Restrictions to be announced on social gatherings in England
Boris Johnson will announce that most gatherings of more than six people will be made illegal from Monday
Social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday as the Government seeks to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.
Boris Johnson will use a press conference on Wednesday to announce the change in the law after the number of daily positive Covid-19 cases in the UK rose to almost 3,000.
The legal limit on social gatherings will be reduced from 30 people to six. It will apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors – including private homes, as well as parks, pubs and restaurants.
Gatherings of more than six people will be allowed where the household or support bubble is larger than six, or where the gathering is for work or education purposes.
Exemptions will also apply for weddings, funerals and organised team sports in a Covid-secure way.
Published: 08/09/2020 by Radio NewsHub
A two-mile stretch of the A61 near Dronfield will be re-surfaced by Derbyshire County Council in a bid to reduce excess noise levels. The work will start on Friday 11 September at 6 pm and will continue until Monday morning, and then again on the following two weekends. The road will be completely re-surfaced and re-lined, the crash barriers will […]
Derbyshire’s new Chief Constable paid a first visit to Chesterfield in her new role – taking the opportunity to walk around the Town Centre to see first-hand the issues facing the police and partner agencies. Rachel Swann was joined by Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, and welcomed by the Leader of Chesterfield Borough […]
The Vanarama National League fixtures have been released today and Chesterfield have been handed an away game on the opening day of the season, with a trip to newly-promoted Wealdstone on Saturday, October 3. Spire Radio are looking forward to covering matches in our sports show every Saturday from 2pm. The first home game is […]
Suspected Covid-19 cases three times higher than official numbers – study
Suspected coronavirus infections recorded at the peak of the pandemic were three times higher than the number of officially confirmed cases, new research has claimed.
GPs recorded 8,985 suspected cases between February 14 and April 30, which was triple the number of people found positive with Covid-19 at test centres over the same period.
The study, led by the Queen Mary University in London, also found that black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) adults were twice as likely to present with suspected coronavirus than white adults.
The increased risk to BAME groups was not necessarily due to other factors such as health conditions, obesity or social deprivation, the study said.
Lead author Dr Sally Hull, from Queen Mary University, said: “Our results suggest that Covid-19 prevalence during the peak of the epidemic was higher than previously thought.
“The official Covid-19 test statistics are likely to have under-represented the extent of the epidemic, as many people with Covid-19 would not have been tested, including those with milder symptoms or those who could not access testing centres.”
The results of the peer-reviewed study have been published in the British Journal of General Practice.
Researchers looked at anonymised data from the primary care records of about 1.2 million adults registered with 157 practices in four east London clinical commissioning groups during the pandemic’s peak.
Three of the four boroughs studied had death rates that were in the top five for London while 55% of the population in those areas were from ethnic minorities.
The study found those with dementia were seven times more at risk of developing suspected coronavirus.
Unlike other studies, it also found that women were at a “slightly” increased risk of becoming infected with suspected coronavirus compared to men.
The data suggested the known higher risks for men “emerge later in the disease trajectory”, the study said.
Dr Hull added: “The high prevalence among BAME patients remains a big concern and we now know that ethnicity is still a risk factor even after you take account of social deprivation, long-term conditions and body mass index.
“So there is something else driving this, which urgently requires more research.”
The research focused on suspected cases as coronavirus test results were not sent to GPs during the study period.
The analysis was also not able to include measures such as household size, employment factors, travel and the availability of personal protective equipment.
Dr Hull said GPs need “timely reporting” of test results to their practices and diagnostic information from NHS 111 to ensure patients with more severe episodes receive continuing care.
She said: “It’s going to be very important how GPs record and manage cases in their community, as this can provide an early warning system if cases are rising again in an area and if we’re about to see a second wave of infection.”
Published: 08/09/2020 by Radio NewsHub
Take Covid-19 seriously again or face a bumpy ride, says senior health official
Coronavirus must be taken very seriously again or the UK will face “a bumpy ride over the next few months”, a deputy chief medical officer has warned after a “big change” in infections.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said on Monday that the public had “relaxed too much” over the summer and described the rising number of cases were of “great concern”.
The deputy chief medical officer for England issued the warning as Caerphilly in south Wales prepared to be placed under local lockdown and stricter measures were extended in Scotland.
There were a further 2,948 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK as of 9am on Monday, following the 2,988 reported on Sunday, which was the largest daily figure since May.
In an interview with journalists, Prof Van-Tam said: “This is a big change. It’s now consistent over two days and it’s of great concern at this point.
“We’ve been able to relax a bit over the summer, the disease levels have been really quite low in the UK through the summer but these latest figures really show us that much as people might like to say ‘oh well it’s gone away’ – this hasn’t gone away.
“And if we’re not careful, if we don’t take this incredibly seriously from this point in we’re going to have a bumpy ride over the next few months.”
He said that the rise is “much more marked” in the 17-21 age group, but noted there is a “more general and creeping geographic trend” across the UK.
“People have relaxed too much,” Prof Van-Tam said. “Now is the time for us to re-engage and realise that this is a continuing threat to us.”
He urged politicians and public health officials to think how to manage the crisis not in the short term but through “the next six months and how we get through this until the spring”.
The professor added that it was “clear” that the level of compliance with restrictions “is very variable indeed”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock welcomed the “important advice” having earlier described the recent increase in cases as “concerning” as he tried to remind young people of the dangers of the situation.
“Don’t kill your gran by catching coronavirus and then passing it on,” he told told BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat.
Professor John Edmunds, who is part of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, warned that cases were “increasing exponentially”.
He said the UK has entered “a risky period” with the average number of people an infected individual spreads the virus to, known as the reproduction number, potentially above the crucial figure of one.
“I didn’t want us to relax measures so much that we couldn’t open the schools safely without it tipping the reproduction number significantly above one. And we are already above one and we’ve opened schools,” he told ITV News.
As the UK continued attempts to quell regional outbreaks, people were told they cannot enter or leave Caerphilly without a reasonable excuse when new restrictions are imposed at 6pm on Tuesday.
Meetings with other people indoors will be banned and everyone over 11 will have to wear masks in shops, the first time the measure has been made mandatory in Wales.
The South Wales borough has seen 133 new Covid-19 cases over the past seven days, equivalent to a rate of 55.4 cases per 100,000 population, giving it one of the highest rates in the UK.
Meanwhile, restrictions on household visits across western parts of Scotland were extended for a further week and expanded to also include East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire.
The developments came as:
– The total number of confirmed cases in the UK passed 350,100.
– The seven-day rate of new UK cases has risen to 21.3 per 100,000 people, just above the threshold of 20 cases per 100,000 at which the Government considers imposing quarantine conditions on people travelling to the UK, if recorded in other countries.
– Train services across England and Wales were increased to about 90% of pre-pandemic levels on Monday, with operators telling commuters they can “travel with confidence”.
– A number of schools have reported confirmed cases of coronavirus, including three around Middlesbrough and one in Suffolk.
Published: 08/09/2020 by Radio NewsHub
Foden and Greenwood sent home from England squad
Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood have been sent home by England for what Gareth Southgate called a “very serious” breach of coronavirus regulations.
Within 48 hours of making their Three Lions debut against Iceland, the Manchester City playmaker and Manchester United forward are having to leave the camp after breaching the strict bio-bubble in Reykjavik.
Allegations emerged in the Icelandic media on Monday that Foden and Greenwood had spent time with two girls during the trip, with media outlet DV publishing purported footage filmed by one of them.
Southgate refused to confirm the exact nature of the breach but underlined England’s rapid response when it became clear that the duo had jeopardised the stringent Covid-19 measures.
“Unfortunately this morning it was brought to my attention that the two boys have broken the Covid guidelines in terms of our secure bubble,” the England boss said.
“And so we had to decide very quickly that they couldn’t have any interaction with the rest of the team, wouldn’t be able to travel to training.
“Given the procedures that we have to follow now, they’ll have to travel back to England separately.”
Asked if the pair had put Tuesday’s Nations League clash against Denmark in jeopardy, Southgate said: “We’re very clear that no other members of our party have been in contact with those two players.
“That’s why they couldn’t go to breakfast this morning, they couldn’t join us for training, so we’re very clear that we have followed all the guidelines in that regard.
“It’s a very serious situation and we have treated it that way and have acted as quickly as we have been able to.”
The FA has vowed to fully investigate the circumstances leading up to the breach in Reykjavik.
“Whilst in Iceland, both Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood spent time outside of our private team area, which was a breach of our Covid-19 duties,” the governing body said in a statement.
“While they did not leave the team hotel, it was an unacceptable breach of our protocol. They have both apologised for their serious lack of judgement.
“The FA will be launching a full investigation into the circumstances leading up this breach. We have spoken to the Football Association of Iceland to offer our apologies for this incident and to ensure them that we are taking the appropriate steps.
“We have also assured the Danish Football Union that all other players and staff members have been isolated within our group throughout this period.
“Our immediate priority now is preparing the team for the match against Denmark.”
The youngsters’ behaviour has not only gone down badly with the FA but their respective clubs, with City swiftly condemning Foden’s behaviour.
“Manchester City FC are aware of the story which has emerged today from the England national team camp in relation to the behaviour of Phil Foden,” read a statement from the club.
“We have also seen the comments from England manager Gareth Southgate.
“It is clear that Phil’s actions were totally inappropriate. His behaviour not only directly contravenes strict guidelines related to Covid-19, but also falls well below the standard expected of a Manchester City player and England international.
“The club supports the FA regarding this incident, and officials from the club are now in touch in relation to Phil’s enforced early return to the UK.
“We have no further comment to make on this matter.”
Manchester United released a statement at a similar time, saying: “We are liaising with the Football Association and are disappointed with the actions of Mason Greenwood over this situation.”
The PA news agency understands United want to establish the full facts before deciding on any disciplinary action – just as Southgate is having to do before deciding what kind of punishment to mete out.
“This is a job like no other in terms of the things you have to deal with,” the England manager said.
“All management roles are difficult. This is another level of the things you have to deal with.
“In terms of what’s expected, I think the players that have been with us for a longer time know exactly what’s expected and what we’re prepared to go with as a coaching team, in particular, but as a wider staff (too).
“And I think whenever people have stepped across that line when they’ve been with us, we’ve dealt with it appropriately.
“We can’t be responsible for things that people do when they’re not with us. That’s their responsibility and at that time their clubs.
“People will have a view I am sure but I think we’ve been firm when we’ve needed to be.”
Southgate refused to divulge the details of his short discussion with the “naive” duo, who he plans to speak to again “later in the appropriate way”.
“They’ve got responsibilities, they have apologised,” the Three Lions boss said.
“But everything has happened so quickly that I am obviously speaking to you as was pre-planned.
“The rest, we’ve got to get to the bottom of all the facts.”
Southgate was stony-faced in Monday’s delayed press conference nominally previewing the Nations League match in Copenhagen, with his disappointment as palpable as his frustration.
Foden and Greenwood’s actions have added just another level of difficulty to what has been the most challenging camp of the England manager’s reign.
“I am hardened to it, really,” said Southgate, who has had to juggle fitness concerns, Covid-19 measures and selection headaches as well as Harry Maguire’s early withdrawal.
“I am totally focused on preparing the team for the game. I have to make decisions around that all the time.
“As a football manager, you’re always dealing with situations that are outside of your control and things that have the potential to distract the team from the game.
“But we’ve got a game that we want to go and win (on Tuesday night) and amidst everything else I’ve got to make sure the focus is on the players that are going to be here and that they’re prepared properly for the game.”
Published: 07/09/2020 by Radio NewsHub
All but one of Derbyshire County Council’s libraries will be open and operating their normal opening hours by the end of the month. A total of 44 of the county’s 45 libraries will be open and welcoming customers to browse the shelves and choose books by 28 September. Only Wingerworth Library will remain closed for the time […]
Novak Djokovic ‘extremely sorry’ after US Open disqualification
Novak Djokovic has apologised after being defaulted from the US Open for accidentally hitting a line judge with a ball struck in annoyance.
The top seed and 17-time grand slam champion had just dropped serve to trail Spanish opponent Pablo Carreno Busta 6-5 in the opening set of their fourth-round match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Djokovic, who had missed three set points at 5-4 before hurting his shoulder in a fall, hit a ball behind him without looking that struck a female line judge in the throat.
The 33-year-old wrote on Instagram: “This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling OK.
“I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong.”
The line judge collapsed to the court and could be heard gasping for air as Djokovic rushed over to check on her condition.
Djokovic pleaded his case during lengthy discussions with tournament referee Soeren Friemel and grand slam supervisor Andreas Egli, but the officials’ mind was made up.
He subsequently accepted the decision, saying in his statement: “As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being.
“I apologise to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behaviour. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry.”
A statement from tournament organisers read: “In accordance with the Grand Slam rulebook… the US Open tournament referee defaulted Novak Djokovic from the 2020 US Open.”
Djokovic won his 17th slam singles title in Australia and was an overwhelming favourite to make it 18 in New York having not lost a match all season.
It was unquestionably an accident but it is not the first time Djokovic has flirted with such a scenario.
At the French Open in 2016 he threw his racket and nearly hit a line judge, while later that season he reacted with annoyance when questioned about a warning for hitting a ball angrily into the crowd during the ATP Finals.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Carreno Busta had sympathy for Djokovic but felt it was the right decision.
He said: “I was in shock. I never expected this moment playing against Novak. So it was a tough moment also for me.
“I don’t think that any one of us do this kind of thing intentionally. It’s just the moment. The referee and the supervisor do the right thing, but it is not easy.”
Djokovic is not the first player to be defaulted in similar circumstances, but for it to happen at a grand slam and as the tournament favourite is an extraordinary situation.
Canadian Denis Shapovalov was defaulted during a Davis Cup tie against Great Britain in 2017 after smashing a ball in anger that hit umpire Arnaud Gabas in the eye.
Tim Henman was disqualified from Wimbledon 25 years ago for hitting a ball girl with a ball during a doubles match while David Nalbandian kicked an advertising hoarding during the Queen’s final in 2012, injuring a line judge, and was defaulted.
Speaking on Amazon Prime, Henman said: “It’s a massive shock. There’s no doubt it’s the right decision. It’s amazing for me to talk about this because it happened to me at Wimbledon in 1995. It was that moment of frustration, hit the ball away when I wasn’t looking and I hit a ball girl in the ear.”
Djokovic will forfeit his prize money and ranking points, and will face a further fine for leaving the site immediately rather than explain himself in a press conference.
That decision earned strong criticism from Henman, who said: “There’s no doubt he’s made a mistake, which was an accident on the court.
“Unfortunately he’s compounded the error because he needs to face up to it, apologise and accept that he made a mistake. By then, in essence, running away from it, it’s going to go on longer.”
It is a remarkable end to a contentious summer for Djokovic, who earned criticism from inside and outside tennis when the exhibition Adria Tour he organised in the Balkans resulted in several players and coaches, including Djokovic, testing positive for Covid-19.
On the eve of the US Open, meanwhile, Djokovic left his role as head of the ATP Player Council to set up a rival player organisation.
His biggest critic among his fellow players has been Nick Kyrgios, who weighed in from Australia.
He wrote on Twitter: “Swap me for jokers incident. ‘Accidentally hitting the ball kid in the throat’ how many years would I be banned for?”
Djokovic’s disqualification means that, for the first time since Marin Cilic’s US Open win in 2014, there will be a new men’s grand slam champion.
Second seed Dominic Thiem, a three-time losing slam finalist, is the highest-ranked player remaining.
Fifth seed Alexander Zverev, who eased into the last eight with a 6-2 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, said: “It’s very unfortunate that he hit the line judge, and especially where it hit her.
“There is a rule in place for it. I think the supervisors and all of them are just doing their job. But very unlucky for Novak. I’m a little bit in shock right now.”
Zverev becomes one of the leading contenders and he said: “Now I think is the time where it gets really interesting. I know who I can play. I know who the rest of the guys can play. We’ll see where we go from here.”
Borna Coric is his opponent in the last eight as the Croatian beat Jordan Thompson 7-5 6-1 6-3.
Carreno Busta will play Shapovalov after the Canadian produced a fine display to oust seventh seed David Goffin 6-7 (0) 6-3 6-4 6-3.
Published: 07/09/2020 by Radio NewsHub
Families of Manchester bombing victims to gather as inquiry begins
Families of the 22 people murdered in the Manchester Arena terror attack will gather in the city on Monday as the public inquiry into the bombing begins.
Sir John Saunders, a retired High Court judge, will chair the Manchester Arena Inquiry, to investigate events before, during and after the attack at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on the evening of May 22, 2017.
Suicide-bomber Salman Abedi, surrounded by the throng of elated youngsters leaving the concert, exploded his shrapnel-packed rucksack bomb, sending thousands of nuts and bolts shredding everything in their path.
The names of the 22 innocent bystanders will be read out, followed by a minute silence as the inquiry formally begins.
Abedi was known to the security services, and a senior MI5 officer, known only as witness J, is expected to give evidence to the inquiry later this year.
The bomber’s brother, Hashem Abedi, now 23, was last month jailed for life with a minimum 55 years before parole, for his part in the deadly bomb plot, which also left hundreds injured.
The inquiry is being held with unprecedented arrangements to ensure social distancing is observed by the families of the deceased, their lawyers and others representing public bodies, witnesses and the media.
The main hearings will take place in a room specially converted from two courtrooms within the Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court building in the centre of Manchester.
A small number of relatives of those killed are expected to attend the hearing room, with a conference centre nearby accommodating others, along with survivors of the attack.
A media annexe has also been provided for journalists, with only a single media representative, from the PA news agency, inside the hearing room.
Sir John Saunders will begin proceedings by formally opening the inquiry, before Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, reads the names of the 22 victims, followed by the minute silence.
Mr Greaney will then, over the following three days, set out the evidence to be heard and summarise the key issues to be considered during the inquiry, expected to run in to spring next year.
Background evidence and pen portraits, where families of those murdered speak about their loved ones, will begin on Thursday.
The inquiry is divided into 17 chapters to cover topics including the victims, the background and radicalisation of Salman Abedi, the response of the emergency services on the night, the planning of the attack and whether what the security services and police knew about Salman Abedi could have prevented the attack.
The chairman will make a report and recommendations once all the evidence is heard.
Some evidence, involving information judged to be potentially of use to terrorists, is subject to restriction orders, and those hearings will be closed to the public.
The most sensitive evidence is likely to be heard at closed hearings, with both press and public excluded because of the risk to national security.
A livestream of proceedings will be broadcast so members of the public can follow the hearings.
The livestream is on the inquiry’s YouTube channel and via the inquiry website at www.manchesterarenainquiry.org.uk.
Published: 07/09/2020 by Radio NewsHub