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Coronavirus: Government adviser says country should be shut around EVERY school holiday

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coronavirus government adviser says country should be shut around every school holiday

A series of coronavirus ‘circuit breakers’ should be pencilled in around the school holidays, a senior Government official said last night.

Three weeks ago the Sage group of scientists advising ministers recommended a short lockdown to halt the rise in Covid-19 cases, which the Government chose not to follow.

But yesterday the senior government adviser argued for a ‘whole series’ of circuit breakers planned around when schools break up.

A government advisor has argued for a 'whole series' of circuit breakers planned around when schools break up to cause minimum disruption to students (stock photo)

A government advisor has argued for a 'whole series' of circuit breakers planned around when schools break up to cause minimum disruption to students (stock photo)

A government advisor has argued for a ‘whole series’ of circuit breakers planned around when schools break up to cause minimum disruption to students (stock photo)

The idea is aimed at causing minimum disruption to schoolchildren while allowing families to plan ahead – although the cost of a temporary lockdown to the economy has been estimated at £2billion a day.

The expert, who did not want to be named, said: ‘One of the things we think would be good would be to plan to have a whole series of these, probably placed around the school holidays so that they didn’t disrupt education – or perhaps add a week to existing holidays.

‘Tell people they’re coming, so everybody can plan for them. And then if you don’t need them well fine, we’ll cancel them. It seems to us that one of the damages of lockdown is that they arrived right out of the blue.

‘Now obviously, you would need to make sure people didn’t all have massive parties the week before the circuit break came into being.

‘But for many families, if one knew that this thing was coming and you planned for it, it would be less damaging than having it just arrive from nowhere.’

The suggestion follows a political row after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a time-limited circuit breaker across the whole of England to try to bring the disease under control.

Some experts have suggested a two-week lockdown involving shutting bars, restaurants and non-essential shops and banning unnecessary travel could buy time to get cases of coronavirus under control.

A circuit breaker similar to this is still being discussed by some academics as an option for next week. 

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34453222 8845815 image m 58 1602804552435

Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer previously called for a time-limited circuit breaker across the whole of England to try to bring the disease under control

But the Government adviser said that if such a move was implemented, ministers will have ‘lost the benefit of giving people a lot of notice’.

Planned breaks, however, would ‘show to people that we can get on top of this’.

The official went on to criticise current measures, describing them as ‘useless’ and adding: ‘Not sure I dare say it – the rule of six was actually a loosening of measures for mixing inside households.’

The comments on circuit breakers echo those made earlier this week by Professor Graham Medley, a member of Sage. 

Speaking in a personal capacity, Prof Medley, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: ‘We have three major holidays and three half-terms. And I think these are all possible options.

‘The key to do it is when you don’t have to… and then it creates that narrative of getting through the process and taking back control. Let’s have a couple of years of two-week half terms.’

Prof Medley said England had ‘missed the boat’ of making a precautionary break for this half-term – scheduled for next week or the week after – but added: ‘We haven’t missed the boat of it as a strategy.’

However, Professor Robert Dingwall, a sociologist who also advises the Government, said: ‘The problem with circuit breakers is that they just kick the can down the road.

Some experts have suggested a two-week lockdown involving shutting bars, restaurants and non-essential shops and could buy time to get cases of coronavirus under control

Some experts have suggested a two-week lockdown involving shutting bars, restaurants and non-essential shops and could buy time to get cases of coronavirus under control

Some experts have suggested a two-week lockdown involving shutting bars, restaurants and non-essential shops and could buy time to get cases of coronavirus under control

‘Once the pause button comes off, the cases just start to roll in again. It gets to be like groundhog day and I don’t think that people and businesses can endure much more of it.’

Sage papers, released on Monday night, show that three weeks ago the body advised officials to consider a circuit breaker among other options to stem the spread of the virus.

Sage scientists warned that failure to intervene could result in ‘catastrophic consequences’. 

Instead, Boris Johnson has enforced a three-tier system which is based on transmission rates in local areas.

Today Sage is expected to publish the next figures for the rate of growth in infections.

Government advisers said yesterday that the R rate is ‘definitely headed in the wrong direction’ and is ‘growing pretty fast in some places’.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Coronavirus UK: Fears of London gridlock before second lockdown

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coronavirus uk fears of london gridlock before second lockdown

Britons are plotting to head away from cities to rural areas during a second UK lockdown days after Paris saw huge traffic jams as people left city.

The Mail revealed last night that Boris Johnson is expected to announce a second nationwide lockdown next week.

Social media users reacted quickly to say they would flee London and other cities for the countryside before the new restrictions are put in place.

Piers Corbyn and a small number of anti-lockdown protesters were also on the streets of London last night.  

It comes as the roads out of Paris were jammed on Thursday after France‘s second lockdown was ordered yesterday.

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35062934 8899383 image a 65 1604104613751

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35063148 8899383 image a 66 1604104637675

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35062936 8899383 image a 7 1604107109086

Britons have claimed they will head away to rural areas for the second UK lockdown days after Paris saw huge traffic jams as people left city

Britons have claimed they will head away to rural areas for the second UK lockdown days after Paris saw huge traffic jams as people left city

Britons have claimed they will head away to rural areas for the second UK lockdown days after Paris saw huge traffic jams as people left city

Social media users in the UK indicated they would act in the same way to the country’s impending lockdown.

One wrote: ‘So we got until Wednesday for Lockdown 2 rumour has it. 

‘Right the plan is: get a 24 hour covid test tomorrow, if you’re negative we takeover a great big mansion in the countryside for a month and put on shows and make movies and hangout in a giant bubble. Who’s in?’

Another said: ‘I can see a lockdown coming to London soon ….leave London now…it’s going to get horrible!!!’

One said: ‘We staying at grandmas house cus no way I’m gonna be in London in lockdown again.’

Piers Corbyn was on the streetsof London last night with a small number of anti-lockdown protesters

Piers Corbyn was on the streetsof London last night with a small number of anti-lockdown protesters

Piers Corbyn was on the streetsof London last night with a small number of anti-lockdown protesters

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35049212 8899251 image a 102 1604105232473

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35049210 8899251 image a 44 1604102479833

Scientists from the Sage committee yesterday presented No 10 with bleak figures showing that Covid is spreading ‘significantly’ faster than even their original ‘worst-case scenario’ prediction.

Last night a Cabinet source told the Mail that the dramatic move will be announced next week. 

It was not clear exactly what form the new lockdown would take, or what would be ordered to close or how long it would last.

The Government now faces a critical weekend to determine the shape of the measures before an announcement.

The Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are said to have agonised over the decision because of fears it would leave the economy in tatters. 

But the scientists – backed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and senior minister Michael Gove – told them the virus was on track to kill 85,000 this winter, and that it was too late for a so-called ‘circuit break’.

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron’s new national shutdown 

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

It comes as Parisians fleeing for the countryside jammed the roads on Thursday ahead of France’s lockdown to slow the spread of the resurgent coronavirus.

There was only a sprinkling of people hurrying along city sidewalks Friday as the nationwide restrictions went into effect.

Dystopian images of logjams that stretched for 435 miles (700km) at one point Thursday evening – exacerbated by the upcoming long holiday weekend – were a grim sign of a return to the dark days of the spring. 

With infections hitting record levels in some countries, many are now resorting to severe restrictions again .

In France, concerns were growing that rising infections would swamp the country’s health system, so authorities ordered another four-week lockdown beginning Friday. 

There was only a sprinkling of people hurrying along city sidewalks in Paris on Friday as the nationwide restrictions went into effect

There was only a sprinkling of people hurrying along city sidewalks in Paris on Friday as the nationwide restrictions went into effect

There was only a sprinkling of people hurrying along city sidewalks in Paris on Friday as the nationwide restrictions went into effect

A man walks by the empty Tuileries gardens in the centre of Paris. French authorities ordered another four-week lockdown beginning Friday

A man walks by the empty Tuileries gardens in the centre of Paris. French authorities ordered another four-week lockdown beginning Friday

A man walks by the empty Tuileries gardens in the centre of Paris. French authorities ordered another four-week lockdown beginning Friday

Many areas of the French capital resembled a regular lazy weekend morning – on what would normally have been a bustling weekday. 

Those who were out frequently clutched permission forms proving they had an exemption that allowed them to to be on streets.

The only places that were busy were grocery stores and markets as people stockpiled food and other necessities.

All of France’s 67 million people have been ordered to stay at home at all times with no visitors, or risk steep fines or prosecution. 

There are a handful of exceptions, such as being allowed out for one hour of exercise a day within a half-mile (1km) of home, to go to medical appointments, to a place of work, or to shop for essential goods. 

Restaurants and cafes are shuttered, apart from those that offer takeout.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Coronavirus UK: 46% familes WILL stick to Christmas lockdown rules

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coronavirus uk 46 familes will stick to christmas lockdown rules

Almost half of families in the UK intend to stick to coronavirus rules at Christmas even if they prevent them from seeing their loved ones. 

An exclusive poll for MailOnline found 46 per cent of people said they will fully adhere to the rules and not celebrate with relatives or friends from other households indoors if that is what the restrictions in their local area demand. 

The survey of 3,000 people, conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies on October 28, found that just 19 per cent intend not to fully adhere to the rules and still celebrate indoors with people from outside their immediate household.  

Just over one in 10, some 14 per cent, said they would try to stick to restrictions and meet loved ones outdoors in a public space on the big day while five per cent intend to celebrate overseas and 17 per cent were unsure what they will do. 

Just 19 per cent of people said they intend not to adhere to coronavirus rules over Christmas if there is a ban on households gathering indoors

Just 19 per cent of people said they intend not to adhere to coronavirus rules over Christmas if there is a ban on households gathering indoors

Just 19 per cent of people said they intend not to adhere to coronavirus rules over Christmas if there is a ban on households gathering indoors 

The Government is facing a major headache over what to do about coronavirus rules over the Christmas period. 

Ministers believe it is inevitable that many people will travel to be with their families even if restrictions say they should not do so. 

However, there are fears that lifting the rules temporarily to allow families to meet would result in a ‘spreading event’ which would cause a significant spike in coronavirus infections. 

Today’s poll found that the nation is split on whether the Government understands the economic and social damage its lockdown restrictions are doing. 

Some 47 per cent of respondents said the Government does understand the impact on the public but 37 per cent think the Government does not. 

Meanwhile, four in ten Britons (39 per cent) said they would support restrictions like the Rule of Six being relaxed over Christmas and 31 per cent would oppose such a much.  

The debate over what to do during the Christmas period remains ongoing in Whitehall with ministers insisting that it is too early to make decisions on the matter. 

Police chiefs have said that if rules banning household mixing are in place over Christmas then officers could break up family gatherings. 

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said yesterday that ‘the police have a duty and a responsibility to enforce the rules’.

‘We obviously want to ensure that families can gather for Christmas,’ he told Sky News.

‘I want to be with my own family at Christmas. That is some way off.

‘What we have to do now is take action, decisive action now against the virus to give us the best possible chance of being able to achieve that and that is exactly what we are trying to do.’

Tory MPs have urged the Government to give families a ‘break’ and allow them to meet after a ‘dreadful year’.   

They also blasted the suggestion that police could crackdown on families meeting for Christmas dinner as they said ‘this is not some totalitarian state like China’.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Philophobia: Low budget film hits cinemas as James Bond postponed

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philophobia low budget film hits cinemas as james bond postponed

The director of a low-budget coming of age film has said he cold-called the box office of local cinemas to get them to show his movie after the latest James Bond film was delayed.

Guy Davies, 29, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, said while Cineworlds and Picturehouses have temporarily closed, the delay of No Time To Die until 2021 has left cinemas that remain open in need of new releases – and so he decided to try his luck with his feature debut Philophobia.

He said: ‘It happened that it just created more space for us when cinemas decided to stay open.

The UK cinema industry was deeply disappointed when film bosses delayed the release of the 25th James Bond film for a second time - prompting two major chains to close down again temporarily

The UK cinema industry was deeply disappointed when film bosses delayed the release of the 25th James Bond film for a second time - prompting two major chains to close down again temporarily

The UK cinema industry was deeply disappointed when film bosses delayed the release of the 25th James Bond film for a second time – prompting two major chains to close down again temporarily

The film's director Guy Davies, 29, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, rang up cinemas across the country seeing if they would like to show his movie as many big producers are holding back their big releases or putting them online

The film's director Guy Davies, 29, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, rang up cinemas across the country seeing if they would like to show his movie as many big producers are holding back their big releases or putting them online

The film’s director Guy Davies, 29, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, rang up cinemas across the country seeing if they would like to show his movie as many big producers are holding back their big releases or putting them online

The low-budget movie is going to be shown in 50 cinemas and is loosely based on the writer-director's own life

The low-budget movie is going to be shown in 50 cinemas and is loosely based on the writer-director's own life

The low-budget movie is going to be shown in 50 cinemas and is loosely based on the writer-director’s own life

‘It’s worked out really well, I got a little bit frustrated or tired of trying to work the distribution process, we had offers but they weren’t necessarily going to be doing all the things I wanted to do with the film, so I thought “Why not?”

‘There is a space in the cinemas right now because studios are pulling their films out and we’ve got a film that has done well on the festival circuit, so I just thought I would have a crack.

‘I started with local cinemas because I was only trying to get four or five to be honest, and then once I had a few I thought maybe I should try and expand this so I went a little bit further afield.

‘Then once I got a few more I started receiving phone calls from cinema programmers saying ‘We have seen the trailer, it looks good, can we check it out?’, and it spread really quickly in matter of a few days after I got the first few.’

The film will now open in almost 50 cinemas around the UK, including in London’s Leicester Square.

He said: ‘I made a list of cinemas, starting with independent cinemas, that I thought would be good for the film, and scoured the internet for the contact details of the people who book the films and if I couldn’t find them I just rang the box office at the cinema and asked who to talk to.’

Davies has taken a DIY approach to everything about the movie, including securing funding.

He said: ‘The Stroud News And Journal have been incredibly supportive the entire way through this process.

Cinema owners hoped No Time To Die could save 2020 for the industry, but the film's producers decided to postpone its release for a second time

Cinema owners hoped No Time To Die could save 2020 for the industry, but the film's producers decided to postpone its release for a second time

Cinema owners hoped No Time To Die could save 2020 for the industry, but the film’s producers decided to postpone its release for a second time

Guy Davies said he wanted his film to be released in the cinema instead of streaming it online

Guy Davies said he wanted his film to be released in the cinema instead of streaming it online

Guy Davies said he wanted his film to be released in the cinema instead of streaming it online

‘I got in touch with them and they wrote a little piece saying I was doing this film, someone read it and got in touch and we went to a cafe and that is how I got my first chunk of money, and then I just went from there.

‘I made a list of local people that had some kind of influence or might know people that might want to invest and politely got in touch, but 90 per cent of the money was funded locally, maybe even 95 per cent per cent.’

While many films have skipped the theatrical release and gone straight to streaming, Davies said he was always determined to show his debut in cinemas.

‘It was important because it was my first film and it was shot for cinema, that is just what I did.

‘I really had cinemas in mind from the beginning, it was always part of the goal and I feel the film plays a lot better in cinemas because I made it for there.’

Philophobia is out now in UK cinemas.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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