and that is our goal."

The British government's scientific experts have publicly called for "urgent and drastic measures" to curb the rising numbers of infections and growing hospital admissions.

SAGE member John Edmunds said there needs to be a nationwide crackdown quickly, saying the current package of local bans, the 6pm and 10pm pubs curfew, is obviously not working.

Mr Edmunds told BBC Newsnight: “These local restrictions being put in place in the north have really not been very effective. We can see that rates are still rising. We have to take much stricter measures, not just in the north of England – we have to do it nationwide.

"We have to do a whole package across the country … I'd include circuit breaks to get the cases right."

He was particularly concerned about the 10 p.m. curfew, which was criticized for making matters worse by partying on the street and in homes.

"I really don't think it will do anything," he said.

Professor Calum Semple, who specializes in disease outbreaks, has called for a "breaker" of perhaps two weeks with strict restrictions.

Prof. Semple said, "A circuit breaker a few weeks ago would have been a really good idea."

He added, “It is always easier to reduce an outbreak earlier than let it go and then try to reduce it at a later time.

"Yes, circuit breakers are certainly something we should think about on a national basis."

Stephen Reicher, a professor of social psychology at the University of St. Andrews and another SAGE member, told BBC Radio 4's Today program that there was a "window of time" to keep the outbreak from reopening by the end of the month the March level is returning.

“I think it's important to do something because if you look at the numbers right now, the infection rate is around 10 percent of the March peak, but if it doubled, that would likely be the case by the end of October at the peak of March, ”he said.

“So the good news is that we have the opportunity to do something.

“If we miss this window of time, then we are really in trouble, then we would really talk about going back to March on lockdown measures. But we're not talking about that now. We have time. & # 39;

The Telegraph claimed that in order to gain tighter control over new lockdown measures, Mr. Sunak would like to set up a new committee of himself, Mr. Johnson and Secretary of Health Matt Hancock, to decide which cities to put on high alert.

Such a committee would exclude Mr. Gove, who is believed to be an advocate of restrictions, from the decision-making process.

However, allies of the Chancellor told MailOnline that he "did not dictate who should be on which committee" and did not want the "red" areas to be decided by just three people.

It comes amid growing discontent on Tory benches over the 10 p.m. government curfew on the hospitality industry – with a rebellion expected in a vote next week.

Speculation of further government action increased yesterday when the UK reported 14,542 new coronavirus cases, up nearly 2,000 from the last 24 hours.

The surge has continued after ironing out an artificial thorn caused by a “computer glitch” that left 16,000 cases missed from the government's reporting system.

Test and Trace are still trying to contact 6,000 positive cases to find out who they may have infected – probably around 50,000 people.

Coupled with the growing infection data, yesterday's numbers also showed hospital admissions rose to the highest daily rate in four months.

In another blow to hopes that the virus will be brought under control, official NHS data shows there were 478 new hospital admissions in England on Sunday – the latest daily numbers are in.

This is an increase of 25 percent compared to the data on Saturday, when 386 people with Covid-19 were hospitalized. It's also a four-month high, unseen since June 3rd when the number was 491.

Data also shows that the number of people using ventilators rose from 259 a week ago to 349 on Sunday.

Government data shows that coronavirus cases have increased recently among the older generation

Government data shows that coronavirus cases have increased recently among the older generation

Coronavirus cases are starting to increase in the elderly

Coronavirus cases in the elderly are on the rise again, according to government data.

According to Whitehall sources, the trend is ringing alarm bells, warning that tougher measures may be needed to keep the crisis under control.

Data from Public Health England shows that 30.1 Covid-19 cases were diagnosed out of 100,000 people over the age of 80 last week.

The rate has tripled since the last week of August when it was just 8.9 and has been rising steadily since then. It was 27.5 the week before.

Covid-19 hunts the elderly, with estimates by top scientists killing around one in five over 75-year-olds. For comparison: Experts assume that the mortality rate for people under 45 years of age is below 0.1 percent – for children it is even lower.

PHE data, which takes into account cases diagnosed between September 21-27, shows a similar increase was seen in people in their sixties and seventies.

The infection rate in people aged 70 to 79 is currently 20.6 compared to 17.4 the week before and 4.6 at the end of August.

For people aged 60 to 69, it is now 34.2, up from 27.5 last week. It has more than quadrupled since the figure of 7.5 a month ago.

Cases have risen for every age group since last week except for those under 10, for whom rates appear to have stabilized. Twenty are still driving the outbreak (95.0 out of 81.2), followed by 10 to 19 year olds (76.7 out of 53.7).

The Covid-19 infection data for the past week will be released by PHE this Friday when the government-led agency updates its national surveillance report.

While hospital admissions have increased, the number of people dying from the virus in hospital remains significantly lower than it was when the pandemic began.

In addition, the figures show that hospital admissions rates are still low in some areas, such as the south of England.

The recent surge in cases has been particularly acute in the major cities of the north and the Midlands. Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and Nottingham saw large increases, partly due to the return of university students.

Plans for a new three-tier system to combat local outbreaks that could close pubs, restaurants and cinemas in parts of England are currently being finalized.

These are expected to be unveiled next week but could be brought forward by the end of this week if current trends continue.

Officials have also refused to rule out further national measures.

In a sign of an imminent crackdown, Mr. Sunak reportedly drew up plans yesterday evening for renewed aid from the Treasury Department to businesses affected by new local lockdown restrictions.

This could be a new support package for those who are forced to close.

Last minute yesterday the leaders of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle called on ministers to think carefully about new lockdown measures.

In a letter to Mr Hancock, the four said they were "extremely concerned about the surge in" new coronavirus cases in their areas.

However, they cautioned against supporting further economic lockdowns, urging him to hand over powers to regional leaders rather than impose restrictions on Whitehall.

Judith Blake, Leeds City Council Chair, Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, Sir Richard Leese, Manchester City Council Chair, and Nick Forbes, Newcastle City Council Chair, wrote: – clock rule, are counterproductive.

"Instead, local measures, developed jointly by the police, law enforcement and public health services, should be adopted to tackle rising infection rates based on local knowledge."

Speaking to ITV's GMB this morning, Mr Anderson said, “We have seen 2,500 new cases in Liverpool in the past week and yet we are seeing restrictions imposed on Manchester and Newcastle that are not working and the rate of infection is rising.

“It's about common sense, about finding the right balance and what we can do, what we should do and how local lockdowns work, and working with local executives to get it right.

"There's a lack of consistency, a lack of clarity, but most of all, a lack of communication and collaboration."

Officials also expect Nottingham to lock down in some cases after a surge.

The city's infection rate has increased. In the seven days leading up to October 2, 1,273 new cases were recorded – that's 382 cases per 100,000. That's an increase of 59 per 100,000 in the seven days leading up to September 25th.

Nottingham Public Health Director Alison Challenger said current restrictions "are no longer enough to stop the virus from spreading".

Other areas with high rates are Knowsley and Liverpool, while Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield and Leeds have seen big jumps in their infection rates over the past seven days.

MPs support the six-in-commons rule with just 17 politicians speaking out against it despite widespread Tory anger over the coronavirus law. They fear that they "do more harm than good".

MPs overwhelmingly backed the controversial rule of six in a Commons vote last night – but Boris Johnson had no doubt about the anger on the Tory back benches.

The The Covid-19 regulations that enforce the rules of gatherings in England were passed in Westminster by 287 votes to 17 – a majority of 270.

The rules are already in place and the motion only provides an ex post vote on them.

But a number of Tories said they would abstain rather than support, and used the debate beforehand to attack government ministers over the scope of the rules.

Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister, said he had "real concerns" about the "appalling" cost of the measures, while Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 Tory backbench committee, called the measures "a massive encroachment on." the measures "denoted the private life of the British people.

Huw Merriman MP, chairman of the Transport Select Committee, said he feared the measures would "do more harm than good".

However, there was little prospect that the measures would fail the Commons vote after Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer told reporters on Tuesday that his party would support the measures.

Presenting his opposition to the vote, Mr Baker said: “I have real concerns about the very high cost of these measures.

"(It's an) absolutely appalling set of costs that people bear, and the anecdotes that (will) now increasingly suggest poor compliance actually seem to create a gap between their intentions to comply and what they actually do to have."

He added, “It is not now clear that the benefits outweigh the costs of the lockdown. We have to ask ourselves whether these circumstances are really what we want.

“We hear from people who are destroyed by this lockdown, strong, confident people, open-minded people, sociable people who are destroyed and reduced to repeated tears on the phone.

"This is a devastating social impact on our society, and I believe that people would make different choices if they could take responsibility for themselves."

Mr Brady, who voted against the Rule of Six, said: “These rules are a massive encroachment on the freedom and privacy of the entire British people and they also have a devastating economic impact that will result in great job losses and masses of business failure. & # 39;

Last week Boris Johnson hinted that the rule of six could be suspended on Christmas Day to ensure a family of five can invite both grandparents out for festive lunches.

He had stressed that the government would "do everything possible to ensure that Christmas is as normal as possible for everyone".

In late September, a desperate Prime Minister called on the British to "save Christmas" by following his rule of six.

However, in Tuesday's debate, Mr. Baker was joined by other Tory MPs who were fully opposed to the measure.

Bexhill Tory MP Huw Merriman warned that the measure would "do more harm than good".

He said, “Now I am looking for this evidence, but I still don't see it.

On that basis, I fear that I will not be able to vote for the rule of six because I simply do not believe that it is proportionate and that it will actually do what the government hopes, and I hope and fear that it does more harm than good. & # 39;

Yesterday some experts called for stricter restrictions.

Chris Hopson, head of the NHS Providers hospital group, urged Boris Johnson to be ready "to put appropriately strict local lockdown measures in place wherever the virus spreads in a way that could jeopardize the NHS 'ability to cope".

Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, tweeted, “Community broadcasting is increasing. The number of people who need to be hospitalized is increasing.

& # 39; Tragically, more people are dying. Options for intervention could be discussed, but the data are clear. & # 39;

Yesterday MPs overwhelmingly backed the controversial rule of six in a vote today – but Boris Johnson had no doubt about the anger on the Tory back benches.

The The Covid-19 regulations that enforce the rules of gatherings in England were passed in Westminster by 287 votes to 17 – a majority of 270.

The rules are already in place and the motion only provides an ex post vote on them.

But a number of Tories said they would abstain rather than support, and used the debate beforehand to attack government ministers over the scope of the rules.

Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister, said he had "real concerns" about the "appalling" cost of the measures, while Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 Tory backbench committee, called the measures "a massive encroachment on." the measures "denoted the private life of the British people.

Huw Merriman MP, chairman of the Transport Select Committee, said he feared the measures would "do more harm than good".

However, there was little prospect that the measures would fail the Commons vote after Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer told reporters on Tuesday that his party would support the measures.

Presenting his opposition to the vote, Mr Baker said: “I have real concerns about the very high cost of these measures.

"(It's an) absolutely appalling set of costs that people bear, and the anecdotes that (will) now increasingly suggest poor compliance actually seem to create a gap between their intentions to comply and what they actually do to have."

He added, “It is not now clear that the benefits outweigh the costs of the lockdown. We have to ask ourselves whether these circumstances are really what we want.

“We hear from people who are destroyed by this lockdown, strong, confident people, open-minded people, sociable people who are destroyed and reduced to repeated tears on the phone.

"This is a devastating social impact on our society, and I believe that people would make different choices if they could take responsibility for themselves."

Mr Brady, who voted against the Rule of Six, said: “These rules are a massive encroachment on the freedom and privacy of the entire British people and also have a devastating economic impact that will result in great job losses and masses of business failure. & # 39;

Last week Boris Johnson hinted that the rule of six could be suspended on Christmas Day to ensure a family of five can invite both grandparents out for festive lunches.

He had stressed that the government would "do everything possible to ensure that Christmas is as normal as possible for everyone".

In late September, a desperate Prime Minister called on the British to "save Christmas" by following his rule of six.

However, in last night's debate, Mr Baker was joined by other Tory MPs who were fully opposed to the measure.

Bexhill Tory MP Huw Merriman warned that the measure would "do more harm than good".

He said, “I don't see any evidence how this will bring Covid down rates.

“My main concern is that we rule by consent. We need people to come with us.

“When people look at these rules, people I speak to who were absolutely religious supporters of the lockdown, now they say that I just won't do this anymore.

"And the concern is that they are not following some of the other rules that make sense that we should have."

He added, “Now I am looking for this evidence, but I still don't see it.

On that basis, I fear that I will not be able to vote for the rule of six because I simply do not believe that it is proportionate and that it will actually do what the government hopes, and I hope and fear that it actually does more harm than good.

Universities cancel classroom courses

By Chris Brooke

Universities started canceling classroom teaching yesterday as they stepped up efforts to contain rising infection rates on campus.

The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, which has around 73,000 students attending, said classes would only be online until at least November.

The University of Sheffield, home to nearly 30,000 students, followed suit last night when it announced that in-person learning will be suspended from Friday until at least October 19.

The University of Manchester (pictured) and Manchester Metropolitan University - with around 73,000 students - said classes would only be online until at least November

The University of Manchester (pictured) and Manchester Metropolitan University – with around 73,000 students – said classes would only be online until at least November

The measures are a drastic step to stop the coronavirus from spreading among the student population. However, they will increase the requirements on students to receive tuition reimbursements.

Student outbreaks make up a large proportion of the total cases in both cities. In Sheffield, where there are two major universities, 808 students tested positive between Monday last week and Sunday. There were a total of 1,532 positive tests in the city during the same period. This means that 53 percent of all positive tests came from students. There appears to be a similar pattern in Manchester, although the evidence from universities there is more limited.

There were 792 positive tests from students at Manchester University between Monday last week and Friday.

Manchester Metropolitan University has not released positive test results to date, although more than 1,500 students in university accommodation are known to be self-isolating and there is a significant outbreak among students. The total number of tests in the city for the same period was 3,055.

If a similar percentage of students at both universities tested positive, they would represent more than 45 percent of Manchester.

David Regan, Director of Public Health at Manchester Council said: “This is the right thing to do and supports our approach of using data and a local approach to contain outbreaks to reduce the possibility of further infection.

"More online teaching protects employees, students, and the wider community about what we want and need."

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