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15 tips for free family fun: Our ideas to keep the kids entertained

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15 tips for free family fun our ideas to keep the kids entertained

After months stuck at home, many parents are running out of ideas to keep the kids entertained. 

With budgets tight, here Money Mail has rounded up 15 tips for free (or almost free) family fun.

Take part in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Wild Challenge and complete a series of activities, such as building a bird box or bird bath with household items

Take part in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Wild Challenge and complete a series of activities, such as building a bird box or bird bath with household items

Take part in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Wild Challenge and complete a series of activities, such as building a bird box or bird bath with household items

1. GO BIRD WATCHING

Take part in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Wild Challenge and complete a series of activities, such as building a bird box or bird bath with household items. See rspb.org.uk.

2. SPACE MISSION

Your child’s summer camp may be cancelled, but there are free online versions for arts and sciences. 

For example, Cosmoto is a five-week space-themed course for children, aged five to ten. Visit cosmotospace.org.

Farms have started to re-open to visitors and many don't charge for entry. However, there may be restrictions on some of the activities, such as animal petting

Farms have started to re-open to visitors and many don't charge for entry. However, there may be restrictions on some of the activities, such as animal petting

Farms have started to re-open to visitors and many don’t charge for entry. However, there may be restrictions on some of the activities, such as animal petting

3. FARMYARD FUN

Farms have started to re-open to visitors and many don’t charge for entry. However, there may be restrictions on some of the activities, such as animal petting. 

St James City Farm in Gloucester, for example, is free to visitors. Contact your local farm online.

Audible has released hundreds of free audiobooks including Winnie-the-Pooh

Audible has released hundreds of free audiobooks including Winnie-the-Pooh

Audible has released hundreds of free audiobooks including Winnie-the-Pooh

4. LISTEN IN

Audible has released hundreds of free audiobooks including Winnie-the-Pooh and Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. 

You don’t even need to download the app, just listen online through your desktop or smartphone. See stories.audible.com.

5. MOVIE MAGIC

The Stop Motion Studio app helps children create their own animated films such as Wallace And Gromit. 

It’s free to download, but there are in-app purchases. 

For example, you need to pay 79p to use images from your phone. You will need an iPhone or iPad to use it. Go to apps.apple.com.

6. WALK AND TALK

Many walking tours are free aside from an optional tip for the guide. Sandemans New Europe runs free walking tours in Edinburgh. Visit neweuropetours.eu.

7. MAP A ROUTE

Orienteering is a fun way to teach kids map reading skills. The National Trust has trails on its website. 

For example, the Wildflower Trail in Stonebarrow, Dorset. Go to nationaltrust.org.uk.

8. MAZE RUNNING

Peter Rabbit fans may enjoy the free Beatrix Potter collection at the V&A museum

Peter Rabbit fans may enjoy the free Beatrix Potter collection at the V&A museum

Peter Rabbit fans may enjoy the free Beatrix Potter collection at the V&A museum

Many mazes are now starting to re-open. Some don’t charge for entry, including the Minotaur Maze at Kielder Castle, in Northumberland. Book in advance. See visitkielder.com.

9. SPORT FOR ALL

Most councils run free activity and fitness sessions. Islington council has set up a Summerversity for teenagers with kayaking and tennis. Go to summerversity.co.uk.

10. VISIT A MUSEUM

Many museums are re-opening. The V&A in London is welcoming back visitors from August 6. 

Peter Rabbit fans may enjoy the free Beatrix Potter collection. You must book online at vam.ac.uk.

11. PICK UP A FREEBIE

Before heading to the shops to buy a bike or paddling pool, search the website Freecycle (freecycle.org.uk). 

Enter your local area and see what is up for grabs. Try Facebook Marketplace, too.

12. RAINY DAYS

If it’s too wet to play outside, download a free indoor treasure hunt activity sheet to track down items in your home. Find details at dayoutwiththekids.co.uk.

13. FLORA AND FAUNA

PlantSnap can identify 90 per cent of all plant species. Download the app on your smartphone and start taking pictures of flowers to learn more. See plantsnap.com.

PlantSnap can identify 90 per cent of all plant species. Download the app on your smartphone and start taking pictures of flowers to learn more

PlantSnap can identify 90 per cent of all plant species. Download the app on your smartphone and start taking pictures of flowers to learn more

PlantSnap can identify 90 per cent of all plant species. Download the app on your smartphone and start taking pictures of flowers to learn more

14. USE UP VOUCHERS

Many families will have enough reward points or vouchers for a free day out. For example, turn 50p of Tesco Clubcard vouchers into £1.50 towards a ticket for Legoland, Windsor. 

Tickets are priced from £29 at legoland.co.uk.

15. BOOKWORM FUN

Many local council libraries encourage children to take part in the annual Summer Reading Challenge. See summerreading challenge.org.uk.

f.parker@dailymail.co.uk

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Ex-Supreme Court judge LORD SUMPTION denounces No10’s rule of muddle and authoritarianism 

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ex supreme court judge lord sumption denounces no10s rule of muddle and authoritarianism

We are witnessing the slow demise of one of the great conceits of the modern world: the notion that the big-hearted State can protect us against every misfortune and that human beings are mere tools of State policy to be pushed about like pawns on a chessboard according to the changing impulses of its ministers.

The attempt to control the spread of Covid-19 by coercion has failed. It has failed in Britain. It has failed throughout Europe and North America.

It has failed in Israel. It has failed in Australia. The measures which these countries have taken have varied in their severity, but not in their outcome.

What is the plan, now that the risk of overwhelming the NHS has subsided? Where is the exit route? These are all important questions. But all we get for answers are sub-Churchillian blather from the Prime Minister and snarling threats from Mr Hancock

What is the plan, now that the risk of overwhelming the NHS has subsided? Where is the exit route? These are all important questions. But all we get for answers are sub-Churchillian blather from the Prime Minister and snarling threats from Mr Hancock

What is the plan, now that the risk of overwhelming the NHS has subsided? Where is the exit route? These are all important questions. But all we get for answers are sub-Churchillian blather from the Prime Minister and snarling threats from Mr Hancock

A lockdown is the most extreme form of social distancing in the State’s armoury. Yet wherever it has been imposed, the virus has simply bounced back to hit us when it was lifted. 

Some of the most repressive measures, like those imposed in Spain and Israel, have seen the worst outcomes.

If lockdowns do not work, what hope is there for lesser measures like the rule of six and pub curfews, which are like fighting off a tiger with a feather duster?

Aggressive measures of social distancing have failed for two straightforward reasons.

Principally, they conflict with the most basic instincts of humanity. We are social animals. 

The attempt to control the spread of Covid-19 by coercion has failed. It has failed in Britain. It has failed throughout Europe and North America. It has failed in Israel. It has failed in Australia. The measures which these countries have taken have varied in their severity, but not in their outcome. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is pictured above

The attempt to control the spread of Covid-19 by coercion has failed. It has failed in Britain. It has failed throughout Europe and North America. It has failed in Israel. It has failed in Australia. The measures which these countries have taken have varied in their severity, but not in their outcome. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is pictured above

The attempt to control the spread of Covid-19 by coercion has failed. It has failed in Britain. It has failed throughout Europe and North America. It has failed in Israel. It has failed in Australia. The measures which these countries have taken have varied in their severity, but not in their outcome. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is pictured above

Our instincts and our culture are based on interconnections with other humans. 

The whole organisation of our lives, in cities, workplaces, schools and families depends on physical proximity.

It is possible to isolate limited numbers of people who are diagnosed as infectious.

Human societies have done this from time immemorial. But the whole population cannot be turned into hermits at the Government’s command. 

Also, aggressive measures of social distancing can only have a significant impact on the spread of an endemic disease if they are kept in place indefinitely.

This would not only crush the social dimension of our humanity. It would destroy our economy and the education and job prospects of our children.

It would also require brutal methods of enforcement which would violate basic standards of decency.

There must be a price which is too high to pay, even for saving lives. In the long run, the Government’s measures will not even do that.

Theoretically, Covid-19 might spontaneously mutate in ways which will make it less dangerous. But short of that, no serious epidemiologist thinks that it will simply go away.

Even a vaccine will not necessarily provide long-term or universal protection. There is a growing consensus that we will have to live with Covid-19 long term. The State can prepare its health services.

It can fund scientific research. But in the long run, it cannot save us from infection by new pathogens.

This is an unwelcome mesSage for the many people who instinctively believe in the universal efficacy of State action. But we have to face facts. 

Unfortunately, public debate is descending into a polarised slanging match reminiscent of the worst of the arguments about Brexit.

People who object to social distancing resort to abuse of those who are nervous of the disease, dismissing them as craven wets and cowards.

If lockdowns do not work, what hope is there for lesser measures like the rule of six and pub curfews, which are like fighting off a tiger with a feather duster? People are pictured above in Soho, London

If lockdowns do not work, what hope is there for lesser measures like the rule of six and pub curfews, which are like fighting off a tiger with a feather duster? People are pictured above in Soho, London

If lockdowns do not work, what hope is there for lesser measures like the rule of six and pub curfews, which are like fighting off a tiger with a feather duster? People are pictured above in Soho, London

On the other hand, those who support aggressive measures of social control just get cross when presented with unpalatable truths.

They appeal to social solidarity, bandying epithets like ‘selfish’. The problem about solidarity is that it is really a call to abandon rational thought and logical analysis in favour of emotion. Solidarity in an ill-thought out cause helps no one.

I am getting used to being labelled a ‘libertarian’ as if this was a self-evidently bad thing to be. I would not like to live in a country where people rejected liberty. Nor, I suspect, would those who use ‘libertarian’ as a term of abuse. 

In fact, I have never believed that liberty is an absolute value, overriding all other considerations. But I regard it as an important value, which is the fundamental condition of human happiness and creativity.

It follows that those who press for measures to curtail it can reasonably be expected to produce convincing evidence that those measures are likely to work and will not be worse than the effects of the disease.

What kind of evidence has our Government ever produced?

At an early stage, it claimed to be ‘guided by the science’. This would have been a specious claim even if it were true because the issue is not just scientific. It is also moral, social, constitutional and economic.

We could not just leave it to scientists, even if the scientists were agreed. But they are not agreed. To name only the more prominent dissenters, Professors Carl Heneghan and Sanetra Gupta of Oxford University, Professor Mark Woolhouse of Edinburgh University, the Nobel Prize winner Professor Michael Levitt of Stanford University, the Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell and the behavioural scientist Professor Robert Dingwall have all questioned some of the basic assumptions underlying the Government’s measures.

Their arguments have been rational and evidence-based, but have received no coherent answer to date.

One reason for that is that the Government has not, in fact, been guided by the science. The published minutes of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) suggest that there were three main themes of the advice that was given in March, when the lockdown was imposed.

All three have been borne out by subsequent events, but all three were ignored by ministers.

The first was the importance of trusting to the public’s good sense and instinct for self-preservation. On March 13, ten days before the lockdown, Sage advised that ‘citizens should be treated as rational, capable of taking decisions for themselves and managing personal risk’.

The Government has never accepted that. It has throughout resorted instinctively to coercion.

The second theme of Sage’s advice was that we are not all in this together. The main risks are faced by the old and clinically vulnerable, but the burden of universal measures of control is borne mainly by the young and healthy, for whom the symptoms were likely to be mild and the risk of death tiny. Government measures should recognise the distinction.

On March 10, Sage advised that ‘social distancing (‘cocooning’) is for those 70 and over, as well as those of any age in vulnerable groups’.

Three days later, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance told Radio Four’s Today programme that the aim was to build up some herd immunity among the young and healthy who could safely be exposed to the disease while protecting the most vulnerable who could not.

This would have been a rational policy based on a real distinction. The latest bulletin of the Office for National Statistics records that more than 89 per cent of deaths associated with Covid-19 have been of people aged over 65.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, they also had serious underlying conditions. But the Government’s measures have been applied indiscriminately to everyone. This is not rational policy-making.

The third theme was that aggressive social distancing measures would have little effect in the long term unless they remained in place until a vaccine was available, something which would need careful thought about the social and economic cost.

‘Measures which are too effective,’ the Imperial College team advised on February 25, ‘merely push all transmission to the period after they are lifted, giving a delay but no substantial reduction in either peak incidence or overall attack rate.’ That advice was repeated on several subsequent occasions and repeatedly ignored.

The Government was blown off course by two things.

I am getting used to being labelled a 'libertarian' as if this was a self-evidently bad thing to be. I would not like to live in a country where people rejected liberty, writes Lord Sumption, pictured above

I am getting used to being labelled a 'libertarian' as if this was a self-evidently bad thing to be. I would not like to live in a country where people rejected liberty, writes Lord Sumption, pictured above

I am getting used to being labelled a ‘libertarian’ as if this was a self-evidently bad thing to be. I would not like to live in a country where people rejected liberty, writes Lord Sumption, pictured above

Initially, there was rage in the media about the notion of herd immunity, although it is no more than a factual description of the way epidemics have come to an end throughout history.

And then there was Government scientist Professor Neil Ferguson’s statistical model suggesting a ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ of 510,000 deaths. That prediction assumed that vulnerable people would take no distancing precautions if left to themselves, which was never a realistic assumption.

It also assumed that infections would increase exponentially, a view supported by no reliable data at the time and contradicted by the experience of China, where infections had levelled off quite early.

They are making the same mistake now. The fancy charts produced by [Chief Medical Officer] Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick on Monday assumed an exponential growth of infections, with cases doubling every week. Yet the recent experience of France and Spain, which they claimed to be studying, contradicts this. 

There, taking the onset of symptoms as the relevant time, infections have been doubling every three weeks for a limited period before levelling off.

This kind of briefing undermines public trust in the information that we are being given, some of which seems designed more to terrify us into submission than to present the real risks. 

The Government says that if it does not control every one, the disease will spread from the young and healthy to the old and vulnerable. 

This is a big risk in care homes, where people cannot shield themselves against infection by staff and where, shamefully, more than 40 per cent of Covid-related deaths have occurred.

But care homes are the one environment where public authorities ought to be in control, with proper supplies of PPE and frequent tests of staff. Outside care homes, the risk to the old and vulnerable depends on the choices which they make. 

With a few exceptions (such as those living in multi-generational households), they can shelter themselves if they wish. Many of them will prefer to take the risk. Those who have less time remaining to them may rationally prefer quality of life to quantity.

They may prefer to hug their grandchildren than to treat them as angels of death. Why should they not be allowed to make that choice for themselves, instead of having some distant minister make it for them? 

We all know our own situation and that of the people around us, and can manage the epidemic better than Messrs Johnson and Hancock if we are allowed to.

Yet we are told that they will lock us down if we not do the Government’s bidding and possibly even if we do. We are menaced with £10,000 fines at the discretion of any policeman in the land. 

We are advised to inform on our neighbours. In Scotland, students are ordered in strident tones not to go to pubs or socialise, and in England we are told that they might not be allowed home for Christmas.

What kind of country have we become where arrogant bullying of this kind is regarded as a proper function of ministers?

We now learn that the Government expects current restrictions to last six months. Until what?

Until the virus obligingly departs? Until there is an effective vaccine, whenever that may be? 

Until the next ill-considered idea for reordering our lives? What is the plan, now that the risk of overwhelming the NHS has subsided? Where is the exit route?

These are all important questions. But all we get for answers are sub-Churchillian blather from the Prime Minister and snarling threats from Mr Hancock.

This is all about covering politicians’ backs. Ministers cannot retreat from the policy of coercion without implicitly admitting that it never was a good idea.

They think that they will be criticised for inaction even if action is useless and propels millions into misery and financial disaster.

They hope that they will still be able to say ‘At least we did what we could’.

I suggest that this is a miscalculation. When the final accounts are taken, the only country where people are likely to feel gratitude for their rulers is Sweden.

In Britain, those who believe that wise governments can triumph over epidemic disease will say that this Government failed because it was not wise enough.

Those who believe that governments cannot, Canute-like, bid the incoming tides to retreat, will blame them for their blighted job-prospects, increased taxes, empty pockets and lost months.

Either way, the Government will be damned.

So it might as well try acting in the public interest for a change.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Burnley is now England’s Covid hotspot with 228 new cases in seven days

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burnley is now englands covid hotspot with 228 new cases in seven days

Burnley is England’s new coronavirus hotspot as the rolling seven-day rate of new cases for Covid-19 are calculated for local authority areas in England.   

The figures, for the seven days to September 23, are based on tests carried out in laboratories (pillar one of the Government’s testing programme) and in the wider community (pillar two).

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

In Burnley, 228 new cases were recorded in the seven days to September 23 - the equivalent of 256.4 per 100,000 people

In Burnley, 228 new cases were recorded in the seven days to September 23 - the equivalent of 256.4 per 100,000 people

In Burnley, 228 new cases were recorded in the seven days to September 23 – the equivalent of 256.4 per 100,000 people

Liverpool has the second highest rate, up from 131.1 to 243.8 with 1,214 new cases

Liverpool has the second highest rate, up from 131.1 to 243.8 with 1,214 new cases

Liverpool has the second highest rate, up from 131.1 to 243.8 with 1,214 new cases

Data for the most recent three days (September 24-26) has been excluded as it is incomplete and likely to be revised.

In Burnley, 228 new cases were recorded in the seven days to September 23 – the equivalent of 256.4 per 100,000 people.

Burnley has the highest rate in England, up from 145.1 in the seven days to September 16.

Liverpool has the second highest rate, up from 131.1 to 243.8 with 1,214 new cases.

Knowsley is in third place, where the rate has risen from 132.6 to 241.9, with 365 new cases.

Other areas recording sharp increases in their seven-day rates include:

  • Newcastle upon Tyne (up from 87.2 to 228.8, with 693 new cases)
  • Pendle (up from 97.7 to 203.0 with 187 new cases) 
  • Sunderland (up from 78.9 to 180.0, with 500 new cases) 
  • Halton (up from 125.2 to 214.0 with 277 new cases) 
  • Sefton (up from 74.2 to 162.8, with 450 new cases) 

The list is based on Public Health England data published on September 26 on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard. 

Knowsley is in third place, where the rate has risen from 132.6 to 241.9, with 365 new cases

Knowsley is in third place, where the rate has risen from 132.6 to 241.9, with 365 new cases

Knowsley is in third place, where the rate has risen from 132.6 to 241.9, with 365 new cases

In Bolton, the rate is 235.1, which has risen from 199.6 the week before

In Bolton, the rate is 235.1, which has risen from 199.6 the week before

In Bolton, the rate is 235.1, which has risen from 199.6 the week before

Almost 18million Britons will be living under tighter coronavirus restrictions by 6pm tomorrow, after the UK announced a record 6,874 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Households in the Welsh town of Llanelli were set to be banned from entering each other’s homes and gardens from 6pm today, with the nation’s two biggest cities of Cardiff and Swansea to follow suit in the next 24 hours. Residents will also be banned from entering or leaving the areas without a ‘reasonable excuse’.  

It comes after lockdowns were already imposed in large swathes of the North East and North West of England. 

More than a quarter of the UK is set to be under tighter restrictions, including half of the Welsh population.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there had been an ‘acceleration of Covid-19 cases across the country, especially in the North West and the North East’.

‘Working alongside our scientific and public health experts and local leaders, we are prepared to take swift and decisive action to reduce transmission of the virus and protect communities,’ he said. ‘I recognise the burden and impact these additional measures have on our daily lives but we must act collectively and quickly to bring down infections.’

Meanwhile London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the capital was at a ‘very worrying topping point’ with rising Covid-19 cases, NHS 111 calls, hospital admissions and patients in intensive care units. 

How does your area compare? Rate of new cases in every local authority 

Here is the list in full. From left to right, it reads: name of local authority; rate of new cases in the seven days to September 23; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to September 23; rate of new cases in the seven days to September 16; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to September 16. 

Burnley 256.4 (228), 145.1 (129)

Liverpool 243.8 (1214), 131.1 (653)

Knowsley 241.9 (365), 132.6 (200)

Bolton 235.1 (676), 199.6 (574)

Newcastle upon Tyne 228.8 (693), 87.2 (264)

Halton 214.0 (277), 125.2 (162)

South Tyneside 210.0 (317), 129.8 (196)

Pendle 203.0 (187), 97.7 (90)

Bury 193.2 (369), 132.5 (253)

Blackburn with Darwen 193.1 (289), 128.3 (192)

Manchester 190.1 (1051), 110.5 (611)

Preston 182.3 (261), 157.9 (226)

Sunderland 180.0 (500), 78.9 (219)

Rochdale 175.8 (391), 107.0 (238)

Hyndburn 175.2 (142), 164.1 (133)

Oldham 171.2 (406), 132.8 (315)

Warrington 164.8 (346), 102.9 (216)

Sefton 162.8 (450), 74.2 (205)

St Helens 158.9 (287), 114.1 (206)

Wirral 156.2 (506), 117.9 (382)

Gateshead 151.4 (306), 89.1 (180)

Bradford 150.6 (813), 109.7 (592)

Birmingham 149.2 (1704), 82.2 (939)

Salford 142.9 (370), 112.4 (291)

Tameside 142.6 (323), 111.7 (253)

Northumberland 130.9 (422), 43.4 (140)

North Tyneside 128.9 (268), 54.8 (114)

Rossendale 128.7 (92), 158.1 (113)

Wigan 126.6 (416), 73.0 (240)

Leicester 117.2 (415), 87.0 (308)

Sandwell 112.7 (370), 56.6 (186)

Leeds 111.3 (883), 87.9 (697)

Hartlepool 107.8 (101), 48.0 (45)

Craven 96.3 (55), 54.3 (31)

Kirklees 95.7 (421), 82.8 (364)

Oadby and Wigston 89.5 (51), 93.0 (53)

Middlesbrough 87.2 (123), 28.4 (40)

County Durham 86.8 (460), 39.8 (211)

Fylde 86.7 (70), 43.3 (35)

Calderdale 86.5 (183), 51.1 (108)

Stockport 81.8 (240), 53.2 (156)

West Lancashire 81.4 (93), 49.9 (57)

Trafford 80.5 (191), 55.6 (132)

Walsall 79.5 (227), 40.3 (115)

Solihull 78.6 (170), 67.9 (147)

Barrow-in-Furness 77.6 (52), 47.7 (32)

Ribble Valley 75.5 (46), 31.2 (19)

Sheffield 73.5 (430), 45.3 (265)

Wolverhampton 71.4 (188), 52.0 (137)

Coventry 70.3 (261), 34.2 (127)

Rotherham 68.9 (183), 40.3 (107)

Stockton-on-Tees 68.9 (136), 25.8 (51)

South Ribble 66.8 (74), 47.8 (53)

Chorley 65.1 (77), 42.3 (50)

Blackpool 63.8 (89), 56.7 (79)

Wakefield 60.6 (211), 33.3 (116)

Redbridge 60.3 (184), 44.6 (136)

Barking and Dagenham 60.1 (128), 30.5 (65)

Rugby 58.8 (64), 66.1 (72)

Luton 57.7 (123), 28.2 (60)

Richmondshire 57.7 (31), 16.8 (9)

Darlington 57.1 (61), 20.6 (22)

Selby 53.0 (48), 54.1 (49)

Redcar and Cleveland 51.0 (70), 17.5 (24)

Cheshire West and Chester 51.0 (175), 32.9 (113)

Wyre 50.9 (57), 61.6 (69)

York 50.8 (107), 34.2 (72)

Blaby 50.2 (51), 71.9 (73)

High Peak 49.6 (46), 44.2 (41)

Dudley 48.2 (155), 27.1 (87)

Slough 47.5 (71), 19.4 (29)

Nottingham 46.3 (154), 28.5 (95)

Tower Hamlets 46.2 (150), 21.2 (69)

Doncaster 45.5 (142), 35.3 (110)

Charnwood 44.7 (83), 42.0 (78)

Wyre Forest 44.4 (45), 22.7 (23)

Havering 43.9 (114), 27.4 (71)

Hambleton 43.7 (40), 34.9 (32)

Harrogate 43.5 (70), 21.1 (34)

Newham 43.0 (152), 24.6 (87)

Cheshire East 43.0 (165), 26.0 (100)

Bedford 42.1 (73), 17.9 (31)

Harborough 41.6 (39), 23.5 (22)

Scarborough 41.4 (45), 28.5 (31)

Hillingdon 41.1 (126), 23.5 (72)

Barnsley 40.9 (101), 23.5 (58)

Nuneaton and Bedworth 40.8 (53), 31.6 (41)

Amber Valley 39.8 (51), 23.4 (30)

Epping Forest 38.7 (51), 18.2 (24)

Derby 38.5 (99), 31.1 (80)

Lancaster 38.3 (56), 24.0 (35)

Ashfield 38.3 (49), 18.0 (23)

Stafford 37.9 (52), 27.7 (38)

Worcester 37.5 (38), 15.8 (16)

South Staffordshire 37.4 (42), 32.0 (36)

Exeter 37.3 (49), 10.7 (14)

Bolsover 37.2 (30), 23.6 (19)

Waltham Forest 37.2 (103), 30.3 (84)

North Lincolnshire 37.1 (64), 15.7 (27)

Newark and Sherwood 36.8 (45), 17.2 (21)

Brentwood 36.4 (28), 14.3 (11)

Brent 36.1 (119), 20.0 (66)

Stoke-on-Trent 35.9 (92), 32.0 (82)

Hounslow 35.7 (97), 33.9 (92)

Ealing 35.1 (120), 21.4 (73)

Broxtowe 35.1 (40), 24.6 (28)

St Albans 35.0 (52), 37.0 (55)

Carlisle 34.0 (37), 5.5 (6)

Bromsgrove 34.0 (34), 15.0 (15)

Broxbourne 33.9 (33), 39.1 (38)

Copeland 33.7 (23), 17.6 (12)

Southwark 33.6 (107), 19.8 (63)

Enfield 32.4 (108), 24.0 (80)

Oxford 32.1 (49), 22.3 (34)

Castle Point 32.1 (29), 25.4 (23)

Corby 31.8 (23), 23.5 (17)

Redditch 31.7 (27), 11.7 (10)

Harrow 31.5 (79), 20.7 (52)

Hertsmere 31.5 (33), 44.8 (47)

South Lakeland 31.4 (33), 10.5 (11)

Runnymede 31.3 (28), 30.2 (27)

Lincoln 31.2 (31), 28.2 (28)

East Riding of Yorkshire 30.8 (105), 16.1 (55)

Cannock Chase 30.8 (31), 18.9 (19)

North Warwickshire 30.6 (20), 26.0 (17)

Haringey 30.5 (82), 25.3 (68)

Islington 30.5 (74), 19.4 (47)

Bexley 30.2 (75), 10.9 (27)

Rushcliffe 30.2 (36), 35.2 (42)

Mansfield 30.2 (33), 21.0 (23)

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly 29.9 (171), 11.2 (64)

North East Derbyshire 29.6 (30), 25.6 (26)

Erewash 29.5 (34), 16.5 (19)

Hinckley and Bosworth 29.2 (33), 19.4 (22)

Gravesham 29.0 (31), 6.5 (7)

Surrey Heath 28.0 (25), 9.0 (8)

South Derbyshire 28.0 (30), 18.6 (20)

Barnet 27.8 (110), 20.0 (79)

Tamworth 27.4 (21), 27.4 (21)

Basildon 27.2 (51), 15.5 (29)

Great Yarmouth 27.2 (27), 21.1 (21)

West Lindsey 27.2 (26), 25.1 (24)

Northampton 27.2 (61), 25.8 (58)

Gloucester 27.1 (35), 10.8 (14)

Wandsworth 26.7 (88), 19.4 (64)

Telford and Wrekin 26.7 (48), 12.2 (22)

Lambeth 26.7 (87), 19.3 (63)

Harlow 26.4 (23), 16.1 (14)

Newcastle-under-Lyme 26.3 (34), 16.2 (21)

Hackney and City of London 26.1 (76), 23.4 (68)

Waverley 26.1 (33), 7.9 (10)

Plymouth 25.9 (68), 17.6 (46)

Watford 25.9 (25), 28.0 (27)

Woking 25.8 (26), 15.9 (16)

Three Rivers 25.7 (24), 16.1 (15)

North Somerset 25.6 (55), 15.3 (33)

Wychavon 25.5 (33), 7.7 (10)

Worthing 25.3 (28), 25.3 (28)

Wycombe 25.2 (44), 13.7 (24)

North West Leicestershire 25.1 (26), 5.8 (6)

Shropshire 25.1 (81), 11.8 (38)

Allerdale 24.5 (24), 15.3 (15)

North East Lincolnshire 24.4 (39), 5.6 (9)

Hammersmith and Fulham 24.3 (45), 24.8 (46)

South Bucks 24.3 (17), 12.8 (9)

Peterborough 24.2 (49), 14.3 (29)

Cheltenham 24.1 (28), 12.0 (14)

Spelthorne 24.0 (24), 15.0 (15)

Southend-on-Sea 24.0 (44), 13.7 (25)

North Kesteven 23.9 (28), 14.5 (17)

Central Bedfordshire 23.9 (69), 16.6 (48)

Lichfield 23.9 (25), 26.7 (28)

Windsor and Maidenhead 23.8 (36), 39.0 (59)

Westminster 23.7 (62), 18.0 (47)

Greenwich 23.6 (68), 15.6 (45)

Warwick 23.0 (33), 18.1 (26)

Portsmouth 22.8 (49), 7.4 (16)

East Staffordshire 22.5 (27), 23.4 (28)

Camden 22.2 (60), 20.4 (55)

Bracknell Forest 22.0 (27), 15.5 (19)

Bristol, City of 22.0 (102), 10.8 (50)

Wellingborough 21.3 (17), 17.6 (14)

Sutton 21.3 (44), 12.6 (26)

Stratford-on-Avon 20.8 (27), 16.1 (21)

Derbyshire Dales 20.7 (15), 9.7 (7)

Thurrock 20.6 (36), 9.8 (17)

Kettering 20.6 (21), 23.6 (24)

Rochford 20.6 (18), 8.0 (7)

Kingston upon Hull, City of 20.4 (53), 7.3 (19)

Malvern Hills 20.3 (16), 10.2 (8)

Kingston upon Thames 20.3 (36), 18.0 (32)

Ryedale 19.9 (11), 9.0 (5)

Uttlesford 19.7 (18), 16.4 (15)

Bath and North East Somerset 19.7 (38), 8.8 (17)

Lewisham 19.3 (59), 18.3 (56)

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole 19.2 (76), 16.4 (65)

Chesterfield 19.1 (20), 12.4 (13)

Elmbridge 19.0 (26), 8.8 (12)

Milton Keynes 18.9 (51), 15.6 (42)

Richmond upon Thames 18.7 (37), 12.6 (25)

Bromley 18.7 (62), 12.9 (43)

Kensington and Chelsea 18.6 (29), 23.1 (36)

Reading 18.5 (30), 6.8 (11)

Stroud 18.3 (22), 4.2 (5)

Staffordshire Moorlands 18.3 (18), 18.3 (18)

Havant 18.2 (23), 14.3 (18)

Wokingham 18.1 (31), 8.8 (15)

East Hertfordshire 18.0 (27), 10.7 (16)

Norwich 17.8 (25), 7.1 (10)

Chiltern 17.7 (17), 10.4 (10)

Tunbridge Wells 17.7 (21), 13.5 (16)

Croydon 17.6 (68), 11.9 (46)

South Kesteven 17.6 (25), 15.4 (22)

Adur 17.1 (11), 20.2 (13)

Welwyn Hatfield 17.1 (21), 17.1 (21)

West Berkshire 17.0 (27), 6.3 (10)

Bassetlaw 17.0 (20), 10.2 (12)

Gedling 17.0 (20), 17.8 (21)

East Northamptonshire 16.9 (16), 12.7 (12)

Southampton 16.2 (41), 9.5 (24)

Dacorum 16.2 (25), 8.4 (13)

South Hams 16.1 (14), 3.4 (3)

Dartford 16.0 (18), 13.3 (15)

Stevenage 15.9 (14), 30.7 (27)

North Hertfordshire 15.7 (21), 19.5 (26)

Merton 15.5 (32), 17.9 (37)

Daventry 15.1 (13), 11.6 (10)

Rushmoor 14.8 (14), 20.1 (19)

Guildford 14.8 (22), 10.1 (15)

Canterbury 14.5 (24), 9.1 (15)

Swindon 14.4 (32), 7.7 (17)

Medway 14.4 (40), 8.3 (23)

New Forest 13.9 (25), 6.7 (12)

Colchester 13.9 (27), 8.2 (16)

Mendip 13.8 (16), 13.0 (15)

South Northamptonshire 13.8 (13), 12.7 (12)

Tewkesbury 13.7 (13), 6.3 (6)

South Gloucestershire 13.7 (39), 17.5 (50)

Cambridge 13.6 (17), 8.8 (11)

Tonbridge and Malling 13.6 (18), 8.3 (11)

Tandridge 13.6 (12), 15.9 (14)

Huntingdonshire 13.5 (24), 10.1 (18)

Crawley 13.3 (15), 6.2 (7)

Sevenoaks 13.3 (16), 5.0 (6)

Aylesbury Vale 13.0 (26), 11.5 (23)

Fareham 12.9 (15), 7.7 (9)

Vale of White Horse 12.5 (17), 10.3 (14)

Melton 11.7 (6), 9.8 (5)

Folkestone and Hythe 11.5 (13), 6.2 (7)

Mole Valley 11.5 (10), 4.6 (4)

East Hampshire 11.4 (14), 9.0 (11)

Boston 11.4 (8), 7.1 (5)

Basingstoke and Deane 11.3 (20), 2.8 (5)

East Lindsey 11.3 (16), 9.9 (14)

Eden 11.3 (6), 16.9 (9)

Epsom and Ewell 11.2 (9), 17.4 (14)

Test Valley 11.1 (14), 10.3 (13)

Torbay 11.0 (15), 2.9 (4)

Hastings 10.8 (10), 3.2 (3)

Broadland 10.7 (14), 6.9 (9)

Cherwell 10.6 (16), 19.9 (30)

Arun 10.6 (17), 10.0 (16)

Braintree 10.5 (16), 5.9 (9)

Horsham 10.4 (15), 14.6 (21)

Hart 10.3 (10), 7.2 (7)

Wiltshire 10.2 (51), 9.6 (48)

Chelmsford 10.1 (18), 10.1 (18)

Reigate and Banstead 10.1 (15), 12.8 (19)

South Cambridgeshire 10.1 (16), 9.4 (15)

Rutland 10.0 (4), 12.5 (5)

Breckland 10.0 (14), 7.1 (10)

Sedgemoor 9.7 (12), 8.1 (10)

Gosport 9.4 (8), 2.4 (2)

Swale 9.3 (14), 13.3 (20)

Mid Sussex 9.3 (14), 7.9 (12)

King’s Lynn and West Norfolk 9.2 (14), 6.6 (10)

Ashford 9.2 (12), 6.2 (8)

Chichester 9.1 (11), 12.4 (15)

Fenland 8.8 (9), 7.9 (8)

Lewes 8.7 (9), 4.8 (5)

Eastbourne 8.7 (9), 5.8 (6)

Somerset West and Taunton 8.4 (13), 1.9 (3)

Herefordshire, County of 8.3 (16), 11.4 (22)

West Oxfordshire 8.1 (9), 8.1 (9)

Brighton and Hove 7.9 (23), 23.4 (68)

West Suffolk 7.8 (14), 17.3 (31)

South Oxfordshire 7.7 (11), 8.4 (12)

Maidstone 7.6 (13), 7.6 (13)

Ipswich 7.3 (10), 8.0 (11)

Winchester 7.2 (9), 5.6 (7)

North Devon 7.2 (7), 4.1 (4)

Forest of Dean 6.9 (6), 12.7 (11)

Dorset 6.9 (26), 6.1 (23)

East Devon 6.8 (10), 5.5 (8)

Mid Suffolk 6.7 (7), 6.7 (7)

Eastleigh 6.7 (9), 3.0 (4)

South Somerset 6.5 (11), 4.8 (8)

Babergh 6.5 (6), 3.3 (3)

South Norfolk 6.4 (9), 7.1 (10)

South Holland 6.3 (6), 4.2 (4)

Rother 6.2 (6), 4.2 (4)

Tendring 6.1 (9), 6.1 (9)

East Suffolk 6.0 (15), 3.6 (9)

Teignbridge 6.0 (8), 3.0 (4)

Isle of Wight 4.9 (7), 3.5 (5)

Maldon 4.6 (3), 6.2 (4)

Cotswold 4.5 (4), 7.8 (7)

Wealden 4.3 (7), 7.4 (12)

Thanet 4.2 (6), 7.0 (10)

West Devon 3.6 (2), 3.6 (2)

Torridge 2.9 (2), 8.8 (6)

Dover 2.5 (3), 3.4 (4)

Mid Devon 2.4 (2), 4.9 (4)

East Cambridgeshire 2.2 (2), 2.2 (2)

North Norfolk 1.9 (2), 1.0 (1)

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UK records 6,042 new coronavirus cases and 34 deaths – as SAGE scientist predicts 100 fatalities a day next month and plan for EVERYONE over 45 to shield at home is ‘under review’

By Luke Andrews for MailOnline

Britain has recorded another 6,042 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours – with 34 deaths – as a government infectious disease expert predicts that the UK is two to three weeks away from recording 100 fatalities a day.

While the cases are an increase of 1,620 from last Saturday, many experts say the daily totals for testing are not comparable to the same totals at the peak of the pandemic when the country’s testing programme was much smaller.

More than 100,000 people are believed to have been catching the virus every day at the peak of the pandemic.

Nevertheless the country is gripped by a debate over the severity of the new increase in coronavirus cases in the UK, with some arguing that new medical breakthroughs mean the disease is more treatable resulting n fewer fatalities.

Many Conservative MPs also argue that the social cost of ever more stringent lockdown measures are causing more damage than the virus itself.

The 6,042 cases in the last 24 hours mark a 1,620-case rise on last Saturday, when 4,422 people were diagnosed with the disease, while yesterday saw another 6,874 infections. Data shows the rolling seven-day average of daily cases has surged by 54 per cent in a week.

Infections were squashed well below 1,000 from late June until early August following the lockdown in spring, but Covid-19 cases have been on the rise ever since.

The death toll now stands at 41,971, and Government statistics show fatalities are beginning to rise as well after infections began spiralling earlier this month. On average, 30 Britons are succumbing to the illness each day, 11 more than last week. It had dropped to a low of seven at the start of September.

It comes as in other coronavirus news:

  • Anti-lockdown protesters clash with police in Trafalgar Square, London, as 15,000 turn out for the march; 
  • Welsh First Minister has advised the nation to already behave as though the restrictions are in force – which include a ban on travelling outside of the designated area without a ‘reasonable excuse’;
  • Sadiq Khan calls for stricter coronavirus measures in London warning the capital could go the same way as Birmingham, the North West and the North East unless action is taken now. 
  • Unions call for in-person classes to be suspended as 3,000 students are put on lockdown for two weeks inside their halls;
  • A newlyweds reception party in locked-down Swansea is stormed by police after dozens of guests cram into the enclosed space. 
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Britain's coronavirus R rate could now be as high as 1.5, government scientific advisers warned on Friday after rises in all regions of the country

Britain's coronavirus R rate could now be as high as 1.5, government scientific advisers warned on Friday after rises in all regions of the country

Britain’s coronavirus R rate could now be as high as 1.5, government scientific advisers warned on Friday after rises in all regions of the country

Infectious disease modelling expert Professor Graham Medley, who sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warns that it is ‘inevitable’ deaths will head into triple figures because the virus remains ‘dangerous’ to the community.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine professor said that if the UK starts recording 10,000 cases a day, and the disease retains a death rate of one per cent, deaths will reach 100 a day.

Office workers ‘to wear masks in corridors, lifts and communal areas’

Health chiefs are mulling over plans to impose face masks in offices, it has been reported.

The stricter measures would see white-collar workers not required to wear a mask when sitting, but needing to have one on when in corridors, lifts or communal spaces.

The rules will be part of a wider crackdown for indoor workspaces, where Public Health England data reveals 18 per cent of 729 respiratory disease outbreaks were recorded in the week to September 13. It also shows only five per cent occurred in food outlets, 45 per cent in care homes and 21 per cent in schools.

A Minister told the Daily Express: ‘The rules are going to be widened. We have to accept that this is going to be a new way of living that will be around for some-time and get used to it.

‘The fines do send a strong, clear message about how to behave.’

Further restrictions are also expected to be imposed nationwide in the coming weeks if the rule of six and 10pm curfew fails to stymie the number of new cases reported.

Local authorities have already started pursuing a ban on mixing in other households, with mounting calls for this measure to be rolled out to the whole of the UK over fears lessons are yet to be learnt from March.

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At the height of the pandemic between April 2 and 18 Britain was recording in excess of 800 deaths a day, while recording around 4,000 positive cases a day. But testing capacity was far behind demand, meaning the vast majority of cases were missed, compounding calculations for a death rate. The World Health Organisation says the death rate from coronavirus stands between 0.5 and one per cent, based on available data. 

Almost a quarter of the UK’s population are set to live under tightened coronavirus restrictions after Leeds, Wigan, Stockport and Blackpool in England and Llanelli, Cardiff and Swansea in Wales were added to the UK’s lockdown list. 

Speaking on the Today programme Professor Medley said that although treatments had improved, the way the virus is transmitted is ‘going to be different’. 

‘Now whether it is as many – in February and March we were essentially assuming one per cent of infections would lead to deaths. Now even if that is 0.8 per cent, which I think would be a great success in terms of treatment, it still means that we are going to see deaths increase,’ he said.

‘At a level of 10,000 (cases) we are seeing now, means that in three or four weeks we are going to see 100 deaths a day.

‘In order to stop that process increasing again, then we need to make sure that that transmission comes down now because that doubling time will carry on. The things that we do now will not stop 100 people dying a day but they will stop that progressing much higher.’

Britain’s outbreak was initially concentrated in 20 to 40-year-olds, according to official data, but has since spread to older sections of the population that are more at risk from the disease. 

It was suggested those over 45 were at greater risk from the virus, and more likely to die from it, so could be ‘segmented’ from the rest of the population. The suggestion, revealed in papers from SAGE, was eventually advised against, as it was considered unlikely to be successful.

However, it is being kept under review, and news of it follows a similar option drawn up by officials to potentially target over-50s with another lockdown.

The minutes of the 48th meeting of the SAGE scientists, held on July 23, state: ‘Although under-45s are at less risk from Covid-19, including lower risk of death, they are nonetheless at some risk and long-term sequelae (consequences) are not well understood.’

The document adds: ‘Around two-thirds of people in the UK live in a household which includes one or more individuals aged 45 and above. Any segmentation based on this age threshold would therefore affect most households.’

The ‘segmentation’ looked at would have involved those over 45 shielding, which early in the pandemic meant staying at home, and avoiding unnecessary contact with others.

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Yesterday saw another 6,874 Covid-19 cases recorded, meaning the seven-day rolling average is 54 per cent higher than it was a week ago. MailOnline analysis shows this is the sixth consecutive day the average compared to the week before has risen

Friday saw another 6,874 Covid-19 cases recorded, meaning the seven-day rolling average is 54 per cent higher than it was a week ago. MailOnline analysis shows this is the sixth consecutive day the average compared to the week before has risen

Friday saw another 6,874 Covid-19 cases recorded, meaning the seven-day rolling average is 54 per cent higher than it was a week ago. MailOnline analysis shows this is the sixth consecutive day the average compared to the week before has risen

Friday saw another 6,874 Covid-19 cases recorded, meaning the seven-day rolling average is 54 per cent higher than it was a week ago. MailOnline analysis shows this is the sixth consecutive day the average compared to the week before has risen

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF LONG COVID AND HOW BAD IS THE PROBLEM?

Covid-19 is described as a short-term illness caused by infection with the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Public health officials tend to say people will recover within two weeks or so. 

However it’s become increasingly clear that this is not the case for everyone, and that the two-week period is only the ‘acute illness’ phase.

The North Bristol NHS Trust’s Discover project, which is studying the longer-term effects of coronavirus, is just one of a handful of studies to have shown the long impact of Covid-19. However it only studied hospital patients.

A total of 163 patients with coronavirus were recruited to the study. Nineteen of those died. The remainder were invited for a three-month check-up and 110 attended. 

Most (74 per cent) had at least one persistent symptom after twelve weeks. The most common were:

  • Excessive fatigue: 39%
  • Breathlessness: 39%
  • Insomnia: 24%  
  • Muscle pain: 23%
  • Chest pain: 13%
  • Cough: 12%
  • Loss of smell: 12%
  • Headache, fever, joint pain and diarrhoea: Each less than 10% 

Patients who had suffered more severe Covid-19 reported more symptoms on their follow-up.      

Other long term symptoms that have been reported by Covid-19 survivors, both suspected and confirmed, anecdotally, include:

  • Hearing problems 
  • ‘Brain fog’
  • Memory loss
  • A lack of concentration
  • Mental health problems
  • Hair loss

The impact of long Covid on people who had mild illness have not been studied in depth yet.  

Data from the King’s College London symptom tracking app shows that up to 500,000 people in the UK are currently suffering from the long-term effects of Covid-19.

That’s according to the founder of the Long Covid Support Group, Claire Hastie, who said the lasting effects of Covid-19 had left her wheelchair-bound after being diagnosed in March.

A survey recently found a third of British doctors have treated patients with long term Covid-19 symptoms, including chronic fatigue and anosmia.

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Minutes from July 16 note there is likely to be ‘merit’ in segmenting society by age, particularly ‘to vulnerable people and those likely to have more contact with vulnerable people’.

It continues: ‘Data shows that people tend to have more contacts with others around their own age, but also have a significant number of contacts with those 20-30 years older and younger than themselves (likely to mainly be contacts between parents and children). 

‘There are also significant levels of contact between grandparents and children.’

Figures reveal that children and those aged below 45 are at far lower risk of dying from coronavirus than those aged over 75.

Office for National Statistics data reveals only four Covid-19 deaths were recorded in children aged one to 14 years old in England and Wales, or less than 0.01 per cent of the total. And 574 have been recorded in those aged 15 to 44, or 0.96 per cent of the total.

In comparison, 39,058 people aged 75 and over have died from the virus, or 65 per cent of the total.

The difference led a scientific paper published in Nature in July to conclude that those aged 80 and over are more than a hundred times more likely to die from the virus than patients aged 40 and below.

Despite the gap in risk of death, however, there have been warnings over long Covid, or where symptoms persist after the disease subsides, which could already affect more than 60,000 people in the UK.

On Wednesday MPs called on the Government to address this problem, and admit that it exists, stating they had heard moving statements from those who had recovered but still suffered from fatigue, heart palpitations and breathing difficulties.

Layla Moran, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on coronavirus said Westminster must commit further resources to investigating and tackling the problem.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, she said as the number of people suffering long Covid increases the situation will become ‘more and more urgent’.

‘In August, we heard from people living with long Covid and hundreds more sufferers admitted written evidence to our inquiry.

‘Their testimonials were incredibly moving and concerning. What was clear was that we needed to make some urgent recommendations to the Prime Minister; the health, well-being and employment arrangements for those living with long Covid remain unaddressed.

‘And as the number of people with long Covid grows, the situation gets more and more urgent.’

One of the victims was Claire Hastie, who is the founder of the Long Covid Support Group on Facebook.

She described how she used to cycle 13 miles to work but since her Covid-19 diagnosis in March, can no longer walk 13 metres and is now largely confined to a wheelchair with her children providing much of her care.

Dr Jake Suett, a staff grade doctor in anaesthetics and intensive care medicine who also suffers from long Covid, said that since catching the disease he has no longer being able to do 12-hour shifts in intensive care.

‘And now a flight of stairs or the food shop is about what I can manage before I have to stop… if I’m on my feet then shortness of breath comes back, chest pain comes back.’

SAGE minutes have also revealed that the group considered a ‘segmentation and protection strategy’, where vulnerable parts of society are placed into lockdown to avoid a surge in deaths from the disease.

SAGE said up to two-thirds of the UK lives in mixed-age households, making the plan unworkable. Above are students enjoying a night out in Birmingham yesterday

SAGE said up to two-thirds of the UK lives in mixed-age households, making the plan unworkable. Above are students enjoying a night out in Birmingham yesterday

SAGE said up to two-thirds of the UK lives in mixed-age households, making the plan unworkable. Above are students enjoying a night out in Birmingham yesterday

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SAGE considered a plan where those aged over 45 would be asked to shield while the rest of the population continued moving around. It is being kept under review. (Stock image)

Daughter stuck in Wales after flying 9,500 miles from Australia to be by dying father’s bedside 

Pearl Findlay-James pictured with her father Patrick James

Pearl Findlay-James pictured with her father Patrick James

Pearl Findlay-James pictured with her father Patrick James

A daughter has been stranded in Wales due to coronavirus restrictions after she flew 9,500 miles from Australia to say goodbye to her father.

Pearl Findlay-James was allowed to leave the state of Victoria on compassionate grounds, and be at her father’s bedside in Pembroke Dock, west Wales, but is now unable to get home.

She had already paid for a ticket to Melbourne at AUS$8,900 (£5,000) but, after the flight was cancelled, was forced to pay an additional AUS$4,000 (£2,200) for a new ticket to Sydney. She will have to spend a further AUS$3,000 (£1,600) on quarantine measures when she eventually returns home.

Her father, Patrick James,  died four days after she arrived in the UK. 

‘My whole family are in Australia. My husband, my children and my 10 grandchildren. It’s time to go home,’ she said.

‘The UK is heading into its second wave and I’m worried this will make it even harder to get home.

‘I’ve joked to my daughters – you better get ready to cook the Christmas turkey, because I don’t know if I’m going to be there.

‘I can take to my grave that I sat and held my dad while he went to God.

‘Nobody can ever take that away from me, no matter what my journey is now.’ 

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The strategy, presented to the group by Professor Mark Whoolhouse, from the University of Edinburgh, would use an algorithm to identify those most at risk by accounting for age, ethnicity and health conditions.

They would be placed into lockdown, where they are trusted to avoid high risk locations and interactions, alongside a designated carer. This would allow parts of society, such as those who are healthy and of working age, to continue to contribute to the economy.

But SAGE did not advise that the Government follows this strategy, citing ethical concerns. Professor Woolhouse wrote: ‘Segmentation and protection raises ethical questions as some measures are targeted at subsets of the population.

‘However, lockdown also raises ethical questions as the benefits are felt mainly by those same subsets of the population. It needs to be understood that there are no easy options available.’

After seven more local lockdowns were announced yesterday in the North West and South Wales, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was in response to the ‘acceleration’ of Covid-19 across the country.

‘Working alongside our scientific and public health experts and local leaders, we are prepared to take swift and decisive action to reduce transmission of the virus and protect communities,’ he said. ‘I recognise the burden and impact these additional measures have on our daily lives but we must act collectively and quickly to bring down infections.’

Matt Hancock said the strict lockdown measures are in line with those seen in Leicester, where they have successfully quelled a surge in cases, and the West Midlands.

‘This will be difficult news for the people living in these areas, profoundly affecting their daily lives,’ he said. ‘These decisions are not taken lightly, and such measures will be kept under review and in place no longer than they are necessary.’

The tightened restrictions come after a surge in cases in the areas. The latest seven-day Covid-19 rate in Leeds was found to be 113.3 per 100,000 people, according to Government figures, while Leeds director of public health Victoria Eaton said there was an 8.4 per cent positive test rate.

The seven-day rolling average in Blackpool has risen from 48.8 per 100,000 a week ago to 69.6 per 100,000 on Friday, the Government’s coronavirus dashboard shows. The rate in Wigan has risen to 122.6 per 100,000 people, while in Stockport it is up to 77.4 per 100,000 people.

On Thursday, Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas said the capital had seen 38.2 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people over the past five days. Swansea’s rate is 49.8.

Over the past seven days Cardiff’s positivity rate has hit 3.8 per cent, exceeding the Welsh Government’s ‘amber’ threshold of 2.5 per cent – part of its ‘traffic light road map’ strategy for managing the pandemic.

The leader of Leeds city council, Judith Blake, said there was ‘a lot of confusion’ and ‘a lack of clarity’ this morning as the draconian rules came into force in the city.

She told BBC Breakfast: ‘We know that the restrictions themselves won’t just work on their own, it has to come as part of a whole raft of measures in the city.

‘The important message that we know from other areas is there is a lot of confusion, a lack of clarity, particularly in areas where there are different rules in one borough and the next-door borough has another one. This has to be a wake-up call to people.

‘If things carry on the way they are, then I can’t see how the Government won’t be forced to take more measures that have more of an impact on our lives, on our ability to go out and do the things we need to do to keep the economy going.’

LEEDS: Revellers crowded into bars, pubs and restaurants as cases there rise to 113.3 per 100,000, according to figures

LEEDS: Revellers crowded into bars, pubs and restaurants as cases there rise to 113.3 per 100,000, according to figures

LEEDS: Revellers crowded into bars, pubs and restaurants as cases there rise to 113.3 per 100,000, according to figures

LEEDS: Two women enjoy a night out in the city ahead of the imposition of restrictions banning households from mixing

LEEDS: Two women enjoy a night out in the city ahead of the imposition of restrictions banning households from mixing

LEEDS: Two women enjoy a night out in the city ahead of the imposition of restrictions banning households from mixing

BLACKPOOL: A group of friends enjoy a night out ahead of further restrictions being imposed in a bid to curb rising cases

BLACKPOOL: A group of friends enjoy a night out ahead of further restrictions being imposed in a bid to curb rising cases

BLACKPOOL: A group of friends enjoy a night out ahead of further restrictions being imposed in a bid to curb rising cases 

Leeds’ director of public health Ms Eaton told reporters last night that the spread of the virus is ‘very dynamic’ across the city and that it was ‘clear we have very widespread community transmission’.

‘We have high rates in some of our student areas which we have increased more recently. It’s clearly not just an issue for student areas,’ she said, before warning cases wererising in all age groups and that compliance with self-isolation rules was low.’

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has urged people in Cardiff to start behaving as though the new restrictions are in place, even though they do not come into force until Sunday evening.

He told LBC that police enforcement was the last resort, adding: ‘If there are people who clearly deliberately flout the law you have to enforce.

‘Yes, with fines if necessary. But for us that’s the last resort, not the first resort. In Caerphilly (the first area in Wales to be locked down) we have had very, very good levels of co-operation. My experience is people are wanting to do the right thing.

The nation’s health minister, Vaughan Gething warned the spiralling infections are comparable to the end of February where ‘we ended large parts of NHS activity about two weeks later’. 

He added: ‘We have seen a sharp rise in cases in all of the areas where we are taking local restrictions and it is being driven by indoor household contact, so more people than should be in that household bubble going in and mixing.

‘That has extended out into licensed premises as well, where again people are not following the rules.’ 

The latest data for Cardiff on the Government’s dashboard shows the seven-day rolling average of cases surged to 21.9 per 100,000 on September 18, up from 11.6 a week ago. And in Swansea they have more than tripled from 6.4 per 100,000 on September 11 to 19.4 a week later. 

Public Health England data shows only a handful of London's 32 boroughs are now seeing a sustained rise in infections - including Redbridge, Hounslow, Barking and Dagenham and Enfield. The data is set to be updated on Friday, but gives an indication of which boroughs are struggling the most

Public Health England data shows only a handful of London's 32 boroughs are now seeing a sustained rise in infections - including Redbridge, Hounslow, Barking and Dagenham and Enfield. The data is set to be updated on Friday, but gives an indication of which boroughs are struggling the most

Public Health England data shows only a handful of London’s 32 boroughs are now seeing a sustained rise in infections – including Redbridge, Hounslow, Barking and Dagenham and Enfield. The data is set to be updated on Friday, but gives an indication of which boroughs are struggling the most 

Blackpool has been exempt from restrictions imposed in the rest of Lancashire until today, with the seaside resort now brought in line with its neighbours.

Scott Benton, Conservative MP for Blackpool South, said the area initially avoided restrictions as its infection rate was 23 cases per 100,000 but that by Wednesday this had surged to 63 cases per 100,000, still below the average for the whole of Lancashire but a significant rise. 

Mr Benton said on Facebook: ‘The rise in cases is particularly high in areas of north Blackpool and the evidence is that this is due to transmission within the community rather than as a result of tourism (this explains why our local infection rate has remained low in comparison to other areas in the North West despite visitors coming here all summer).

‘It is vital that we take sensible steps now to reduce the rate of transmission which is why these new restrictions are being applied.

‘Nobody wants a second full lockdown and that idea behind these new rules is to slow the spread of Covid-19 so that we do not end up in a position where a full lockdown has to be considered.’

Wigan is to have restrictions reimposed after they were first eased on August 26 as case numbers surge again. Stockport is also seeing restrictions reimposed after a ban on mixing in each other’s households was lifted on September 2.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Coronavirus lockdown UK: Universities face demands to return tuition fees

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coronavirus lockdown uk universities face demands to return tuition fees

Students and parents have started to demand tuition fee refunds as universities abandon face-to-face teaching because of Covid outbreaks.

Thousands of freshers are currently locked down in their rooms as rising cases of the virus devastates the start of term.

The intake has already endured the summer grading fiasco and some are now stuck inside while being charged up to £9,250-a-year in tuition fees, plus rent.

Larissa Kennedy, president of the National Union of Students, told the Mail on Sunday: ‘In what is looking set to be an increasingly unclear and volatile year for universities, we must seriously look at reimbursements for students whose quality of learning has been significantly impacted.

‘It is also essential that housing providers allow students who may decide to either leave university or return to family homes to end their rental contracts and not be penalised for making decisions based on their own safety and those of local communities.’

Students at university of Manchester are pictured at their window during lockdown. The intake has already endured the summer grading fiasco and some are now stuck inside while being charged up to £9,250-a-year in tuition fees, plus rent

Students at university of Manchester are pictured at their window during lockdown. The intake has already endured the summer grading fiasco and some are now stuck inside while being charged up to £9,250-a-year in tuition fees, plus rent

Students at university of Manchester are pictured at their window during lockdown. The intake has already endured the summer grading fiasco and some are now stuck inside while being charged up to £9,250-a-year in tuition fees, plus rent

One flat displayed the message 'mental health comes first. Let us out' on their window

One flat displayed the message 'mental health comes first. Let us out' on their window

One flat displayed the message ‘mental health comes first. Let us out’ on their window 

Some 1,700 Manchester Metropolitan University students are among those who have been instructed to self-isolate for 14 days following a spike in Covid-19 cases. Pictured: Students in Manchester

Some 1,700 Manchester Metropolitan University students are among those who have been instructed to self-isolate for 14 days following a spike in Covid-19 cases. Pictured: Students in Manchester

Some 1,700 Manchester Metropolitan University students are among those who have been instructed to self-isolate for 14 days following a spike in Covid-19 cases. Pictured: Students in Manchester

At least 32 universities in the UK now have confirmed coronavirus cases with about 3,000 students from Dundee to Exeter in isolation.

Some 1,700 Manchester Metropolitan University students have been confined to their rooms for two weeks, even if they have no symptoms. Police and security guards were outside Birley and Cambridge Halls on Friday while the university warned disciplinary action will be taken against any breaches.

Worried parents have travelled cross-country to drop off provisions for their teenage offspring who complained they had very little time to buy food supplies.

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33647540 8776427 image a 14 1601152631391

Students display humorous signs in their windows at Manchester Metropolitan University's Cambridge Halls

Students display humorous signs in their windows at Manchester Metropolitan University's Cambridge Halls

Students display humorous signs in their windows at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cambridge Halls 

Manchester Met has now shifted teaching to online only for foundation and first- year students.

Liverpool Hope University and Liverpool John Moores have also moved the majority of teaching online as cases rise nationally.

Reports of positive tests and students isolating at Leeds University come as more students arrive for the start of term. A walk-through testing centre has been set up in a sports centre on campus.

Jess Cook, a parent from Kent, whose son has just started at the institution, said: ‘What a waste of £9,000. It is miserable for them.

‘There should definitely be some kind of fee discount, but universities need support from the Government.

‘Universities were under huge pressure to take the kids in and have done what they were supposed to do to try to keep them safe.’

In Scotland, thousands of students are isolating after 172 cases were confirmed at the University of Glasgow and 120 at Edinburgh Napier University.

Jess Cook, a parent from Kent, whose son has just started at the institution, said: ‘What a waste of £9,000. It is miserable for them.' Pictured, more post-it note messages

Jess Cook, a parent from Kent, whose son has just started at the institution, said: ‘What a waste of £9,000. It is miserable for them.' Pictured, more post-it note messages

Jess Cook, a parent from Kent, whose son has just started at the institution, said: ‘What a waste of £9,000. It is miserable for them.’ Pictured, more post-it note messages

A student stands outside Manchester Metropolitan University's Birley campus accomodation

A student stands outside Manchester Metropolitan University's Birley campus accomodation

A student stands outside Manchester Metropolitan University’s Birley campus accomodation

One student, 18, who has now been isolating for nearly a monthsays that catching coronavirus after returning to university was 'inevitable'. The teenager is staying in an eight-person flat in Glasgow University's Murano Street Student Village, which houses 1,175 students

One student, 18, who has now been isolating for nearly a monthsays that catching coronavirus after returning to university was 'inevitable'. The teenager is staying in an eight-person flat in Glasgow University's Murano Street Student Village, which houses 1,175 students

One student, 18, who has now been isolating for nearly a monthsays that catching coronavirus after returning to university was ‘inevitable’. The teenager is staying in an eight-person flat in Glasgow University’s Murano Street Student Village, which houses 1,175 students

A student walks past a sign at Murano Street Student Village in Glasgow, where university students are being tested at a pop up test centre

A student walks past a sign at Murano Street Student Village in Glasgow, where university students are being tested at a pop up test centre

A student walks past a sign at Murano Street Student Village in Glasgow, where university students are being tested at a pop up test centre

Across the country, they have been told not to go to pubs, restaurants or parties and Universities Scotland has warned that students who socialise outside of their households risk losing their place.

At Edinburgh University, police were called to break up parties on Friday night at Pollock Halls, a main students’ residence housing about 1,900 undergraduates.

Glasgow University announced yesterday it would refund all students in halls of residence one month’s rent, along with a £50 payment for food. ‘We are offering everyone in our residences, regardless of whether they are isolating or not, a one-month rent refund to compensate for the disruption they are facing, and any financial hardship they may have encountered,’ the principal, Professor Sir Anton Muscatell said.

At least a dozen other universities in England and Wales have brought in their own testing facilities to monitor for potential outbreaks

At least a dozen other universities in England and Wales have brought in their own testing facilities to monitor for potential outbreaks

At least a dozen other universities in England and Wales have brought in their own testing facilities to monitor for potential outbreaks 

Calls are now growing for similar moves elsewhere. Robert Halfon, chairman of the Commons Education Committee, said: ‘Definitely they should be getting a discount on the cost of their tuition loan if they aren’t getting a significant amount of face-to-face teaching.’

He also warned that stopping students from returning home over the Christmas break would cause ‘huge anguish’.

Nick Hillman, the director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, questioned the decision by some vice-chancellors to halt face-to-face teaching, saying: ‘If teaching is moved online, it almost encourages students to go back home.’

He added that while calls for refunds grow, the difficulty for universities is that high-quality virtual teaching is no cheaper to deliver than in-person teaching and some universities are already under threat of going bust. 

Nicola Sturgeon backs disciplinary action as a ‘last resort’ against students

Nicola Sturgeon has backed disciplinary action being taken as a ‘last resort’ against students who breach new rules aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 on university campuses.

Speaking as the daily increase in cases reached a record high, with 558 Scots testing positive in the past 24 hours, the First Minister said that for those who are ‘flagrantly breaching rules, then of course discipline and enforcement has to be part of the answer’.

University principals – backed by the Scottish Government – have made it ‘absolutely clear’ to students that they must not take part in house parties.

As part of efforts to prevent outbreaks in university campuses from spreading into the wider population, all students are being asked to avoid pubs this weekend.

Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) has backed disciplinary action being taken as a 'last resort' against students who breach new rules aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 on university campuses

Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) has backed disciplinary action being taken as a 'last resort' against students who breach new rules aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 on university campuses

Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) has backed disciplinary action being taken as a ‘last resort’ against students who breach new rules aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 on university campuses

In addition, universities will adopt a ‘yellow card/red card’ approach to breaches of discipline, with students warned the consequences could include ‘potential discontinuation of study’.

Bruce Adamson, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland, has raised concerns about the human rights implications of such measures, saying he is seeking an ‘urgent conversation’ with ministers and universities ‘to establish the nature and legal basis for these restrictions’.

Asked if she supports such a tough stance, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘Yes I do support universities taking disciplinary action as a last resort, and as a back stop.

‘I would not expect universities – and I spoke to principals this morning and I know this is not their intention – to use discipline as a first resort.

‘But as with the police, if you have people who are just flagrantly breaching rules then of course discipline and enforcement has to be part of the answer.’

The National Union of Students has claimed students are being ‘unfairly’ blamed for spreading the disease, and it condemned the ‘unjustified step of applying different rules to students over and above the rest of the adult population’.

Ms Sturgeon also expressed sympathy for students, many of whom will be living away from home for the first time and could being having to self-isolate in halls of residence. Pictured: Glasgow University's cloisters

Ms Sturgeon also expressed sympathy for students, many of whom will be living away from home for the first time and could being having to self-isolate in halls of residence. Pictured: Glasgow University's cloisters

Ms Sturgeon also expressed sympathy for students, many of whom will be living away from home for the first time and could being having to self-isolate in halls of residence. Pictured: Glasgow University’s cloisters

But hundreds of students are currently self-isolating after outbreaks of the virus at Glasgow, Edinburgh Napier and other universities.

The latest daily coronavirus figures also show a rise in positivity rates – with almost one in 10 (9.5%) of those tested confirmed as having Covid-19.

At her coronavirus briefing on Friday, Ms Sturgeon also expressed sympathy for students, many of whom will be living away from home for the first time and could being having to self-isolate in halls of residence.

She insisted the decision to allow students to return to campus was not linked to the drop in income universities would have suffered had they been told to stay away.

Describing herself as the ‘devoted auntie’ of someone who has just left home to go to university, she told students directly: ‘I am so sorry, so heart sorry, that this time of your lives is being made as tough as it is just now.

She said the Scottish Government is considering whether self-isolating students could be allowed to return to their family homes. Pictured: A bar in Bristo Square, Edinburgh, which is part of the University of Edinburgh's Student Village

She said the Scottish Government is considering whether self-isolating students could be allowed to return to their family homes. Pictured: A bar in Bristo Square, Edinburgh, which is part of the University of Edinburgh's Student Village

She said the Scottish Government is considering whether self-isolating students could be allowed to return to their family homes. Pictured: A bar in Bristo Square, Edinburgh, which is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Student Village

‘I really feel for you, but I feel especially for those of you starting university for the first time and, of course, living alone for the first time.’

She said the Scottish Government is considering whether self-isolating students could be allowed to return to their family homes, adding guidance on this may be issued over the weekend.

But she cautioned: ‘I’m going to be frank, that’s a difficult balancing act, because if you go home after you’ve been asked to self-isolate that may have implications for your family, who then also may be asked to self-isolate if you test positive.’

She said she did not want to ‘underplay the significance’ of asking students not to visit pubs this weekend, but said it is not the only difficult request she has made during the pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I have asked people for six months now not to visit their vulnerable relatives in care homes.

‘I’m having to ask people to do really difficult things all of the time.

‘So I am asking all students for a weekend to not go to pubs, and hopefully that will help us stem these outbreaks.’

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Thousands of sixth-formers are being offered classes only every other week despite Ministers’ insistence that youngsters should be in full-time education 

Thousands of teenagers are being offered classes only every other week, despite Ministers’ insistence that youngsters should be in full-time education.

Students in sixth-forms and further education colleges across England have had their timetable of face-to-face lessons cut by half.

College principals say having the whole intake back at the same time is unsafe and so have been forced to offer alternate weeks in the classroom instead.

Some institutions are accepting students only in the morning or in the afternoon. But parents have reacted angrily to the part-time provision and fear their children will be left behind peers who can attend full-time.

The arrangements are revealed in a report to be published next week by the Sutton Trust, a charity aimed at addressing disadvantages in education.

It is expected to say that school closures driven by the pandemic have had a devastating effect on social mobility. Since the start of term, pupils at Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge follow a fortnightly timetable, with one week online and the other in class. Just half of the 2,600 students are on site at any one time.

‘Our student population is at least double the size of most schools, on a physical footprint that is not dissimilar to most school layouts,’ the college said.

In the South East, at least six colleges have limited the amount of time teenagers spend on campus. Godalming College in Surrey operates an alternate week policy. One parent fumed: ‘It’s a scandal. How are students supposed to compete with those in school sixth forms when they are only getting half the face-to-face teaching time?’

At Farnborough Sixth Form College in Hampshire, most students have either a lesson in the morning or afternoon. Varndean College in Brighton and Brockenhurst College in Hampshire also have reduced classroom timetables.

Government guidance says colleges should ‘resume delivery so that students of all ages can benefit from their education and training in full’. It does allow for rota systems to be put in place in the case of local lockdowns.

Havant and South Downs College in Portsmouth reviewed its plan for alternate weeks after protests from parents. Paula Williams, whose daughter is studying A-levels there, asked the principal in a letter: ‘How do you teach yourself chemistry?’

A Department for Education spokesman said last night that only a small number of colleges are failing to provide most lessons face-to-face.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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