PaymentPeoplein England and Wales won’t be qualified for government support who are suggest that they should get separated as a caution from the NHS Covid-19 application.Anyone on a low salary and told to self-detach in a call from NHS Test and Trace from their local authority, can guarantee a £500 payment.However, the government is exploring methods of changing that, Sky News reported that the Department of Health now has said the payments won’t be available to application users, as detailed by Sky News.A month ago, when the application was revealed, at first, there was some confusion about whether its alarms to users who with an infected person, had been in close contact, would be legally enforceable.However, the government conceded that as there was no chance to get of realizing who had received these cautions, complying with their guidelines would be voluntary.A spokeperson stated that it staying mysterious, the NHS Covid-19 application is voluntary of with users and implies that if app advise them to self-isolate, presently users won’t get the help payment.By NHS Test and Trace people are who are contacted and advised to self- isolate, face fines of up to £10,000 in case they neglect to consent.The NHS Covid-19 application is based on a framework planned by Google and Apple, which is intended to give as little data as conceivable to health authorities and governments.On 24 September, since NHS Covid-19 app was rolled out in Wales and England, the app is installed into Up to 18 million people.The app’s previous version that would have seen more information gathered centrally was deserted after privacy campaigners raised concerns.The Department of Health says that include application users, it is effectively exploring methods of extending the £500 support plan.There will additionally be a concern that app users’ payments offering who are receiving isolation alertsmay support fraud.
Takeover could be transformative for Shell's retail ambitions.
Sweden has decided to ban Chinese telecoms vendors Huawei and ZTE from its rollout of 5G networks. In a statement, the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority said that the “influence of China’s one-party state over the country’s private sector brings with it strong incentives for privately-owned companies to act in accordance with state goals and... Read more » The post Sweden bans Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE from its 5G networks appeared first on Telecoms Tech News.
The Christmas tunes are playing, the turkey’s in the oven – but this year, your house isn’t filled with loads of people. In 2020, December 25 is likely to be a quieter affair.With the rule of six in place in England and households unable to mix across the rest of the UK (unless you’ve formed a bubble), this Christmas will see more families stay at home, keeping things local and low-key.In some areas, family members who live far away may be replaced at the dinner table with friends, or even neighbours, who live nearby – and there won’t be any more than six there. Unless, of course, the prime minister suspends the rule of six over Christmas, which he has hinted at. Should he do so, however, it could not only be dangerous, given the rates of infection we’re seeing, but also unfair after areas were forced into lockdown with barely any notice the night before Eid-al-Fitr. For Muslims, Eid was a quieter celebration. And for those who celebrate Christmas, it will likely be the same.In fact, the majority (59%) of Brits believe household restrictions should stay in place at Christmas, a Sky News poll found. We spoke to HuffPost UK readers to find out how they’re celebrating the festive season differently, as well as noting other trends we may see in 2020. No one yet knows where we’ll be with Covid in December – but here’s what Christmas could look like. Related... Opinion: If Christmas Isn't Cancelled, Boris Johnson Will Have To Answer Questions About Eid Virtual churchesChurches up and down the UK face hurdles hosting services this year, but Father Lee Taylor, vicar of Llangollen in north Wales, has a backup plan – a few, actually. He looks after four churches and last year, they had 500 people attend one carol service by candlelight at his church. Currently, communal worship can be attended by more than six people where groups don’t mingle, but only as many people as the place of worship can safely accommodate. If these gatherings are still allowed by December, Taylor’s plan ‘A’ is to continue with carol services but with a limited number of people in attendance. “I think ticketing is the best way,” he says. “First come, first serve.”If tighter restrictions come into place, he’ll implement plan ‘B’. Ideas include: inviting the town to stand on doorsteps at a certain time to sing Silent Night in Welsh and English; or to host a livestream event from his home where he makes his “special trifle” and interjects with carols that people have requested. Another option is to host a community Zoom get-together where local children can take on the role of a nativity character and he interviews them.“It’s such a challenge preparing for the Christmas period,” he says. “We just don’t know where we will be in December.”A focus on communityWith people not wanting to (or unable to) travel over the festive break, it’s likely we’ll see more of a focus on community and charity – with people helping out in their neighbourhood and volunteering with local initiatives, like food banks.“I think we will see a great deal of creativity in smaller communities over Christmas,” says Taylor. Like we saw with the rainbows in people’s windows thanking key workers during lockdown, we might see more community advent calendars cropping up – where neighbours dress their windows with a festive scene. This will also keep the magic of Christmas alive for kids.A Christmas trend report from Marks and Spencer suggests there’ll be a resurgence in sending cards – particularly charity cards – as people want to give handwritten thanks, as well as send wishes to loved ones. People may send cards to neighbours they’ve bonded with during lockdown, too. Rise of the Mini-masM&S’ Christmas report suggests more than a quarter of Brits anticipate smaller celebrations and gatherings this year, which the retailer has coined: Mini-mas. If households are allowed to mix, we’ll see people entertaining in smaller groups in the run up to Christmas, as well as on Christmas Day and the week following. DeAna D’Monte, based in Folkestone, Kent, usually spends Christmas with a full house. She’d have gatherings at her home for Christmas dinner – she’d cook, while friends and family members from across the country came to her home for laughter and fun. The maximum amount she’s catered for is 18 people.This year, it’ll just be her and her two adult children, aged 27 and 30. The 49-year-old, who runs her own gift business, says her kids will head to her house at any mention of lockdown by the government, so they won’t be separated over Christmas. “I expect the three of us will do Christmas Day and end up getting back working now, which is a shame,” she says. “On Boxing Day, we would normally have booked a meal out for all of us and gone to the cinema.”It’s different, for sure, but a smaller Christmas doesn’t always have to be seen as a negative – after all, you’ll no longer be hit by that endless Christmas socialising many of us are used to. Connection, but not as we know itTechnology is going to play a huge role in keeping people connected this year, particularly grandparents unable to see grandkids due to the risks involved, but also those on the shielded patient list who are unable to see their families.People may get creative with their virtual hangouts: a return of the pub quiz, perhaps; watching a film together while on a Zoom; or even video calling other family members while you’re both eating dinner. Nana Marfo, 37, is in the shielded patient group, as he lives with a serious respiratory condition. He’ll be spending Christmas alone. The disability advocate and founder of Unique Abilities tells HuffPost UK: “Being from a Ghanaian household, my typical Christmas would entail running around doing Christmas shopping, buying gifts and assisting with food preparation,” he says. This year, he’ll prepare his own Christmas turkey and celebrate at home with his cat to stay safe. “What I’ll miss is the massive family gathering and having laughs while eating and playing board games,” says Marfo, based in Lewisham, south London. He plans to use Skype, WhatsApp and phone calls to keep in touch with family on the day, “to feel that Christmas is a little normal”.D’Monte says she’s going to organise a mass Zoom call for her friends who will be spending Christmas alone, so they can touch base on 25 December. “It’s the best we can do this year,” she says. Related... I’m Spending Christmas Alone, And I’m Just Fine With That A shift in the way we giftWith fewer families seeing each other, we might see an uptake in gifting to compensate for the fact we’re unable to see loved ones.While there’s nothing quite like doing your Christmas shopping on the high street – and many people will opt for that, with a renewed focus on buying locally and supporting smaller businesses – it’s likely we’ll also see a boom in online shopping, too. Especially for those who are more vulnerable.People can order gifts online and get them sent straight to the recipient. Some websites even offer gift packaging so your present turns up, well, presentable.Online shopping has never been more popular. From March to May, which coincided with lockdown, there was a huge spike in internet sales. This has been declining slowly since, but is likely to rise again in the run-up to Christmas. This year I want to buy all my Christmas presents for people from local and/or small businesses. If anyone knows any, send then my way❤️❤️— tatum (@taytat89) October 7, 2020A bigger focus on foodFood is set to become an even bigger focus for many, with plenty of new launches across the UK’s biggest retailers. Some have already started their Christmas food order services. We’re also seeing lots of new vegan and vegetarian launches, including a vegan fondue at Waitrose – with Christmas already uprooted, it might be the perfect time to try something new. Around one in five (19%) of us are already looking forward to our first mince pie, according to M&S. And some of us have had one already.The joy of small thingsWe can still keep the magic of Christmas alive during Covid. It’s likely we’ll see trees and lights up even earlier, as people focus on the joy of small things. There are lots of things we’re can’t do – but there are also many things we can do. Think: movie nights, festive baking sessions, winter lights walks, Christmas craft afternoons, and bigger and better decorations in our homes.  Lucille Whiting, 38, from Suffolk, will be staying at home this Christmas with her immediate family – her husband, 42, and their five kids aged 14, 12, nine, six, and four. They usually alternate between their parents’ homes, but this year the risk is too great. Her family came down with Covid-19 in April, so they recognise the devastating impact it could have on elderly relatives. “Both sets of grandparents are older and have health conditions and we couldn’t take the risk of them catching anything from us,” she says. “From our point of view, there’s no way any of them would survive what we went through. It’s sad, but it’s not an option.”Related... Sensory Baubles And Tissue Paper Wreaths: 4 Homemade Christmas Decorations To Make With Kids Whiting plans to make decorations with her little ones and do Elf on the Shelf from December 1. They’ll make reindeer food and flour Santa footprints on Christmas Eve.“I’ve already bought moulds and cutters in to make gingerbread houses, star cookies, snowman cake pops and mince pies,” she says. “We’ll be going out in the evenings for long walks spotting all the Christmas lights and we’ve got quite a few movie nights planned.”She also plans to stop working a bit earlier in the month than she usually would, to spend some quality time with her family. She says the children are going to make their own Christmas cards, and they’ve volunteered to deliver cards for some people that can’t get out and about. “I absolutely love Christmas, so it’s an adjustment,” she says. “The children are disappointed, but all things considered, they’ve been very understanding and accepting. It’s been one hell of a year.”How are you going to be spending Christmas this year? We’d love to hear from you. Send us your plans, and how you’re hoping to keep the magic of Christmas alive, by emailing [email protected] Related... Lindt Is Launching Its First Ever Sharing Tin, So That's Christmas Sorted Then 55 Hilarious Tweets About The Questions Kids Ask People Who Wear Mesh Face Masks Are Losing The Covid-19 Battle On Every Level
Scottish MP Margaret Ferrier has refused to resign for travelling from Glasgow and London while infected with Covid-19, arguing the virus meant she was “not thinking straight”.in an interview with The Scottish Sun on Sunday, the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, who has had the SNP whip withdrawn over the saga, said she had no intention of standing down.“This has been an awful experience but I’ll keep fighting for my constituents because that’s who I am,” she told the paper.She added that she has received support locally in the wake of the incident and has “owned up and apologised profusely”, and added: “A lot of people say Covid makes you do things out of character.“You’re not thinking straight.”Ferrier revealed to the paper her reasoning for travelling to Westminster after taking a Covid-19 test was “wanting to represent her constituents” and take part in a parliamentary debate – something which could not be done virtually.First minister Nicola Sturgeon and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford have been among those calling on Ferrier to stand down over the incident, while Scottish Labour has launched an online petition calling for her to resign.Speaking on Sky News’ Sophie Ridge On Sunday show, Sturgeon said the breach was “unacceptable” and Ferrier should resign as an MP.The Scottish First Minister said: “I couldn’t be clearer, she should step down from Parliament.“The lapse of judgment in travelling hundreds of miles knowing she had tested positive for Covid-19 was so significant and so unacceptable that I don’t think there is any other acceptable course of action for her.“I’ve read her comments in the media today but I still hope she will do the right thing.”[email protected] has been critical of Margaret Ferrier for travelling between London and Glasgow after testing positive for #[email protected]: 'If she's not fit to be an MP, why has she not been expelled from the SNP?'#Ridge: https://t.co/pCgCjM7pvxpic.twitter.com/H2GTz9S1fo— Sophy Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) October 11, 2020Ferrier has also spoken out about the level of criticism she has received over the incident, adding: “You feel you are getting a lot of criticism from people you thought were your colleagues or friends who’d understand it was an error of judgement. I’m not denying that.“People may be saying, ‘You should have known better, you’re a public figure’. But at the end of the day it still hurts. You then think about all that hard work and dedication – is that just wiped away?”Related... Nicola Sturgeon Accidentally Calls MP At Centre Of Coronavirus Scandal 'Margaret Covid' – Again Nicola Sturgeon Calls For MP Margaret Ferrier To Resign Over 'Indefensible' Covid Breach
Sky News reported Monday Cineworld is shutting all its UK and US Cinemas and the decision is expected to result in 45,000 job losses.
A creeping feeling of déjà vu has been haunting Westminster with the arrival of autumn as bulletin after bulletin carries more bad news about the dreaded resurgence of Covid-19. Case numbers, hospitalisations and, of course, deaths are rising and the R value has stayed stubbornly above 1.0, meaning that the pandemic continues to grow across the country. The UK map is a patchwork quilt of varying social distancing restrictions, reflecting how Boris Johnson wants to stick to his “whack-a-mole” strategy of stamping out outbreaks and avoiding blanket bans. But with around a third of the entire UK population now living under some form of local lockdown, the question many are asking is: why doesn’t the prime minister “go the whole hog” and back a full second national lockdown? Chief medical officer Chris Whitty, who with the PM and chief scientific officer Patrick Vallance, led a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, has warned the country faces a “six-month problem”. There are “significant rates of transmission” in “great majority” of areas where the virus is spiking, he said. Pointing to alarming graphs showing that hospital admissions were rising sharply among the over-65s, Vallance warned it would be “wrong” to think that the problem was only in areas under local lockdowns.“It is worst in certain areas but there is evidence of spread everywhere,” he saidSo what is stopping the PM from a full lockdown – and could a two-week “circuit-breaker” compromise be on the cards? The devastating impact on the economy Covid-19 has already ravaged the UK economy and the Bank of England warned last month that the resurgence of the virus will hit the country hard. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is thought to oppose a second lockdown “for any long period of time” amid fears job losses could soar and unemployment in 2021 could spiral out of control. “It’s a constant balancing act, trying to keep the country moving forward without the hospitals filling up with critically ill patients with Covid so that other services can continue to run, but achieving that is the key point,” said one MP. “And if that isn’t happening [to the NHS], then keeping people running their businesses and employing people is equally important.” Data released by the Office for National Statistics revealed that the number of redundancies in the UK has risen at its fastest pace since the financial crisis. Many economists think Sunak’s new wage subsidy scheme is unlikely to stem further job losses this winter.“The economic challenges are huge,” said the MP. “If the economy slows down too much – well, we use it to pay all of our public sector, it’s not for the fun of it. It pays for the wages for all of the services we want for our constituents.” Libertarian ‘Brady bunch’ Tory backbenchers One thorn in Johnson’s side should he move for a second shutdown is a grouping of backbench Tory MPs known informally as “the Brady brunch”. Notionally led by the chair of the powerful 1922 committee, Graham Brady, they oppose new restrictions by the state, both due to the limits on individual freedoms and the strain on business. Or, as Brady recently put it, they feel the government has “got into the habit of ruling by decree” during Covid-19, with many measures, including hefty fines, announced without parliamentary scrutiny. One moderate Tory MP, who doesn’t back the would-be rebels, told HuffPost UK other MPs were more trenchant in their view: “The Hitchenite wing, or lockdown-sceptic wing of the party, is growing stronger and stronger. “They are very hardline and there are more and more of them. They have increasing influence via people like Toby Young and Laurence Fox and then Nigel Farage on the fringe.” They added: “Some of it is for libertarian reasons – they don’t want people to be bossed around by the state – but for others it is genuine worry. “I don’t care about the libertarian arguments but I really do worry about businesses in my constituency and job losses.” The group, which is thought to be around 50 strong, won a concession from the government last month after threatening a rebellion over the continuation of emergency measures.  Now, any second national lockdown must be put to a vote in the Commons. While backbench voices may chip away at Johnson’s authority, they have little chance of sinking a second lockdown, given the Tories’ 80-seat majority. But the PM may also look to swerve a face-off with his detractors by brokering a compromise. How to save Christmas“There is a fundamental belief in central government that the British public will not stand for a fully locked-down Christmas or even the rule of six, frankly,” one source close to the government told HuffPost UK. Instead of “cancelling Christmas”, a two-week “circuit breaker” national lockdown, starting October 23, is on the table and may allow the country to avoid tighter restrictions later, it is said.A government source told HuffPost UK a range of data is used to make decisions, and that there is no “specific point” at which a second shutdown would be triggered.Setting an end date on a “full fat” lockdown would solve more than one problem for the PM. October 23 is the start of half term, meaning schoolchildren – who have missed out since March, with those from poorer backgrounds hit hardest – could avoid having a great deal more of their classroom education interrupted. So the move may satisfy working parents and teachers who fear youngsters are falling behind with lessons. This “third way” plan is said to have been briefed to hostile MPs already as a “light at the end of the tunnel” this winter. “I think with backbenchers you can sell drastic measures in the short term, that are time limited, by saying: if all goes well, we will open up at Christmas,” the source added. Retail and hospitality businesses, struggling to keep their head above water, would similarly be more inclined to swallow measures if they had an end in sight.Brady, meanwhile, told BBC Radio 4′s Westminster Hour on Sunday that “people were told that it was a finite thing” when lockdown was first imposed. He added piecemeal regional lockdowns were now being questioned by the public. Brady said: “People were remarkably tolerant in being prepared to go along with that, I think for that reason. And when you then start to get to speculation about a second lockdown or all of these regional things, I think patience really does start to wear thin and I can understand that.”The government on Sunday revealed that as many as 16,000 cases from last week were not added to government figures, with the UK recording a huge 22,921 lab-confirmed cases in the 24 hours up to 9am on Sunday. The news flatly contradicts suggestions that the second wave may have been “levelling off”, as it is now known the country reached 10,000 new daily cases on September 30.Ministers are being shown more drastic figures by chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific office Patrick Vallance, one source said. “The numbers that [the cabinet] are seeing are very, very bad and the thing that is always repeated to them by Whitty and Vallance in the meetings they have, is this [data] is two weeks’ old, so what is happening now is worse than what I’m showing you,” they said. “So they show ministers a lot of numbers that are bad but say that ‘before I do, know this, it is worse’.” Rumblings of disquiet in the Red Wall  With vast swathes of the north under local lockdown already and widespread confusion, not least by Johnson himself, over what measures are in place where, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham sounded the alarm on Sunday.Telling the government it is “in danger of losing the public in the north of England”, he said: “We need a bit of a reset.” The Labour mayor’s view is shared by several Tory MPs representing his party’s former heartlands, HuffPost UK understands.Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the former health minister – who has previously claimed Covid-19 could do more damage to the north than Margaret Thatcher – added: “Actually if [the government] carry on imposing restrictions on the north without proper support for the businesses and the employees affected in the north, we will see a winter of ‘levelling down’ and the north-south divide getting bigger.”Meanwhile, Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth has pointed out that – by contrast – few Tory ministers have seen local lockdowns in their constituencies, suggesting there even may be “political interference”.It is feared the economic long-term impact could disproportionately leave the Red Wall – across the midlands, north and Wales – much worse off, with many jobs lost in retail and hospitality. “They expect this to hit the Red Wall worse than anywhere,” said one insider. “There are MPs who think the government worries too much about the Red Wall, and say there are other areas of the country and other people who voted Tory, but it’s definitely true that the first test of any policy outside of Covid is the Red Wall test.” One northern Tory simply added: “It’s a constantly moving challenge of keeping the economy moving and ensuring the NHS is not overwhelmed. “I think we all need to accept that we will be living a quiet life for the next year.” Related... Huge Jump In Daily Covid Cases To 22,961 As UK Infection Number Passes 500,000 UK Coronavirus R-Rate Jumps Again To Between 1.3 and 1.6 'Suspicion' Of 'Political Interference' Over Local Lockdowns, Says Labour
Labour says a “suspicion of political interference” hangs over local lockdown decisions as many Tory ministers’ constituencies have been spared restrictions. Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth urged the government to publish more Covid-19 infection data as it was “not clear why” places were chosen. He said while huge swathes of the north were under lockdown, some areas with higher case rates – such as communities secretary Robert Jenrick’s Newark and chief whip Mark Spencer’s Sherwood – do not have restrictions. The government has said lockdown measures are being imposed to drive down infections.“Because there is no clear guidelines as to why an area goes into restrictions and how an area comes out of restrictions then there is a suspicion that there is political interference – I hope there isn’t,” Ashworth said, speaking on the BBC Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. “But until the government publish clear guidelines, that suspicion will always linger.”The North East, Merseyside, and huge swathes of Lancashire and Leicestershire are under lockdown. Saying there appeared to be a “red wall lockdown” emerging, Ashworth said: “What we need to see is local authority leaders properly involved, we need to see local councillors properly involved, we need to see the local health service involved as well.”Prime Minister Boris Johnson on local restrictions: "I know people are furious with me and they’re furious with the government but… it's going to continue to be bumpy through to Christmas. It may even be bumpy beyond"#Marr#Covid_19https://t.co/iUFQLFuY4Jpic.twitter.com/YVAKc3CzuW— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 4, 2020In an interview on Sunday, also with Marr, prime minister Boris Johnson warned it would be “bumpy” until Christmas. Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, meanwhile, has said the government is “in danger of losing the public in the north of England”.Speaking to the Sophy Ridge On Sunday show on Sky News, the former Labour minister said: “We need a bit of a reset here so that people can clearly understand what’s being asked.”He added: “I certainly feel this week that we’ve reached a bit of a turning point with all of this.“The government are really in danger of losing the public in the north of England.“And actually if they carry on imposing restrictions on the north without proper support for the businesses and the employees affected in the North, we will see a winter of levelling down and the North-South divide getting bigger.”On Saturday, fresh fears were mounting about the virus’ spread after almost 13,000 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the UK in the 24 hours up to 9am Saturday - a jump of nearly 6,000 from the day before.The official dashboard that records cases said the surge was due to a technical glitch and includes some additional cases from the period between September 24 and October 1.It did not specify exactly which days the extra cases were from or which areas, however. Related... Ban On Households In North-East Mixing Indoors As Covid Cases Spike Labour Voices Alarm Over 'Failing' US Firm Subcontracted For NHS Test And Trace Boris Johnson Attempts To Defend Test And Trace... By Completely Undermining It
After years of delivering its service whilst the legal case over its official London operating license ambled along, judges have finally made their decision: Uber gets its license back. Despite “historical failings,” a judge has just this morning deemed that Uber is “fit and proper” to offer its ride-hailing service in the English capital, Sky News reports. The ruling, which probably few were expecting, will mean that Uber can get an official London Private Hire Vehicle license. [Read: 5 things to know when you’re buying your first electric vehicle] In a statement, Judge Tan Ikram said: “Despite their historical failings,… This story continues at The Next WebOr just read more coverage about: Uber
University students will only be allowed to return home to their families at Christmas if the public follows the new coronavirus lockdown rules,  a cabinet minister has said.The government is under pressure to guarantee young people are not confined to their halls of residence over the festive period because of Covid-19 outbreaks on campuses.Thousands of students are currently self-isolating in their rooms following a surge in cases at institutions including Glasgow, Manchester Metropolitan and Edinburgh Napier.Labour has asked education secretary Gavin Williamson to “ensure that every student has access to testing to allow a safe journey home” for Christmas.But culture secretary Oliver Dowden told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “I very much want students to be able to go home at Christmas, and if we all pull together and observe these new rules, we follow the guidance, then we will be able to get to a point where that should be possible.”Dowden also insisted there was “definitely science” behind the 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants – despite a scientist advising the government saying he had “never heard” the measure discussed at Sage meetings.“We are reducing the closing times to stop people staying later and drinking. And the point about all of this is that everyone has their part to play. If we all play by the rules, we can ensure that there are not further, more draconian restrictions,” Dowden said.Infectious disease modelling expert professor Graham Medley said on Saturday he did not recall the curfew being discussed by Sage.Tory backbenchers have continued to press the government to give MPs a chance to vote on coronavirus measures before they come into force, with MP Steve Baker warning that “liberty dies” with the government “exercising draconian powers” without parliamentary scrutiny.More than 17 million people – a quarter of the UK population – will be under tougher coronavirus restrictions later on Sunday as new measures are introduced in Cardiff and Swansea from 6pm.People will not be able to enter or leave the areas without a reasonable excuse. They will not be able to meet indoors with anyone they do not live with, with extended households suspended.Related... 'They Care More About The Money Than Us': Students Lash Out At Government For 'Neglecting' Them
Just days after Airbus announced its intentions to hydrogenize its fleet, residents of southern counties in England saw the world’s first commercial hydrogen-powered flight. According to a Sky News report, the water vapor-emitting flight took place yesterday taking off from an airfield in Bedfordshire, England. The company behind the plane, ZeroAvia, says the tech needed for a long, zero-emission flight by the end of this decade, is already there. It’s just a case of developing hydrogen infrastructure — something that Airbus’ hydrogen dreams also rely on if they’re to succeed. [Read: 5 things to know when you’re buying your first… This story continues at The Next Web
Every relationship comes with their own unique set of challenges, but they’ve been pushed to the limit during the pandemic. Couples were either forced to move in together or stay apart during the full lockdown back in March, which was a true testament to one another. For singletons, one-night stands, hook-ups, meeting up for sneaky shag in the park and even hugging were a thing of the past. Socially-distanced sex wasn’t possible, so those abiding by the rules engaged virtually, instead. But there’s good news for some: in the latest government guidelines, it states people who don’t live together, but are in an “established relationship”, don’t have to socially distance. Of course, this isn’t good news for those who aren’t in an “established relationship”. Casual sex is still banned – which is bad news for gay hookup culture.Related... 'Happy, Loved, Free': How We Make Our Open Relationships Work Speaking on Sky News about the rule change, Kay Burley asked Matt Hancock: “What about people who are not in an established relationship?”“In these rules we have to bring in, there have to be boundaries,” the health secretary replied. “It just means people need to be careful. People need to be sensible. People need to realise by coming in close contact with other households, that is how the virus spreads.“We all want to keep this virus under control, we all need to play our part... which means following social distancing rules.”Some have stuck to the rules rigidly. Emma Burnell, 45, director of Political Human in London, tweeted: “I’ve gone six months without sex. It wasn’t fun. I don’t want to go another six.” Speaking to HuffPost UK, she said: “Just before Covid, I fell head over heels in love with two people in quick succession, neither of whom were suitable for a relationship, which I didn’t think I was capable of, but that’s just all I want now.”And Emma isn’t alone. Six in ten Brits went without any sexual activity during lockdown, according to researchers and health experts at Anglia Ruskin University. But coming out of lockdown, single people were keen to get back on the horse. There was a surge in dating activity over the summer and people coupled up in case of a second lockdown. A survey conducted by dating app Bumble, showed 55% of its users are seeking more meaningful relationships online after a prolonged period of loneliness of lockdown. So with the possibility of social distancing – and therefore, a ban on casual sex – continuing for months yet, is there a way to do it safely, instead?Firstly, can coronavirus spread through sex? Yes. Covid-19 is transmitted when you’re in close contact with other people (hence social distancing). “It’s the working up to it [erm, sex] that’s the issue,” Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine and expert in infectious diseases based at the University of East Anglia told HuffPost UK.“The main risk is going to be from oral, respiratory droplet spread. French kissing is probably not on the cards, so if you come up with a way of having sex without that, it might be a good idea.”Charlene Douglas, sex coach, therapist, and founder of The Intimacy Coach tells HuffPost UK you could “potentially be giving yourself a death sentence” by sleeping with somebody you don’t really know.But, some say if people are out having casual sex anyway, they might as well learn to do it safely. “It’s unrealistic to ask everyone to abstain from sex indefinitely, whether in ‘established’ relationships or not,” said a spokesperson from the charity, The Terrence Higgins Trust. So how’s best to do it safely?Choose solo sex. The safest option, of course, is to opt for solo sex – a.k.a masturbation. (No, it’s not the same, we know). Take this time to (re)discover parts of your body. “Your best sexual partner during the Covid-19 pandemic is yourself,” the Terrence Higgins Trust advised. Douglas adds: “Do what works for you. It’s not for everyone, but explore your own body, as well as a range of toys available. Have fun creating different sensations, use the time to try out different toys, and learn about what you like sexually.” Do it with someone you trust.“To add to the guidelines, trust is the biggest thing,” says Douglas. “Ideally, have sex with a partner you live with, or someone that you know. If not, really know what you’re getting yourself into. Be sure to have that conversation whether they have symptoms or if they live with vulnerable people.”Matt Valentine-Chase, sex coach and therapist, says to be extra safe, you could take temperatures prior to any encounter.Avoid kissing and wear a face covering.Last month, charity The Terrence Higgins Trust published a guide on how to have sex safely – and their advice still stands: people should avoid kissing, wear a face covering and choose positions that are safer. And Valentine-Chase, adds to be extra safe, you could wear gloves, too. Of course, adds Douglas, “the issue is without kissing, touching or massaging it takes away from the intimacy, the build-up sex that leads up penetrative sex and different positions”. Try mutual masturbation and glory holes.“With the PPE on, mutual masturbation is probably the safest way to have sex during Covid,” suggests Valentine-Chase. “Glory holes can be great fun and work for any gender [this allows for sexual contact, but prevents close face-to-face contact].“You can turn the safer aspects into sex play and role play. I advise people to use flavoured condoms for fellatio or dental dams for cunnilingus and rimming. It’s important to know this is not forever – so make it enjoyable.”Choose positions that avoid face-to-face.The Trust recommends “picking positions where you are not face-to-face and make sure that they wear a mask”. “There are lots of positions where your genitals touch but your faces are away from each other,” says Douglas. “These positions are a bit more intimate because it allows you to hear each other’s breathing and touch each other’s skin while you can take it slow, speed up or gyrate.” View this post on InstagramA post shared by Charlene Douglas (@intimacy_coach1) on Sep 20, 2020 at 2:34am PDTRelated... Why Some Happy Couples Choose To Sleep In Separate Bedrooms 7 Ways To Make Your Long-Distance Relationship Feel Less Distant Help! I I Can't Stop Arguing With My Partner About Coronavirus Risks
Keir Starmer has admitted Nicola Sturgeon should have the right to call another Scottish independence referendum if the SNP wins the Holyrood elections. Speaking to Sky News’ Beth Rigby, the Labour leader was pressed repeatedly on whether he backed another vote on independence north of the border.After refusing several times to give his outright support, Starmer conceded that victory for the SNP – which most polls forecast – in next May’s Scottish elections would mean it was “for Scotland” to decide. It comes after an interview with STV in January, in which Starmer said he would “absolutely accept this is a question for Scotland”. The SNP is likely to place a second plebiscite at the centre of its manifesto for May’s elections. Starmer told Sky News “the last thing we need is another divisive referendum”, but when his previous comments were repeatedly read back to him, and Rigby asked him whether he backed the “principle” of a mandate, he said: “These issues are questions for Scotland. I do stand by that.” Scottish Labour will make the case for greater federalism while the Scottish Conservatives are expected to strongly oppose another independence vote. Several reports have suggested the UK government would be forced to accept a second vote should the SNP win, however. Responding, senior cabinet minister Michael Gove said: “Sir Keir Starmer has a problem accepting referendum results.“He tried to block Brexit, and now he wants to work with Nicola Sturgeon to renege on the Scottish referendum result and break up the UK.”Starmer also used the interview to accuse Boris Johnson and his government of “serial incompetence” over their handling of the coronavirus crisis. He said: “I don’t think he has led us well during this pandemic and I’m not alone in that. I think the vast majority of people think that he hasn’t.“We have got one of the highest death rates in the world and we are heading, on current forecasts, for one of the deepest recessions.“Our country is better than that.”Highlighting a number of Government U-turns, Sir Keir said: “I’m quite prepared to accept that a government will make mistakes in a pandemic like this and one or two U-turns is probably a sign of a government listening and then changing.“But when you have got 12 in a row, the only conclusion is serial incompetence.”Related... Boris Johnson Urges Public To Show 'Discipline And Resolve' To Avoid Second National Lockdown Why Boris Johnson Risks 'Too Little, Too Late' On Covid Again Keir Starmer Says Corbyn 'Deserved' To Lose The 2019 Election
Michael Gove has revealed a “shift in emphasis” on the government’s push for people to return to offices – with the emphasis now on not actually doing it.Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday morning, the cabinet office minister said if people can work from home “then we would encourage them to do so.” In a separate interview with BBC Radio 4′s Today programme he said: “We are stressing that if it is safe to work in your workplace, if you are in a Covid secure workplace, then you should be there if your job requires it.”Asked if that was a change in government guidance, Gove said “yes”.Boris Johnson has spent weeks trying to encourage workers to return to offices in a bid to breathe life into town and city centres battered by lockdown restrictions. Earlier this month, Johnson declared: “People are going back to the office in huge numbers across our country – and quite right, too.”But Downing Street could not supply any evidence for numbers mentioned in his statement, and it emerged later that in greater London bus use rose by just 6% and Tube rose by 8% week-on-week.Work from home if you can but also lose your job if you don’t go back to the office. Seems perfectly clear to me.— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) September 22, 2020Like Groundhog Day. Michael Gove currently on Radio 4 using the phrase 'common sense' repeatedly to paper-over the inconsistency in the government's covid rules.— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) September 22, 2020The new “emphasis” comes as the government announces a number of new restrictions in light of an increase in coronavirus cases.Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be ordered to close by 10pm each night from Thursday and Boris Johnson will address the nation on Tuesday evening.Yet in another notable clarification of the coronavirus guidance, Gove admitted a group of six people could leave a pub at 10pm and then carry on drinking at someone’s house, without breaking the “Rule of Six”.Michael Gove has just confirmed to the BBC that you can leave the pub at 10pm and go round your mate's house for a few tins - as long as you're not in a group of more than six people.Wow...— Dan Bloom (@danbloom1) September 22, 2020Gove said the government was taking “reluctant steps” with the new coronavirus measures, but added that they are “absolutely necessary”.“There will be more details that the prime minister will spell out, and again, one of the points that he’ll make is that no one wants to do these things, no one wants to take these steps.“They are reluctant steps that we’re taking, but they are absolutely necessary.“Because as we were reminded yesterday, and as you’ve been reporting, the rate of infection is increasing, the number of people going to hospital is increasing, and therefore we need to act.”Related... PM's 'Go Into The Office' Plan In Chaos As Staff Told To Bring Food From Home
Running Mate is a US election podcast – just for Brits. In our fifth episode, we get a view of American life from Brits on the front line.Host Graeme Demianyk speaks to Cordelia Lynch, US correspondent for Sky News, and Tess Owen, senior correspondent at Vice News – three British journalists who have been in America for the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency.America can seem very strange from the other side of the Atlantic, from armed militia roaming the streets to Apocalyptic orange skies as the west coat is ravaged by wildfires. That’s not to mention the chaos left in the wake of the Trump administration.Our guests reflect on how while breathless US TV news coverage and brushing shoulders with gun-toting protesters becomes more normal, they still retain a perspective on how wildly different it is to life in the UK.We also speak to John Scardino, a spokesperson for Democrats Abroad, a branch of the Democratic Party that represents voters living overseas, to get the opposite viewpoint – what it’s like to be an American watching events unfold from the UK.Listen to the fifth episode of Running Mate above. There’ll be a new episode to download every Monday – find it by searching for Running Mate on any good podcast platform, and get involved in the conversation on social media by using our hashtag #HPRunningMate.Related... How The Black Lives Matter Movement Is Shaping The US Election. Listen To Running Mate, Our Election Podcast For Brits Who Is Joe Biden? Listen To Running Mate, Our US Election Podcast For Brits Can Trump Win? Listen To Running Mate, Our US Election Podcast For Brits
The UK is facing the prospect of another national lockdown because of Boris Johnson’s “failure and incompetence”, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has said.Speaking at her party’s ‘virtual’ conference, Rayner called the prime minister a “Bullingdon Club blagger” who was always trying to blame others for his government’s failings.“Last Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions, I faced a prime minister who pretends he’s a man of the people but has shown his contempt for women and the working class.“As a single mum, he said my children would grow up ill-raised, ignorant and illegitimate. He only knows one approach – denying that problems exist and then blaming other people for his own incompetence.“We are facing a second spike (in Covid-19), further restrictions and the prospect of another national lockdown because of his failure and incompetence.”She continued: “Never has there been a prime minister more out of his depth and ill-equipped to the task than this Bullingdon Club blagger.“He lights up Downing Street green for Grenfell and then whips Tory MPs to block the Grenfell inquiry recommendations.“He claps for our carers when it suits him for a photo opportunity but he doesn’t even know what they earn and won’t pay them what they deserve.“He calls a Covid war cabinet to allow grouse shooting when the frontline staff can’t get the tests they need and people can’t say goodbye to their loved ones.“Yet it’s always somebody else’s fault – civil servants, the public health body they voted to create in the first place, or even the public for doing the right thing and trying to get a Covid test.”Earlier on Sunday Labour’s leader Keir Starmer said a second national lockdown is not inevitable but “more likely” because the government has “lost control” of testing. Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge, he said the prime minister should apologise for the lack of testing, adding that Labour would back a second national lockdown and supported the government’s new proposal to impose £10,000 fines for a failure to self-isolate. “There are a few people that are breaking the rules and something has to be done about that, but I have to say that I think that isn’t going to be a silver bullet that will deal with the problem we’re in,” he said.“We have rising infection rates. I think the whole country is concerned about that. “The testing regime is all over the place [...] because the government’s not effectively lost control of testing, it doesn’t necessarily know where the virus is.“If I was the prime minister, I would apologise for the fact that testing is all over the place and, instead of using the summer to prepare for the autumn, which is what we said should happen we’re in this position.“Just when we need testing to be at its very best, it’s near collapse.” Related... 'No Evidence' Of Covid-19 Second Wave In UK, Says Top Oxford Scientist £10,000 Fines For People Who Break Self-Isolation Rules, Boris Johnson Warns London Should Face Fresh Lockdown By Monday, Khan Says
There is “no evidence” of a second wave of coronavirus and the government cannot afford a “harsh” second lockdown, a top scientist has said. Professor Carl Heneghan, director for the centre of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, called for Boris Johnson to take a “a slower, analytical approach” ahead of a “long winter” beset by Covid-19 and other flu-like infections. It comes after the prime minister warned a second wave “is coming” on Friday, as he hinted further restrictions were likely to follow this week. On Friday, the “R” rate of the virus jumped to between 1.1 and 1.4, with the number of daily infections reaching more than 4,000 on Friday. But Heneghan told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “There’s no evidence right now of what’s called a second wave.”Asked if Johnson was wrong to claim there was, he added it was was “complicated” science for ministers, saying: “This is a seasonal effect now, if it becomes worse and it impacts on disease, then yes, that’s the point when we have restrictive measures, but that time is not now.”He went on to caution that the country must swerve “harsh measures” immediately to curb the spread of Covid-19, adding: “What we have to do now is slow down, this is a long winter.”He said: “What we’re seeing is that the virus is operating in a seasonal way.“As we’ve gone back to schools, actually what’s happened now is we’ve seen about a 60% increase in consultations for all the acute respiratory infections and that’s what’s driving the problems in the Test and Trace programme.“All the young children who have coughs and colds and these infections, one is called rhinovirus.“As we look at the data, Covid is operating in a similar seasonal way, and mirroring those respiratory infections, so what we have to do now is slow down, this is a long winter.“We can’t afford to go now with harsh measures … the impact on the economy here is going to be significant.”  Health secretary Matt Hancock, meanwhile, said there was a danger the infection rate could “shoot through the roof” if people did not follow the new “rule of six” on social gatherings.Further national lockdown is possible if people do not follow rules, says Health Secretary Matt Hancock#Marr#Covid_19https://t.co/DhwF19ofUVpic.twitter.com/oGnMPWlUez— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) September 20, 2020It also follows ministers announcing a new £10,000 fine for those who fail to self-isolate. Speaking to Sky News, Hancock said: “I am very worried about this second wave. “We have seen in other countries around Europe how it can absolutely shoot through the roof.”Adding he was “very worried”, he hinted a second national lockdown was possible. “The nation faces a tipping point.”He added: “We have a choice. Either everybody follows the rules – the rule of six and the need to self-isolate if you have a positive test or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace – or we will have to take more measures.”The health secretary also said it is still possible there could be a coronavirus vaccine before the end of the year.“There is still hope that we will get one of the vaccines over the line this year. The Oxford vaccine is still at the front of the queue. More likely is next year, and probably the early part of next year,” he told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show.“We have got the cavalry coming over the next few months – the vaccine, the mass testing and the improvements in treatments – but we have got to all follow the rules between now and then to keep people safe.”Labour leader Keir Starmer has said he will support the government should it impose a second lockdown, but blamed the government’s failure to get a grip of testing for the recent spike in cases. Related... Here's Who Is Actually Running NHS Test And Trace Boris Johnson Has Had Another Stinker Of A Week As Prime Minister Coronavirus R Rate Rises Again To 1.1 – 1.4 As Second Lockdown Looms
Keir Starmer has said a second national lockdown is not inevitable but “more likely” because the government has “lost control” of testing. The Labour leader told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge that Boris Johnson should apologise for the lack of testing, which means ministers “do not know where the virus is”. He said Labour would back a second national lockdown and supported the government’s new proposal to impose £10,000 fines for a failure to self-isolate. Starmer said: “There are a few people that are breaking the rules and something has to be done about that, but I have to say that I think that isn’t going to be a silver bullet that will deal with the problem we’re in. “We have rising infection rates. I think the whole country is concerned about that.“We have a testing service just when we need it be effective is barely serviceable and it is a major problem.” He added that Britain was not “a nation that wants to go around reporting our neighbours all the time” but added that “if someone was repeatedly flouting the rules” then “something had to be done”. 'I would apologise, I would make fixing testing my first priority.'@Keir_Starmer has called on Boris Johnson to apologise on testing and to reinstate the daily #coronavirus briefing.#Ridgehttps://t.co/GvaT6GJIXEpic.twitter.com/TBWWlYLxQz— Sophy Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) September 20, 2020“I don’t think a second national lockdown is inevitable but I think it is more likely because testing is all over the place,” he said. He added families have been unable to get tests or have results returned within 24 hours.He said: “The testing regime is all over the place [...] because the government’s not effectively lost control of testing, it doesn’t necessarily know where the virus is.“If I was the prime minister, I would apologise for the fact that testing is all over the place and, instead of using the summer to prepare for the autumn, which is what we said should happen we’re in this position.“Just when we need testing to be at its very best, it’s near collapse.” Starmer has also called for the return of the daily Covid-19 briefings and has asked the PM to convene Cobra, after the “R” rate of the virus rose to between 1.1 and 1.4 on Friday. Related... London Should Face Fresh Lockdown By Monday, Khan Says Is England Heading For Another Lockdown? Keir Starmer Out Of Self-Isolation After Child Tests Negative For Coronavirus
Kevin and Lisa at number 39 always smile and wave when they see you pass. But tonight, they have 15 friends over for an end-of-summer dinner party in the garden. Your silent resentment has been bubbling up for a few hours, as you watch them mingling and hugging with others from your bedroom window.Thoughts flood through your head: how could they be so careless? Why do they get to have all the fun while others sticks to the rules? What if they catch Covid and pass it to me? And... should I snitch on them?If you were Priti Patel, maybe you would dob them in. Discussing the “rule of six” on Sky News, the home secretary said if she saw something inappropriate in her neighbourhood, “then quite frankly I would effectively call the police”. “It’s not about dobbing in neighbours,” she said. “I think it’s all about us taking personal responsibility.”Whichever way you look at it, reporting your neighbours to the police for flouting Covid-19 rules is dobbing them in. The very definition is “to tell someone in authority about something bad that another person has done”.In a conflicting statement, the prime minister has since said he doesn’t condone calling the police – unless they’re having “Animal House” parties with “hot tubs and so forth”. Boris Johnson told The Sun he’s “never much been in favour of sneak culture” and said people should raise issues with neighbours first. The police and crime commissioner for the Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, agreed, urging people not to tell on their neighbours. He didn’t think snitching to the police was necessary “except in the most extreme circumstances”, the BBC reported.Related... The Psychology Behind Why Some People Wear Face Masks – And Others Don't If the thought of reporting your neighbours makes your stomach turn, you’re not alone. Humans don’t feel comfortable with dobbing in others because of trust, which is really important to the relationships we build. We want to feel part of a community and trust is a key part of that. And we want to try, at all costs, to not break that trust. “People are social beings,” says Professor Helen Haste, professor at the University of Bath, whose research interests span civic and moral responsibility. “One thing we learn from a very early age is how to get along with people and how to give and take between ourselves and the people close to us – the exchange of things like: ‘I do things for you, you do things for me.’”Psychologists heavily suspect where people have strong direct links with their neighbours, such as interacting positively, they won’t report them. “If you betray that trust you harm the relationship,” says Haste. “The very idea of reporting somebody for what might be seen as a minor deviation from the rules breaks the whole code of loyalty and community.”So, if you want to maintain a friendly relationship with Kevin and Lisa at number 39, you’re probably not going to snitch. “If you do, it’s not going to do a lot for your social life or for how much they trust you,” says Prof Haste.Prof Haste adds that there might be more of a reluctance to call the police right now anyway, because of the pressure from the government to conform to rules. “People are feeling there’s a lot of rather arbitrary rules being made and it’s not always obvious why they’re being made – so I think there might be a certain reaction against that,” she says. Related... Here’s How To Cope With Lockdown Déjà Vu But on the flip side, there’s another moral pressure at play – “that we’re living in a time of considerable danger to health and we have a public responsibility to avoid spreading the disease,” says Prof Haste.“People do feel there is this public responsibility, we should help to maintain the form of controls on spreading the contagion,” she says. “So I think people are torn – for many people it would be a real moral dilemma.”So, why would a person snitch? There are many factors at play, here.The first would be what it is the neighbour is actually doing to warrant attention – a dinner party is quite different to a full-blown rave in a nearby field. The second is whether the person knows their neighbour well or not. They might be quite happy to report an unknown person a few streets away who’s been having a house party until 4am. But if Lisa and Kevin have 15 mates around, and their kids regularly play together, they’ll be less likely to snitch. Adults are a lot more willing to report on those with which we have impersonal relationships, adds Professor Dominic Abrams, an expert in social psychology at the University of Kent, offering the examples of temporary rental occupants or neighbours who we already have conflictual relationships with. “Then, the chances that someone would report them will inevitably increase,” he adds.A lot depends on your own community’s feel as part of a larger community.Professor Helen Haste, professor at the University of BathMight there be personality differences that affect people’s willingness to report? “Perhaps so,” says Prof Abrams, “but the underlying reason is likely to be because the person feels uncertain about risks and wants to establish a greater sense of control over the threat to themselves and others,” he says.“It might be that more authoritarian people feel such risks more keenly or that they have a greater need for control, but it could be other factors that trigger these motivations such as a desire to be a ‘good citizen’ or a sense that others in the neighbourhood would appreciate this action.”On the other hand, a person may be less likely to snitch on their neighbours if they’re from a marginalised community, suggests Prof Haste. “A lot depends on your own community’s feel as part of a larger community,” she says. Some people may be more likely to believe their patterns of behaviour are in line with what the rest of the country is doing, so have no issue thinking if they tell the police what’s going on, they’re still doing the kind of things that their community would consider okay. “But if I was in a marginalised community, I would probably feel the authorities are against us, they are our enemy, and I wouldn’t want to go and tell them about anything that was going on inside my community because that would be breaking a big trust,” she adds.Related... The Psychology Behind Why Some People Hide That They Have Covid-19 Prof Abrams says there are four courses of action people can take if they’re concerned about a neighbour – or even a friend, family member, spouse – flouting the rules.“People can do nothing, they can discuss with other people to share their concern, they can directly appeal to their neighbour, or they can report their neighbour,” he says. “I don’t think there’s a single morally correct thing to do, because each alternative has its practical and social, as well as moral, merits.”Prof Haste recommends approaching the neighbour directly if you have any kind of relationship you want to maintain. You could say: ‘this is not acceptable, you can’t do this’ or ‘I’m worried you’re passing the virus on to me and my family’.  It’s something she would do herself if in the same position.“If you have trust with your neighbours, and trust with your friends, surely you can use that trust to put pressure on them to take precautions rather than either saying nothing or telling the authorities?” she adds. Related... Revealed: Here's Who Is Actually Running NHS Test And Trace Up To 750,000 Covid Test Requests Going Unanswered EVERY Day Here’s How Life Will Change Under Coronavirus Curfews
You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening. Today’s edition is by Ned Simons. Paul is away.Here We Go AgainEngland looked on the edge of new national restrictions today, as Sage warned there was “widespread growth of the epidemic” across the UK.The R-rate has jumped to between 1.1 and 1.4, up from between 1 and 1.2. The number of new infections is rising by 2% and 7% every day. More than 4,000 new coronavirus cases have been recorded for the first time since May. Keir Starmer has urged the PM to convene a meeting of Cobra and called for “swift, decisive national action”. Nicola Sturgeon has demanded the same.You also only have to look at the latest from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey to see what’s driving the worry.According to the data published today, an average of 6,000 people in England were infected per day between September 4 to 10. This is a “marked increase” on the 3,200 the previous week. The rise appears to be driven by an increase in the number of people testing positive aged 2 to 11, 17 to 24 years and 25 to 34 years.We are yet to see what impact, if any, the “rule of six” which came into force on Monday has had.The figures dropped minutes before the government confirmed local lockdowns would be enforced across parts of the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire. From Tuesday, residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens.Restaurants, pubs and bars will be restricted to table service only, while all leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, pubs and cinemas must close between 10pm and 5am.London is about “two weeks behind” these regions when it came to infection rates, Sadiq Khan warned today, amid suggestions similar rules for the capital are on the cards.At some point it might be easier to count the areas that are not under a local lockdown than the ones that are. As Sky News points out, just under 13 million people, one in five of the UK population, are now under some form of extra controls.A short-term “circuit break” of national restrictions in England would likely see the government attempt to keep business and education up and running while clamping down on the fun stuff such as pubs and household mixing.Matt Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the “good news” was the number of cases being passed on in workplaces was “relatively low”.“Protecting the economy, protecting work and protecting education, protecting schools, these can be done alongside restrictions of our social lives,” he said.The prime minister said earlier this week a second national lockdown would be “wrong” and “disastrous”. But it’s worth remembering there is no precise definition of what a “lockdown” means.Under pressure in July over accusations the country was shut down too late, Hancock claimed the first lockdown actually began on March 16 when he told the Commons “unnecessary social contact should cease”, not March 23 when Boris Johnson said people “must” stay at home. It’s been reported restrictions could be imposed to coincide with October half-term. But that’s five weeks away. Which is a long time in pandemics.Quote Of The Day “He’s enormously, enormously vigorous.”– Matt Hancock defends the prime minister during an interview with Times RadioFriday Cheat SheetHuman rights lawyer Amal Clooney has resigned as a special UK envoy over the government’s plans to break international law over Brexit. London’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display will not take place this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Sadiq Khan confirmed.The US will ban the downloads of the Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat on Sunday, with a total ban on the use of the latter, citing national security and data privacy concerns.What I’m Listening ToFiasco - The Battle for Boston tells the story of the movement to desegregate Boston’s public schools—and all the backlash that followed.
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