Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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Coronavirus: England restrictions after spike in cases

File photo dated 15/6/2020 of social distancing signs in Kingston


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Live Reporting

Joshua Cheetham, Emma Harrison, Claudia Allen and Sarah Collerton

All times stated are UK

  1. What are the rules and guidance in other parts of the UK?

  2. Cricket club outbreak linked to stag party

    Google Street view of Barlaston Cricket Club entrance

    Copyright: Google

    A coronavirus outbreak at a cricket club has been linked to a stag party, after travellers failed to quarantine after visiting Prague.

    Barlaston Cricket Club was forced to cancel Sunday’s match after two members tested positive for Covid-19.

    Staffordshire County Council heard instead of self-isolating after the trip, the individuals “decided to have a game of cricket”.

    The club said no more cases have arisen as a result of matches or events.

    Read more here.

  3. The government’s warning system is flashing red

    Laura Kuenssberg

    Political editor

    Shoppers in Caerphilly, which is subject to a local lockdown

    Copyright: PA Media

    Image caption: Shoppers in Caerphilly, which is subject to a local lockdown

    Expect to see the prime minister back at the lectern later urging the population to take care.

    It won’t mark the beginning of another national lockdown. Nor will it be the start of a new draconian regime.

    But do expect to hear the prime minister emphasising the need for the public to follow the existing rules – being careful about social contact with people, isolating if ill, and (what seemed in the early days almost quaint advice in the face of a distant threat), to wash your hands.

    And there will be a reduction in the numbers of people who are allowed to gather in groups indoors and outdoors in England from 30 down to six.

    The reason for what may seem like a change of tone from the PM? Simple, the government is worried.

    In the last four or five days there has been a significant rise in the number of coronavirus cases. It’s not a gradual gentle drift upwards, but a sharp and obvious spike. The rate of positive tests is going up particularly among the 17-21s, but noticeable too among people in their 40s.

    more from Laura here

  4. Deaths of Venezuelan health workers on the rise

    woman walks by an advertising poster in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 31 August 2020.

    Copyright: Reuters

    Image caption: Health workers are among those hardest hit by the virus in Venezuela

    There has been a steep rise in deaths of Venezuelan health workers from Covid-19, the NGO Doctors United for Venezuela has warned.

    The group said that nine deaths of health workers had been reported on Tuesday bringing the total to 143.

    According to official government figures, Venezuela has more than 55,000 confirmed cases and 444 Covid-related deaths, much lower than its neighbours Colombia and Brazil, which have almost 680,000 and 4.1m cases respectively.

    However, health workers have claimed that the real figures are much higher and that a lack of testing is to blame for the low official numbers.

    Doctors United for Venezuela called on government spokespeople “to adjust their figures to reality”.

  5. Ryanair boss calls UK travel quarantine ‘defective’

    Michael O'Leary

    Copyright: Reuters

    The UK’s travel quarantine policy is a “shambles of mismanagement”, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said.

    In an interview with the BBC, Mr O’Leary said the UK and Irish Governments “stand indicted”.

    He said the UK quarantine was “lumpy and defective” and that the UK needed to use testing at airports to help the safe return of international travel.

    Boris Johnson says travel quarantines are “vital” in the fight against coronavirus as tests can be unreliable.

    The policy requires travellers to high-risk countries to isolate for two weeks on their return to the UK.

    Read more here.

  6. Parkrun return ‘unaffected’ by England virus rule change

    England’s tightening of coronavirus restrictions will not affect the weekly mass participation event Parkrun, organisers have confirmed.

    Parkruns were suspended worldwide in March because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

    They are now set to resume in England by the end of October.

    A Parkrun spokesperson said: “As a sporting event operating under a government
    accepted Covid framework, we are unaffected.”

    more about Parkrun’s return here

  7. Czech government announces new indoor face mask rules

    Rob Cameron

    BBC Prague Correspondent

    A Woman wearing a face mask is seen walking on Charles bridge in Prague

    Copyright: Getty Images

    The Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech has announced that face masks will be mandatory everywhere indoors from Thursday, after a record 1,164 new cases were reported on Tuesday.

    Masks had been mandatory in shops and shopping centres from today – that will now be extended to all enclosed spaces from tomorrow. Details will be announced during the day. They have been mandatory on public transport since Sep 1.

    Only five countries in Europe – Spain, France, Romania, Croatia and Malta – currently have more new cases per 100,000 over 14 days than the Czech Republic. The figures for neighbouring Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia are considerably lower.

    Czech authorities say most cases are younger and asymptomatic patients, but the risk of community spread to older and more vulnerable people is a threat.

    The country has also been criticised by the WHO for mulling the scaling back of testing and tracing contacts of positive cases, although details of any such moves have not yet been announced.

  8. More than 2,500 expected at racecourse meeting

    Doncaster Racecourse

    Copyright: BBC Sport/pool

    As the government tightens restrictions on social gatherings in England form Monday, more than 2,500 spectators are expected at Doncaster racecourse later.

    The crowd at the first day of the four-day St Leger meeting will be the first at a British horse racing fixture in six months.

    Racing has been held behind closed doors since resuming on 1 June after a 10-week suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Up to 3,640 people will be permitted entry on Wednesday, and the racecourse says more than 2,500 tickets have been sold. A limit of 6,202 is planned on the other days, including Saturday, when the Leger, the world’s oldest Classic race, is staged.

    Asked about the pilot on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The prime minister is going to set out more details of the consequences of the new rule for six people gathering later today. And we’ll set out what that means for some of these events that we were planning to do.”

    But Doncaster’s elected Labour mayor Ros Jones said the festival was a “major risk for the borough that I would rather not see happen”.

    “I believe the risk is too great as we are seeing rising infection rates,” Ms Jones said.

  9. ‘No change to place of worship rules’

    Justin Welby, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, says he’s been told by the UK government there will be no change to guidance on places of worship.

    The current guidance says larger gatherings are allowed for acts of communal worship in churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and meeting rooms in England, albeit subject to social-distancing restrictions.

  10. UK PM to give details on England restrictions at 16:00 BST

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at 10 Downing Street, London. (8 Sept 2020)

    Copyright: PA Media

    As we mentioned earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to outline the details of the changes to coronavirus restrictions in England later.

    He will do this at a Downing Street press conference at 16:00 BST and will be joined by Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser.

    Here’s a reminder of what we know so far about the restrictions.

  11. BreakingScottish deaths up by a third between April and June

    Deaths in Scotland between April and June 2020 were up by a third compared to the five-year average, according to official figures.

    The National Records of Scotland (NRS) said 18,201 deaths had been registered, 4,515 more than the five-year average for the quarter.

    Covid-19 was the underlying cause in 3,739 of them, accounting for 83% of the excess deaths.

    Deaths from diabetes, dementia and Alzheimer’s were also significantly higher than the five-year average, the NRS said.

    Read the full story from our colleagues in Scotland here.

  12. Daily cases reach record high in Argentina

    woman walks by an advertising poster in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 31 August 2020.

    Copyright: EPA

    Image caption: Argentina imposed a strict lockdown early on but now that it’s been eased cases have risen

    Argentina, one of the countries where the number of coronavirus infections continues to rise steeply, registered a new record number of daily cases on Tuesday: 12,027.

    In total, there have now been more than half a million confirmed cases in Argentina since the pandemic began.

    Most of the new cases are in Buenos Aires province.

    Argentina was one of the countries to impose a strict lockdown early on in the pandemic and cases at first rose slowly.

    But with restrictions being eased to kickstart Argentina’s ailing economy, the infection rate has shot up and the country is now among the list of top ten countries with the highest number of Covid-19 cases.

  13. UN warns on Syria virus spread

    Martin Patience

    BBC News, Middle East correspondent

    The UN says more
    than 40 of its staff and their dependents have caught coronavirus in Syria amid
    warnings that the pandemic is far more widespread in the country than the
    authorities have acknowledged.

    to a spokesman three people were medically evacuated. The remainder of those
    who contracted Covid-19 were suffering from mild symptoms.

    caught us at a time where we have seen a very significant rise, or increase, in
    the level of Covid-19 in Syria,” said Jens Laerke, spokesman for the
    UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

    believe community transmission is widespread, and that the actual cases exceeds
    those that are officially recorded.”

    the start of the pandemic, Syria has officially recorded 137 deaths in
    government-controlled areas. But the country’s healthcare system is in ruins
    after nine years of war and the government recently admitted it cannot carry
    out large scale testing.

    week Human Rights Watch reported that health workers in Syria were overwhelmed, many hospitals were beyond
    capacity, and there were serious shortages of personal
    protective equipment.

  14. UK scientist: Next six weeks ‘absolutely pivotal’

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Prof Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the UK government’s scientific advisory group Sage, tells BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he hopes England’s new coronavirus restrictions will be enough to curb cases.

    The Wellcome Trust director says: “The next four to six weeks as we reopen schools and we start to try to get the economy going again – which is just so critical – are going to be absolutely pivotal to the sort of autumn and winter we have.

    “So I am very supportive of the restrictions coming in and sincerely hope they are going to be enough.”

  15. South Dakota governor hits back over virus study

    South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has repudiated claims that a motorcycle rally in the state was the source of 250,000 new coronavirus infections.

    The 10-day event in Sturgis, South Dakota attracted more than 400,000 people, with “minimal mask-wearing and social distancing,” according to a study by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics.

    If all these cases were non-lethal, the researchers (who are economists rather than epidemiologists) estimate that the rally has cost $12.2bn (£9.42bn) in public health funding.

    But in a series of tweets, Governor Noem said the report “isn’t science. It’s fiction.”

    South Dakota’s Department of Health has reported 124 cases linked to the controversial motorcycle rally.

  16. What are the new rules for meeting my friends?

    People meeting in a pub garden

    Copyright: Getty Images

    As we’ve been reporting, the number of people allowed to meet socially is being reduced from 30 to six in England, amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

    What do the new rules mean and how will they be enforced?

    We’ve got a full explanation for you here.

  17. Oxford University vaccine trial paused after participant falls ill

    Fergus Walsh

    Medical editor

    At first glance this may seem alarming. A vaccine trial – and not just any vaccine, but one receiving massive global attention – is put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction.

    But such events are not unheard of. Indeed the Oxford team describe it as “routine”. Any time a volunteer is admitted to hospital and the cause of their illness is not immediately apparent it triggers a study to be put on hold.

    This is actually the second time it has happened with the Oxford University/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine trial since the first volunteers were immunised in April.

    An Oxford University spokesperson said: “In large trials, illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully.”

    A final decision on restarting the trial will be taken by the medical regulator the MHRA, which could take only days.

    But until then all international vaccination sites, in the UK, Brazil, South Africa and the USA are on hold.

    The Oxford University team believe this process illustrates that they are committed to the safety of their volunteers and the highest standards of conduct in their studies.

    more on this story here

  18. Hancock: Businesses will have to take customer contact details in England

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has given a bit more detail on how the government plans to tighten enforcement around hospitality businesses in England.

    He says it will become compulsory for venues to take customer contact details for track and trace.

    It has been voluntary, he says, and some businesses had chosen not to take details.

    We’ll hear more detail on the tightening of restrictions in England later from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

    Read more
    on this story here

  19. ‘I don’t have to hide anymore’

    Video content

    Video caption: Disabled youngsters describe why a Cornwall drama group is a key part of their lives.

    A happy story now from Cornwall, where a drama group for disabled youngsters was forced to abandon its annual pantomime amid the coronavirus crisis.

    After months of Zoom meetings the members of Drama Express met again for the first time since the lockdown at a park in Truro.

    It’s been a long time away from each other but as they explained, it was worth the wait.

  20. Five reasons why rise in UK cases is not all it seems

    Ministers and health advisers in the UK believe the country
    is at a critical moment and the average rate of new infections is now four
    times higher than it was in mid-July.

    Newly diagnosed cases have topped 2,000 for the past three

    However, our health team has considered five important reasons why
    the rise in cases is not all it seems

    A graph detailing hospital admissions in the UK

    Copyright: BBC

    Image caption: Case numbers are rising, but there hasn’t – yet at least – been a corresponding rise in hospital admissions


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