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Why supermarkets like Lidl and Tesco have empty shelves at the moment

The three major supermarkets are experiencing supply shortages this month – but why?

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Andrew Abbott / Geograph & Dr Mike Galsworthy / Twitter

Shoppers have been urged not to start panic buying amid empty shelves and supply shortages in Tesco, 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.

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?

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.

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Travel traffic light system to be scrapped as big changes for holidaymakers announced

A number of countries including Turkey are also been removed from the red list

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Travel restrictions for the UK will be majorly relaxed from next month onwards, the transport secretary has announced.

According to Sky News, the current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries will be completely scrapped and replaced with one red list only from October 4th.

Also from that date, travellers will no longer need to take pre-departure tests for travelling into England from abroad.

And, from the end of October, fully vaccinated passengers from non-red list countries will be able to replace day-two PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests.

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Anyone testing positive, however, will still need to isolate and take a free PCR test to help identify new variants.

From 4am on September 22nd, the following eight destinations will be removed from the red list; Turkey, Egypt, Kenya, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman, The Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.

“Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with over 44 million people fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape.”

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Scientists at University of Manchester make massive breakthrough on dementia

A massive step forward in the search for a cure for dementia

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Scientists at the University of Manchester have discovered that a common blood pressure drug that could help people suffering from vascular dementia.

Amlodepine is used to treat high blood pressure, but could potentially serve a purpose in tackling a type of vascular dementia caused by damaged and ‘leaky’ small blood vessels in the brain, according to research part-funded by the British Heart Foundation and published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

High blood pressure is known to be the main risk factor in developing vascular dementia.

Researchers came to their conclusion by analysing blood flow in the brains of mice with high blood pressure and vascular damage in the brain.

@officialuom / Instagram

Mice treated with amlodipine had better blood flow to more active areas of the brain. Their arteries were able to widen, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach the parts of the brain that needed it most.

The team also discovered for the first time that high blood pressure decreases the activity of a protein called ‘Kir2.1’ that is present in cells lining the blood vessels and increases blood flow to active areas of the brain.

They now hope to trial amlodipine as an effective treatment for vascular dementia in humans, making it the first clinically proven treatment for vascular dementia if successful. 

Dr Adam Greenstein, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Manchester, who led the Manchester team, told ITV News: “The way vascular dementia develops has remained a mystery until now, and there are currently no clinically proven treatments.

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“Patients are presenting with symptoms of vascular dementia earlier than ever before, and with further research we could potentially offer those patients hope to prevent the progression of this life-changing disease.”

Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, added: “The way to better understand this devastating disease and find new treatments is through research. This study is a vital step forward towards finding new ways of stopping vascular dementia from progressing.

“These new discoveries highlight the major role that high blood pressure plays in developing the disease and shed light on how this occurs and might be prevented in the future.”

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Government plan return of imperial pounds and ounces in supermarkets

A Brexit document includes plans to review the EU ban on markings and sales in pounds and ounces

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As a result of post-Brexit changes to EU laws, supermarkets could soon see the return of imperial pounds and ounces for their food produce. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously said that he would bring imperial units back to shops as part of his pitch to voters in the 2019 general election, promising ‘an era of generosity and tolerance towards traditional measurements’.

And now, in the wake of Brexit, the UK faces a ban on labelling products with imperial units as part of a post-Brexit plan according to Brexit minister Lord Frost, who also claims pint glasses could be voluntarily stamped with a crown.

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A document titled ‘Brexit opportunities: regulatory reforms’ includes plans to review the EU ban on markings and sales in pounds and ounces, with legislation set to come ‘in due course’ and to permit the voluntary printing of the crown stamp on pint glasses, as per The Independent.

This comes after Lord Frost claimed that ‘gloom-mongers’ had been proved wrong following the UK’s exit from the EU, with him reportedly saying to a peer: “A lot of things haven’t happened that the gloom-mongers said would happen and I don’t think are going to happen.

He added: “This economy and this country is prospering vastly already under the arrangements that we are putting in place. High standards need to reflect the context we are operating in.

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“I am sure there will be change, but don’t believe those changes will result in regression of standards.”

This review comes amid crippling food shortages in supermarkets across the UK, which is believed to be a result of both Brexit and Covid.

Other big retailers such as McDonald’s, Greggs, the Co-op and Ikea have also struggled to supply products to their customers in recent weeks.

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