Matt Hancock has hinted that schools may not fully reopen until after September amid concerns from educators that it may be impossible to practise social distancing once classrooms are filled.
In England, primary schools have already been given the green light to reopen for some year six, year one and reception aged-children to return to education, although reports this morning say the government is about to scrap plans to reopen them to all ages before summer.
A number of councils have already refused to ask schools in their area to reopen, due to the concerns raised from unions that teachers and students wouldn’t be able to be kept safe from the virus that has killed more than 40,000 people in the country.
The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, is set to update the House of Commons later, but it is being widely reported that proposals to get all primary school pupils back to school before the start of the summer holidays will be scrapped.
According to the Department of Education, it was still the ‘ambition’ to get all primary school kids back into school before summer holidays, but it also wouldn’t deny reports that Mr Williamson accepts this plan might not be possible.
The health secretary has said that the ‘current working plan’ for education is to resume in September, but has hinted that even that might not be possible when the next academic year begins.
When asked at the Downing Street press conference if schools would be reopen fully at the start of the next academic year with social distancing in place, Mr Hancock said: “That is our current working plan – that secondary schools won’t open until September at the earliest.
“I very much hope that they can because the impact on children’s education is so significant.
“But what we have to do – not only in schools, but right across the board – is work out how we can get the other things that matter going.
“Like schools, like hospitality – especially outdoor hospitality, like retail. And get them going safely and carefully, in a way that doesn’t lead to the spread of the virus, and that is going to require ingenuity.”
It comes after schools were urged to reconsider their reopening when the R rate had risen beyond one in areas like the north west, meaning it was increasingly spreading across the community.
Mr Hancock also unveiled plans for pupils and teachers across England to receive coronavirus testing, with approval from parents and guardians.
They are aiming to have up to 100 schools tested across England by the end of the summer term, totalling to around 200 staff and pupils.
The Department of Health and Social Care recorded the lowest total daily death figure since March 23rd, before the lockdown began, on Saturday, with 77 people dying on the day.
Many people are still concerned that lockdown was eased too early, however Mr Hancock said that the R rate of transmission of COVID-19 remains below the crucial level of one in the country.
Supermarkets are reintroducing limits on some products to stop panic buying
Rationing on essential items in supermarkets has begun again.
In attempts to avoid a part two of the Lockdown Toilet Roll Fiasco we’re all still mentally scarred from, some supermarkets have reintroduced rationing on a number of products in England.
Tesco is now limiting purchasing on flour, dried pasta, toilet roll, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes to a maximum of three per customer.
There are additional limits on items such as rice and tinned goods online.
A spokesperson for Tesco told Mirror Money: “We have good availability, with plenty of stock to go round, and we would encourage our customers to shop as normal.
“To ensure that everyone can keep buying what they need, we have introduced bulk-buy limits on a small number of products.”
Morrisons became the first of the supermarket chains to reinstate rationing earlier this week, placing a purchase limit of three on essentials.
Toilet roll, hand sanitiser, soap, most cleaning products, kitchen roll and Calpol all currently have purchase limits on them.
Aldi’s chief executive has also released a statement to customers stating: “There is no need to buy more than you usually would. I would like to reassure you that our stores remain fully stocked and ask that you continue to shop considerately.”
Head of Retail at the law firm Gordons, Andy Brian, told the Guardian: “Hopefully, shoppers will adopt a calmer approach than earlier in the year, and continue to shop as normal.”
Blackpool Zoo celebrates after endangered species is born there
Blackpool Zoo is celebrating the birth of a baby Gibbon – one of Europe’s second-largest group of endangered species.
Gibbons are usually found in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, however, a paired-for-life duo living at Blackpool Zoo are keeping the population alive as the only two breeding pairs found at the zoo. Gibbons also only breed every two or three years so this is extra amazing news for the species!
The clearing of vast amounts of trees for farming or replantation of commercial plants has caused problems for many of Asia’s primates, including Pileated Gibbons.
Parents Ivy and Chamoa welcomed the new arrival in August making them a happy family of five.
Keepers are hoping for a girl, however, it’s not yet known the sex of the baby Gibbon.
Charlotte Pennie, Senior Primate Keeper at Blackpool Zoo, said: “Ivy is doing a fantastic job of caring for the youngster, which she will carry on her chest for around six months before it starts to explore its surroundings.
She added: “Ivy is 31 and has been with us for 26 years. We almost lost her ten years ago when she became very ill, so for her to recover and go onto have three healthy babies is just wonderful.”
Gibbons form monogamous breeding pairs and have a diet consisting of sweet fruits, leaves, flowers and insects. At Blackpool Zoo they also get carrots, seeds, fruit and vegetables with rice, boiled eggs and cheese as treats.
Local chef raises £35,000 after his food truck is burned down in ‘racist attack’
This is disgusting.
A huge fundraiser has been launched to help David Kamson get his food truck back following a ‘racist’ arson attack.
Jolus Lutete, who has never met David, set up a GoFundMe account to raise money so David can get a new van following the horrific attack.
David Olalekan Kamson shared the story on Instagram, saying he’d suffered racist attacks from a man in his local neighbourhood in Moston.
According to David, the man originally stole his van – which David operates Moston Suya from – a few weeks ago, causing more than £5,000 in damages before the police located it.
The police attempted to arrest the man, but said they didn’t have ‘good enough reasons’ to why the van was in his possession so couldn’t.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of it.
Two days ago, on September 21st, ‘the man in question drove past David hurling racial abuse and stating that David and immigrants have no business building businesses in his area’.
On September 23rd, David found his fan to be subject of an arson attack, leaving him not only heartbroken but his business literally in ashes.
In the Instagram post, David wrote: “I am a Descendant of Noble Kings .. I Humble myself and Serve My Community … I worked Hard 3 years 9 months.. I saved money .. no social – bought a catering Trailer for £3000 pounds.
“Spent £438 pounds to bring down from Canterbury Kent to Manchester . So I can serve food in a decent In a decent environment for my community.
“Some Racist Thief in Moston Named Craig Don’t like the idea of a Black Man Doing Such Business in Moston.
“So he stole the Catering trailer .. sold equipments over £5000 and damage the inside for Fun.
“One Month Later it was found with Him in Blackley Charles town Road.
“Police tried to arrest him , he lied he bought it and couldn’t provide any proof who sold it to him ..
“He was not charged or disturbed.
“I see him around and I just ignore him.
“I’m a community Lad … known for Hustle and funny vibes.
“2 days ago on Hartley street this same Craig guy drove pass me and say to me fucking black immigrants come in Moston to do business like they own it.. he went ahead to tell me that trailer should have been his and his boys eyes are on it.
“That was 2 days ago.
“This morning I woke up late at about 10am and I went into the post office where the cashier was telling me oh my God what happened to your trailer , I said nothing is wrong with it it’s fine .. the council loves it and I have just fixed it back and bought back tools in it …
“He screen nooooo , it’s burnt down to ashes .. I said no , maybe people burn things beside it
“He said no , I didn’t even mind him because I started laughing.
“So I went to check on £3000 trailer with £2200 worth of equipment Gone in ashes with some things missing … which means it was robbed before burnt.
“This Act of Hate should not be allowed in Moston . This is hateful and sad … All the kids that gets chicken from me , all the street homeless and beggars I give food to Most are not black , I have no colour black or white … I am a community man and should be treated as one , I kept trying to feed myself and shelter my soul .. Someone is hating in Corner.
“I leave this to God , That trailer was God’s gift to me to get out of Hunger . Somebody burn it. #SayNotoRacism“