As of midnight last night (July 30th), local restrictions were placed on residents of Greater Manchester, including no longer allowed to mix with other households.
The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said the changes have been imposed due to people not observing social distancing.
Speaking to the media, Hancock said: “We’re constantly vigilant and we’ve been looking at the data and unfortunately we’ve seen across parts of Northern England an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus,”
The changes, that has also been put in place in Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Leicester is estimated to affect four million people.
The measures mean different households cannot meet inside, this includes in homes or private gardens.
You are not allowed to visit someone else’s home or garden, even if they live outside of the affected areas.
You are also no longer allowed to visit indoor public venues such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions with people you do not live with.
You are allowed to still visit the pub for instance with the people you live with but the advice states you should avoid interaction with others.
Those who have formed a social bubble are still permitted to meet with the support bubble including, visit each other, stay overnight and visit other public places as if one household.
The police will be allowed to take action against anyone caught breaking the new rules. They can ask people to disperse and issue penalty notices that start at £100 but half to £50 if paid in the first 14 days.
The national guidance on meeting outdoors in public spaces is still in place. This means you can meet people in groups of no more than six people outdoors unless the group includes people from two households.
This sadly means that for those celebrating Eid will no longer be able to host or visit friends and family in each other’s homes or gardens while the new rules are in place.
Up to two households (or six people) can meet outdoors (excluding private gardens) where there is a lower risk of infection but you should continue to socially distance from those you do not live with and avoid physical contact.
Additionally, the visiting of friends or family in care homes is no longer permitted.
The new rules still advise that people should continue to travel in and out for work, and workplaces must implement COVID-10 guidance.
Weddings and funerals can still take place but should be limited to no more than 30 people subject to COVID-19 secure guidelines.
Travelling in a car with people you do not live with is also now advised against. If absolutely necessary, open windows for ventilation, travel side by side or behind people, clean your car and wear face coverings.
The local areas affected include:
- Greater Manchester:
- City of Manchester
- Blackburn with Darwen
- West Yorkshire:
You should wear masks and avoid kissing during sex to stop spread of coronavirus, experts say
Strictly no kissing!
A sexual health charity has published advice on sex in a pandemic, and it includes avoiding kissing, wearing face masks and not using face to face positions.
Terrence Higgins Trust has said that 84% of people have abstained from having sex with a partner they don’t live with throughout the lockdown, but the charity urges officials that this is no longer realistic.
Asking people to refrain from sex completely is no longer realistic now there has been easing of the lockdown measures.
The charity said we need to find a way ‘to balance our need for sex and intimacy with the risks of the spread of Covid-19’.
The charity’s advice is simple, the best sexual partner during a pandemic is either yourself or a partner you already live with.
The advice explains that masturbation, sex toys, phone sex or online sex are all great and safe alternatives.
If you are having sex with someone you don’t live with, the charity suggests limiting the number of sexual partners. It also provides a list of other precautions you should take, and some might seem a bit unusual at first.
First up, like anything these days, before and after sex you need to wash your hands for 20 seconds. Nothing gets you in the mood quite like lathering up your hands as you hum Happy Birthday twice over!
Next, the advice states to avoid kissing, to wear a face mask during intercourse and to pick positions that are not face to face – get creative!
The charity also warns that the virus can be found in some bodily fluids, so ensure you are wearing condoms and dams for oral sex.
Other advice has even gone one step further, and suggested using physical barriers like glory holes that prevent face-to-face contact but allow sexual contact.
Dr Michael Brady, the charity’s medical director, said: “We’re clear that abstaining from sex is the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus, but we hope by issuing this advice we will help people to manage the risks of Covid-19 while also being able to have and enjoy sex.”
The charity also stresses the importance of practising good sexual health beyond the pandemic, including getting tested before becoming sexually active again.
Jet2 plane circles Greater Manchester after people report hearing ‘loud bang’
A plane was spotted circling the skies above Greater Manchester this afternoon, with witnesses reporting that they heard a ‘loud bang’.
The Manchester Evening News reports that a Jet2 Boeing 757 took off from Manchester Airport, but ended up circling the skies above Greater Manchester – as seen on online flight trackers.
According to the MEN, the flight has now landed safely back down at Manchester Airport.
A Twitter user said: “I saw the plane as it flew overhead. Following the noises, it stopped climbing and banked left. Looks to be trying to return to the Airport. Fingers/eyes/toes crossed that everyone & everything is okay x”.
Others reported they heard a ‘loud bang’ that could have been an ‘engine backfiring’.
One user wrote: “That was scary to hear and witness flames coming out of the right engine! Never heard anything like it before living under flight path”.
Some reports on Twitter suggest the noise could’ve been a bird strike.
The latest update from the MEN says the plane was on a test flight, with the airline set to issue an official statement shortly.
The ‘best meteor shower of the year’ will be visible over the UK this week
This will be amazing!
The Perseid meteors are active between mid-July and the end of August, and this year they will be reaching their peak this week.
There is set to be as many as 50 to 100 comets flying across the sky each hour, as part of the spectacle this week.
To get the best glimpse of the meteor shower, you’re gonna have to stay up late. The Royal Observatory advises that The Perseids will be most visible between midnight and 5:30am.
The meteors will be flying across the skies on the nights of August 11th and 12th, meaning you can get a glimpse as early as tomorrow evening!
According to the Royal Observatory: “[The shower] is always above the horizon as seen from the UK, which means that observers in the UK should be able to see some meteors as soon as the Sun sets.
“Therefore, it is worth looking up in the early evening.
“It is always favourable to try and spot meteors when the Moon is below the horizon or when it is in its crescent phase, because otherwise it will act as a natural light pollution and will prevent the fainter meteors from being visible.”
Many stargazers wait all year for this extra special meteor shower due to the rate and brightness of the meteors.
The Perseid meteor shower is caused as the Earth moves through a stream of debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, which has a huge 133-year orbit.
The particles hit the Earth at a super speed of 37 miles per second, burning and streaking across the sky.
It is possible to see some rare meteors just before midnight that graze the Earth’s atmosphere and produce the occasional bright long trail, called a ‘fireball’.
The Royal Observatory recommends heading to the countryside for the best view, and to ensure you’re in an area of clear skies.
Find out more about the Perseid meteor shower here.