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An extra 1.7 million people will be told to shield in England

BREAKING.

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Hedgehog Digital & Andre Ouellet /Unsplash

Around 1.7 million more people have been added to the shielding list in England, after being found to be at potential serious risk to Covid-19.

A new algorithm that looks at multiple factors has identified more people who should be shielding. They can expect a letter from the NHS in the coming days.

Around 800,000 will have not been offered the coronavirus vaccine already but they will be bumped up the priority list. 

Oxford University has developed the new tool which assesses if someone is at risk of severe disease or death from Covid-19, and therefore the shielding list was expanded.

Multiple factors, including age, ethnicity, BMI, other health conditions and also postcode to indicate levels of deprivation are all considered in the new tool.

The additional 1.7 million people brings the list of those shielding to almost four million. They should shield until March 31st, according to advice.

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Those joining the list will get the same support available to those who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’, including medicine deliveries, priority slots at supermarkets and statutory sick pay according to Dr Jenny Harries. 

She told a briefing for journalists: “As we learn more about Covid-19, we’re continuously reviewing the evidence… it was very clear that not all of those individuals who were at risk were identified by the binary approach.”

She added: “The letter will note that this is more likely to be an overestimate of risk in a way which hopefully handles any of their anxiety.

“And it makes it absolutely clear that it is a choice for them if they choose to follow shielding advice or not – that has always been the case.

“What it does also do – which I hope will benefit them, which is why people will hopefully be grateful to receive this – is it will prioritise them for vaccination.

“In addition to that it means they have advice and support and that is important not just now, but should there be any changes in the pandemic in forthcoming months – for example, perhaps in vaccinations perhaps in the autumn as we go forward, then clearly they will be identified within that group as well so there are current and longer term benefits.”

 

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Three UK supermarkets to continue enforcing face mask policies in-store

All Plan B restrictions have been eased as of today

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Morrisons & Nickolas Romensky / Flickr

Three of the UK’s leading supermarkets will continue to enforce their face mask policies despite all Plan B restrictions coming to an end today.

Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose – which also operates retailer John Lewis – will ask their customers to continue wearing masks in their stores, even though they are no longer mandatory.

Sainsbury’s said in a statement: “Safety remains our highest priority. We’re asking our customers and colleagues in England to continue to wear a face covering in our stores if they are able to.”

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A spokeswoman for John Lewis and Partners said: “We’ll be suggesting people wear masks in our stores, although it will be down to individuals to make a personal choice.”

According to The Mirror, Paddy Lillis, the head of shop workers’ union Usdaw, voiced his support for the supermarkets’ decision, saying it was ‘deeply disappointing that the government has ploughed on with ending mandatory face coverings in shops’ and that many retailers would ‘keep Covid safety measures in stores’.

Manchester City Council has also asked people to continue wearing masks in public spaces and on public transport in what they have described as a ‘pragmatic approach’.

Students at schools and universities are also been asked to continue wearing face coverings in corridors until the February half term.

@maximeutopix / Unsplash

From today, Thursday January 27th, all Plan B Covid restrictions have been lifted. This means that mandatory Covid passes will no longer be needed and people will not be asked to work from home where possible.

Face masks are also no longer mandatory, though various shops and public spaces have encouraged people to continue wearing them.

Boris Johnson said that the government will continue to ‘suggest’ the use of face coverings in cramped or crowded spaces, saying: “We will trust the judgment of the British people.”

However, self-isolation will remain a legal requirement for those who have tested positive for Covid.

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Some Covid restrictions to stay in place in Manchester, council says

All Plan B Covid restrictions have been lifted today

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Mika Baumeister / Unsplash

As the majority of Plan B Covid restrictions are lifted, Manchester’s public health director has said some will be staying in place across the city.

In what has been described as a ‘pragmatic approach’, Manchester City Council is asking people to continue wearing masks in crowded spaces and on public transport.

Students at schools and universities are also been asked to continue wearing masks in corridors until the February half term.

David Regan, Manchester’s public health director, said keeping some measures in place should ‘limit the onward transmission’ of Covid.

@circlz / Unsplash

He said there had been a ‘good dialogue’ with the city’s universities and that schools had been ‘really receptive’ to the advice. 

Regan explained: “If our primary school children are affected and it goes back into the household, that affects our health and social care workforce.

Deputy council leader Joanna Midgley supported Regan’s stance on the matter, saying the pandemic ‘was not over’ and said there were vulnerable people who ‘needed to be looked after’.

She said: “As the restrictions end, as a city we want to try and encourage people to continue wearing masks in crowded spaces on public transport and to get that message across about looking out for each other, caring about each other.”

@maximeutopix / Unsplash

From today, Thursday January 27th, all Plan B Covid restrictions have been lifted. This means that mandatory Covid passes will no longer be needed and people will not be asked to work from home where possible.

Face masks are also no longer mandatory, though various shops and public spaces have encouraged people to continue wearing them.

Boris Johnson said that the government will continue to ‘suggest’ the use of face coverings in cramped or crowded spaces, saying: “We will trust the judgment of the British people.”

However, self-isolation will remain a legal requirement for those who have tested positive for Covid.

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GMP confiscates and burns 173kg of cannabis following raid on weed farm

The cannabis farm contained drugs with an estimated value of £750k

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GMP Manchester North / Facebook

Greater Manchester Police officers have burned huge bags of cannabis after plants growing the Class B drug were discovered at a weed farm in Manchester.

Officers raided the property in Cheetham Hill earlier this week on January 24th, where they discovered a cannabis farm containing drugs worth an estimated £750k. 

Yesterday, 173kg of the plants – the equivalent of five German Shepherds, according to the force – were bagged up and burned through an incinerator.

GMP shared images of the farm onto the GMP Manchester North Facebook page, writing: “Tonight we have executed a warrant in #Cheetham and found a large cannabis farm with an estimated £750k worth of drugs.

“If anyone has any information please pass it to us so we can continue taking drugs from the streets.”

The force then shared an update yesterday regarding the burning of the plants, showing photos of police vans overflowing with bags of cannabis plants alongside the caption: “We have now dismantled the cannabis farm in #Cheetham and 173kg of cannabis has been burnt at the incinerator!

“That’s the equivalent of 5 German Shepherds! Our van was filled!”

This comes just weeks after North West Motorway Police seized £300k worth of laundered money during a routine stop check.

During the search, Regional Commercial Vehicle Unit and MO24 officers found a bag containing the cash in the boot, something that the driver ‘couldn’t account for’. 

The cash was subsequently seized and the driver was arrested. 

Reports involving drugs or other anti-social behaviour can be made to police online or by calling 101.

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