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Face masks could be made compulsory in shops, Matt Hancock says

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Matt Hancock has dubbed face masks as ‘important part of our armoury’ and says they could become compulsory in shops. 

The Health Secretary said he will be reviewing the wearing of face coverings in crowded places indoors to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

He said: “The use of face coverings that are not formal face masks is valuable especially in some circumstances and therefore it’s mandated on public transport and it has been long recommended in some shops.”

According to a source from the Department of Health, the issue regarding face masks is set to be kept under constant review and any guidelines are not expected to be released immediately.

The news comes as the president of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan, slammed the government for a confusing message on the use of face masks and coverings in the UK throughout the coronavirus pandemic. 

At present, it is only compulsory to wear a face mask or covering on public transport, and it has been advised to wear masks in supermarkets or other areas where social distancing cannot be practiced successfully. 

Other countries have implemented the use of face masks into their daily lives, while the UK has not implemented a stringent policy. 

Ramakrishnan said: “Perhaps people do not really understand the benefits or are not convinced of them. Whatever the reasons, we need to overcome our reservations and wear face coverings whenever we are around others in public.

“It used to be quite normal to have quite a few drinks and drive home, and it also used to be normal to drive without seatbelts.

“Today, both of those would be considered antisocial, and not wearing face coverings in public should be regarded in the same way.”

The comments follow new research that detail the effectiveness of the use of face masks and coverings.

Studies show that masks can reduce the risk of transmission rate to just 3.1% with a mask, down from 17.4% without a mask. 

A study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A explains that if the entire public wear a mask, it will be twice as effective at reducing the R rate than if those showing symptoms wore a mask.

In April, the uptake for wearing a mask in the UK was 25%, compared to 83.4% in Italy, 65.8% in the US and 63.8%  in Spain. 

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this week, Ramakrishnan added: “I think what we would like for the Government is to be a bit stronger and clearer about the messaging and require it whenever you are in crowded public spaces where you cannot get more than two metres away from the next person.

“If you’re in a crowded setting, you ought to wear a mask.”

Ramakrishnan did note that being outdoors poses less of a problem for transmission and mask-wearing is largely required in indoor settings. 

Downing Street has stressed that people need to ensure they are wearing face masks properly, covering both the nose and the mouth.

The government states: “We have been very clear about the benefits of people wearing face coverings.”

Disposable face masks are also expected to cause a huge environmental problem, and the problems of this are already being seen across the world. 

Download easy sewing patterns and find tutorials for creating masks here

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Tributes pour in for ‘gorgeous’ mum killed in Liverpool dog attack

Police say five American bulldogs have since been ‘humanely destroyed’

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Ann Dunn / Facebook & Granada Reports

Tributes have been pouring in for the ‘gorgeous’ mum who was mauled to death by five dogs in Liverpool.

Ann Dunn, sixty-five, died after being attacked by five American bulldogs in a property on St. Brigids Crescent, Vauxhall.

Merseyside Police were called out by paramedics on Monday October 3rd at around 4:25pm. However, Ann’s injuries were too serious and she was pronounced as dead at the scene.

Police say five American bulldogs, which were found inside the property, were handed over and have now been humanely destroyed.

Ann Dunn / Facebook

Officers also confirmed that a thirty-one-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of owning a dog dangerously out of control. He remains in custody.

Following the news of her death, people who knew Ann have paid their own tributes to the mum and grandmother on social media.

One person wrote on Facebook: “RIP gorgeous lady, still can’t believe it Ann. Had some good times with you I will never forget.”

She added: “I am all so heartbroken for you kids and family right now. Don’t want to even think how they feeling… So happy I got [sic] have old chat with you on Friday even though it was only for 10 minutes, keeping looking over your family.”

Another social media user added: “Heart breaking thinking of all the family, devastated for yous all. R.I.P lovely Ann.”

Ann Dunn / Facebook

Liverpool John Moores University, where Ann worked as a cleaner, also paid tribute to their ‘hard-working and dedicated’ employee.

They said: “The university community is absolutely shocked and devastated by this tragic loss and to lose Ann in this way is just heart-breaking. Ann was hard-working and dedicated and had so many friends across the organisation. It’s just awful and she will be terribly missed.

“Our thoughts at this time are with her family and loved-ones.”

Detective Inspector Katie Coote added: “This is clearly a very distressing incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who died.

“Our enquiries remain ongoing as we seek to establish what has happened and I would urge anyone who could assist our enquiries to get in touch.”

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Man arrested after woman killed by ‘five dogs’ in Liverpool

The dogs have since been ‘humanely destroyed’

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Granada Reports & BBC Breakfast

A man has been arrested after a woman was killed after she was attacked by five dogs in a house in Liverpool.

Merseyside Police were called out by paramedics yesterday (Monday October 3rd) after reports a sixty-three-year-old woman had been attacked by the animals inside a property down St. Brigid’s Crescent in Kirkdale.

The woman, who is yet to be formally identified, died at the scene following the attack at around 4.25pm. 

Police say five American bulldogs, which were found inside the property, were handed over and have now been humanely destroyed.

A thirty-one-year-old man has since been arrested on suspicion of owning a dog deemed to be dangerously out of control. He remains in custody.

An investigation into the incident remains ongoing and a post-mortem will be carried out to establish the exact cause of death.

Detective Inspector Katie Coote said: “This is clearly a very distressing incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who died.

“Our enquiries remain ongoing as we seek to establish what has happened and I would urge anyone who could assist our enquiries to get in touch.”

Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK on Twitter. Alternatively, they can be contacted via telephone on 0800 555 111 quoting reference 22000731247.

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New details about Greater Manchester’s Bee Network transport system revealed

The first fifty Bee Network buses are due to be rolled out in part of the region next year

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Transport for Greater Manchester

As the launch date for Greater Manchester’s highly-anticipated Bee Network draws ever closer, more details about the new transport system have been unveiled.

Mayor Andy Burnham unveiled the first look at the Bee Network’s fleet of electric buses last month, with the first fifty due to be rolled out across Wigan and Bolton on September 17th, 2023. 

The rest of the network will then be implemented across the region by January 2025, alongside Bee Network cycle hire bikes and, ultimately, the Metrolink network.

The buses will be powered by electric batteries to ensure they produce zero local emissions, supporting Greater Manchester in building a sustainable future for public transport.

This comes as Transport for Greater Manchester confirmed a receipt of thirty-three bids from nine different operators vying to run the locally controlled bus services – the first in thirty-six years.

Andy Burnham said of the new network: “The countdown to bringing buses back under local control for the first time in thirty-six years is well and truly on.

“With the order placed for our first fifty new electric buses and strong interest from operators who want to run the first franchised services a year from now, the Bee Network is gathering real momentum.

“We’ve already seen a positive response to our call for people to get back on board, helped by the successful introduction of cheaper bus fares across Greater Manchester to help residents cope with the cost-of-living crisis and I’m pleased to announce that we have commenced engagement with operators about the potential to cap weekly bus tickets from early next year.”

“The previous government bought into what we are trying to do, and I underlined the importance of this partnership approach continuing during my meeting with the new Transport Secretary yesterday.

“By working together, we will realise our ambitions and deliver a network that will transform how people get around our city region – not just in the years ahead but for future generations.”

Bus franchising will be rolled out in phases, starting in Bolton and Wigan as well as parts of Salford and West Manchester on September 17th 2023, followed by Bury, Rochdale, Oldham and parts of North Manchester from the end of March 2024.

Stockport, Trafford, Tameside and South Manchester, as well as the remaining parts of Salford, will be rolled out from January 5th, 2025.

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