Boris Johnson faces ‘mother of all arguments’ over Covid restrictions next month

Boris Johnson faces the “mother of all arguments” next month when he comes under pressure to loosen the lockdown while the NHS remains seriously stretched, a government adviser has predicted.Professor David Spiegelhalter, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), warned that intensive care units will still be strained even as deaths drop significantly.A large number of Tory backbenchers are likely to be among those heaping pressure on the Prime Minister at that point to ease England’s third national lockdown.(PA Graphics) Spiegelhalter said “the benefits of the vaccine” will begin being seen next month, as he welcomed the “very encouraging news” that the R is estimated…

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London to move into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions

We need your help ... The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads. Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion. We have been fighting against an…

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Hospital bosses warn Boris Johnson that relaxing restrictions could ‘trigger third wave’

NHS bosses have warned the prime minister that relaxing restrictions could trigger a third wave of coronavirus (Covid-19) at the busiest time of year for hospitals.In a letter to Boris Johnson, NHS Providers urged “extreme caution” in moving any area of England to a lower tier, according to reports by the BBC.The first review of England’s tier allocation is due take place on Wednesday 16 December. This would be two weeks after the three-tier system was brought in after the end of lockdown. (PA Graphics)“The NHS simply won’t be able to cope”But areas should be moved into the highest tier of restrictions “as soon as this is needed,…

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Christmas easing of restrictions a ‘mistake which will have consequences’

Relaxing coronavirus restrictions throughout the UK over Christmas is a “mistake” which will have “consequences”, a public health expert has said.ChristmasLinda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, said she was concerned about people travelling from areas with high infections to parts of the country with lower prevalence of the virus.The UK government and devolved administrations have agreed a joint plan to relax social distancing rules for five days over the festive period, between 23 and 27 December, allowing friends and family to hug for the first time in months. But Bauld told BBC Breakfast: From a public health perspective, I have to be perfectly…

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UK economic growth slows sharply in October as restrictions bite

UK economic growth slowed sharply in October as restrictions were tightened to control the spread of a second wave of coronavirus (Covid-19), official figures show. The bite The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.4% month on month in October, marking the sixth month in a row of recovering output following the recession in April. But growth pared back significantly from 1.1% in September as new restrictions were brought in to try to curb rising cases of coronavirus, hitting pubs and restaurants hard. The ONS added that the economy still remains 7.9% below pre-pandemic levels. We’ve released GDP figures for October 2020. ▪️…

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Warning over rising air pollution when coronavirus restrictions end

Air pollution could rise significantly as coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions end, a think tank warned as it called on cities to reboot stalled plans to tackle the problem.The fallLevels of toxic air fell dramatically in many places in the spring as the country went into full lockdown, Centre for Cities said. But analysis shows that concentrations of air pollution have risen again over the summer to pre-pandemic levels or higher, even though most of the country remains under restrictions.This means that, as life returns to normal, pollution could climb even higher, the think tank warned. (PA Graphics)It’s calling for councils which shelved their pollution reduction plans in the face…

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Pubs to stop selling alcohol in Wales as part of new coronavirus restrictions

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes in Wales will be forced to stop selling alcohol and to shut by 6pm in a new round of restrictions that begin on Friday night ahead of Christmas, first minister Mark Drakeford has said.The new regulations that come into force from 6pm on 4 December will also see cinemas, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment venues forced to shut their doors until they are reviewed on 17 December.The announcement comes just three weeks after the end of Wales’s 17-day firebreak lockdown and amid another rise in coronavirus cases particularly among under-25s in 17 of the country’s 22 local authorities. (PA Graphics)On Monday, Drakeford…

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Government website crashes as people try and find out which tier of coronavirus restrictions they’ll face

Almost all parts of England will face tough coronavirus curbs with a ban on households mixing indoors and restrictions on hospitality after December 2.Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been placed in the lowest Tier 1 set of restrictions, with people in all other parts of England set to face more serious limits to their freedom.Large swathes of the Midlands, North East and North West are in the most restrictive Tier 3, but London will be in Tier 2. The Liverpool City Region’s move into Tier 2 is vindication of the hard work, dedication and sacrifice shown by people across our region…

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Chile’s police force is on the rampage in the shadow of coronavirus restrictions

Police violence in Chile has reached shocking levels with reports that two children aged 14 and 17, in the Southern city of Talcahuano were shot by armed police officers on the afternoon of Wednesday 18 November. Witnesses claim that the children who reside in a SENAME (children’s services) care home threw stones at the patrol who then responded by firing into the residence that was packed with children and care workers. Demanding an end to police violence In the capital Santiago hundreds of protesters took to the streets to demand an end to police violence. But they were fiercely repressed with tear gas and water cannons. The protesters…

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Swann likely to request more restrictions ahead of hospitality sector reopening

Stormont’s health minister has said he is likely to be asking for further coronavirus restrictions for the north of Ireland before the scheduled reopening of the hospitality sector.Robin Swann’s remarks raise the prospect of more executive discord in the near future, following a week when the coalition administration was consumed with in-fighting over its pandemic response.After four days of acrimonious exchanges, a majority of ministers finally backed a proposal that saw the region’s four-week circuit-break lockdown extended by one week followed by a phased reopening of hospitality businesses.Mr Swann voted for the proposals but only reluctantly. He had wanted a comprehensive two-week extension of the lockdown and said…

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