Featured

Page: 8

PM under pressure as scientists say circuit-breaker may save thousands of lives
A “circuit-breaker” lockdown could save thousands of lives by the end of the year, scientists advising the Government have calculated, as pressure mounts on Boris Johnson to impose stricter restrictions.

As the three-tier Covid alert level system comes into force across England, the Prime Minister is facing calls to go further by introducing a fortnight of nationwide curbs to bring the coronavirus resurgence under control.

Downing Street is understood to be keeping the idea on the table, after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said a two to three-week national lockdown over the October half term was needed to prevent a “sleepwalk into a long and bleak winter”.

A paper by members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) reportedly calculates that more than 7,000 lives could be saved if schools are closed and people are ordered to stay at home from October 24 for two weeks.

The Times said the modelling suggested that coronavirus deaths for the rest of the year could be reduced from 19,900 to 12,100, with hospital admissions cut from 132,400 to 66,500.

If schools and shops remained open, the death toll could be cut to 15,600, it reported.

The paper, due to be published on Wednesday, is authored by Professor Graham Medley and other members of the Government’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling – known as SPI-M.

They are said to note that there are “no good epidemiological reasons to delay the break”.

It comes after Sir Keir used a televised press conference to warn that Mr Johnson was “no longer following the scientific advice” by proposing “far less stringent restrictions” than suggested by Sage.

More than half (54%) of people surveyed by YouGov on Tuesday felt the Government should have introduced a national lockdown in September, while 28% of the 4,222 adults polled disagreed.

It emerged on Monday that the Prime Minister dismissed a recommendation for a “circuit-breaker” from Sage three weeks ago, opting instead for the less drastic three-tier local alert levels.

Under the measures – which come into force on Wednesday – all areas of England will be put into different categories labelled as medium, high or very high risk.

The medium level maintains current national restrictions, high-risk areas will see households banned from mixing indoors, and the third tier will see harsher restrictions including the closure of pubs – unless they can operate as a restaurant.

Liverpool City Region is currently the only area in the highest tier, but discussions on whether Greater Manchester and Lancashire should also be classified as “very high” risk are expected to take place between medical experts and councillors on Wednesday.

In other developments:

– The UK recorded the highest daily death figure in four months, with a further 143 people dying within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday.

– Mr Johnson suffered a major Tory backbench rebellion over the 10pm hospitality curfew, amid a growing backlash against Government coronavirus restrictions.

– Tory MP Chris Green, who represents Bolton West, resigned as a ministerial aide over local restrictions, saying the “attempted cure is worse than the disease”.

– London mayor Sadiq Khan said that it is inevitable the capital will pass a “trigger point” to enter the higher Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions in the “next few days”.

Labour leader Sir Keir told reporters on Tuesday: “There’s no longer time to give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt. The Government’s plan simply isn’t working. Another course is needed.”

He said schools must stay open but that all pubs, bars and restaurants should be closed during the circuit-breaker, while firms are compensated so “no business loses out” in order to “break the cycle” of infection.

“If we don’t, we could sleepwalk into a long and bleak winter. That choice is now for the Prime Minister to make. I urge him to do so,” Sir Keir said.

He is likely to press the point when he questions Mr Johnson at PMQs in the Commons at noon.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said his party also backed a circuit-breaker, warning that “otherwise the cost to lives and livelihoods as well as to jobs in our communities may be too harsh to bear”.

And Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford told Times Radio he too was considering a “short, sharp intervention” – but that there remained “some very practical things that we’ve all got to think about”.

In Northern Ireland, the Stormont executive is understood to be considering a four-week lockdown that is not as widespread as that imposed in March.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said England’s tiered system would “give an idea” of a similar scheme she is developing, which could come into effect when stricter measures are due to be eased on October 25.

Published: 14/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Extra restrictions will be imposed across parts of the High Peak after a surge in coronavirus cases, it has been announced today. Although cases are rising across Derbyshire, cases in the Glossopdale area remain among the highest in the county with 99 people testing positive between 4 and 10 October compared to 76 the previous […]

Republic of Ireland hit by another withdrawal following positive Covid-19 test
An unnamed player has withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland squad after testing positive for coronavirus, the Football Association of Ireland has announced. The player is now in self-isolation after being tested for a third time on Monday and will miss Wednesday’s Nations League game in Finland.

“The FAI can confirm that the player who initially tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday night is now out of the Ireland squad for the UEFA Nations League game in Finland, after the second of two tests on Monday produced a positive result,” the FAI said.

“The player – who cannot be named – had received a positive result from a UEFA test on Sunday followed by a negative result from a second test on Monday morning.

“A third test has now come back positive and the player will now self-isolate for the next 10 days as per HSE guidelines. No members of the Irish squad or the backroom team have been identified as close contacts of the player.”

The FAI said manager Stephen Kenny will not call up any replacements for the Finland fixture.

John Egan, Callum Robinson, Callum O’Dowda and Alan Browne all missed Sunday’s goalless draw against Wales as close contacts of another unnamed player who tested positive.

The FAI launched an investigation into the unnamed player’s conflicting test results, while striker Aaron Connolly was allowed to meet up with the squad again on Tuesday.

Connolly, along with Adam Idah, was withdrawn before Thursday night’s Euro 2020 play-off semi-final in Slovakia following what proved to be a false positive result for a member of the non-football staff.

Published: 13/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Unemployment surges to three-year high as pandemic claims 673,000 jobs since March
UK unemployment has jumped to its highest level for more than three years as the coronavirus crisis claimed jobs across the economy, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said unemployment rose by 138,000 quarter on quarter to 1.52 million in the three months to August – the highest since the start of 2017.

This saw the rate of unemployment jump to 4.5%, from 4.1% in the previous three months.

The ONS added that the number of UK workers on company payrolls has fallen by 673,000 between March and September, despite edging up by 20,000 last month.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: “Since the start of the pandemic there has been a sharp increase in those out of work and job-hunting but more people telling us they are not actively looking for work.

“There has also been a stark rise in the number of people who have recently been made redundant.”

Experts warned unemployment will continue to ramp up as the Government’s furlough programme comes to an end, with firms having to start making a 10% contribution to the costs of staff on the scheme last month.

The scheme will come to an end on October 31.

But there was a small dose of cheer as the data showed a sign of recovery in vacancies, which surged by a record 144,000 to 488,000 between July and September.

Despite this, vacancies still remain below pre-coronavirus levels and 40.5% lower than a year earlier.

The ONS also said regular pay, excluding bonuses, grew by 0.8% in the three months to August, although average total pay, including bonuses, was unchanged.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies insisted the Government’s £30 billion Plan for Jobs will “continue to help protect, support and create jobs”.

But businesses and economists said they were braced for mounting job losses, in spite of the Chancellor’s follow-up worker support schemes.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “The Job Support Scheme, will do little to hold back the tide of redundancies.”

“We continue to expect the headline rate of unemployment to shoot up over the coming months,” he warned.

Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said: “With the furlough scheme unwinding, cash-strapped firms have been forced into difficult decisions about retaining their staff.

“Demand remains weak and as restrictions ramp up again many businesses will be stretched when it comes to paying wage bills.

“The Job Support Scheme may need to be beefed up if the Government wants to avert further rises in unemployment.”

Published: 13/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Immediate circuit-breaker suggested to Government by advisers last month
The Government has been accused of ignoring its own scientists after documents showed that a “circuit-breaker” lockdown was recommended for England by expert advisers three weeks ago.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) suggested immediately introducing a national lockdown lasting between two and three weeks to halt the rapid spread of the virus, with the Government’s failure to act on the advice branded “alarming” by Labour.

The Sage document, dated September 21 and released just hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his three-tier system of alert levels for England, said a package of interventions was needed to reverse the “exponential” rise in cases.

The paper set out a shortlist of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that should be considered for “immediate” introduction, also suggesting that all university teaching should be online unless face-to-face teaching is “absolutely essential” at a time when students were starting or returning to university.

Top of the list was a short period of lockdown known as a circuit-breaker “to return incidence to low levels”, followed by advice to work from home for all those that can.

Third on the list was “banning all contact within the home with members of other households (except members of a support bubble)”, and fourth was the closure of all bars, restaurants, cafes, indoor gyms, and personal services such as hairdressers.

The final measure on the list was that all university and college teaching has “to be online unless face-to-face teaching is absolutely essential”.

Attendees of the September 21 meeting, held via Zoom, included the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.

The document says that both local and national measures are needed, adding: “Measures should not be applied in too specific a geographical area.”

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, said: “The revelations in this paper are alarming.

“The fact that the Prime Minister chose to publish it an hour after his press conference is yet more evidence that he is treating the British people with contempt.

“Labour warned earlier that the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister may not be sufficient.

“The Government now needs to urgently explain why it ignored its own scientists and what it will be doing to get control of the virus.”

The Sage details emerged on the same day that Mr Johnson warned that rising coronavirus cases and hospital admissions are flashing like “dashboard warnings in a passenger jet” as he set out the three-tier system.

The new system in England will see areas put into different categories labelled as medium, high or very high risk.

Pubs and bars across Merseyside will close unless they serve food and alcohol as part of a sit-down meal as the Liverpool city region moves into a “very high” Covid alert level.

MPs will debate and vote on the measures on Tuesday and, should it be approved, the new tiered system will come into effect on Wednesday.

Addressing a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said cases nationally had gone up four times in four weeks, there are more Covid-19 patients in UK hospitals than on March 23 when the country went into lockdown, and deaths are rising.

Under the new arrangements:

– The medium alert level will cover most of England and will consist of the current national measures, including the rule of six and the 10pm curfew.

– The high alert level reflects interventions in many areas subject to local restrictions, preventing mixing between different households indoors.

– The very high alert level will mean, at a minimum, the closure of pubs and bars and a ban on social mixing indoors and in private gardens.

Areas in the top tier will be able to impose extra restrictions, and in the Liverpool city region this will mean the closure of leisure centres, gyms, betting shops and casinos.

Prof Whitty warned the measures could become stricter should more be requited to suppress the virus.

He told the Downing Street press conference: “I am not confident, and nor is anybody confident, that the tier three proposals for the highest rates… if we did the absolute base case, and nothing more, would be enough to get on top of it.

“And that is why there’s a lot of flexibility in the tier three level for local authorities, guided by the directors of public health, to actually go up that range, so that they can do significantly more than the absolute base because the base will not be sufficient.”

Mr Johnson said he did not want another national lockdown but did not rule one out either, adding he would not impose such “extreme” measures “right now”.

He said authorities being placed in the “very high” alert level would gain extra support from Whitehall, including the possibility of military assistance to support local services.

There was £1 billion of new support on offer to local authorities across England, he added.

Mr Johnson also said that updated guidance would be published for those who are deemed to be “clinically extremely vulnerable” – or those at highest risk from developing complications from Covid-19.

Patients are not currently advised to shield in any local areas in England.

During the first wave of the pandemic people deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable in England were advised to take extra precautions, also known as shielding.

Published: 13/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Defiant Trump defends virus record in first post-Covid rally
US President Donald Trump turned his first campaign rally since contracting Covid-19 into an emphatic defence of his handling of the pandemic that has killed 215,000 Americans, joking he felt healthy enough to plunge into the crowd and give voters “a big fat kiss”.

There was no social distancing and mask-wearing was inconsistent among the thousands who attended Mr Trump’s return to Florida.

Defiant as ever about the coronavirus, the 74-year-old held forth for an hour, trying to revive his struggling campaign with just weeks left before Election Day.

Though he was admitted to hospital battling the virus only a week ago, Mr Trump’s message on Covid-19 was unaltered since his diagnosis: a dubious assessment that the pandemic was almost a thing of the past. Hundreds of people in the US continue to die from the virus every day.

“Under my leadership, we’re delivering a safe vaccine and a rapid recovery like no one can even believe,” Mr Trump insisted. “If you look at our upward path, no country in the world has recovered the way we have recovered.”

His voice was perhaps a touch scratchy but otherwise, Mr Trump appeared to be his usual self.

Boisterous and bellicose, he thanked the audience for their well-wishes and declared he was no longer contagious as he embarked on a frenetic final stretch of the campaign.

Mr Trump insisted that, after being given experimental medication and other VIP treatment, he felt well and was glad he no longer needed to be concerned about infection because he was now “immune”.

“I feel so powerful,” Mr Trump said, displaying no obvious signs of lingering infection.“I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women … everybody. I’ll just give you a big fat kiss.”

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, told CNN on Monday people who recovered from Covid-19 were likely to be immune for a limited period of time, but there are cases emerging of people being re-infected weeks or months later.

Dr Fauci questioned the wisdom of holding such an event, noting test positivity rates were climbing in parts of the Sun Belt.

“We know that that is asking for trouble when you do that,” Dr Fauci said.

Despite Mr Trump’s battle with a deadly disease, it was striking how little had changed. Threats to kiss audience members aside, the rally felt like many others during the president’s election battle against Democrat Joe Biden.

Mr Trump returned to his many usual attack lines, slamming Democrats as “engaged and unhinged and out for vengeance” and hyping “tremendous progress” on virus therapeutics.

He promised the third-quarter economy would be “record-setting” and claimed that if he won next month “normal life” would resume whereas Mr Biden would delay the vaccine and destroy the economy with a “draconian” lockdown.

When he was finished after around an hour, with his new exit song YMCA blaring over the loudspeakers, the president did what has become his trademark dance, pumping his fists somewhat in time to the beat as the crowd roared. Still, he kept his distance from the audience.

With three weeks to go before the election, Mr Trump is pushing to correct a stubborn deficit in national and battleground state polling as he continues to spread misinformation about a virus he spent months downplaying.

That includes in Florida, which is seen as crucial to his re-election chances. Mr Trump narrowly beat his 2016 rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, in the state by just over 112,000 votes. Some recent polls have suggested a close race in the state, while others have Mr Biden ahead.

Underscoring the importance of Florida, Mr Trump will be back in the state on Friday for another rally, this time in Ocala.

Mr Trump’s Sanford rally was his first stop in a busy week that will include events in Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin.

The robust schedule highlights the urgency he is facing to recover from a series of self-inflicted setbacks that have rattled his base of support and triggered alarm among Republicans who fear the White House is on the verge of being lost.

After Air Force One lifted off from Washington, the president’s doctor released an update on his health saying Mr Trump had tested negative for the virus — and had done so on consecutive days. His doctor, Navy Commander Scott Conley, said the tests, taking in conjunction with other data, including viral load, have led him to conclude that Mr Trump was not contagious.

Still, Mr Trump’s decision to so quickly return to the campaign trail drew criticism from Mr Biden and other Democrats.

“President Trump comes to Sanford today bringing nothing but reckless behaviour, divisive rhetoric, and fear mongering,” Mr Biden said in a statement. “But, equally dangerous is what he fails to bring: no plan to get this virus that has taken the lives of over 15,000 Floridians under control.”

Mr Trump continued to mock Mr Biden for his efforts to encourage social distancing at his campaign events, deriding as “crazy” the circles Mr Biden’s campaign uses to delineate individual space.

Published: 13/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

What are the latest coronavirus rules across the four nations of the UK?
England is expected to be carved up into three tiers from Wednesday with restrictions placed on each area depending on levels of coronavirus transmission.

The Liverpool city region will be placed in the most serious “very high” risk category, while the high alert level reflects interventions in many areas subject to local restrictions, preventing mixing between different households indoors.

The medium alert level will cover most of England and will consist of the current national measures, including the rule of six and the 10pm curfew.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how restrictions differ across the UK.

– England

The new tier system will continue to mean restrictions are different in parts of the UK.

The current restrictions will be included in tier one, so in these areas people can meet in a group of up to six people from multiple households either indoors or outdoors. Unlike in Scotland and Wales, the six includes children.

Pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm and face coverings must be worn while shopping, on public transport and in other indoor areas.

Under the tier two restrictions, people cannot meet with anyone they do not live with indoors unless they are part of a support bubble. The rule of six applies for socialising outside, and pubs, bars and restaurants have a 10pm curfew.

The highest level of restrictions mean people cannot socialise with anyone outside their household in any indoor and many outdoor settings. Pubs and bars will be forced to close unless they are operating as a restaurant.

Weddings and funerals will be allowed to take place with restrictions on the number of guests.

– Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said England’s tiered alert system would “give an idea” of a similar scheme to be proposed in Scotland.

It will be discussed by MSPs after the October recess and could come into effect when stricter measures are due to be eased on October 25.

New measures were introduced by the Scottish Government last Friday which mean pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes outside central Scotland can only conduct indoor business between 6am and 6pm and not serve alcohol, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.

But pubs and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley – were forced to close for all but takeaway service until October 26.

Snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling, casinos and bingo halls were made to close and no outdoor live events are allowed in these five areas.

In addition, shops were asked to return to two metres of physical distancing and to reintroduce measures from earlier in the pandemic such as one-way systems.

In terms of seeing friends and family, people cannot meet others from another household unless they are part of an “extended household”, available to people who live alone or only with children under 18.

People can meet outdoors in groups of up to six, not including children under 12, from no more than two households, and a maximum of six people from two households can meet in public indoor spaces such as cafes, pubs and restaurants.

– Wales

There are currently tighter restrictions in 16 areas of Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea and parts of North Wales, affecting more than 2.3 million people.

These prohibit people from entering or leaving an area without a reasonable excuse such as work or education.

Under the more general lockdown rules in Wales, licensed premises have to stop selling alcohol at 10pm, face coverings are mandatory in indoor public spaces and public transport, and people cannot gather in groups of more than 30 outdoors.

The rules also say people are not allowed to meet indoors with people they do not live with, unless they have formed an extended household.

People in Wales can meet indoors in a group of up to six people, with children under 11 not included in the number.

The country’s health minister Vaughan Gething has also said Wales could be placed under a new national lockdown in order to halt a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

– Northern Ireland

Regulations currently prevent mixing of households in Northern Ireland, with exceptions for those “bubbling” with another household, and up to six people from up to two households can meet outdoors in a private garden.

In addition, gatherings indoors or outdoors, not in a private dwelling, of up to 15 people are permitted.

The Derry and Strabane Council area has been subject to additional localised restrictions since the start of the month, preventing indoor gatherings from people from two different households.

In addition, people living in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area are advised to avoid unnecessary travel and people should only travel to those areas if absolutely necessary.

Published: 13/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Which local authorities have been categorised as ‘high’ and ‘very high’ risk?
Boris Johnson has announced a three-tier approach to coronavirus restrictions with all of England put into medium, high and very high risk categories.
The Prime Minister set out the simplified and standardised system in a bid to stem the surge in Covid-19 cases.

READ MORE: What do the three alert levels mean?

Here is a breakdown of the areas under each level of the new alert system.

Very high:

Liverpool City Region

– Liverpool

– Knowsley

– Wirral

– St Helens

– Sefton

– Halton

High:

Cheshire

– Cheshire West and Chester

– Cheshire East

Greater Manchester

– Manchester

– Bolton

– Bury

– Stockport

– Tameside

– Trafford

– Wigan

– Salford

– Rochdale

– Oldham

Warrington

– Warrington

Derbyshire

– High Peak – the wards of: Tintwistle, Padfield, Dinting, St John’s, Old Glossop, Whitfield, Simmondley, Gamesley, Howard Town, Hadfield South and Hadfield North

Lancashire

– Lancashire

– Blackpool

– Preston

– Blackburn with Darwen

– Burnley

West Yorkshire

– Leeds

– Bradford

– Kirklees

– Calderdale

– Wakefield

South Yorkshire

– Barnsley

– Rotherham

– Doncaster

– Sheffield

North East

– Newcastle

– South Tyneside

– North Tyneside

– Gateshead

– Sunderland

– Durham

– Northumberland

Tees Valley

– Middlesbrough

– Redcar and Cleveland

– Stockton-on-Tees

– Darlington

– Hartlepool

West Midlands

– Birmingham

– Sandwell

– Solihull

– Wolverhampton

– Walsall

Leicester

– Leicester

– Oadby and Wigston

Nottingham

– Nottinghamshire

– Nottingham City

Medium:

All other areas in England.

Published: 12/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Johnson sets out three-tier approach to coronavirus restrictions
Boris Johnson announced the closure of pubs and bars across Merseyside as he battled to gain control over the coronavirus outbreak.
The Prime Minister launched a three-tier system of local alert levels for England, with the Liverpool city region placed in the most serious “very high” risk category from Wednesday.

Mr Johnson told MPs that the coming weeks and months would “test the mettle” of the country as it faced a second wave of Covid-19 cases.

Under the new arrangements:

– The medium alert level will cover most of England and will consist of the current national measures, including the rule of six and the 10pm curfew.

– The high alert level reflects interventions in many areas subject to local restrictions, preventing mixing between different households indoors.

Most areas which are already subject to local restrictions will automatically move into this category, as well as Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak.

– The very high alert level will mean, at a minimum, the closure of pubs and bars and a ban on social mixing indoors and in private gardens.

Areas in the top tier will be able to impose extra restrictions, and in the Liverpool city region this will mean the closure of leisure centres, gyms, betting shops and casinos.

The Prime Minister told MPs: “The weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of this country.”

But he added: “I have no doubt at all that together we will succeed.”

MPs will debate and vote on the measures on Tuesday and the new tiered system will come into effect on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister said talks were continuing with local leaders in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber about the approach there and the support available if they are placed in the third tier.

“I know how difficult this is – they like us, like everyone in this House, are grappling with very real dilemmas.

“But we cannot let the NHS fall over when lives are at stake.”

He said authorities being placed in the “very high” alert level would gain extra support from Whitehall – including the possibility of military assistance to support local services.

There was £1 billion of new support on offer to local authorities across England, Mr Johnson said.

Measures would be kept under review, with a four-week sunset clause for areas facing the toughest restrictions.

The Prime Minister said new measures were needed because the number of cases has quadrupled in the last three weeks, with more people now in hospital with Covid-19 than when the country went into a national lockdown on March 23.

Mr Johnson defended the approach adopted by the Government in attempting to keep much of the economy open while curbing the spread of the virus.

“This is not how we want to live our lives, but this is the narrow path we have to tread between the social and economic trauma of a full lockdown and the massive human and indeed economic cost of an uncontained epidemic,” he said.

Mr Johnson rejected suggestions that restrictions should be eased, with the virus allowed to spread among younger people but the vulnerable shielded.

The “bleak mathematics” indicated there would not only be an “intolerable death toll” from Covid-19, but the strain would impact other areas of the NHS, causing long-term damage, he said.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “sceptical” whether the Government has a plan to get control of the virus.

The Labour leader said: “The question today is whether the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister can bring the country back from the brink, whether they can regain control of the virus and provide the support and confidence that local businesses and communities need. That is how high the stakes now are.”

Mr Johnson’s Commons statement came after a public presentation of the latest data led by England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam.

Prof Van-Tam said that while cases are rising fastest in northern England, it is of “concern” that they are “heating up” in more parts of the country compared with a week ago.

“There is the spread from those younger age groups into the 60-plus age group in the North West and the North East, and there are rates of change in the same places but also extending a little further south,” he said.

“And this is again of significant concern, because of course the elderly suffer a much worse course with Covid-19, they are admitted to hospital for longer periods, and they are more difficult to save.”

NHS England’s national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: “Sadly, as the number of those infected increases, then so will the number of people who die.

“And that’s why the Government is looking at what other measures could be introduced in the areas where infection is rising the most.”

The temporary Nightingale Hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate are now being mobilised to help with the spike in Covid-19 cases.

And there will be asymptomatic testing of NHS staff in high-risk areas – a move first promised by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in June.

Published: 12/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Leading US scientist Fauci hits out after being used in Trump campaign ad
The US administration’s leading infectious disease expert has condemned Donald’s Trump campaign for including him in the president’s re-election bid.

With coronavirus dominating the national debate, the Trump campaign released an ad featuring Dr Anthony Fauci apparently praising the president’s leadership, but the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases responded: “The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context.”

He insisted he was talking broadly about public health officials’ response to the pandemic, adding: “In my five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed political candidates.”

Tim Murtaugh, Trump campaign communications director, responded by saying “these are Dr Fauci’s own words” and claimed they were praising the administration’s response.

The dispute came as Mr Trump declared he was ready to return to the campaign trail despite unanswered questions about his health on the eve of a Florida rally meant to kick off the home stretch before Election Day.

His impending return comes after the White House doctor said the president was no longer at risk of transmitting the coronavirus but did not say explicitly whether he had tested negative.

Mr Trump insisted he is now “immune” from the virus, a claim that was impossible to prove and added to the unknowns about the president’s health.

“I’m immune,” he said in an interview on Sunday. “The president is in very good shape to fight the battles.”

In a memo released on Saturday night by the White House, Navy Commander Dr Sean Conley said Mr Trump met the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for safely discontinuing isolation and that by “currently recognised standards” he was no longer considered a transmission risk. The memo did not declare that he had tested negative.

His return to full-fledged rallies will be in Florida later on Monday, amid stubborn deficits in the polls.

The White House has not indicated that any additional safety measures will be taken to prevent the transmission of the virus among those travelling on Air Force One, at the event site or at rallies scheduled for Pennsylvania and Iowa later in the week.

Campaign officials have signalled that Mr Trump will be travelling nearly every day for the rest of the campaign, and sometimes making more than one stop, an aggressive schedule for a 74-year-old who was in hospital days ago.

On Sunday, the president said he had “total and complete sign off from White House Doctors” to fully return to the campaign trail, insisting he can no longer spread the disease to others and is impervious to getting sick again.

Twitter later flagged his tweet with a fact-check warning.

The White House memo followed Mr Trump’s first public appearance since returning to the White House after being treated for coronavirus at a military hospital. Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday afternoon on the South Lawn for a Trump address on his support for law enforcement from a White House balcony.

He took off a mask moments after he emerged on the balcony to address the crowd on the lawn below. He spoke for 18 minutes, far less than his normal hour-plus rallies, and appeared healthy, if a little hoarse.

“I’m feeling great,” he told the crowd, before declaring that the pandemic, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans, was “disappearing” – despite surging cases in several states.

Officials organised the event yards from the Rose Garden, where two weeks ago the president held another large gathering to formally announce his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

That gathering is being eyed as a possible Covid-19 superspreader event as more than two dozen people in attendance have contracted the virus.

Published: 12/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub


Current track

Title

Artist

Current show

The Cage

9:00 pm 11:00 pm

Current show

The Cage

9:00 pm 11:00 pm