Coronavirus UK: Doctors say masks should be mandatory inside and outside

A Government scientist today backed the British Medical Association’s call for face masks to be made mandatory outdoors as well as indoors as the UK teeters on the brink of a second national lockdown.

Calum Semple, an expert in outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said that people ‘should be wearing a mask’ even when outside.

He told Sky News: ‘We now appreciate the importance of face coverings and masks in an indoor environment, particularly where ventilation cannot be guaranteed. 

‘In reality, if you’re outside walking your dog on your own and you’re many metres away from other people then wearing a mask is making no difference. But if you’re in a city centre shopping precinct, or you’re queueing outside the shops then yes, you should be wearing a mask.’

The BMA today suggested that those older than 60, or who are obese or have other health conditions making them vulnerable to coronavirus should be supplied with ‘medical grade’ masks, in line with WHO guidance.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, its chairman, said the Government’s measures to suppress Covid-19 are not working and called for further measures including a restriction of alcohol sales in England and a tightening of the Rule of Six to limit the number of households which can mingle to two.

He also warned the public is in danger of losing faith in existing restrictions, and urged for face masks to be worn outdoors where people cannot keep two metres apart — including in offices and other workplaces.

Face masks are already compulsory on public transport, railways stations and airports, shops, and cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants before being seated. 

It comes ahead of the Government’s expected unveiling of its ‘three-tier’ lockdown system on Monday, with the North East, North West and Nottinghamshire all predicted to fall under the strictest category of measures.  

Under the three-tier system, different parts of the country would be placed in different categories, with areas in the highest level expected to face tough restrictions such as hospitality venues closing.

However, local leaders urged the Government not to punish the North East with draconian lockdown restrictions as they claim the number of daily new coronavirus infections in the region has begun to fall. 

On another day of the coronavirus crisis:  

  • Local leaders have urged the Government not to punish the North East of England with draconian lockdown restrictions forcing the closure of pubs and bars
  •  They claimed the number of daily new coronavirus infections in the region has begun to fall
  • The UK recorded 81 deaths from coronavirus in hospitals today – it was 51 last week, and 23 the week before  
  • Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham called on MPs to ‘reject’ Rishi Sunak’s new Covid bailout programme;
  • Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson slams ‘Saint’ Sunak’s new furlough scheme for being ‘not generous’ enough and suggests more money would have been provided if it was in the South;  
  • A think-tank warns furlough mark two could cost the Treasury more than £2.4billion in six months as it estimates 444,000 hospitality employees will qualify for the scheme;
  • Britain’s envoy to the WHO Dr David Nabarro urged the Government to stop locking-down as cases rise; 
  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan warns the capital could face tougher restrictions as leafy Richmond becomes the worst-hit borough – but one report suggests the R rate in the city is below 1;
  • Anti-lockdown demonstrators gathered outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to protest restrictions.  

A Government scientist today backed the British Medical Association’s call for face masks to be made mandatory outdoors as well as indoors as the UK teeters on the brink of a second national lockdown. The BMA today suggested that those older than 60, or who are obese or have other health conditions making them vulnerable to coronavirus should be supplied with ‘medical grade’ masks, in line with WHO guidance (pictured, commuters in Westminster)

Yesterday Britain recorded 13,864 coronavirus cases. There were 87 deaths recorded yesterday, though this is a fraction of the number of deaths recorded in April

On Wednesday, 491 new patients were admitted to hospitals, close to the 586 on March 19 — the week before Boris Johnson gave his ‘stay at home’ order. During that time the average number of daily admissions has surged from 285 to 441, showing that hospitalisations are picking up now that the number of cases is hitting high levels

The Imperial College London-led REACT study (left) estimates that more than 0.6 per cent of the population of England had coronavirus in the week up to October 5, while the ONS (right) puts the figure at around 0.41 per cent for the week ending October 1

Landlords’ fury at plans to ‘order pubs to shut but allow restaurants to stay OPEN until 10pm’ 

Landlords are furious with Boris Johnson’s expected plans to order pubs to shut across northern England in a new coronavirus clampdown while restaurants can stay open until 10pm.

The Government’s new regime would see hospitality taking another hit as local restrictions would see pubs and bars in Merseyside and other parts of the North ordered to shut their doors. In a sign of official confusion, however, restaurants will be allowed to remain open until the curfew.

Similar measures are expected to be announced in Nottinghamshire as well as Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle, while the rules will be reviewed after a month.

In a joint statement, the mayors of Greater Manchester, the Sheffield and Liverpool city regions and North Tyne said: ‘What has been announced by the chancellor today is a start but, on first look, it would not appear to have gone far enough to prevent genuine hardship, job losses and business failure this winter.’

Industry experts also denounced the package, with Greg Mulholland of the Campaign for Pubs saying: ‘The level of support announced by the Chancellor is nowhere enough to compensate pubs being forced to close.

‘Many publicans will be forced into even more debt just to survive. There is real anger when pubs have been working hard to operate safely.’

Meanwhile, Chris Snowdon, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, told MailOnline any tightening of restrictions involving the closure of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will be ‘counter-productive’.

He pointed to the situation in Bolton, where cases have rocketed by 39 per cent over the past seven days to 250 per 100,000 despite heightened restrictions on hospitality.

‘I suspect that a lot of the transmission in recent weeks is from private gatherings, many of which are technically illegal,’ he said, referring to infections across the whole country.

‘The 10pm closing time led to more house parties, less social distancing. I don’t think pubs being closed is going to stop people meeting for a drink.’

The BMA boss told The Times: ‘It cannot be easy for the public to understand what will make a difference if they’re told to wear a mask in one setting, but then it’s not required in another.

‘It’s clear that most workplaces were never designed for people to work two metres apart. The rules should be absolutely that where you are likely to interact with one another within two metres, you wear a mask indoors. 

‘In some settings, you will inevitably be in a situation where you’re meeting or mixing with others within that distance.’

Dr Nagpaul attacked Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick’s announcement that compulsory masks in offices ‘will be taken into consideration’, claiming: ‘You have got to more than consider — you have got to act now.’

The BMA is urging the Government to make masks free of charge to those who are exempt from prescription charges and also at the entrance of all public settings if a person has not brought one — at a nominal charge.

The medical body is also calling on the Government to modify the Rule of Six, which has been criticised as confusing by the public, so that only two households can meet ‘ideally outdoors, rather than indoors’.

Further financial support to businesses, retail and hospitality settings to enable them to make premises Covid-secure, the association added.

The BMA believes these additional measures pose a very low risk to the economy in the immediate term, despite overwhelming evidence that the Government’s ‘stay at home’ messaging wrecked Britain’s already wobbly economy.

Dr Nagpaul told the newspaper that imposing the ‘right safeguards’ now would minimise the risk of further lockdowns and significant economic disruption, amid reports that the Prime Minister will address the Commons on Monday about the proposed ‘Three Tier’ lockdown system.

He added that the NHS will be overwhelmed without the new measures, in an echo of fears in March and April which failed to materialise that the health system would be overrun by Covid patients.

In a statement, Dr Nagpaul said: ‘Simple effective rules and tighter restrictions are urgently needed to avoid communities suffering the paralysing impact of full local lockdowns and the impact that uncontrolled infections will have on our NHS.

‘With admissions to hospitals for Covid climbing rapidly in parts of England, there is an opportunity for the Westminster Government to bring in simple stronger restrictions alongside the introduction of its much trailed three-tiered approach.

‘The Government has a duty to regain the public’s confidence and faith in measures being taken to get the spread of the virus back under control. It must also provide the financial support businesses need to enable them to make premises and settings Covid secure while providing clear rules on what ‘Covid secure’ means.

‘We know that with the right public behaviour and renewed public confidence, the infection can be brought under control, given that we had less than 500 new cases a day in mid-July.

‘The infection has risen following rapid relaxation of measures and with the Westminster Government letting down its guard – as recently as August, the Government was encouraging people to travel, go to work and mix in restaurants and pubs. There was inconsistency in where and when to wear a face masks and how and when to mix socially.

Meanwhile, a Public Health England surveillance report published yesterday showed only three places across England have not recorded a rises in their per-person Covid-19 infection rates in the past week – Luton, Wolverhampton and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Calum Semple, an expert in outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said that people ‘should be wearing a mask’ even when outside (left). Dr Chaand Nagpaul (right), BMA chairman, said the Government’s measures to suppress Covid-19 are not working and called for further measures including a restriction of alcohol sales in England and a tightening of the Rule of Six to limit households to two

Britain’s coronavirus reproduction rate has fallen slightly, according to the Government’s scientific advisers. They say the current R value – the number of people each Covid-19 patient infects – is between 1.2 and 1.5. This is down slightly on last week’s range of 1.3 and 1.

‘It’s 13 or 14 U-TURNS so far’: Sir Keir Starmer accuses government of ‘serial incompetence’ over its Covid handling and slams Boris Johnson for spouting rhetoric about a ‘world-beating’ test-and-trace system when ‘it didn’t work’ 

Sir Keir Starmer today blasted Boris Johnson‘s ‘serial incompetence’ as he accused the Government of ‘bobbing all over the place’ over its handling of the coronavirus crisis. 

The Labour leader claimed the Prime Minister had bungled the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and accused him of committing ’13 or 14 U-turns’ so far.

Speaking at a Co-operative Party virtual conference, Sir Keir said: ‘At the moment, amongst my concerns is that the Government hasn’t really got any anchors. It’s bobbing all over the place.’

With swingeing new coronavirus restrictions expected to be imposed in parts of England next week, Sir Keir also blasted Chancellor Rishi Sunak‘s furlough-style bailout programme as full of ‘gaps’ — despite the new scheme being expected to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions a month.

‘The scheme that was unveiled yesterday goes a bit further, but there are still gaps in it,’ he said.

‘I think, though, that the Government has lost sight of the guiding principle, and the guiding principle should be that restrictions are always accompanied by appropriate economic support. If that had been the principle throughout, we wouldn’t be in the mess that we are in at the moment.’

‘We have drawn on a range of expertise from within the BMA to publish a set of recommendations which we feel, if introduced very quickly, could have a positive effect.

‘We are having to swallow a very bitter pill of the infection continuing to spread at a perilous rate. Stronger measures brought in now could be a far sweeter pill in the long run for far more people.’

If the BMA’s recommendations are adopted, Britain would follow Italy’s lead in making face masks and coverings compulsory in all outdoor settings.

The decree was approved at a cabinet meeting after a steady increase in cases over the last two months and came into effect on Thursday.

Several Italian regions including Lazio, around the capital Rome, had already made face masks mandatory.

Meanwhile, local leaders today urged the Government not to punish the North East of England with draconian lockdown restrictions forcing the closure of pubs and bars, as it is claimed the number of daily new coronavirus  infections in the region has begun to fall.

Stringent measures saw almost two million Britons barred from mixing with others from outside their household in private homes, gardens, pubs and restaurants on September 18. But Gateshead council leader Martin Gannon has claimed today that – when students are removed from the figures – the number of new cases in Newcastle and Gateshead is now starting to drop. 

‘We have evidence in the region – if you take the spike in students out – even in central Newcastle and central Gateshead we’re beginning to see a reduction in the number of new cases,’ he said. ‘What we’re saying is the measures are working at the moment.’

He bolstered calls from local chiefs across the region for ministers to dump their ‘counter-productive’ plans to pull the shutters down on local pubs and bars, arguing current restrictions are all that’s needed. 

Gateshead recorded a 72 per cent spike in its infection rate over the last seven days, according to Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report, rising from 129.4 to 221.7 cases per 100,000 people. In Newcastle the rate rose by 90 per cent, from 250.5 to 475 per 100,000.

More than 1,800 students tested positive for the virus in the North East on Thursday, with 1,003 at Newcastle University, 619 at Northumbria University and 219 at Durham University. Northumbria University also said 770 students had tested positive on October 3. Students in affected halls of residence have been asked to quarantine. 

Official Government data shows that the number of positive cases identified each day in the local areas appears to be declining. But experts have warned this may be due to delays in processing swabs, as labs continue to work through a backlog of samples. 

The above graph shows the number of patients in mechanical ventilator beds in the North East and Yorkshire

COUNTY DURHAM: Cases also appear to be falling in this local area. They are shown by date the test was taken

Data shows in Fallowfield in Manchester – a thriving student suburb of the city – five per cent of people tested positive for the disease in the week ending October 2

Landlords’ fury at plans to ‘order pubs to shut but allow restaurants to stay OPEN until 10pm’ 

Landlords are furious with Boris Johnson’s expected plans to order pubs to shut across northern England in a new coronavirus clampdown while restaurants can stay open until 10pm.

The Government’s new regime would see hospitality taking another hit as local restrictions would see pubs and bars in Merseyside and other parts of the North ordered to shut their doors. In a sign of official confusion, however, restaurants will be allowed to remain open until the curfew.

Similar measures are expected to be announced in Nottinghamshire as well as Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle, while the rules will be reviewed after a month.

In a joint statement, the mayors of Greater Manchester, the Sheffield and Liverpool city regions and North Tyne said: ‘What has been announced by the chancellor today is a start but, on first look, it would not appear to have gone far enough to prevent genuine hardship, job losses and business failure this winter.’

Industry experts also denounced the package, with Greg Mulholland of the Campaign for Pubs saying: ‘The level of support announced by the Chancellor is nowhere enough to compensate pubs being forced to close.

‘Many publicans will be forced into even more debt just to survive. There is real anger when pubs have been working hard to operate safely.’

Meanwhile, Chris Snowdon, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, told MailOnline any tightening of restrictions involving the closure of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will be ‘counter-productive’.

He pointed to the situation in Bolton, where cases have rocketed by 39 per cent over the past seven days to 250 per 100,000 despite heightened restrictions on hospitality.

‘I suspect that a lot of the transmission in recent weeks is from private gatherings, many of which are technically illegal,’ he said, referring to infections across the whole country.

‘The 10pm closing time led to more house parties, less social distancing. I don’t think pubs being closed is going to stop people meeting for a drink.’

Raising the alarm over tougher lockdown restrictions, Gateshead leader Mr Gannon told the Today programme they are fighting against tightened rules because the evidence suggests current measures are stemming the rising tide of infections. 

‘We’re opposing further restrictions in the North East on the basis of the scientific evidence,’ he said.

‘We have evidence in the region – there is a spike in students but if you take the students out – even in central Newcastle and central Gateshead – we’re beginning to see a reduction in the number of new cases.

‘So our argument is that even with the mixed messaging, even with the confusion and frustration, the measures that are in at the moment are beginning to work.

He pleaded: ‘Work with us, give us more time, help us to win confidence and persuade people – those really good people in Newcastle who want to do the right thing.’

The Labour leader also revealed he had a meeting with senior Government advisers and 40 other North East leaders this week to discuss the new restrictions, but no national politicians were present.

He said they made ‘very clear arguments’ to halt the closure of hospitality venues on the basis of evidence they had gathered.

‘I think new measures would be counter-productive,’ he said. ‘We had three different sets of regulations in 10 days which caused huge resistance and confusion.

‘Our argument is that even with the mixed messaging, even with the confusion and frustration, the measures that are in at the moment are beginning to work.’ 

It comes as the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham called on MPs to ‘reject’ Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme because it will lead to ‘severe redundancies’ across the North of England – and said hospitality employees should receive 100 per cent of their wages.

Under furlough mark two, workers can claim two-thirds of their wages up to £2,100 from the UK Government if coronavirus restrictions require their employers to pull down the shutters.

But Mr Burnham said the scheme would ‘surrender our residents to hardship in the run-up to Christmas and our businesses to potential failure’.

Speaking at a press conference also attended by mayors from Liverpool and North Tyne, he said the new scheme and further restrictions combined would bring an economic blow that would ‘level down’ the North.

‘It will level down the North of England and widen the North-South divide,’ he said.

‘We are today writing to all MPs who represent constituencies in the North of England. What we are asking our MP colleagues to do is to support what our MPs are saying and support constituents who are plunged into hardship by these measures.

‘We are asking them to bring about a vote to allow MPs either to support or – what we hope – to reject this package and require the Government to return with a package that responds fully to all of the points I’ve just made.’

His words were echoed by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson on the Today programme this morning, who blasted the scheme as ‘not generous’ and accused the Government of showing ‘disdain’ for the North.

Hammering the Government for not going far enough, Labour party member Anderson told the Today programme: ‘(The new furlough scheme) is not generous at all, it is indeed lower than the previous furlough scheme that was introduced.

‘I just wonder that if this was in Southern areas of the country, or in London, whether  it would be at this level and not at a different level. We feel, I feel personally, that the North is being treated with disdain by this Government.

‘But I guess, when you look at it, it’s better than nothing and the pressure that we’ve put on the last few weeks demanded some local furlough scheme. At least it’s now being heard’.

Mayor Anderson warned the city would likely be plunged into a ‘tier-three’ lockdown under plans to be announced by Boris Johnson on Monday. This would see the closure of pubs and bars, he said, but restaurants would be allowed to stay open until 10pm.

Liverpool’s infection rate spiked 116 per cent in the last week, according to figures compiled by Public Health England, rising from 239.3 to 517.4 cases per 100,000 people. 

Mr Gannon also put forward his concerns on the furlough scheme, warning many people working in pubs, bars and restaurants – which are likely to be asked to close – will struggle to ‘put food on the table’ with just two-thirds of their wages.

He told the Today programme: ‘I know people who work in the hospitality sector and even on full pay they struggle to put food on the table for their families.

‘For Rishi Sunak, I mean he may be able to live on two-thirds of his salary, you and I, we would be able to live on two-thirds of our salary, but for many of those people who work in the hospitality sector they can’t comply with requirements. They’re not going to obey the law on the basis of two-thirds of their salary.’ 

 Last drink before lockdown: Northern drinkers take advantage of the last weekend before the region is expected to be plunged into strict coronavirus restrictions

Northern revellers were out in full force last night as they took advantage of the last weekend before the region is predicted to be plunged into even tougher Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Boris Johnson is expected to unveil a ‘three-tier’ lockdown system on Monday, which will see England carved into three levels of restrictions – with pubs, restaurants and leisure facilities shut in areas with the highest infection rates.

Those placed under the toughest restrictions are also expected to be told not to have any contact with people outside their household in any setting, an insider familiar with the proposals told Sky News.

This goes further than current rules in place across swathes of the North of England, where residents are currently able to meet other households outdoors – aside from in private gardens and pubs.

The mechanism for classifying ‘red’ zones are still unclear, but they are expected to cover Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle – three cities that have continued to see infection rises despite local lockdowns.

Last night, hundreds of drinkers were again undeterred by the nationwide 10pm curfew imposed on bars, pubs and restaurants as they flocked to venues across Britain.

Young women were pictured posing in face masks and laughing with their friends as they strolled through Newcastle on Friday despite a rising number of Covid-19 cases in the city.  

In London, Britons took the party to Leicester Square after pubs and bars closed due to the coronavirus restrictions – hours after Sadiq Khan warned tighter lockdown measures in the capital were ‘inevitable’. 

The streets were also busy in Birmingham and Liverpool, which has been subject to localised rules on social mixing since last weekend as the city’s infection rate soared to almost 600 cases per 100,000 people.

Northern revellers were out in full force last night as they took advantage of the last weekend before the region is predicted to be plunged into even tougher Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Pictured: Drinkers in Liverpool

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to formally unveil plans to split the country into three tiers of lockdown restrictions on Monday. Pictured: Revellers out in Newcastle last night

The infection rate in Newcastle has continued to soar – with 516.1 new cases per 100,000 people detected over the past week. Pictured: Drinkers in Newcastle

A reveller in Liverpool city centre enjoying the last weekend before Covid-19 restrictions are expected to force pubs and bars close in the area

Rowdy revellers banged on the doors of a McDonald’s restaurant in Newcastle demanding chicken after the eatery closed at 10pm on Friday

Crowds chanted ‘we want chicken’ outside the fast food branch, which closed early in line with safety measures introduced by Boris Johnson amid the Covid-19 pandemic

Footage from Newcastle last night has captured rowdy revellers banging on the doors of a McDonald’s restaurant demanding chicken after the eatery closed at 10pm.

Crowds chanted ‘we want chicken’ outside the fast food branch which had closed early in line with safety measures introduced by Mr Johnson amid the Covid-19 pandemic.  

In the clip, taken minutes after the 10pm curfew,  drunk revellers are seen gathering outside the takeaway and demanding to be served food.

In one moment, a man charges towards the doors before lifting his shirt and displaying his bare chest to staff inside the restaurant. He then begins to bang his fist on the doors and attempts to pry the entrance open as onlookers cheer him on.       

Alongside the nationwide curfew, tougher rules on social mixing have also been introduced in the North East. 

These measures currently ban locals from socialising with people outside their household and ‘support bubble’ in private homes and indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants.  

Anyone found to be in breach of these rules could be dispersed by police and fined £200, which would double for each offence up to a maximum of £6,400.       

But despite the introduction of these rules last month, the infection rate in Newcastle has continued to soar – with 516.1 new cases per 100,000 people detected over the past week.

Footage taken minutes after the 10pm curfew came into force shows drunk revellers gathering outside the takeaway and demanding to be served food

In one moment, a man charges towards the doors before lifting his shirt and displaying his bare chest to staff inside the restaurant

He then begins to bang his fist on the doors and attempts to pry the entrance open as onlookers cheer him on

Hundreds of young people were again undeterred by the nationwide curfew imposed on bars, pubs and restaurants as they flocked to the city centre on Friday

Women were pictured posing in face masks and laughing with their friends as they strolled through Newcastle on Friday – despite a rising number of Covid-19 cases in the city

Alongside the nationwide curfew, tougher rules on social mixing have also been introduced in the North East. Pictured: Young women in Newcastle last night

Local rules ban those in Newcastle from socialising with people outside their households and ‘support bubbles’ in private homes and indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants

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The Government’s deputy chief medical officer has claimed the UK is nearly back to where it was in March as hospital admissions for coronavirus surged by 50 per cent in a week in England.

Jonathan Van-Tam told MPs that intensive care units in the North West could be full within three weeks as the latest figures show there are now 3,090 Covid-19 patients being treated in English hospitals. This is just seven fewer than on March 23, when the national lockdown was imposed.

On Wednesday, 491 new patients were admitted to hospitals, close to the 586 on March 19 — the week before Boris Johnson gave his ‘stay at home’ order.

During that time the average number of daily admissions has surged from 285 to 441, showing that hospitalisations are picking up now that the number of cases is hitting high levels.

Hospital admissions could be doubling every week in the North West as Professor Van-Tam said the region’s intensive care beds were ‘two to three doubling times’ away from capacity.

Yesterday Britain recorded 13,864 cases and 87 deaths, compared with just 74 deaths on March 19. At the time, the coronavirus epidemic was doubling every three or four days.

Official figures released yesterday indicate that the true figure of infections doubled in a week to 45,000 a day amid fears the outbreak is ‘getting out of control’.

The latest figures mean Newcastle has the fifth-highest rate of Covid-19 in the UK. 

Professor Eugene Milne, the director of public health for Newcastle, told the Newcastle Chronicle that despite growing infection rates in the city, the current restrictions appear to be succeeding in curtailing spread of the virus.    

He said: ‘We appear to have curtailed, at the moment, the rise in Covid in the city and we are still in a position of relative protection of the oldest and most vulnerable age group.  

‘On the basis of the data that I have shown you, I think there is some evidence that it seems to have curtailed the rise in cases. 

‘I would focus our efforts on containing that large outbreak among university students and making sure they are properly protected, their welfare is addressed, and we prevent any spread from that into the rest of the city.’ 

He explained there are two ‘quite distinct’ Covid-19 outbreaks in Newcastle: the spread among the general population and a rapid but ‘still containable’ rise among students.  

Newcastle University confirmed on Thursday that 1,003 new coronavirus cases had been detected in students and 12 in staff between October 1 and 7.  

Another 619 cases among students were confirmed by Northumbria University. 

It comes as the Prime Minister is expected to make a Commons statement on Monday setting out an anticipated ‘three tier’ approach to coronavirus outbreak restrictions. 

In a letter to MPs, the Mr Johnson’s chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister said ‘rising incidence’ of Covid in parts of the country mean it is ‘very likely’ that certain areas will face ‘further restrictions’. 

He added that Mr Johnson believed local leaders should ‘help shape the package of measures in the most concerning areas’. The Government will discuss ‘difficult choices’ with local leaders, it was said.

Britain’s daily coronavirus case count dropped last night to 13,864 from more than 17,000 on Thursday and official estimates of the R rate suggest the outbreak may be slowing in a ray of hope for the UK’s second wave.But a hat-trick of reports warn the country is still on a precipice with up to 45,000 people catching it every day and fears the outbreak is ‘getting out of control’.   

Anyone found to be breaking these rules could be dispersed by police and fined £200, which would then double for each offence up to a maximum of £6,400

Despite the introduction of these rules last month, the infection rate in Newcastle has continued to soar – with 516.1 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week

Swathes of the North of England, including Manchester and Liverpool, could be placed immediately into the tier with the most severe restrictions, so pubs and restaurants would have to shut their doors. Pictured: Revellers out in Newcastle tonight

Public Health England data on outbreaks conflicts with that from NHS Test & Trace and shows that more coronavirus outbreaks are linked to schools and offices than to pubs and restaurants

Revellers leave the pubs after closing time in Liverpool city centre this evening enjoying the last weekend before COVID restrictions force pubs and bars close in the area

Britons queue up in Liverpool city centre as they enjoy the last weekend before Covid restrictions force pubs and bars close in the area

Those in Birmingham city centre enjoy possibly the last Friday out before Boris’ three-tier lockdown system is introduced. Birmingham is in a third tier zone and is expected to be landed with forced closures of pubs bars and restaurants

Britain recorded 13,864 new coronavirus cases in just 24 hours. Pictured: Revellers in Liverpool enjoying the last weekend before COVID restrictions force pubs and bars close in the area

The Prime Minister will spend the weekend finalising local measures to be announced on Monday that could see pubs and restaurants ordered to shut in large parts of the North of England. Pictured: Revellers in Liverpool this evening

People leave Carnaby Street, London, after the 10pm curfew that pubs and restaurants are subject to in order to combat the rise in coronavirus cases as it emerges the Prime Minister will introduce new restrictions on Monday

‘STOP locking-down to control Covid’: Britain’s WHO envoy pleads with world leaders to stop using lockdowns as their ‘primary’ means of tackling virus because it is ‘doubling’ global poverty 

Britain’s envoy to the World Health Organisation has pleaded with governments to refrain from locking-down every time coronavirus infections rise as he slammed the ‘ghastly global catastrophe’ caused by crashing the world economy.

Dr David Nabarro blasted the use of lockdowns as a ‘primary means of controlling this virus’ and said they are only justified ‘to buy you time to reorganise, regroup rebalance your resources’ and ‘protect your health workers’.

Speaking to Andrew Neil for The Spectator magazine, the WHO scientist bemoaned the collapse of the tourism industry and claimed there would be a ‘doubling’ in the levels of world poverty and child malnutrition by next year as he warned that lockdowns make ‘poor people an awful lot poorer’.

‘I want to say it again: We in the World Health Organisation do not advocate lockdowns as a primary means of controlling this virus,’ Dr Nabarro said.

‘The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted. But by and large, we’d rather not do it. 

‘Just look at what’s happened to the tourism industry, for example, in the Caribbean or in the Pacific because people aren’t taking their holidays. Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world because their markets have got dented.

‘Look what’s happening to poverty levels — it seems we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition because children are not getting meals at school and their parents, in poor families, are not able to afford it.

Dr David Nabarro, Britain’s envoy to the WHO, blasted the use of lockdowns as a ‘primary means of controlling this virus’ and said they are only justified ‘to buy you time to reorganise, regroup rebalance your resources’ and ‘protect your health workers’

‘This is a terrible, ghastly global catastrophe, actually. And so, we really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method. Develop better systems for doing it.

‘Work together and learn from each other, but remember, lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.’

Dr Nabarro, an Imperial College scientist, had previously told CNN that governments could respond to coronavirus outbreaks with city, regional or national lockdowns.

Speaking to MailOnline today, the WHO envoy explained that the options for responding to Covid are ‘presented as a stark choice’ and warned that reacting to spikes of the disease with lockdowns has ‘enormous social and economic consequences’.  

‘In recent weeks I have become more and more convinced of the need to do everything possible to avoid widespread lockdowns and only use them as a last resort,’ he said. ‘This is because of the way they impact on people’s livelihoods, mental health, non-Covid illnesses, access to education and more.

‘If clusters and outbreaks do appear, they should be slowed and then suppressed promptly and that is why localised and targeted movement restrictions, implemented jointly by local actors and national authorities, will be needed from time to time. They should be kept as time-limited as possible.’ 

Speaking to Andrew Neil for The Spectator, the WHO scientist bemoaned the collapse of the tourism industry and claimed there would be a ‘doubling’ in the level of world poverty by next year as he warned that lockdowns make ‘poor people an awful lot poorer’

His stark comments echo repeated warnings made by Oxford epidemiologist Dr Sunetra Gupta, whose open letter calling for an end to compelled lockdown has been signed by more than 6,500 scientists. 

The letter, which was penned by Dr Gupta, Harvard University’s Dr Martin Kulldorff and Stanford’s Dr Jay Bhattacharya, has since been backed by more than 60,000 members of the public, warns that tough social distancing rules are having ‘damaging physical and mental health impacts’. 

Most of the population, they argue, is not at risk of dying if they catch Covid-19 and efforts should be focused on protecting those who are vulnerable, while letting everyone else get on with their lives as normal. 

The letter, named the Great Barrington Declaration after the town in Massachusetts where it was written, is a rallying cry for top experts and politicians to stop running from the coronavirus and to learn to live with it. More than 2,800 scientists have signed the petition, as well as almost 3,800 medical practitioners.

‘Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal,’ the scientists say. They add: ‘Keeping these (lockdown) measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.’ 

In the Great Barrington Declaration the scientists write: ‘Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. 

‘The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular [heart] disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. 

‘Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.

‘Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.’

They say that elderly people are 1,000 times more likely to die of Covid-19 than children, meaning the two groups should not face the same rules.

‘Focused Prevention’ could protect the vulnerable – by using care home staff who have already had the virus, for example, by delivering groceries to elderly people so they don’t have to go shopping, or by families meeting outdoors instead of inside.

Normal hygiene rules such as regular hand-washing and self-isolation for people who are ill should continue, but life for young, healthy people could go on, they said.

‘Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal,’ Dr Gupta and colleagues wrote. 

‘Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. 

‘Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. 

‘Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.’

The herd immunity focus of the declaration will not be met with open arms by all.

Scientists still cannot prove whether people develop any immunity to Covid-19 after catching it the first time. 

If it turns out that people regularly get the illness twice or more it may mean that turn the concept of herd immunity on its head. There have been sporadic reports from around the world of reinfection, but the circumstances that allow it to happen are unclear.

For many of the people who are alleged to have caught it twice, scientists suspect their original illness never cleared up or their test results were wrong somewhere along the line.  

The Great Barrington Declaration

Scientists from the world’s top universities have penned an open letter calling for the UK and US to build herd immunity to Covid-19 by letting it spread in young people 

‘As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing Covid-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.

‘Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. 

‘The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.

‘Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

‘Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from Covid-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, Covid-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.

‘As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. 

‘Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.

‘The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.

‘Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to Covid-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.

‘Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. 

‘Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.’ 

Covid marshals armed with body cameras will be sent into pubs, weddings and parties to catch rule breakers under new government plan  

A snooper army of Covid marshals armed with body cameras will film evidence of breaches of coronavirus restrictions at weddings, parties, pubs and restaurants under new Government guidelines published this week. 

Boris Johnson‘s derided marshals, dubbed ‘Covid Wombles’, will be expected to call police or council inspectors to enforce any breaches at premises they visit.

They will be given a checklist of coronavirus measures to ensure compliance in hospitality venues including pubs, bars, restaurants, takeaways and shops, as well as tourist attractions, ‘close contact services’ including hairdressers and nail bars, and ‘wedding receptions and celebrations’.

The guidance, published by Robert Jenrick‘s Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, suggests the marshals should receive security training and could operate a yellow card system — where they issue two warnings before businesses face fines or closure.

In a move suggesting that there will be confrontations with unhappy members of the public, the guidance also suggests the marshals should be trained in ‘deescalation techniques’.

A snooper army of Covid marshals armed with body cameras will film evidence of breaches of coronavirus restrictions at weddings, parties, pubs and restaurants under new Government guidelines published this week (pictured, a marshal in Cornwall)

Boris Johnson’s derided marshals, dubbed ‘Covid Wombles’, will be expected to call police or council inspectors to enforce any breaches at premises they visit. They will be given a checklist of coronavirus measures to ensure compliance in hospitality venues including pubs, bars, restaurants, takeaways and shops, as well as tourist attractions, ‘close contact services’ including hairdressers and nail bars, and ‘wedding receptions and celebrations’

They will encourage social distancing and order members of the public to wear face masks. However, the guidance states their role is ‘not to enforce Covid-19 regulations’, but to ‘engage, explain and encourage best practice and national Covid-19-secure guidance’.

The Covid marshals, who were called ‘busybodies’ by lockdown sceptics when the Government announced the new position, will be expected to prevent mingling between groups in pubs and clubs, and on the streets after the 10pm curfew.

The guidance also states there will be two grades of Covid marshals — Type 2 marshals, which will have a ‘policing’-style role, and Type 1 marshals responsible for the more mundane tasks of directing pedestrians through one-way systems and handing out face coverings.

The Government has given councils £30million to recruit and train the Covid marshals, who should be issued with PPE, high-vis jackets and radio systems, the guidance adds.

The guidance, published by Robert Jenrick’s Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, suggests the marshals should receive security training and could operate a yellow card system — where they issue two warnings before businesses face fines or closure. In a move suggesting that there will be confrontations with unhappy members of the public, the guidance also suggests the marshals should be trained in ‘deescalation techniques’

Marshals are already a presence on Cornwall’s streets, ensuring people are ‘respecting social distancing.’ They work alongside Cornwall Council’s public protection officers who have been giving support and advice to businesses on reopening safely in towns and villages across Cornwall.

One marshal called Dan said he has been enjoying providing reassurance to some of Camborne’s older residents and getting to know local businesses in the process.

‘So far, most visitors have been really co-operative and do their best to follow the guidelines and respect social distancing,’ he said.

‘I especially like helping reassure some of our older residents. I’ve got to know the local businesses and it’s great to know they’re all really keen to do what they can to make their customers and staff feel comfortable.’

Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for the economy, said: ‘The presence of these marshals and our public protection officers play a hugely valuable role in giving a bit of extra help where needed.

‘You can be assured that your safety is top-of-mind at all times, so do say a friendly ‘hi’ (dydh da) when you see them.’ 

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