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Boris Johnson considering two-week national lockdown over half term in yet another U-turn

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Boris Johnson could be introducing a two-week national lockdown in a bid to save thousands of lives, according to the government’s advising scientists.

According to calculations from the scientists advising the government, a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown could save thousands of lives before the end of the year.

According to reports, decisions are set to be made before the end of next week, in time for the half-term school holiday. Sources are saying the likelihood of the decision being yet another U-turn from the government is ‘at least 80%’, Examiner Live reports. 

The Prime Minister is facing calls to introduce a two-week lockdown across England to bring the coronavirus resurgence under control. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the two-week national lockdown over October half term is needed to prevent a ‘sleepwalk into a long and bleak winter’.

A Tory MP told the Express that October half-term is an ‘obvious time’ for a clampdown and that a ‘circuit breaker’ has not been taken off the table. 

SAGE reportedly calculated that 7,000 lives could be saved if schools close and people stay at home from October 24th for two weeks. 

The Times suggested that the model could cut hospital admissions from 132,400 to 66,500 and coronavirus deaths for the rest of the year from 19,900 to 12,100. If schools and shops remain open, the death toll would be cut to 15,600.

The paper, set to be published at some point today, is put together by Professor Graham Medley plus other members of the Government’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling.

They note that there is ‘no good epidemiological reasons to delay the break’.

The news comes after Sir Keir spoke on a televised press conference, saying that Boris Johnson was no longer following scientific advice by proposing less stringent restrictions than those suggested to the government by SAGE scientists.

54% of people surveyed by YouGov felt that the government should have introduced a national lockdown in September. 28% disagreed. 

According to reports, Boris Johnson dismissed a recommendation for a circuit-breaker suggested by SAGE to the government three weeks ago. Instead, he put in place the three-tier local alert levels.

As of Tuesday, the UK recorded the highest daily death figure in four months. 143 people died within 28 days of testing positive of Covid-19.

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

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Greater Manchester Nightingale Hospital open again due to high levels of coronavirus

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The Nightingale Hospital for the North West will open later this week and house non-Covid patients.

The temporary facility to treat patients with Covid-19 opened originally in April but has been closed in summer. 

However, later this week it is set to reopen for non-Covid patients.

It is set to reopen as figures show the number of coronavirus patients being treated in the North West is now approaching the level it was in the first surge of the virus.

A spokesperson said: “The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West will accept patients from today to provide care for those who do not have Covid-19, but do need further support before they are able to go home, such as therapy and social care assessments.”

As of October 26th, North West hospitals had 2,407 patients with coronavirus, the highest number of cases since April 23rd.

Dr Jane Eddleston, medical director of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Nightingale will not be used as a critical care facility and neither was it in the first phase. It will be used as a facility for patients to have additional rehabilitation.”

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Sacha Lord says 10pm curfew will be reviewed next month

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Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, Sacha Lord, has said the government will review the 10pm curfew in November. 

All hospitality venues must shut their doors at 10pm under current laws, however, Sacha Lord and other industry members have been campaigning the curfew.

Since September 24th, when the curfew was put in place, the #CancelTheCurfew movement has been backed by a number of industry professionals.

The Parklife founder, Lord, filed a pre-action letter last night which claimed there was no scientific justification of the Tier 3 regulations and the limits on pubs and bars operating hours. 

Lord has tweeted that the government ‘are reviewing the UK 10pm curfew’ in November.

He wrote: “In November, the Government are reviewing the UK 10pm curfew.

“It doesn’t work for the public or operators.

“Overloaded transport, crowded takeaways, supermarkets etc.

“It’s doing far more harm than good. Operators are running safe and secure COVID19 venues.

“Cancel the Curfew”

Lord confirmed they had a formal response from the government regarding the judicial review where he said ‘we consider it insufficient’.

He added “I cannot go into detail, but I can say that we have considered it and it is insufficient. I have instructed my lawyers to commence legal proceedings.”

Lord is now backing the OneGM campaign, which sees different sectors of the industry coming together to show support for businesses and people in Greater Manchester. 

It is unclear yet when Greater Manchester will be removed from Tier 3 restrictions.

 

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Dr Hilary backs calls for tier 3 restrictions across all of England by Christmas

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Dr Hilary has responded on GMB this morning to reports that the whole of England should be in tier 3 by Christmas. 

It comes following some reports that all of England could be placed under the strictest coronavirus restrictions by mid-December. 

The UK deaths hit their highest level in five months on Tuesday, when 367 new fatalities linked to coronavirus and nearly 23,000 more cases were recorded.

The Sun explained that SAGE member, Professor Sir Mark Walport said it is ‘not unrealistic’ to think that 25,000 people could be in hospital with Covid-19 by the end of November.

With total Covid related deaths reaching 61,000 across the nation, there are predictions that figures will be higher than the Spring peak come December.

Members of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Body (Sage) are reportedly warning that virus rates all over the country will soar past the levels seen in areas in the North already.

A government source also told The Sun ‘the latest Sage numbers are utterly bleak.’

According to the Daily Telegraph, ‘Downing Street is working on the assumption that the second wave of COVID-19 will be more deadly than the first.’

From next week parts of Nottinghamshire and Warrington will be placed into Tier Three.

This means that more than eight million people in England, predominantly in the North, will be under the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions by the end of the week.

The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, told Sky News: “The prime minister has been very clear, as we all are, that we want people to celebrate Christmas in a way that is as close to normal as possible.

“But it is too early to be able to say exactly what the situation will become Christmas, and exactly what different parts of the country will or will not be able to do.

“Obviously checking the spread of this virus is paramount, but alongside that we want people to live their lives as close to normal as possible, including at Christmas which is an incredibly important time for families.”

Dr Hilary Jones spoke on Good Morning Britain this morning explaining that a vaccine ‘won’t stop a rise in infections’.

Jones said: “Just look at the figures, the hospital admissions are increasing, doubling every two weeks. In a month from now, we’ll be worse than we were in the first wave.”

He said: “We can’t rely on a vaccine, we hope it will save people from dying but it won’t stop infections, not the early vaccine anyway.”

Adding that: “I think we still need to rely on the basic principles which is hands, face, space and if we all do that and we’re realistic and don’t say Christmas is an exception.

“If we make Christmas an exception, then every celebration will be an exception. A birthday, a Friday night, a promotion…” 

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