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Lewis Hamilton to miss Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus
Lewis Hamilton will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain after testing positive for coronavirus. The seven-time Formula One world champion is in isolation after his positive result.

An F1 statement said: “The FIA, Formula One and Mercedes Team can today confirm that during mandatory pre-race PRC testing for the Sakhir Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for Covid-19.

“In accordance with Covid-19 protocols, he is now isolating. All contacts have been declared. The procedures set out by the FIA and Formula One will ensure no wider impact on this weekend’s event.”

Hamilton’s Mercedes team said Hamilton, 35, reported “mild symptoms” on the morning following Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix where he claimed his 11th win of the season.

“Lewis was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon at the Bahrain International Circuit as part of the standard race weekend testing programme,” a statement from the Formula One team read.

“However, he woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to his arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive.

“Lewis therefore took a further test and returned a positive result. This has since been confirmed by a retest.”

The Mercedes statement continued: “Lewis is now isolating in accordance with Covid-19 protocols and public health guidelines in Bahrain.

“Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery.”

Hamilton, who wrapped up his record-equalling seventh world championship in Turkey last month, is the third driver to have contracted the illness.

Sergio Perez missed the British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix at Silverstone in August, while his Racing Point team-mate Lance Stroll also tested positive following October’s Eifel Grand Prix in Germany.

Sunday’s race will be the first Hamilton has missed since his debut at the 2007 season-opening race in Australia.

Mercedes have yet to confirm who will replace the Englishman for Sunday’s grand prix on the Outer Loop of the Bahrain International Circuit.

Mercedes reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, formerly of McLaren, is in the running, while the world champions could also turn to British driver George Russell.

Russell, 22, is in his second season with Williams, but is a member of the Mercedes junior driver programme.

Published: 01/12/2020 by Radio NewsHub

No last-minute rescue deal for Arcadia Group – report
Plans for an emergency multimillion-pound loan to Sir Philip Green’s struggling Arcadia Group have reportedly fallen through. Sir Philip’s retail empire, which includes the Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton brands, has been revealed to be on the brink of collapse with around 15,000 jobs at risk.

Senior sources at the company have told the BBC they do not expect a last-minute rescue deal, which had been flagged by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group.

Arcadia Group will enter administration on Monday, the broadcaster said, with Deloitte to be appointed as administrators in the coming days.

The offer from Frasers Group, which runs Sports Direct and House of Fraser, amounts to a £50 million loan, Mr Ashley’s company confirmed.

Frasers Group said: “The company can confirm that it has made an offer and provided draft terms to the Arcadia Group for a loan of up to £50 million and is now awaiting a substantive response.

“Should the Company and the Arcadia Group’s efforts to agree an emergency funding package fail and the Arcadia Group enter into administration, the company would be interested in participating in any sale process.”

Sky News quoted Chris Wootton, Frasers’ chief financial officer, as saying: “We hope that Sir Philip Green and the Arcadia Group will contact us today to discuss how we can support them and help save as many jobs as possible.”

Arcadia had been in emergency talks with lenders in a bid to secure a £30 million loan to help shore up its finances.

If the insolvency is confirmed, it is expected to trigger a scramble among creditors to get control of company assets.

It is the latest retailer to have been hammered by the closure of stores in the face of coronavirus, with rivals including Debenhams, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group and Oasis Warehouse all sliding into insolvency since the pandemic struck in March.

The group has more than 500 retail stores across the UK with the majority of these currently shut as a result of England’s second national lockdown, which will end next week.

Earlier this year, Arcadia revealed plans to cut around 500 of its 2,500 head office jobs amid a restructure in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

Published: 30/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

What are the latest coronavirus restrictions around the UK?
Large swathes of England face the toughest lockdown restrictions of the tier-based system from December 2, but different rules are in place across the four nations of the UK. This is the current picture in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

– England

Much of the Midlands, North East and North West will be in the most restrictive Tier 3, meaning a ban on households mixing, except in limited circumstances such as parks, while bars and restaurants will be limited to takeaway or delivery services and people will be advised to avoid travelling outside their area.

The majority of England will be in Tier 2 – including London and Liverpool – where the restrictions mean a ban on households mixing indoors, and pubs and restaurants only able to sell alcohol with a “substantial meal”.

Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be placed in the lowest Tier 1 set of restrictions.

A vote on the new tier system is due to take place in Parliament on Tuesday.

– Northern Ireland

From November 27, pubs, restaurants, non-essential retail and close contact services had to shut for two weeks to help curb the spread of the virus.

Many businesses across Northern Ireland had only just opened up again following a circuit-breaker lockdown.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said the decision on further restrictions was “difficult but right”, while the hospitality sector is seeking assurances from Stormont that it can reopen on December 11.

– Wales

Further national restrictions will come into effect across Wales this week after a steady rise in infection rates – especially among the under-25s – since a 17-day “firebreak” ended on November 9.

Cinemas, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment venues will close and new rules will be introduced for the hospitality industry on Friday.

But the new restrictions will not apply to non-essential retail, hairdressers, gyms and leisure centres.

– Scotland

The toughest coronavirus restrictions in Scotland have been imposed on 11 council areas.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that moving parts of west and central Scotland from Level 3 to Level 4 for three weeks was “unpalatable but necessary” as infections remained “stubbornly and worryingly high”.

The restrictions mean that non-essential shops, hospitality, gyms and beauty salons are among the businesses forced to close in these areas until December 11.

Published: 30/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Tighter tier system to cost hospitality sector up to £7.8bn

The tighter tiered system coming into force this week will stop 98% of England’s hospitality sector from doing business as usual at a cost of up to £7.8 billion, new research suggests.

Jobs site Caterer.com estimated that pent-up demand for meals and drinks could have delivered as much as £15.9 billion to the UK economy when the current lockdown ends on Wednesday.

A survey of more than 2,000 adults indicated that after four weeks at home, the public is eager to return to hospitality venues.

One in four respondents said they were planning to spend more than usual at hospitality venues, suggesting that a potential £5.1 billion could be spent on meals and a further £5.1 billion on drinks, if venues were allowed to trade fully, said the report.

While the return of customers would have delivered a much-needed festive boost for the struggling industry, much of the sector now faces crisis amid a tighter tiered system and tougher restrictions, said Caterer.com.

Published: 30/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

PM announces £20m to boost medicine manufacturing in UK

Medicine manufacturing in the UK will receive a £20 million boost in a bid to strengthen the country’s response to future pandemics, the Prime Minister has announced.

Boris Johnson will launch the Medicines and Diagnostic Manufacturing Transformation Fund on a visit to North Wales on Monday.

The fund is designed to open-up investment opportunities for manufacturers across the UK, improving medicine supply chains and creating potentially thousands of skilled jobs.

It will be used to encourage companies to build new factories and harness new technological advances, with the aim of placing them ahead of global competitors.

The multi-year fund, starting with £20 million, will be available from next year and eligible manufacturing companies can bid for help with their capital costs.

Mr Johnson said: “This new £20 million fund will significantly increase the capacity and resilience of our medicines and diagnostics manufacturing supply chains and equip us to fight future health crises.

“Throughout the pandemic we have seen a coming together of British scientific industry and innovation and this new fund will enhance the UK’s manufacturing capabilities even further.”

Business Secretary Alok Sharma added: “The positive and timely response of our medicines manufacturers to the pandemic has been remarkable, but we want to ensure that the UK’s supply chains are even more resilient in the future.

“There are huge opportunities for innovation in medicines and diagnostics, and this new fund will put the UK head and shoulders above others, boosting the UK’s capabilities and generating significant economic opportunities across the country.”

Published: 29/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse dies aged 85

Dave Prowse, the former bodybuilder from Bristol best known for playing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy and the Green Cross Code Man, has died aged 85, his agent confirmed.

Prowse won the role playing Vader due to his impressive 6ft 6in physique, but with his West Country accent deemed not quite suitable, the part was instead voiced by James Earl Jones.

The towering performer also earned an MBE for playing the Green Cross Code Man to promote road safety.

Tributes have poured in for the star, including co-stars from Star Wars.

Mark Hamill has hailed his co-star Dave Prowse as “a kind man” who was “much more than Darth Vader”

Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker opposite Prowse, tweeted: “So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.

“Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him.”

Published: 29/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Thousands of turkeys culled after bird flu outbreak at Yorkshire farm

More than 10,000 turkeys will be culled at a farm in North Yorkshire following a bird flu outbreak.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said avian influenza poses little risk to public health and this strain of the virus does not affect food safety.

All 10,500 birds at the turkey fattening site in Northallerton will be humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease, and a 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone has been put in place to stop the disease spreading.

Public Health England (PHE) and the Food Standards Agency have assured consumers that avian influenzas pose a very low risk to people, and that properly cooked poultry products including eggs are safe to eat.

A detailed investigation is in progress to determine the most likely source of this outbreak, but Defra has said it does not anticipate any impact on the supplies of turkeys or other birds over Christmas.

Wild birds migrating from mainland Europe during the winter period can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds.

As a result of outbreaks in the UK, new restrictions were declared nationwide to prevent the spread of the “highly infectious” flu earlier in November.

Published: 29/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Clinically extremely vulnerable given same priority as over 70s on vaccine list
People at very high risk from coronavirus, who were made to shield during the pandemic, have been given the same priority as the over 70s in the queue to receive a vaccine.
The provisional vaccine priority list published by Public Health England has placed people aged 18 or older who are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable in the same priority group as those aged 70 and over.

It means people with conditions such as blood, bone or lung cancer, chronic kidney disease and Down’s Syndrome have been placed in priority group four of nine.

Gemma Peters, chief executive of charity Blood Cancer UK, said: “This is extremely good news.

“Putting people with blood cancer at the same priority level as those aged over 70 better reflects the fact that they are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.”

She added: “Any vaccine might not work as well in people with blood cancer, so vaccinating the people around them is a vital part of protecting them.

“We are very grateful to the Government for having listened to the voices of people with blood cancer and other health conditions on this.

“It is also important to remember that this is not definitely the final priority list.

“No vaccines have been approved yet, and we’re waiting for confirmation that any vaccine will be safe and effective for people with blood cancer.”

The updated list, which is subject to Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approval of vaccine supply, also lists the conditions that fall in priority group six for at-risk adults aged 18 to 65.

These include diabetes, chronic heart disease and morbid obesity.

The interim guidance, advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), says the order of priority should be:

1. Older adults in a care home and care home workers

2. All those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers

3. All those 75 years of age and over

4. All those 70 years of age and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable individuals, excluding pregnant women and those under 18 years of age

5. All those 65 years of age and over

6. Adults aged 18 to 65 years in an at-risk group

7. All those aged 60 and over

8. All those 55 and over

9. All those aged 50 and over

Published: 28/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

University lowers entry requirements to ‘relieve pressure’ on students
The University of Surrey will reduce its entry requirements by one grade for most undergraduate courses starting next year in recognition of the disruption to education caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Grade requirements will be lowered to help “relieve the pressure and anxiety” faced by young people who will have seen their learning affected by the pandemic across two academic years.

Entry grades will be reduced by one grade for the majority of undergraduate programmes starting in September 2021, except for regulated courses such as Veterinary Medicine, foundation year courses, four-year integrated masters programmes and audition-based performance courses.

Lizzie Burrows, director of recruitment and admissions at the University of Surrey, said: “We are taking this action now to relieve the pressure and anxiety facing this year’s applicants, as they experience ongoing disruption and uncertainty surrounding exams and assessment of their learning.

“By taking this step, we can provide one additional element of certainty and reassurance that these students will be protected from unfair disadvantage as a result of the impact of the pandemic.”

Earlier this month, the University of Birmingham also revealed it planned to reduce entry requirements for 2021 by one grade in recognition of the impact of Covid-19 on A-level students.

Education minister Nick Gibb said in the House of Commons last week that the Government was working to ensure that 2021 exams are “fair” and more details will be published “shortly”.

Experts have said that GCSE and A-level exams should be replaced with teacher assessments next year amid coronavirus disruption.

The Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Independent Sage), chaired by former Government chief scientific adviser Sir David King, is calling for all primary school tests to be cancelled and for secondary school exams to be replaced with assessments by teachers with suitable moderation.

Published: 28/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Vulnerable groups to be offered free vitamin D deliveries
More than 2.5 million at-risk people in England will be offered a free supply of vitamin D by the Government, officials have said.
Care homes in England will automatically receive supplies of the supplement for their residents in plans announced on Saturday.

People on the clinically extremely vulnerable list will be offered the chance to opt in for a supply to their homes in a letter.

The free deliveries will start in January, providing four months worth of vitamin D to up to 2.7 million people.

Public Health England (PHE) advises everyone to take 10 microgrammes of vitamin D per day between October and early March, particularly the elderly, people who do not go outside and those with dark skin.

Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin because, from about late March to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight.

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors, but between October and early March people do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight.

Additionally, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures, many may have a higher risk of a vitamin D deficiency.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Because of the incredible sacrifices made by the British people to control the virus, many of us have spent more time indoors this year and could be deficient in vitamin D.

“The Government is taking action to ensure vulnerable individuals can access a free supply to last them through the darker winter months.

“This will support their general health, keep their bones and muscles healthy and crucially reduce the pressure on our NHS.”

Anyone who can purchase vitamin D supplements is advised to start taking them now, even if eligible for a delivery next year.

Research is ongoing to investigate the link between vitamin D and Covid-19 protection, including a project at Queen Mary University investigating if correcting people’s vitamin D deficiencies over winter can reduce the risk and/or severity of Covid-19 and other acute respiratory infections.

Mr Hancock has asked PHE and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) to re-review existing evidence on the link between vitamin D and Covid-19 “to ensure we explore every potential opportunity to beat this virus”.

Published: 28/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub


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