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Pubs might have to shut so schools can reopen again, government scientific advisor says


Alex Watson



Louis Hansel/Unsplash

One of the government’s scientific advisors has warned England may have to close pubs to let schools reopen as a ‘matter of prioritising’. 

Professor Graham Madley, who is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), explains that although the current rises in case numbers are found in young people it could ‘spill’ over to other parts of the population, agreeing with Chris Whitty’s comments that the country is ‘near the limits’ of what could be opened up. 

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Prof Madley said: “I think that’s quite possible.” 

“I think we’re in a situation whereby most people think that opening schools is a priority for the health and wellbeing of children and that when we do that we are going to reconnect lots of households.”


He continued: “And so actually, closing some of the other networks, some of the other activities may well be required to enable us to open schools.

“It might come down to a question of which do you trade off against each other and then that’s a matter of prioritising, do we think pubs are more important than schools?”

The comments came on the same day that further restrictions were set to be lifted, on August 1st. 

Last weekend, theatres, music venues, bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos were set to reopen, however this has now been postponed until August 15th. 

Benoit Dare/Unsplash

Other restrictions on ‘high risk’ leisure attractions and facilities were also supposed to be relaxed, however close contact beauty services such as facial and eyebrow treatments have been postponed for a further fortnight. 

Widespread local lockdowns have also been implemented in Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire. 

Prof Medley warned that the increased lockdown measures in areas across the North West of England were ‘highly unlikely’ to be the ‘last intervention that has to be done regionally’.

He added: “I fully expect that there will have to be other interventions at other times but what the interventions are really depends on what happens.” 

The chairman of the Sage sub-group on pandemic modelling said: “The age distribution of infections has changed, it has moved down into younger age groups and so it is likely we won’t see that increase in hospital admissions related to infection in the same way we did in March.

“But the big fear is the virus just gets out of control and we end up in a situation where there is so much virus that it inevitably spills out into all sections of the population.”


The six big changes to lockdown Boris Johnson just announced in Parliament

Everything you need to know…

Alex Watson




Prime Minister Boris Johnson has addressed the nation today to impose a curfew on England’s pubs and restaurants, plus other new updates to the current rules.

Mr Johnson addressed the House of Commons starting at 12:30pm, where he confirmed the latest updates. 

The latest rules could be in place for six months, according to the Prime Minister, who warned people ‘not to be complacent’ as the virus poses a threat.

The new rules are being put in place due to the rate of Covid-19 spread, something Mr Johnson said is not just driven by more testing but also due to an increasing positivity rate. 

He added that the Covid alert level increased to four yesterday, ‘so this is the moment when we must act’. 

From Thursday evening pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be required to close by 10pm. They will also be required by law to only provide table service to help issues regarding social distancing. 

Mr Johnson will be addressing the nation in a TV announcement at 8pm this evening. 

The new updates from the House of Commons: 

10pm curfew & table service only in hospitality venues 

The curfew rules used in some areas which are in local lockdown are set to be rolled out across the country. This means all hospitality and leisure venues will be forced by law to close between 10pm and 5am, including pubs, bars, restaurants, bingo halls, cinemas and takeaways (which will be allowed to make deliveries but not to have customers in the takeaway). 

There is also expected to be tougher enforcement for pubs and restaurants when customers are found breaking the rules. Mr Johnson said: “to help the police enforce this rule that means, alas, closing not just calling for last orders, because simplicity is paramount.” Last orders must be called at 9:30pm. 

The hospitality industry will also be restricted by law to table service only from Thursday as well as the new curfew rules. 

‘Back to work’ replaces ‘work from home’ with immediate effect 

Brits have been urged to return to offices for the past few months, however,  the message from the government has now shifted to work from home if and where you can.

Office workers are being asked to work from home but for those people who need to go to work they should continue to do so in a Covid-secure way. 

Fine increases 

Failing to wear a face covering or breaking the rule of six has previously resulted in a £100 fine, however this has now been doubled to £200.

Additionally, the £10,000 fines that were already in place for people who don’t quarantine will now be also applied to businesses. 

Face coverings

The requirement to wear face coverings has now been extended to include retail staff, and all taxi users (including private hire vehicles) from Thursday. From Monday, all staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to drink or eat, must wear a face mask. 

Follow Social Distancing

The Prime Minister is expected to continue to emphasize ‘hands, face, space’. Furthermore, the capacity on weddings, from Monday, has now been reduced to 15 people. 30 people can still attend a funeral.

The rule of six has now been extended to indoor adult team sports, although five-a-side football has been removed from this.

Delay to certain sectors re-opening

From October 1st, there is a further delay on opening indoor concert venues plus a halt on the trials of spectators returning to sport events.

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Chester Zoo is hiring someone to look after the penguins

What a dream job!

Alex Watson



Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is currently hiring a keeper to join the bird team and look after penguins! 

If you’re looking for your dream job of being outside and working with animals all day, this is just for you! 

The ‘large and varied’ Bird Team at Chester Zoo are looking for a new candidate to help with the care and management of a few different birds.

You’ll get to work with Penguins, Parrots, Passerines, Pigeons and Cassowary (big old birds from Australia that look like ostriches).

Chester Zoo/Facebook

The job isn’t just for anyone, unfortunately! You will need some bird-related qualifications.

You’ll need a HND or degree in a zoological related science or equivalent, plus proven experience in the ‘care and exhibition of birds in a zoological or bird collection’.

That’s not all though. They are also looking for someone with ‘excellent avicultural knowledge and experience of bird husbandry, diet and reproduction techniques’, as well as an ‘enthusiasm for and the understanding of modern zoos and the conservation challenges zoos face’.

Bonus skills include outstanding observation skills, attention to detail and ‘excellent verbal and writing communications skills’, and of course, proficient in IT. 

Chester Zoo/Facebook

If you ticked off all the necessities, you’ve got until noon, September 28th to apply. 

The job is 40 hours a week and you’ll get paid £21,934.33 a year. There’s also an ‘excellent benefits package’, a pension scheme, 33 days paid holidays (including bank hols) which also increases over length of service.

If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get free tickets to the zoo, free bus or train travel to and from work, from Chester and Ellesmere Port train stations, plus loads more perks.

If you fancy working with penguins everyday, apply here

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Government to introduce 10pm nightlife curfew and ask people to work from home again


Alex Watson




Boris Johnson is set to announce today that people should work from home where they can and a curfew will force pubs, bars and restaurants to close by 10pm from Thursday. 

New measures to tackle the surge in Covid-19 is to be announced today. Boris is expected to issue a statement in the House of Commons before a TV address to the nation this evening. 

Michale Gove spoke to Sky News before the statement and said there would be a ‘shift in emphasis’ and ‘if it is possible people to work from home they should do so’.

He added: “They are reluctant steps we’re taking, but they’re absolutely necessary because as we were reminded yesterday and as you’ve been reporting, the rate of infection is increasing, the number of people going to hospital is increasing, therefore we need to act,”

The news not only puts a curfew on the hospitality industry but also restricts the industry, by law, to table service only. 

The updates comes as the chief medical officers for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales raised the Covid-19 alert level from three to four. 

Mr Johnson is expected to host a cabinet meeting this morning at 8:30am, where ministers will sign off the proposals.

Following that, he will chair an emergency COBRA committee of senior ministers and officials, plus Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford, Arlene Foster, Michelle O’Neill. 

Mr Johnson will then issue a statement in the Commons at 12:30pm and then a Downing Street broadcast at 8pm.

The TV broadcast will be about ‘further ways we will confront the virus in line with the latest scientific advice, and the role everyone can continue to play in tackling the spread, including by following the social distancing guidance, wearing face coverings and washing hands regularly’, according to Number 10. 

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy spoke to Sky News: “If it takes the pressure off those people who have to go into the workplace, then I think it’s very welcome news.”

She added: “But I do hope the government comes forward with a much more comprehensive message later today.

“I think people are now really struggling to understand what it is they’re being asked to do and why.”

Downing Street confirmed Mr Johnson held meetings with scientific advisers, ministers and senior officials over the weekend. On Sunday, MR Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak held a summit to hear scientific views from across the spectrum. 

Monday began with a briefing from Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick which explained that the number of coronavirus cases a currently doubling every seven days. They added that if this rate continued, this would be close to 50,000 cases a day by mid-October. 

Matt Hancock explained that the response reflected a significant shift in the current threat posed by coronavirus: “This country now faces a tipping point in its response and it is vital everybody plays their part now to stop the spread of the virus and protect lives,”

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