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What a frontline doctor in Greater Manchester tells people who say they don’t want Covid vaccine

‘We’re fortunate that the state is offering that chance to protect our lives’

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Dr Zahid Chauhan has worked non-stop throughout the pandemic and has a message to those who want to refuse the Covid-19 vaccine.

The devoted dad has personally seen hundreds of people who have lost their lives to the virus, including patients, friends and even family members.

Dr Chauhan is encouraging people to take the Covid-19 vaccine when it is offered to them to stop other families from going through the heartbreak of losing someone. 

He told the Manchester Evening News: “When people come into my office and say they don’t want to get the vaccine I look at them and ask ‘so if you get Covid, what should I do at that stage? What should I think about?’

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“We’re fortunate that the state is offering that chance to protect our lives.

“I’ve seen at least 1,000 people who’ve died from Covid, including some patients I’m the family doctor for – I’ve become part of their family, and when you lose them it really hurts.

“When people say Covid doesn’t exist I see all those faces – the faces of elderly people in care homes I’ve gone to in the middle of the night to verify the deaths of.

“Go and ask their family members, or patients with Covid, about what they’ve been through and see if it doesn’t exist.”

In May 2020, Dr Chauhan was forced to bury his friend and colleague Dr Saad Al-Dubbaisi, a 59-year-old GP from Bury. Dr Al-Dubbaisi was the first GP to die from Covid-19 in Greater Manchester.

During the first wave of the pandemic, Dr Chauhan was called out to verify hundreds of deaths while working as the clinical lead for the death certification across the region. 

He’d be called to care homes in the middle of the night. He said: “Personally it’s changed lots of things in my life.

“Seeing all these deaths and then going home and trying to sleep, I’d be thinking about what it must be like being on a ventilator and I’d see that in my dreams.

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“It also made me more determined to carry out my work. I will do whatever I can and give 110%, I might not have tomorrow but I do have today.

“Vaccinating the first homeless person in the world against Covid-19 was one of the most powerful moments of my life.

“Just being able to speak on behalf of the people who can’t speak for themselves is so important – there’s no council of homeless to fight for their needs.

“We just want to help people, we don’t want them to die.”

Dr Chauhan worked hard to ensure homeless people had access to the vaccine, ensuring those not registered to a healthcare practitioner were considered.

He became the first person in the world to vaccinate a homeless person against Covid-19. 

Now, the NHS have added homeless people to the priority list for vaccination. 

Dr Chauhan has now turned his hand to dismantling myths and false information being spread about the vaccine. He said: “People queue up for antibiotics and will ask why they can’t have them and then you’re being offered something that can prevent the infection and some people are reluctant to have it.

“Some people are concerned about the vaccine changing your DNA – I’ve done hundreds of vaccinations and I’ve not seen anyone turn into monkeys or change in any way.

“There’s also no microchips in them, the state doesn’t have that kind of money.

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“By not having the vaccination you’re not only making the wrong decision for yourself but for others as well.

“If you get infected you might affect my mother who’s poorly and make her very unwell – you wouldn’t like a drunk person driving behind you on the road would you?

“A lot of the time it’s not that people don’t want to take the vaccine, it’s just that they want their concerns to be addressed.”

Dr Chauhan spoke at the European Islamic Centre on Manchester Road at an event aimed to pass on the truth about vaccinations to key figures in the Muslim community.

The series was organised by chair of the Oldham Mosques Council, Abdul Basit Shah after it was found that just 28% of Muslims in the area said they would get the vaccine. 

He said: “We sent a short survey around when the news of the vaccine approval hit and found that 50% of people wouldn’t take the vaccine, and 22% weren’t sure on whether they’d have it.

“It was alarming that there was a huge number of people who felt that way, so we started thinking about what we could do.

“People don’t know what to do, they get all kinds of information from all angles on social media, it’s taken over their lives.

“It’s in their hands, their pockets, it’s so easy for people to share misinformation that you can easily fact check but at that point the damage is done.

“We’re in repair mode now trying to make sure people have the right information, and can hear it from sources they trust far more than social media.”

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Mufti Helal, coordinator for the OMC, added: “We have 30 imams who want to take the vaccine which is so important because so people look up to them, they’re role models in the community.

“That will outweigh all the misinformation on social media.

“The message is picking up and the messages we’ve received have become more positive, they were quite negative in the first week.

“Because we’re working with local leaders and local people, it’s working – people trust the local leaders and people seeing this won’t need to ask, they’ll trust that the vaccine is good for them if the people they trust think the same.

“This is a pandemic, we’re in it together and this is a chance from Allah, if we stay together and strong we will get through this.”

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Wayne Rooney breaks silence after hotel photos leak online

The photos quickly went viral on social media

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Wayne Rooney has broken his silence after he was pictured with several young women in a hotel in Manchester.

The former Manchester United captain apologised to his family and to the club he currently manages, Derby County.

Rooney spoke to Sky Sports after Derby’s friendly against Real Betis on Wednesday, saying: “I made a mistake.

“I went to a private party with two of my friends and from me, I’d like to apologise to my family and the club for the images which were going round and I want to move forward on this.

“I’m grateful to Derby County for giving me this opportunity to get this club back to where it belongs, and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I do that.”

He added: “It’s dealt with. I’m looking forward to moving forward and preparing for another game on Sunday.”

Rooney was photographed asleep in a hotel bedroom on the weekend, with the images quickly going viral.

The photos show a fully clothed Rooney passed out in a chair after a night out in Manchester, after he went to the hotel with three women.

Yesterday we reported that the former Manchester United captain was asked for £10,000 to keep the photos hidden from his wife Coleen.

According to reports, the police launched a blackmail probe over a message sent to Rooney on Instagram that included a photo from the hotel and the comment: “Morning Wayne 10 grand please mate or Coleen sees this.”

However, officers have now dropped the investigation after concluding that no offence had been committed.

Станислав Ведмидь / Wikimedia

A Cheshire Police spokesman said: “On Monday July 26th Cheshire Constabulary received reports of a possible blackmail relating to a number of images circulating online.

“Officers have spoken to the person involved and are satisfied that no offences have taken place.

“The person involved has also stated that they do not wish to take the matter any further.”

It’s not been suggested that the women from the photos, Tayler Ryan, Elise Melvin and Brooke Morgan, all aged 21, were knowingly involved in any criminal activity.

As the photos went viral on social media, Rooney’s legal team contacted Greater Manchester Police, before the case was passed to Cheshire Police.

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Tesco offers lorry drivers £1,000 joining bonus amid HGV crisis

There is a chronic shortage of drivers in the industry at the moment

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The ongoing shortage of HGV drivers has seen supermarket shelves empty across the country, with Tesco recently revealing the shortage in drivers is resulting in forty-eight tonnes of food waste each week as fresh goods are being left to rot.

Now the supermarket has stepped up in its bid to entice more drivers to come forward, with a £1,000 joining bonus up for grabs.

Tesco will be offering the £1,000 incentive to recruits who join before September 30th.

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Similar recruitment incentives are also being offered by other companies for HGV drivers, it’s understood, with Morrisons saying it was working on training staff to become lorry drivers.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates there is currently a shortfall of up to 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK – and as well as this issue, the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit are also being blamed for shortages, The Mirror reports.

The Covid pandemic has seen travel become extremely restricted, with haulage companies saying their European drivers have simply decided not to return to the UK due to the virus and Brexit.

As well as food deliveries, there have also been issues with some council services, and several councils have been forced to halt services like garden waste collection, according to the chair of the Local Government Association, James Jamieson.

The environment spokesperson for the LGA, Darren Rodwell, said: “While most councils have been able to keep services running, some are having to reduce services such as green waste collection.

“These issues are partly due to the increase in ‘pinged’ staff but also a larger problem with a shortage of HGV drivers.

“The announcement that waste collection staff can apply for exemption is pleasing, but we are awaiting details on how quick the application process will be and whether it includes all waste collection staff.”

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Empty shelves ‘crisis’ in supermarkets to get worse in ‘next three weeks’, haulage boss warns

‘In the next two to three weeks we are facing a collapse of the supply chain’

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@kentishsal & Dr Mike Galsworthy / Twitter

Shoppers have been urged not to start panic buying amid empty shelves and supply shortages in Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Lidl stores across the country.

In scenes reminiscent of the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020, shelves across countless supermarkets up and down the country have been sparse, leaving frustrated customers speculating what could possibly be the cause of the issue.

Now shoppers have been warned by industry bosses there could be further more empty shelves because of a collapse in the supply chain.

Jivee Blau / Wikimedia

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said: “In the next two to three weeks we are facing a collapse of the supply chain meaning even bigger gaps on supermarket shelves.

“We already have hauliers unable to move goods on a daily basis and we’re now facing a perfect storm.

“This is a crisis on a scale we have never seen before in this industry and the government is burying its head in the sand.

“It is not recognising the seriousness.”

A Morrisons spokeswoman told the BBC: “As per the whole of the UK, we are experiencing a rise in cases and close contact notifications.

“We provide guidance and support for colleagues who may need to self-isolate including sick pay and have covid secure controls in place in all our stores to ensure we can continue to operate and keep them open.

“Throughout the whole of the pandemic, we have not been required to close a store.”

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has acknowledged industry-wide problems but said stores are working closely with suppliers so customers can still buy what they need.

But what’s actually causing these shortages?

Rept0n1x / Wikimedia

Well, a large part of the problem can be credited to the ongoing lack of HGV drivers – Tesco recently revealed that the shortage in drivers is resulting in forty-eight tonnes of food waste each week as fresh goods destined for its stores are being left to rot.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates there is currently a shortfall of up to 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK – and as well as this issue, the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit are also being blamed for shortages, The Mirror reports.

The Covid pandemic has seen travel become extremely restricted, with haulage companies saying their European drivers have simply decided not to return to the UK due to the virus and Brexit.

The recent reopening of all shops and hospitality establishments such as nightclubs also means there’s been a sudden demand for certain goods.

Amid all of these issues, the RHA has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take action on the HGV driver shortage.

In response, the government says it has ramped up testing for lorry drivers, is paying for more apprentices and is allowing current drivers to increase their working hours. But, even before Covid, the estimated shortage of drivers was around 60,000.

Other circumstances that have been blamed on causing delays include the earlier blockage of the Suez Canal.

Despite all the issues with supply, customers are being warned not to panic buy.

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