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Latest updates from Prime Minister, including new law for wearing face masks

Just in…

Alex Watson

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UK Government/Facebook

Boris Johnson has announced the latest updates in a coronavirus press conference this afternoon, which sees face masks mandatory in more places. 

The prime minister is currently answering questions from the media after his coronavirus press conference where he announced some new rules regarding coronavirus lockdown.

The latest updates come after evidence suggests the infection rate has risen across the country. 

Johnson adds that progress continues and death numbers are falling but some European countries are ‘struggling’ to control coronavirus and the UK must be ready to ‘react’.

The updates that were set to take place from tomorrow (August 1st) such as the national pause on shielding and advising employees to head back to work remain the same. 

However, the easing of some restrictions is being delayed until at least August 15th. This includes bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos, Boris Johnson says.

Spectators will also no longer be permitted to attend the sport pilot events that were planned in the coming days. 

From August 8th, face masks will be mandatory in new settings where you are likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet such as museums, cinemas and places of worship.

“We now recommend face coverings are worn in these settings and this will become enforceable in law from the 8 August,” he says.

WATCH LIVE: Coronavirus press conference (31 July 2020)

WATCH LIVE: Coronavirus press conference (31 July 2020)Speakers:- Boris Johnson, Prime Minister- Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer (England)

Posted by UK government on Friday, 31 July 2020

Johnson also reiterated that people should continue to wash their hands regularly and get tested if they develop symptoms. 

The Prime Minister added that the new restrictions in place in the North West of England are not a ‘return to lockdown’.

Professor Chris Whitty confirms the rise in infection rates in several parts of the world ‘is not a second wave’. Whitty adds it is necessary to ‘pull back’ from easing restrictions to prevent this. 

The Chief Medical Officer explains that the UK has ‘probably reached or neared the limits of what we can do in terms of opening up society’.

Regarding opening school in Autumn, Whitty said that the “idea that we can open up everything and keep the virus under control” is wrong, he said, but it is clear that “schools are an absolute priority” for society.

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Government ‘preparing a total social lockdown plan’ for the North of England

Thoughts?

Alex Watson

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Louis Hansel/Unsplash

Pubs and restaurants could be forced to close for a fortnight as part of a ‘total social lockdown’ plan.

The emergency plan is currently being considered by the government following spikes in the number of cases across the North of England.

In Greater Manchester, each borough is currently at ‘Red Alert’ with the infection rate in Bolton one of the highest in the country (235.1 cases per 100,000 people). 

As things stand, in Greater Manchester people cannot visit friends and family in their homes or gardens and cannot socialise with people outside of their household or bubble in any public place.

These rules could now be rolled out across the North. 

The Times reports that a ‘social lockdown’ was presented as one of the options by the Covid-19 strategy committee, the week before new restrictions were imposed.

The emergency plans have been drawn up after local restrictions put in place in areas such as Greater Manchester failed to reverse the surge in infections.

Under these proposed plans, schools, shops, factories and offices where staff cannot work from home will remain open.

It would also see meeting other people socially in any indoor location banned, as well as pubs and restaurants being ordered to close for two weeks.

London may also face these same restrictions, if cases continue to rise in the capital.

From today, every person in England is required to self-isolate by law if they test positive for Covid-19 or are contacted by the NHS Track and Trace service. 

Those who fail to do so risk fines starting at £1,000 that can reach £10,000.

The number of people who have tested positive (infection rate) in Manchester now stands at 201 per 100,000. An additional 1,000 new confirmed cases were recorded over the week leading to September 24th. 

 

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Andy Burnham calls for review of 10pm curfew that’s ‘doing more harm’ after chaotic scenes over the weekend

The mayor says it’s ‘doing more harm than good’. 

Alex Watson

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photojournoadam/Twitter

Andy Burnham has called for a review of the 10pm curfew as it is ‘doing more harm than good’. 

The Greater Manchester Mayor has warned that the new rule put in place across the nation is doing ‘more harm than good’ as people spilled into the streets and supermarkets following the closure of the pub.

This weekend in Manchester city centre, people were spotted gathering on streets and in supermarkets rather than going home after the 10pm curfew.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Burnham said: “I received reports (in Manchester city centre) that supermarkets were absolutely packed out to the rafters and lots of people gathering after 10pm.

“There needs to be an urgent review of the emerging evidence from police forces.

“My gut feeling is that this curfew is doing more harm than good. It is potentially contradictory. It creates an incentive for people to gather in the streets or more probably, to gather in the home. That is the opposite of what our local restrictions here are trying to do.”

Mr Burnham added that his ‘gut feeling’ is the 10pm curfew should be lifted. He then added that a 9pm cut off for alcohol sales in supermarket could be imposed.

He added: “I’m not here to score points, I’m looking for solutions here. I can understand what the government is trying to do.

“Let me give some suggestions. Perhaps there could be a 9pm curfew on the sale of alcohol in supermarkets and shops that would prevent the rush to shops once pubs have closed. That’s what we certainly saw on Saturday.

“The government has said the 10pm curfew is based on Belgium, but they also have police to disperse people on the streets.

“My personal feeling is that the curfew is probably doing more harm than good as it’s creating a major incentive for people to carry on drinking and partying at home. And that is where we are told the virus spreads – gatherings in the home.”

He said: “If it is doing more harm and damaging businesses, then the government shouldn’t just plough on with it. It certainly requires urgent attention.”

Deansgate at 10pm. Well done government.

Posted by Gaz Walsh on Saturday, 26 September 2020

Contrastingly, health minister Helen Whatley has praised the 10pm curfew. Speaking on the BBC 1 Breakfast programme she said: “As people drink more they tend to socially distance less.

“So one approach to keeping people socially distancing is to limit the amount of time that people are in places where they are drinking and then this breaking down of compliance with the rules.

“We have also seen in some of the places where there have been higher rates over the summer that sometimes bars have been the places where there has been an outbreak so this is a reason why one of the actions we have taken is to have people stopping being out drinking at an earlier time.”

Despite this, latest reports from The Times show that Parliament’s bar has not been made subject to the 10pm curfew as it falls under the description of ‘workplace canteen’.

There are 19 restaurants and cafeterias, nine bars and a coffee bar that cater for MPs within the Houses of Parliament. Furthermore, customers and staff are not required to follow the new face-covering rules.

Around the country, there have been reports of crowds flocking to streets after the curfew.

One person wrote: “This breaks my heart. Pls boris close the pubs again, full lockdown needed. They can’t be trusted”

Another wrote: “Scenes from my old home city of Liverpool last night. Whatever the merits of the 10pm curfew, if such behaviour continues we are heading for a complete shutdown of the night time economy and worse. The choices of individuals as well as governments have consequences.”

A third pointed out that at 10:15 the Uber surge charge in Manchester was three times, trams were ‘full of people sitting wherever they could’ and taxi ranks became ‘crowds of people arguing over who got their first’. Adding: “How exactly, does this help stop the spread of the virus? Spoiler alert….it doesn’t.”

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy has questioned the ‘science’ behind the new curfew explaining that it is ‘not clear where that came from’.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed that there is ‘definitely science behind it’. Speaking on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Dowden said ‘that’s why we’re requiring people to be seated in pubs and restaurants, so that stops the flow of them to and from the bar’.

Brewer and pub chain Greene King told the BBC: “Without the usual slow ‘wind-down’ time that pubs would see with a gradual closure, customers were all leaving at once which presented more of a challenge for the pub teams managing people’s safety on exiting the premises.”

The chain urged for additional help from the government for the hospitality industry: “The measures have not been well thought through and the combined impact of [the curfew], the challenges of table service-only and the fact that the government are unfairly targeting the hospitality sector has had a cumulative negative impact.”

Wetherspoons boss, Tim Martin, said: “The main problem with the 22:00 curfew is that it’s another random and arbitrary move by the government, which lacks logic or scientific credibility.”

 

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Covid Inspectors spotted peeking in pubs and bars for illegal lock-ins after 10pm curfew

Spotted this weekend…

Alex Watson

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danbarker/Twitter

Covid Inspectors were found peeping through pub and bar windows and letterboxes to find lock-ins that are now illegal. 

The 10pm curfew put in place by Boris Johnson across the nation came into effect last week and inspectors have been spotted in Soho ensuring venues are abiding by the rules.

Taking to Twitter, Dan Barker wrote: “Strange sight – City Inspectors, working through Soho, looking for illegal speakeasies open after the 10pm cutoff.”

Speaking to Yahoo News, Barker said: “I’d guess I saw them looking into a dozen or so places – the area has quite a lot of pubs and bars.

“It took me a moment to process what they were doing at first. I saw them again 15 minutes or so later outside the Hippodrome, which is usually open 24/7.”

On Tuesday Boris Johnson set out the new rules in the Commons saying: “In retail, leisure and tourism and other sectors, our Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations.”

This meant venues and business owners face fines of up to £10,000 for breaking the curfew, which could be in place for up to six months.

However, many have said the curfew is ineffective, including Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

And crowds of people have been seen flooding the streets, public transport, taxi ranks and even supermarkets on the hunt for more booze.

One person wrote: “The 10pm curfew just meant everyone rolling out onto the streets and onto the tubes at the same time and it was the busiest I’ve seen central London in months.” 

And another replied: “Yep! Definitely turned 10pm into a rush-hour rather than the usual evening trickle.”

Barker added that the streets became ‘surprisingly subdued’ shortly after ten. Explaining that ‘people congregated around at 10pm, as places closed their doors.’

Adding: “Some people seemed confused that literally everything was closed, but the streets became almost silent shortly after ten.”

 

 

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