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Senior Medics issue warning of a second wave after ‘mixed’ government message regarding face masks

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Senior doctors have expressed concern at ‘mixed’ government messaging about face masks, pleading the public to help prevent a second wave that will ‘devastate’ the NHS. 

The British Medical Association (BMA) said a second peak of COVID-19 combined with seasonal flu could be ‘devastating for the NHS’ and have voiced criticism of government guidance on the use of face masks.

Previously, wearing face coverings has been compulsory on public transport and will be compulsory in shops in England from Friday.

They have warned that a hefty £100 fine will be issued to those who ignore this new law. 

However, there has been significant confusion as to why masks aren’t compulsory in other situations where social distancing is difficult to maintain such as offices or pubs and restaurants. 

Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Prof Carrie MacEwen, said that medics and healthcare workers felt ‘totally reliant on the public understanding that this has certainly not disappeared and could come back and cause even more suffering for the population’. 

Dr Alison Pittard, head of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine also said: “People might think COVID is over with, why do I have to wear a face mask, but it isn’t over. We still have COVID patients in intensive care. If the public don’t physically distance and don’t wear face coverings we could very quickly get back to where we were earlier this year.”

Downing Street has announced that its scientific advice shows that new infections are falling at a rate of between one and five per cent a day across the UK.

On Sunday, the Scottish government confirmed new cases for the fifth consecutive day and reaching their highest daily rate since June 21st.

Meanwhile, Dominic Harrison, director of Public Health said that the national tracing system is only managing to reach half of those who had been in close contact with a coronavirus patient, reports the Guardian.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has said: “When you’re in close proximity with somebody that you have to work closely to, if you’re there for a long time with them, then a mask doesn’t offer that protection.”

Council chair of the BMA, the trade union and professional body for doctors in the UK, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said “Everyone has their role to play, but there needs to be clear, concise public messaging,”

“To introduce measures for shops, but not other situations where physical distancing is not possible – including some workplaces – is illogical and adds to confusion and the risk of the virus spreading.”

The warning from medics comes after the government continues to ease national restrictions as the reproduction rate stands between 07 and 0.9, meaning the virus is not growing exponentially. 

Last week, the Academy of Medical Sciences said a second wave could kill 120,000 people in a worst-case scenario, despite Boris Johnson saying a second national lockdown would not be necessary and that normality could return by Christmas.

As part of the new lockdown easing, Johnson has instructed that the ‘work from home where possible’ advise will be lifted, conflicting with the Chief Scientific Officer, Sir Patrick Vallance who told MPs he could see ‘absolutely no reason to change’. 

When asked to clarify the position by reporters Johnson said: “We want to encourage people to think it is safe to come into work, provided employers have done the work … to make their premises COVID-secure.”

The Department of Health and Social Care has defended the track and trace system, which this weekend emerged was finding 37% of people with COVID-19 when this number needs to be 50% to be effective.

A spokesperson said.“It has already helped test and isolate more than 180,000 cases – helping us control the spread of the virus, prevent a second wave and save lives,”.

The government is set to allow local councils to access names and data of people in areas who have tested positive which may improve the performance of the system. 

MacEwen explained that a second surge could be bigger than the last, could ‘economically cripple us’ and ‘damage the NHS in the long-term’.

She said: “Going into winter the situation is much bleaker [than handling a pandemic in spring] and against a background of economic disaster. The public has begun to think we are free of this, but we are not.”

She added: “The most important thing about being prepared for this winter is the population gets the flu vaccine if they need it and they behave in a way that reduces the risk of them catching COVID which is to socially distance, wash hands, wear masks and isolate if symptomatic or told to do so by test and trace.”

Pittard added that the public is vital in this and that “it is down to the public again”. 

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Tributes pour in for ‘gorgeous’ mum killed in Liverpool dog attack

Police say five American bulldogs have since been ‘humanely destroyed’

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Ann Dunn / Facebook & Granada Reports

Tributes have been pouring in for the ‘gorgeous’ mum who was mauled to death by five dogs in Liverpool.

Ann Dunn, sixty-five, died after being attacked by five American bulldogs in a property on St. Brigids Crescent, Vauxhall.

Merseyside Police were called out by paramedics on Monday October 3rd at around 4:25pm. However, Ann’s injuries were too serious and she was pronounced as dead at the scene.

Police say five American bulldogs, which were found inside the property, were handed over and have now been humanely destroyed.

Ann Dunn / Facebook

Officers also confirmed that a thirty-one-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of owning a dog dangerously out of control. He remains in custody.

Following the news of her death, people who knew Ann have paid their own tributes to the mum and grandmother on social media.

One person wrote on Facebook: “RIP gorgeous lady, still can’t believe it Ann. Had some good times with you I will never forget.”

She added: “I am all so heartbroken for you kids and family right now. Don’t want to even think how they feeling… So happy I got [sic] have old chat with you on Friday even though it was only for 10 minutes, keeping looking over your family.”

Another social media user added: “Heart breaking thinking of all the family, devastated for yous all. R.I.P lovely Ann.”

Ann Dunn / Facebook

Liverpool John Moores University, where Ann worked as a cleaner, also paid tribute to their ‘hard-working and dedicated’ employee.

They said: “The university community is absolutely shocked and devastated by this tragic loss and to lose Ann in this way is just heart-breaking. Ann was hard-working and dedicated and had so many friends across the organisation. It’s just awful and she will be terribly missed.

“Our thoughts at this time are with her family and loved-ones.”

Detective Inspector Katie Coote added: “This is clearly a very distressing incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who died.

“Our enquiries remain ongoing as we seek to establish what has happened and I would urge anyone who could assist our enquiries to get in touch.”

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Man arrested after woman killed by ‘five dogs’ in Liverpool

The dogs have since been ‘humanely destroyed’

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Granada Reports & BBC Breakfast

A man has been arrested after a woman was killed after she was attacked by five dogs in a house in Liverpool.

Merseyside Police were called out by paramedics yesterday (Monday October 3rd) after reports a sixty-three-year-old woman had been attacked by the animals inside a property down St. Brigid’s Crescent in Kirkdale.

The woman, who is yet to be formally identified, died at the scene following the attack at around 4.25pm. 

Police say five American bulldogs, which were found inside the property, were handed over and have now been humanely destroyed.

A thirty-one-year-old man has since been arrested on suspicion of owning a dog deemed to be dangerously out of control. He remains in custody.

An investigation into the incident remains ongoing and a post-mortem will be carried out to establish the exact cause of death.

Detective Inspector Katie Coote said: “This is clearly a very distressing incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who died.

“Our enquiries remain ongoing as we seek to establish what has happened and I would urge anyone who could assist our enquiries to get in touch.”

Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK on Twitter. Alternatively, they can be contacted via telephone on 0800 555 111 quoting reference 22000731247.

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New details about Greater Manchester’s Bee Network transport system revealed

The first fifty Bee Network buses are due to be rolled out in part of the region next year

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Transport for Greater Manchester

As the launch date for Greater Manchester’s highly-anticipated Bee Network draws ever closer, more details about the new transport system have been unveiled.

Mayor Andy Burnham unveiled the first look at the Bee Network’s fleet of electric buses last month, with the first fifty due to be rolled out across Wigan and Bolton on September 17th, 2023. 

The rest of the network will then be implemented across the region by January 2025, alongside Bee Network cycle hire bikes and, ultimately, the Metrolink network.

The buses will be powered by electric batteries to ensure they produce zero local emissions, supporting Greater Manchester in building a sustainable future for public transport.

This comes as Transport for Greater Manchester confirmed a receipt of thirty-three bids from nine different operators vying to run the locally controlled bus services – the first in thirty-six years.

Andy Burnham said of the new network: “The countdown to bringing buses back under local control for the first time in thirty-six years is well and truly on.

“With the order placed for our first fifty new electric buses and strong interest from operators who want to run the first franchised services a year from now, the Bee Network is gathering real momentum.

“We’ve already seen a positive response to our call for people to get back on board, helped by the successful introduction of cheaper bus fares across Greater Manchester to help residents cope with the cost-of-living crisis and I’m pleased to announce that we have commenced engagement with operators about the potential to cap weekly bus tickets from early next year.”

“The previous government bought into what we are trying to do, and I underlined the importance of this partnership approach continuing during my meeting with the new Transport Secretary yesterday.

“By working together, we will realise our ambitions and deliver a network that will transform how people get around our city region – not just in the years ahead but for future generations.”

Bus franchising will be rolled out in phases, starting in Bolton and Wigan as well as parts of Salford and West Manchester on September 17th 2023, followed by Bury, Rochdale, Oldham and parts of North Manchester from the end of March 2024.

Stockport, Trafford, Tameside and South Manchester, as well as the remaining parts of Salford, will be rolled out from January 5th, 2025.

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