Schools could close in January as new Covid strain thought to infect kids more easily
Experts have released an update
The government is reportedly considering closing schools throughout January as it’s thought the new coronavirus strain could infect kids more easily, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Scientific experts have said that a ‘significantly higher’ percentage of children have returned a positive Covid test in recent weeks, coinciding with the rise of the new strain.
Professor Neil Ferguson, a scientist on the Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats advisory group (NervTag), said at a press briefing: “There is a hint that it has a higher propensity to infect children that may perhaps explain some of the differences, but we haven’t established any sort of causality on that but we can see that in the data.”
He continued: “What we’ve seen is, during the lockdown in England we saw a general distribution of the virus towards children, and that was true in the variant and the non-variant, and it is what we would expect, given that we had locked down which reduced adult contact but schools were still open.
“But what we’ve seen over the course of a five or six-week period is consistently the proportion of pillar two cases for the variant in under-15s was statistically significantly higher than the non-variant virus.
“We are still investigating the significance of that.”
Professor Ferguson added: “This is a hypothesis at the moment – it’s not been proven. But if it were true, then this might explain a significant proportion, maybe even the majority, of the transmission increase seen.
“But a lot more work needs to be done to actually explore this in more detail.”
However, fellow NervTag member Professor Wendy Barclay, who is the head of the department of infectious disease at Imperial College London, urged people to be cautious in regards to what is said about the spread among kids.
She said: “We are not saying that this is a virus which specifically attacks children. We know that SARS-CoV-2, as it emerged as a virus, was not as efficient in infecting children as it was adults, and there are many hypotheses about that.
“And again, if the (new) virus is having an easier time of finding an entrance cell then that would put children on a more level playing field.”
Professor Barclay added: “Therefore children are equally susceptible perhaps to this virus as adults, and therefore given their mixing patterns, you would expect to see more children being infected.
“It’s not just the viruses specifically targeting them, but it’s just that it’s now less inhibited, if you like, to get into the children.”
According to Professor Ferguson, the most current estimates found the virus might be somewhere between 50-70% more transmissible than the old strain, and he added that NervTag now had ‘high confidence’ there is a substantial increase in transmission.
However, uncertainty around the numbers means the group has not attached a final number on it, although he confirmed the new variant of the virus has spread to other parts of the country – Susan Hopkins, from Public Health England, said they were investigating a hotspot in Cumbria.
The virus, both the original and new strain, will decline over the next two weeks, according to Professor Ferguson’s best assessment of the situation.
He explained: “Contact rates tend to be lower over Christmas with the tightening of Christmas measures and Tier4 for in place in the highest areas. I would hope certainly to be seeing virus decrease.
“If we do that will give us some sense of the level of controls which need to be in place, the real question then is, how much are we able to relax measures in the new year, and still retain control.”
M&S share first look inside huge new Stockport store ahead of opening
Shoppers can expect an even ‘bigger, better and fresher’ experience
Marks and Spencer have released first look images of a huge brand new ‘market-style’ Stockport Foodhall ahead of its opening next week.
The retailer has released more details about the massive new Foodhall at Stockport Retail Park to offer residents a picture of how it will look and what to expect before its grand opening on Wednesday June, 14th.
The 16,000 sq ft space promises to offer a ‘fresh market-style design’, with shoppers able to browse displays filled with ‘great quality, trusted value’ produce from the retailer’s Select Farms.
Customers will also be able to pick up freshly baked bread and pastries from its ‘show-stopping’ bakery, including M&S new collection sourdough, which is made using a traditional 30-hour process.
The high street brand confirmed the news of its opening earlier this year where it said it would create more than 70 jobs in the area.
But it has now been confirmed that more than 110 jobs have been created to support the new M&S Foodhall. It comes after the retail giant closed down its Stockport store in Merseyway shopping centre in 2021.
Store Manager, Anna Priest, who has worked at M&S for seven years, said: “We are excited to be sharing a sneak peek of the new Foodhall and are really looking forward to welcoming the community to our new Stockport store when we open next week!
“The new store is packed with so many exciting new features, so we’re really excited to finally open the doors and see local customers experience it for themselves.
“Whether you’re looking for a big family food shop or dropping in for some daily essentials – we’ve got you covered.”
The new M&S Stockport site follows the retailer’s recent announcement it plans to invest £500 million in its store rotation programme, creating over 3,400 new jobs nationwide.
A new full-line store is also set to be created at the former Debenhams site at the Trafford Centre, and another full-line store being created in Liverpool.
Also included in this investment is a new Foodhall in Macclesfield, opening November 30th, and the store in Bury’s the Rock has also been enhanced.
The new Stockport M&S is located at Unit 4B, Stockport Retail Park, Stockport, United Kingdom, SK1 2HH and will be open Monday – Saturday 8am – 8pm, and on Sunday, 10:30am – 4:30pm.
Boy, 15, on e-bike who died after collision with ambulance in Salford named
Local residents and friends have left tributes for the teenager at the scene of the tragedy
A 15-year-old boy riding an e-bike has sadly died after colliding with an ambulance in Salford, after he was followed by the police.
The teenage boy died after crashing into a parked ambulance after being followed by police officers on the afternoon of Thursday, June 10th.
The teenager has been named locally as Saul Cookson.
A huge response of emergency services, including an air ambulance, rushed to the scene at Langworthy Road, Salford, shortly after 2pm.
Officers in a police car began following the teenage boy who was riding an e-bike on Fitzwarren Street at 2pm, but stopped when they were prevented by bollards.
Moments later a ‘collision happened between a cyclist and an ambulance’. Officers were not in pursuit at the point of impact, Greater Manchester Police have said.
The teenager was taken to hospital where he died and the incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
A spokesperson for GMP said: “At around 2pm today, GMP traffic officers began following a boy riding an e-bike along Fitzwarren Street in Salford, onto Lower Seedley Road.
“Bollards prevented the police vehicle from continuing to follow the e-bike. A short time later, a road traffic collision occurred between the e-bike and an ambulance on Langworthy Road. The 15-year-old boy riding the e-bike sadly died.
“In line with normal proceedings, the incident has been referred to IOPC, who are now leading the investigation. A cordon remains in place on Langworthy Road.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the boy who tragically died.”
Locals and friends who knew the 15-year-old have been leaving tributes at the scene of the accident, where a police cordon still remains in place, as flowers have been placed with messages.
One read: “Saul, gone but never forgotten. RIP. I love you always keep smiling your cheeky smile.”
Another said: “Saul. You will always have a special place in my heart. I love you loads my dude.” And a message on a cardboard sign tied to a nearby fence declared: “Kids on bikes don’t kill.”
Mancunian-born brand selling Northern t-shirts and apparel to open first shop
The clothes have proven to be a huge hit amongst northerners
A Mancunian-born Northern slogan clothing brand is opening its first shop next month.
Northern Power Garms was created by makeup artist Jules Daniels, who began selling t-shirts from her house in Manchester after finding herself out of work during the pandemic.
The cool independent clothing and accessories store specialises in hoodies, sweatshirts, t-shirts, baby grows, bags and hats with Northern slang words and phrases such as ‘Ey up’, ‘Absolutely buzzin’ and ‘It’s not grim up north’ — we love this one!
Jules’ idea took off like a rocket and after three years of selling online and gaining over 7,000 followers, her creation Northern Power Garms is now opening its very first in-person shop in Halifax, West Yorkshire.
Adding a delightful pop of colour to Horton Street come July, shoppers can treat themselves to trendy garments that show off how proud they are to be Northern, and will be sure to brighten up many a grey rainy day — and there are many!
Beam Design, who curate bespoke interiors, worked with Jules to help bring her vision of a physical shop to life, creating some stunning CGIs – bringing a slice of Miami to Halifax – for us to have a sneak peek at ahead of its completion.
Last week, Jules shared an update on the transformation of her soon-to-be shop as it undergoes a head-to-toe renovation.
In a caption on the Northern Power Garms’ Instagram page, she wrote: “Two weeks ago I was literally clambering over boards trying not to fall down to the basement and die because there was no floor. Now look at it!
“There’s a floor (!!) and boards are going up on the ceiling and walls. It’s properly starting to come together now.
“We’ve had some incredible floor samples from @polyflorltd and paint samples from @crownpaintsuk – have you seen the visuals we posted, from Helena at @beamdesigninteriors? I could cry with happiness that the team and I will get to work here, every day!
“I met up with a gorgeous new supplier today too! We have some BEAUTIFUL earrings ready to stock, all handmade by Lauren at @plainjaynedesign – if you’re into colour, sparkle and WOW, then these are for you!
“There’s just so much going on, and honestly we cannot wait to get open and welcome you all in! Have you been past the shop? Let us know!”
At the minute, the determined entrepreneur is working hard alongside a team of builders and designers at fitting out the unit along Westgate Arcade, as well as running her online business and updating followers on social media.
But once it’s open, shoppers and curious browsers can expect to step into a world of pretty pastels and modern terrazzo tables with a colour scheme that brings sunny Miami to Halifax, with carefully crafted garments that embody the heart and soul of northernness.
Check out Northern Power Garms online for more, and make sure to visit the shop and its stylish apparel when it opens in July.