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We’re ‘probably going to have to learn to live with Covid’, leading epidemiologist says

Experts believe the disease is becoming endemic

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A leading epidemiologist says experts believe the coronavirus is becoming an ‘endemic’ disease.

When asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if people were going to have to ‘learn to live with’ coronavirus, Professor David Heymann, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, replied: “It certainly seems like that in the shorter term, and probably in the long term as well.

“Most experts believe that this disease is now becoming endemic, but the good thing is that we have many tools including vaccines with which we can deal with this virus.”

He then went on to draw a comparison to the spread of HIV/AIDS, adding: “We’ve learned to live with it, as we’ll learn to live with this infection as well.”

Heymann added that borders ‘cannot stop infectious diseases’.

He said: “We know that borders cannot stop infectious diseases no matter how rigid your controls are, there will always be some that comes through.”

He went onto explain that most nations believe the best strategy to deal with infections is within the country and to ensure a flow of travel and trade.

When asked if he believed there would be an immediate impact after closing borders, he said: “We’ve seen that countries that have closed their borders, such as New Zealand, have kept the virus out, but now their problem is what do they when they begin to open their borders?

“So I think the best way forward is to live understanding that viruses and bacteria, any infection, can cross borders and we have to have the defences in our own countries to deal with them.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the new policy for arrivals in the UK which will require two coronavirus tests, one on day two and one on day eight, will mean it is easier to ‘keep track of where people are and for them to report for testing’.

He added that it also makes it ‘easier for us to track the presence of any new variants coming in’.

An academic from the University of Bristol’s School of Clinical Sciences, Professor Adam Finn, said it could take months for new vaccines to be created in response to new variants. 

The member of the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisations told BBC Breakfast: “It will take some time, simply because although the new variants can be adjusted in the vaccines they then have to come through the regulators, and then have to be manufactured at scale in order to be available.

“So it’s not a matter of a month or two, it’s probably more than that.

“But we currently have vaccines that are effective against the strains that are predominating in the UK and that should be clear in everybody’s minds that we’re not in a position where vaccines have suddenly stopped working entirely.”

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Teen stops young girl being taken by stranger claiming to be ‘dad’s friend’ as she walked home from school

Emma’s quick thinking saved the school girl from being taken by a stranger

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A teenage girl has been praised for her quick thinking as she prevented a child being taken from a stranger.

Fifteen year old Emma Carlile was walking home from school through Wallasey Village in Wirral, Merseyside, when she noticed a man approaching a school girl and telling her that he was her ‘dad’s mate.’

Emma noticed that the girl, who is believed to be around eleven years old, looked alarmed, so decided to intervene.

Emma’s dad, Rik, told the Liverpool Echo: “She said she was walking along and she saw a ‘creepy looking man’ approach a young girl and put his arm around her, which she thought looked odd.

Emma Carlile / Facebook

“She noticed when the man approached her she looked a bit startled and then she heard the man say, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, don’t you remember me? I’ve been to your house before’.”

Rik continued: “The girl was saying ‘no, I don’t remember’ but he kept going on saying, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, I’ve met you before.’ At one point, the girl tried to get her phone out and the man said, ‘no you don’t need to ring anyone, you know who I am, I’m your dad’s mate.’”

Emma followed them around a corner and, as they approached a crossing, shouted the first name that came into her head. 

She said: “Hey Bethany! Dad will be home tonight from police training.”

The girl apparently looked at her and looked startled but relieved at the same time. As soon as Emma spoke, the man quickly walked away down towards Wallasey Village train station.

Rept0n1x / Wikimedia Commons

Rik said that Emma walked with the girl until she was home safely and informed her parents about what had just happened. 

Rik shared his daughter’s encounter on Facebook to warn people with children walking home alone from school. He wrote: “WARNING! My 15 year old daughter was walking home from Weatherhead today through Wallasey village and witnessed an older man walk up to a girl with a Harry Potter backpack and a green coat.

“The man put his arm around her claiming he was her “dads friend,” My daughter recognised that the girl looked alarmed and didn’t know the man and followed them from by the co-op to the crossing by the petrol station.

“Please make your children aware if they walk home alone.”

Emma described the man as being around 6ft tall with short grey hair and stubble. He was of large build wearing a green t-shirt and black trousers.

If you have any information, you can contact Merseyside Police on 0151 709 6010 or, alternatively, you can get in touch online here.

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Leaked documents reveal which Covid restrictions may remain after July 19th

We might have to wear our face masks for a little bit longer…

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Number 10 / Flickr & Kristoffer Trolle / Flickr

Leaked documents are claiming that the current social distancing rules and restrictions will be staying in place after the revised ‘freedom day’ on July 19th.

The memo, obtained by Politico, listed a number of restrictions that the government plans to keep in place for the foreseeable future.

According to the leaked documents, face masks may have to remain mandatory in certain settings for the long term, employers and employees will be told to decide amongst themselves as to whether they want to return to the office or work from home.

As well as that, it says some form of border control and quarantine will be needed for a significant period of time to prevent new variants entering the country.

Number 10 / Flickr

The memo also states that plastic screens – such as those currently used in hairdressers and restaurants – may actually spread Covid rather than prevent it.

Ministers are also considering bringing in new rules for businesses to keep workplaces better ventilated, the documents claim. 

Cabinet office sources have since stressed that the document was one of several including multiple options – with nothing signed off by ministers yet or anywhere near being announced.

This comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back the highly anticipated ‘freedom day’, June 21st, by just short of a month to July 19th. 

Johnson said this was a result of the new Delta variant, which makes up for 90% of new cases across the country: “I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.

“I am confident we won’t need more than four weeks – it’s unmistakably clear that the vaccines are working – but now is the time to ease off the accelerator.

“We have the chance to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”

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Covid vaccine to be mandatory for care home workers

Thoughts?

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Gov.uk & Asian Development Bank / Flickr

The Covid-19 vaccine is to become mandatory for all care home staff members across the country, new reports detailed last night. 

It is believed that care staff will be given sixteen weeks to receive the jab or will face the possibilities of either being moved to a different posting or losing their jobs entirely.

The Guardian reported that the new plans are expected to be announced in the next couple of days.

Province of British Columbia / Flickr

It is expected that ministers will also be pushing ahead with compulsory vaccination for most of the 1.5 million people working in social care across the country, despite employer and staff organisations warning that it could result in workers quitting rather than getting vaccinated.

The reports also claim that the government is keen to make it mandatory for the 1.38 million people who are employed by the NHS in England to get vaccinated against Covid-19 – proposals that have already been criticised by groups representing doctors, nurses and other staff.

Workers who can prove they are medically exempt from receiving the vaccine will not be affected.

Gov.uk

The government has been widely criticised for its lack of support of care homes at the start of the pandemic; residents were heavily affected by the outbreak of Covid-19 and significant numbers, including many people with dementia, died as a result.

An investigation by Amnesty International late last year found that a series of ‘shockingly irresponsible’ Government decisions put tens of thousands of older people’s lives at risk and led to multiple violations of care home residents’ human rights.

As a result, between March 2nd and June 12th this year, 28,186 ‘excess deaths’ were recorded in care homes across England, with over 18,500 care home residents confirmed to have died with Covid-19 during this period.

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