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We’re a ‘long, long, long way’ from easing lockdown, Hancock says

Coronavirus cases are still too high.

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Number 10 / Flickr & Peter McDermott / Geograph

Matt Hancock has warned that we are a ‘long, long, long way’ from coronavirus cases being low enough to start easing restrictions.

Speaking on Sky News on Sunday this weekend, Matt Hancock said: “There is early evidence that the lockdown is starting to bring cases down.

“But we are a long, long, long way from that being low enough because the case rate was incredibly high.

“You can see the pressure on the NHS you can see it every day. The NHS are doing an amazing job in incredibly difficult circumstances.”

He added: “I am confident in the measures that we’ve got in place now.

“What really matters is that everybody follows them. The reason for that is not just the death toll each day which is far too high.

“The pressure on the NHS is enormous. That has knock-on consequences for people who suffer from all other illnesses.

“It is very important that we continue to follow the rules. That’s at the core of it. Even whilst we do everything we can to support the NHS through this.”

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show later on Sunday, Hancock explained that the ‘good news’ is that there are ‘early signs that certainly the rise in the number of cases has been halted’.

He continued: “In many parts of the country, cases are starting to come down.

“The vaccine roll out programme is going really rapidly. We’ve now vaccinated three-quarters of over 80s in the country and we’re really proud of that.”

Hancock went on to explain that we know the vaccine stop people from dying with a ‘high degree of confidence’ but that ‘we don’t know about the effect on transmission’. 

Number 10 / Flickr

He continued: “We are essentially monitoring the effectiveness of the vaccine right across the country, right now. Our goal here is to be able to start to lift restrictions as soon as safely possible.

“It is not going to be 2028, Andrew. It’s one of those questions we don’t know the answer to.”

One of the leading figures in the Covid Recovery Group of MPs, former minister Steve Baker said that public compliance could not be expected indefinitely with no hope in sight. 

He said: “Covid causes death and serious harm and we must control it, but these lockdowns, restrictions and school closures are causing untold damage to people’s health, livelihoods and prospects.”

Adding that the top four risk groups should have immunity by March 8th where ‘the government should start easing the restrictions in a way that is safe and proportionate. But the public need to hear today what the plan for easing restrictions is.’

He said it was ‘not enough to expect public compliance with prolonged severe measures, without giving some hope, and showing some optimism and light at the end of this very dark tunnel’.

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Sue Gray report set to be ‘published in full next week’ as partygate investigation ends

The police announced the end of their investigation today

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The long-awaited Sue Gray report into Downing Street misconduct during the Covid pandemic is due to be published in full next week as the police’s investigation concludes.

The report – which investigated a series of alleged breaches of Covid lockdown in 10 Downing Street and Whitehall – was completed in January, but the publication of the full document was delayed at the request of the Metropolitan Police as they completed their own investigation.

But today, the police announced their inquiry into Downing Street lockdown breaches has come to an end, meaning Gray’s report could be published as soon as next week.

A source close to Gray and her team said she now intends to publish her report ‘as soon as possible’, adding that it could come as early as next week, according to The Independent.

The shortened version of Gray’s report noted that there was a ‘serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government, but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time’.

Gray also stated that because the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is ‘difficult to justify’.

Stand-out points from the report include:

  • There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.
  • The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.
  • The use of the garden at No 10 Downing Street should be primarily for the Prime Minister and the private residents of No 10 and No 11 Downing Street.
  • The leadership structures are fragmented and complicated and this has sometimes led to the blurring of lines of accountability.
  • Some staff wanted to raise concerns about behaviours they witnessed at work but at times felt unable to do so.

Flickr / Number 10

The police’s investigation resulted in a total of 126 fines, known as Fixed Penalty Notices, being issued for events across eight different dates.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were both fined for their involvement in parties and events held during the lockdowns.

Twenty-eight people have been issued with more than one fine, the force added.

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Full judicial review into inquest of Yousef Makki granted by judge

JUST IN

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Justice for Yousef Makki / Facebook

A judge has granted permission for a full judicial review into the inquest of Burnage schoolboy Yousef Makki.

The family of the seventeen-year-old – who died after being stabbed by friend Joshua Molnar in Hale Barnes in 2019 – called for a review to overturn the coroner’s verdict on his death, which failed to conclude whether he had died either unlawfully or accidentally.

An application was made to High Court by a QC acting for Yousef’s father, Ghaleb Makki and, today (May 18th), at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, the review was granted.

Yousef’s father said of the decision: “There’s still a long way to go, but it’s a small step in the right direction.”

Matthew Stanbury, representing the Makki family, claimed the coroner’s ruling was ‘inevitable’ due to the failure to analyse and ‘grapple’ with central issues in the case. 

Mr. Stanbury said: “Today is a significant step forward and we are optimistic about getting a fresh inquest.”

Yousef died after being fatally stabbed in the heart by Joshua following an argument on the evening of March 2nd 2019.

The former public school student had met Joshua at Manchester Grammar School, where he had won a bursary to attend.

Joshua, who comes from a wealthy family in Hale, later admitted to stabbing Makki with a knife he had bought online ‘with ease’ during a school break time.

Justice for Yousef Makki / Facebook

However, a jury acquitted Joshua, now twenty, of murder and manslaughter later that year, with him instead been handed a sixteen-month detention and training order after admitting possessing the knife which inflicted the fatal injury and lying to police at the scene.

He says he acted in self-defence, alleging Yousef pushed and punched him and called him ‘p*ssy’.

Following November’s inquest, Senior South Manchester Coroner Alison Mutch recorded a narrative conclusion, saying: “Yousef died from complications of a stab wound to chest.

“The precise circumstances in which he was wounded cannot, on balance of probabilities, be ascertained.”

The family’s formal application argued the coroner’s ruling was ‘unreasonable’ as it ‘failed to address or make findings on central matters in the case such as to enable her to reach a conclusion – on the balance of probabilities – as to the lawfulness of the killing’.

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Teenage girl rushed to hospital after being ‘badly’ bitten on face by dog

The teenage girl was allegedly helping an elderly man get his dog back into its harness

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Google Maps & GMP

Police are appealing for information after a teenage girl was ‘badly’ bitten on the face by a dog in a Trafford park.

The incident happened in Navigation Park in Altrincham last night (May 17th) at around 9pm, when the victim, aged seventeen, attempted to put the dog’s harness back on.

While she was doing this, the dog allegedly bit her on the face and cheek, causing ‘substantial’ injuries.

She then had to go to the hospital for treatment.

Google Maps

In a post on the GMP Trafford South Facebook page, police implored for witnesses to come forward with more information about the incident and the man and dog involved.

The statement reads: “On the evening of 17th May 2022, at around 2100hrs, there has been an incident in Navigation Park, Altrincham involving a male who was in company with a dog and a 17-year-old female who has been badly bitten by the dog present. 

“The male has been described as a white male, approximately 70 years old, around 5ft 9, unstable on his feet, wearing a long brown leather jacket, with a bobble hat and a walking stick.”

The police went on to describe the dog as a ‘mostly white dog, similar to a Labrador however crossed with another breed with a small amount of ginger fur on its back’.

It was also noted that the dog was ‘quite skinny’ and wore a red harness.

The statement continued: “The female had been helping the owner put the dog’s harness on when the dog has bitten the female to the face, causing a substantial injury to her mouth and her cheek, requiring her to have to attend hospital for treatment.”

Any witnesses or anyone with information on the incident have been urged to get in touch with the police via 101 or Live Chat in reference to Log 3423- 17/05/22.

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