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June 21st lockdown easing ‘could be pushed back by four weeks’

The talks of a delay come after a surge in cases across the country

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@stbartshospital / Instagram & Andrew Parsons / Flickr

Boris Johnson is considering delaying the next stage of lockdown restrictions being lifted by up to four weeks, new reports are claiming. 

The final stage of the lockdown road map is set for June 21st, however, after a recent surge in cases across the country – Greater Manchester, in particular – the Prime Minister has been under mounting pressure to push back the date.

Johnson has previously stressed that he will be using ‘data not dates’ to make his decisions on lockdown restrictions but, more recently, had said that there was ‘nothing in the data’ to suggest the now famed June 21st date should not be adhered to.

Andrew Parsons / Flickr

However, The Times reported last night that the Prime Minister is considering pushing back the lockdown easing by as much as four weeks, with Rishi Sunak reportedly accepting a delay in the roadmap.

It was reported that plans are currently being discussed for either a two-week or four-week delay thanks to the spike of the Delta variant, which accounts for 91% of new cases in the country.

For the lockdown easing to go ahead as normal on June 21st, four key tests have to passed, as outlined by the government in March.

@anniespratt / Unsplash

The four tests are: if the vaccine deployment programme is continuing successfully; whether vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospital admissions and deaths in those vaccinated; if infection rates risk a surge in hospital admissions which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS; and whether the government’s assessment of the risks is fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

By Step 4, which will take place no earlier than June 21st, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.

Johnson is expected to make an announcement on Monday, June 14th, after chief scientists have presented the latest scientific data on the pandemic to him.

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Leaked documents reveal which Covid restrictions may remain after July 19th

We might have to wear our face masks for a little bit longer…

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Number 10 / Flickr & Kristoffer Trolle / Flickr

Leaked documents are claiming that the current social distancing rules and restrictions will be staying in place after the revised ‘freedom day’ on July 19th.

The memo, obtained by Politico, listed a number of restrictions that the government plans to keep in place for the foreseeable future.

According to the leaked documents, face masks may have to remain mandatory in certain settings for the long term, employers and employees will be told to decide amongst themselves as to whether they want to return to the office or work from home.

As well as that, it says some form of border control and quarantine will be needed for a significant period of time to prevent new variants entering the country.

Number 10 / Flickr

The memo also states that plastic screens – such as those currently used in hairdressers and restaurants – may actually spread Covid rather than prevent it.

Ministers are also considering bringing in new rules for businesses to keep workplaces better ventilated, the documents claim. 

Cabinet office sources have since stressed that the document was one of several including multiple options – with nothing signed off by ministers yet or anywhere near being announced.

This comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back the highly anticipated ‘freedom day’, June 21st, by just short of a month to July 19th. 

Johnson said this was a result of the new Delta variant, which makes up for 90% of new cases across the country: “I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.

“I am confident we won’t need more than four weeks – it’s unmistakably clear that the vaccines are working – but now is the time to ease off the accelerator.

“We have the chance to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”

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Covid vaccine to be mandatory for care home workers

Thoughts?

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Gov.uk & Asian Development Bank / Flickr

The Covid-19 vaccine is to become mandatory for all care home staff members across the country, new reports detailed last night. 

It is believed that care staff will be given sixteen weeks to receive the jab or will face the possibilities of either being moved to a different posting or losing their jobs entirely.

The Guardian reported that the new plans are expected to be announced in the next couple of days.

Province of British Columbia / Flickr

It is expected that ministers will also be pushing ahead with compulsory vaccination for most of the 1.5 million people working in social care across the country, despite employer and staff organisations warning that it could result in workers quitting rather than getting vaccinated.

The reports also claim that the government is keen to make it mandatory for the 1.38 million people who are employed by the NHS in England to get vaccinated against Covid-19 – proposals that have already been criticised by groups representing doctors, nurses and other staff.

Workers who can prove they are medically exempt from receiving the vaccine will not be affected.

Gov.uk

The government has been widely criticised for its lack of support of care homes at the start of the pandemic; residents were heavily affected by the outbreak of Covid-19 and significant numbers, including many people with dementia, died as a result.

An investigation by Amnesty International late last year found that a series of ‘shockingly irresponsible’ Government decisions put tens of thousands of older people’s lives at risk and led to multiple violations of care home residents’ human rights.

As a result, between March 2nd and June 12th this year, 28,186 ‘excess deaths’ were recorded in care homes across England, with over 18,500 care home residents confirmed to have died with Covid-19 during this period.

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Budget supermarket cheaper than Aldi and Lidl ‘to open 300 stores in the UK’

Get your wallets ready, there’s a new bargain supermarket in town…

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Mere Retail

A new supermarket that could rival the likes of Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and Asda is set to open hundreds of UK stores, according to new reports.

Mere was founded as Svetofor in Siberia back in 2009, and has already opened four stores in Preston, Castleford, Mold and Caldicot.

However, according to The Grocer, a platform dedicated to supermarket and grocery news, its plans to expand are now well and truly underway – with a few Greater Manchester locations on the list of planned new stores.

Mere Retail

And, to make the arrival of this new supermarket even more interesting, Mere’s head of UK buying, Pavels Antonovs, claims it would be thirty percent cheaper than other UK rivals.

He said: “We are the gap in the market. We don’t have any competitors. Our model is no service and no marketing.”

Existing Mere stores are said to include a walk-in chiller room and freezer, while items are typically sold directly from the pallets they’re delivered on.

Mere Retail

The supermarket also apparently buys stock from suppliers on a ‘sale or return basis’, meaning it will return any unsold goods to the seller.

The planned locations which are currently listed are Stretford, Stockport, Devon, Neath, Banbury, Selby, Bradford, Middlesbrough, Grantham, Kettering, Plymouth, Beckenham, Gloucester, Northampton, Cardiff, Oswestry, Barnsley, Sheffield, Exeter, Southampton, south Scotland and Wales.

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