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Internet pokes fun at unflappable Amy Coney Barrett’s blank piece of paper with memes

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internet pokes fun at unflappable amy coney barretts blank piece of paper with memes

Amy Coney Barrett’s decision to hold up a blank notebook to prove she wasn’t using notes during Tuesday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing turned into quite the viral sensation on social media, inspiring a host of amusing memes from both sides of the political aisle.

President Trump’s nominee displayed the pad at the behest of Senator John Cornyn, who told Barrett that senators use multiple notebooks, notes and books to reference during the hearing.

Cornyn then asked if she could hold up the preparatory materials she was using to answer the committee’s questions, to which she showed them an entirely blank notepad, aside from its ‘United States Senate’ letterhead.

‘That’s impressive,’ Cornyn said before continuing with his line of questioning.

But though the exchange was merely a brief moment in an otherwise hours-long hearing, it has since been immortalized in meme-hood thanks to the quick witticisms of social media users. 

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett holds up a notepad of paper during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett holds up a notepad of paper during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett holds up a notepad of paper during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday

The Republican Party of Kentucky was one of the first to put their own spin on what transpired, tweeting a picture of Barrett holding up the notepad with the words ‘#FILLTHESEAT’ superimposed on the page.

The President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., also sought to capitalize on the occasion, writing: ‘Unlike Joe Biden, Amy Coney Barrett doesn’t need notes or a teleprompter to remember her positions.’

Senior Legal Adviser to the Trump Campaign Jenna Ellis, meanwhile, posted a photo of Barrett holding up the blank notes, writing, ‘Judge Barrett’s policy agenda.’

Supporters of the President Trump – and critics of Joe Biden – also turned out in full-force.

One social media user superimposed the words ‘List of Joe Biden’s Accomplishments’ around an image of Barrett, showing her grinning from behind the blank page.

Others imposed the words ‘Democrats are idiots’ and ‘Score: ACB – 10, Dems -0’ on the sheet of paper.

Right-wing digital activist organisation, For America, tweeted a fake conversation between a Democratic senator and Barrett, in which Barrett’s pad of paper was edited to read: ‘I know the cases you are bringing up better than you do.’

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One the opposing side of the ideological divide, comedian Kathy Griffin, who has shared a number of high profile clashes with Donald Trump, shared the image of Barrett and her pad, insisting she was holding up a ‘photo of her brain scan.’

David Reaboi tweeted the same image, writing ‘What ACB was REALLY doing with her notepad’, and showing a doodle one the page of a handmaid from The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian book and television series about a totalitarian society in which women are seen as government property.

Protesters use the costumes worn by women in the series for political demonstrations against politicians and Supreme Court justices whom they deem a threat to women’s rights.

The protests have been staged outside the Supreme Court throughout Barrett’s hearings, with a group of activists heard chanting ‘Let the people decide’ on Tuesday, in support of allowing whoever wins the upcoming election to choose Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s successor.

Sierra Club, an environmental organization, echoed the sentiment with a notepad meme of their own, writing ‘Delay this until the inauguration.’ 

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Barrett’s religious beliefs were also ridiculed during the tweetstorm.

Along with her husband Jesse, the Supreme Court nominee is a member of the ultra-conservative religious group People of Praise, who actually inspired the Handmaid’s Tale.

The small group teaches wives they have to obey everything their husbands do – even in the way they vote.

‘I had to ask my husband permission to be here’ are the words one social media user digitally imposed on Barrett’s pad.

The implications that electing someone with such strong religious and conservative views to impartially rule on Supreme Court bench was also theorized.

‘I’m going to overturn everything for Trump,’ One user wrote. ‘Kiss Obamacare Goodbye’, another meme read.

Others suggested that the historic 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that legalized abortion would be at risk of being overturned with Barrett on the bench.

‘All your uteruses all belong to us now,’ one contributor wrote in jest. ‘Overturn Roe,’ wrote another.

But politics wasn’t the only topic of discussion. One contributor used the trend to spark a controversial debate of their own, writing on Barrett’s notepad: ‘A hot dog is a sandwich.’

‘Controversial stance from ACB here,’ the post’s author said, ‘may be disqualifying.’

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Barrett batted away Democrats’ skeptical questions on abortion, health care and a possible disputed-election fight over transferring presidential power during Tuesday’s hearing, insisting she would bring no personal agenda to the court but decide cases ‘as they come.’

She declared her conservative views with often colloquial language, but refused many specifics.

She declined to say whether she would recuse herself from any election-related cases involving President Donald Trump, who nominated her to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is pressing to have her confirmed before the the November 3 election.

‘Judges can’t just wake up one day and say I have an agenda – I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion – and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,’ Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee during its second day of hearings.

‘It’s not the law of Amy,’ she said. ‘It’s the law of the American people.’

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month started Trump’s race to confirm his Supreme Court pick before the election.

As Republicans defend moving forward with the process on the basis that it’s the role of the president and the Senate to carry out the process, Democrats argue they’re breaking a precedent they set.

In 2016, then-President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Republicans decried the decision at the time, saying it was improper of Obama to confirm a Supreme Court Justice during an election year, and that it should be up to the next president to decide.

But Senator Mitch McConnell says the difference is now that the same party controls the Senate and the presidency, and with the 51 votes needed to form a simple majority, Democrats have little chance of stopping Barrett from being confirmed.

Should Barrett secure her nomination, the Supreme Court will have a 6-3 conservative majority.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Polish President is the latest world leader to test positive for coronavirus

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polish president is the latest world leader to test positive for coronavirus

Polish President Andrzej Duda has become the latest leader to test positive for Covid-19 as the nation tries to avoid a full-scale coronavirus lockdown amid rising unrest in the county.  

Mr Duda, 48, said on Saturday in a recording published on Twitter that he was not experiencing coronavirus symptoms ‘but unfortunately, the test result is absolutely unambiguous.’

In a message on social media the leader said: ‘I would like to apologise to all those who are exposed to quarantine procedures because of meeting me in recent days. 

‘If I had had any symptoms of coronavirus, please believe me, all meetings would have been cancelled.’

The president’s diagnosis comes amid a surge in confirmed cases of coronavirus-related deaths in Poland, a nation of 38 million that saw very low infection rates in the spring. 

It also come as hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Warsaw today to protest the new virus restrictions after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared the entire country a ‘red zone’.  

Polish President Andrzej Duda, 48, said on Saturday that he had tested positive for coronavirus

Polish President Andrzej Duda, 48, said on Saturday that he had tested positive for coronavirus

Polish President Andrzej Duda, 48, said on Saturday that he had tested positive for coronavirus

On Friday, the president bestowed state honours on Iga Swiatek, the 19-year-old Polish tennis player who won the French Open this month

On Friday, the president bestowed state honours on Iga Swiatek, the 19-year-old Polish tennis player who won the French Open this month

On Friday, the president bestowed state honours on Iga Swiatek, the 19-year-old Polish tennis player who won the French Open this month

A smoke grenade is set off in the streets as police officers wearing protective gear and holding shields clash with protesters

A smoke grenade is set off in the streets as police officers wearing protective gear and holding shields clash with protesters

A smoke grenade is set off in the streets as police officers wearing protective gear and holding shields clash with protesters

A protester is detained by police officers as demonstrators flood onto the streets in Warsaw amid the coronavirus pandemic

A protester is detained by police officers as demonstrators flood onto the streets in Warsaw amid the coronavirus pandemic

A protester is detained by police officers as demonstrators flood onto the streets in Warsaw amid the coronavirus pandemic

Yesterday Europe’s daily cases crossed 200,000 in a day for the first time after doubling in just ten days, with many countries setting records and governments torn between fighting the virus and keeping the economy alive. 

Poland on Saturday reported 13,628 new confirmed cases and a record 179 daily number of Covid-19 deaths. The daily case count was the nation’s second-highest of the pandemic after a record number set Friday. 

On Friday, the European leader visited the National Stadium in Warsaw, which is being transformed into one of the field hospitals. 

He also bestowed state honours on Iga Swiatek, the 19-year-old Polish tennis player who won the French Open this month, and her father and trainer, Tomasz Swiatek. 

Duda and the Swiateks wore masks and gloves but stood very close and shook hands as the president fastened honorary pins on them. 

Iga Swiatek said she and others on her team had no symptoms but would go into quarantine following Duda’s positive test. She said they are tested regularly and would be tested again in three days. 

The Polish president now joins a handful of leasers, including American President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who have caught the virus.

On Saturday, police used pepper spray on angry demonstrators, many of whom were not wearing protective masks, as they took to the streets in protest to the new virus restrictions, 

Police said some protesters threw bottles and other objects at them, and that they were forced to respond. 

A police officer holds up a pepper spray can at a group of protesters as hundreds take to the street this weekend

A police officer holds up a pepper spray can at a group of protesters as hundreds take to the street this weekend

A police officer holds up a pepper spray can at a group of protesters as hundreds take to the street this weekend

Hundreds of protesters take to the streets as the government strengthen their coronavirus restrictions

Hundreds of protesters take to the streets as the government strengthen their coronavirus restrictions

Hundreds of protesters take to the streets as the government strengthen their coronavirus restrictions 

A group of demonstrators chant as they take part in a demonstration against the coronavirus restrictions in Warsaw

A group of demonstrators chant as they take part in a demonstration against the coronavirus restrictions in Warsaw

A group of demonstrators chant as they take part in a demonstration against the coronavirus restrictions in Warsaw

Officers hold down a demonstrator as hundreds take to the street in Warsaw amid rising unrest in the country

Officers hold down a demonstrator as hundreds take to the street in Warsaw amid rising unrest in the country

Officers hold down a demonstrator as hundreds take to the street in Warsaw amid rising unrest in the country 

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At the same time, people took to the streets in Warsaw and other cities for a third day to protest a Polish court ruling that declared the abortions of foetuses with congenital defects unconstitutional. 

The decision further restricted what was already one of Europe’s strictest abortion laws.

Critics accuse Poland’s right-wing ruling party of using the cover of the pandemic and a constitutional court it has filled with loyalists to impede abortion access in a legally dubious manner. 

They also accuse the Law and Justice party of seeking to exacerbate social conflicts to distract attention from soaring coronavirus infection rates.

The fast spread of the virus is pushing Poland’s strained health system to the breaking point, with doctors saying patients are dying not only from Covid-19 but from other illnesses that overwhelmed hospitals are unable to treat.

The government is preparing to open field hospitals, but it is not clear where it will find the doctors and nurses to staff them.

The country currently has some 11,500 patients hospitalised with coronavirus and 911 of them on respirators, the Health Ministry said. 

In other scenes, thousands took to the street in Warsaw to protest a Polish court ruling that declared abortions of foetuses with congenital defects unconstitutional

In other scenes, thousands took to the street in Warsaw to protest a Polish court ruling that declared abortions of foetuses with congenital defects unconstitutional

In other scenes, thousands took to the street in Warsaw to protest a Polish court ruling that declared abortions of foetuses with congenital defects unconstitutional

Women hold signs in the air as they walk through the streets of Warsaw and protest a Polish court ruling on abortion laws

Women hold signs in the air as they walk through the streets of Warsaw and protest a Polish court ruling on abortion laws

Women hold signs in the air as they walk through the streets of Warsaw and protest a Polish court ruling on abortion laws

The decision made by the Polish court further restricted what was already one of Europe's strictest abortion laws

The decision made by the Polish court further restricted what was already one of Europe's strictest abortion laws

The decision made by the Polish court further restricted what was already one of Europe’s strictest abortion laws

A woman holds a sign in the air reading 'The right to choice is a human right' as she takes part in a protest against imposing further restrictions on abortion laws

A woman holds a sign in the air reading 'The right to choice is a human right' as she takes part in a protest against imposing further restrictions on abortion laws

A woman holds a sign in the air reading ‘The right to choice is a human right’ as she takes part in a protest against imposing further restrictions on abortion laws 

Europe saw more than 200,000 coronavirus cases in 24 hours for the first time on Thursday, only 10 days after the continent first reached the 100,000 mark, although the true figures were likely far higher than the official numbers in the spring

Europe saw more than 200,000 coronavirus cases in 24 hours for the first time on Thursday, only 10 days after the continent first reached the 100,000 mark, although the true figures were likely far higher than the official numbers in the spring

Europe saw more than 200,000 coronavirus cases in 24 hours for the first time on Thursday, only 10 days after the continent first reached the 100,000 mark, although the true figures were likely far higher than the official numbers in the spring 

Deaths in Europe as a whole are still lower than during the spring, although there are some countries in Eastern Europe that are seeing more deaths than ever before

Deaths in Europe as a whole are still lower than during the spring, although there are some countries in Eastern Europe that are seeing more deaths than ever before

Deaths in Europe as a whole are still lower than during the spring, although there are some countries in Eastern Europe that are seeing more deaths than ever before 

The scenes come as protesters erupted onto the streets of Naples last night to oppose tougher measures being imposed to tame the virus as new infections hit a record high.

Videos showed crowds of people chanting and marching through the city centre, with car horns tooting in the background, while smoke filled the air as demonstrators looked to make their case against the curfew.

Police cars were attacked by protestors using baseball bats while other missiles were thrown at officers who used tear gas in response as tensions quickly boiled over.   

Covid-19 cases across Italy have risen seven-fold since the start of the month, jumping to 19,143 on Friday and raising fears that the pandemic is spiralling out of control. 

Meanwhile, France has surpassed one million confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, becoming the second country in Western Europe after Spain to reach the mark.

The national health agency announced 42,032 new cases on Friday, bringing the total to 1.04 million cases. 

Protestors clash with police in Naples over curfew imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus as a second wave bites in Europe

By Tom Pyman for MailOnline

Prostestors set garbage cans on fire and clashed with police in Naples tonight as a curfew was imposed to curb the growing spread of coronavirus.

Violence erupted as hundreds of activists, many wearing face coverings, took to the city’s streets this evening to oppose tougher measures being imposed to tame the virus as new infections hit a record high.

Videos show crowds of people chanting and marching through the city centre, with car horns tooting in the background, while smoke filled the air as demonstrators looked to make their case against the curfew.

Police cars were attacked by protestors using baseball bats while other missiles were thrown at officers who used tear gas in response as tensions quickly boiled over.  

They were the first such demonstrations in Italy since the start of its coronavirus outbreak eight months ago.

Covid-19 cases across Italy have risen seven-fold since the start of the month, jumping to 19,143 on Friday and raising fears that the pandemic is spiralling out of control.

As a result, restrictions are being imposed not just in Naples but also in Milan and Rome. 

There were flames and smoke in Naples this evening as a mass protest took place against the city's new Covid curfew

There were flames and smoke in Naples this evening as a mass protest took place against the city's new Covid curfew

There were flames and smoke in Naples this evening as a mass protest took place against the city’s new Covid curfew

Prostestors clashed with police in Naples tonight as a curfew was imposed to curb the growing spread of coronavirus

Prostestors clashed with police in Naples tonight as a curfew was imposed to curb the growing spread of coronavirus

Prostestors clashed with police in Naples tonight as a curfew was imposed to curb the growing spread of coronavirus

Hundreds of activists, many wearing face coverings, took to the city's streets this evening to oppose a lockdown being imposed to tame the virus as new infections hit a record high

Hundreds of activists, many wearing face coverings, took to the city's streets this evening to oppose a lockdown being imposed to tame the virus as new infections hit a record high

Hundreds of activists, many wearing face coverings, took to the city’s streets this evening to oppose a lockdown being imposed to tame the virus as new infections hit a record high

Meanwhile, France has surpassed one million confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, becoming the second country in Western Europe after Spain to reach the mark.

The national health agency announced 42,032 new cases on Friday, bringing the total to 1.04 million cases.

Health experts say the actual numbers are likely higher because of a lack of testing, asymptomatic cases and reporting issues. 

In Italy, the number of deaths is also climbing, albeit at a slower rate and less constantly. Fatalities totalled 91 on Friday, down from 136 the day before and far fewer than at the height of the first wave in March and April, when a daily peak of more than 900 deaths was reached.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says he wants to avoid the sort of nationwide lockdown introduced when the disease first flared, warning that renewed, rigid restrictions would devastate an already fragile economy.

But Italian law gives regional leaders leeway to establish their own curbs. Vincenzo De Luca, the head of Campania, based in Naples, has set the pace, shutting schools and announcing a nighttime curfew. Today, he said even more was needed.

‘Current data on the contagion make any kind of partial measure ineffective. It is necessary to close everything, except for those businesses that produce and transport essential goods,’ De Luca said on Facebook.

‘We need to make one last effort to get things under control. We need to shut everything down for a month, for 40 days,’ he added, without saying when the shutdown would begin.

The governor of Lombardy, which includes Italy’s financial capital Milan, said on Friday his region faced a ‘dramatic situation’ and urged locals to respect a curfew that runs from 11pm to 5am, amongst other measures.

Lombardy, the epicentre of Italy’s initial outbreak, remains the hardest hit region, accounting for 4,916 of the new cases on Friday. Campania was the second-worst hit, with 2,280.

Underscoring the growing concern, a group of prominent scientists and researchers urged the government to take immediate, forceful action at a national level, warning that hundreds might die each day without a tougher strategy.

‘The longer you wait, the measures you eventually take will have to be tougher, last longer and thus inflict a greater economic impact,’ the 100 academics wrote in an open letter to Conte.

By contrast, the streets of Rome and Paris were deserted tonight, as the Italian and French capitals’ own restrictions appeared to be followed far more smoothly. 

Italian authorities tonight began enforcing a five-hour curfew for the next 30 days in Rome, as police flooded the capital’s streets to move on anyone still in the city after 9pm.

In Paris, where rules prohibiting people leaving their homes between 9pm and 6am without a valid motive have been in place since October 14, the roads were again eerily quiet, with famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower left deserted.

Mirroring scenes in Cardiff earlier today, where a 17-day firebreaker lockdown began, pubs and restaurants packed away outdoor seating and shut up shop at a time on a Friday night where business would normally be booming. 

French President Emmanuel Macron called on citizens to respect a nightly curfew and other measures to fight the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Mr Macron says cases are ‘very strongly accelerating’, with coronavirus patients occupying more than 42% of ICU beds nationally and 64% in the Paris region.

The government announced a six-week curfew from 9pm to 6am in 46 regions and Polynesia.

France has more than 34,200 deaths, the fourth-highest death toll in Europe behind Britain, Italy and Spain.

Police set up a united front as protestors took action against the new curfew being imposed in the city of Naples tonight

Police set up a united front as protestors took action against the new curfew being imposed in the city of Naples tonight

Police set up a united front as protestors took action against the new curfew being imposed in the city of Naples tonight

Police in Marseille check that stores in the French city are abiding by the curfew, put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus

Police in Marseille check that stores in the French city are abiding by the curfew, put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus

Police in Marseille check that stores in the French city are abiding by the curfew, put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus

Police were out on the streets of Rome this evening as a strict new 9pm curfew came into effect for the next 30 days

Police were out on the streets of Rome this evening as a strict new 9pm curfew came into effect for the next 30 days

Police were out on the streets of Rome this evening as a strict new 9pm curfew came into effect for the next 30 days

It comes as the number of cases across the continent hit 200,000 in a day for the first time.

Cases have doubled in just 10 days, with many countries setting records, and governments left torn between fighting the virus and keeping the economy alive.

WHO figures say Europe is now accounting for nearly half of the world’s new cases, partly because of mass testing. 

The continent first reported 100,000 cases in a day on October 12, and has now hit the milestone of 200,000 in a day, although the true figures in the spring were likely far higher than the official peak of 38,000 on April 4. 

Cases have continued to climb exponentially with France, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic and others setting new 24-hour records in recent days after governments massively increased their testing capacity following the first wave.   

As a result, Europe is reporting more cases per capita than the United States for the first time since America’s outbreak began to spiral out of control in March.  

Infections in Europe are also growing faster than in India and Brazil, which were the summer pace-setters along with the US but where cases are now falling. 

Hospitals are coming under strain again in much of Europe, although in many places they are less badly hit than during the first wave.   

Deaths in Western Europe are also lower than in the spring, but many countries in the eastern half of the continent are seeing record death tolls.  

A WHO expert said on Monday that Europe and North America should follow the example of Asian countries by persevering with anti-Covid measures and quarantining anyone who comes into contact with infected people.

The heart of the Italian capital was lit up by sirens as authorities made sure the new 9pm curfew was being correctly followed

The heart of the Italian capital was lit up by sirens as authorities made sure the new 9pm curfew was being correctly followed

The heart of the Italian capital was lit up by sirens as authorities made sure the new 9pm curfew was being correctly followed

Revellers in Paris finish their drinks at a bar terrace shortly before the 9pm city-wide night time curfew in the French capital

Revellers in Paris finish their drinks at a bar terrace shortly before the 9pm city-wide night time curfew in the French capital

Revellers in Paris finish their drinks at a bar terrace shortly before the 9pm city-wide night time curfew in the French capital

A street is deserted near the Eiffel Tower, at 9pm as part of a city-wide night time curfew in Paris, which continued tonight

A street is deserted near the Eiffel Tower, at 9pm as part of a city-wide night time curfew in Paris, which continued tonight

A street is deserted near the Eiffel Tower, at 9pm as part of a city-wide night time curfew in Paris, which continued tonight

People sit at cafes in the old part of Bucharest, Romania, where the daily tally of coronavirus infections rose above 5,000 for the first time

People sit at cafes in the old part of Bucharest, Romania, where the daily tally of coronavirus infections rose above 5,000 for the first time

People sit at cafes in the old part of Bucharest, Romania, where the daily tally of coronavirus infections rose above 5,000 for the first time

Spain this week became the first country in Western Europe to reach a million cases, while France is set to follow today after reaching 999,043 on Thursday. 

France reported an all-time high of 41,622 new cases last night, a mark which few countries have ever surpassed. 

French PM Jean Castex announced an extension of curfew rules to more than two-thirds of the population on Thursday as cases continue to spiral out of control.

Deaths in France have risen to more than 150 per day, taking the total past 34,000, while there are more people in intensive care than at any point since mid-May. 

Germany, which reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time on Thursday, extended travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and some Italian regions including Rome.

Angela Merkel’s health minister Jens Spahn, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, is quarantining at home. 

The Netherlands also saw a new record on Thursday with more than 9,000 cases, according to the country’s public health institute. 

Meanwhile, Poland is telling over-70s to stay at home and drafting in military reservists to help deliver food to their homes as the country tries to avoid a full-scale coronavirus lockdown.

Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki declared the entire country a ‘red zone’ today after total infections doubled in two weeks while deaths reached a record 168 on Thursday. 

With seven out of 10 deaths in Poland coming among over-70s, Morawiecki urged the elderly not to go out unless necessary and promised a ‘senior support corps’ to get them through the crisis. 

The ‘senior protection’ programme will include a mixture of government employees, volunteers, emergency workers and military reservists as Poland’s government tries to keep over-70s safe without shutting down the entire economy. 

The government-funded support package also includes a dedicated helpline which seniors can call to request help with food or hygiene supplies.

‘Volunteers will deliver shopping to seniors, but also help with household chores or simply talk to an elderly person,’ the Polish government promises.   

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Warrington moving into Tier Three two days early as infection rate remains ‘stubbornly high’

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warrington moving into tier three two days early as infection rate remains stubbornly high

The town of Warrington, sandwiched between Liverpool and Manchester, will go into Tier 3 lockdown 48 hours earlier than expected, with new restrictions coming in on Tuesday.

The measures, which will bring it in line with the two cities sitting either side, have been brought forward after talks between the Government and the council, whose leader Russ Bowden said it was the ‘necessary and proportionate thing to do’.

The tightened restrictions – which were meant to come into force from Thursday –  include the shuttering of pubs and betting shops. 

Residents are also advised against travelling outside of the north Cheshire town and overnight stays in other parts of the UK.

But officials successfully negotiated for leisure centres, gyms, fitness centres, beauty parlours, hairdressers and trampoline parks to stay open. 

Some 15 people have died in Warrington Hospital after contracting the virus over the last three days. 

The town of Warrington, sandwiched between Liverpool and Manchester, will go into Tier 3 lockdown 48 hours earlier than expected, with new restrictions coming in on Tuesday

The town of Warrington, sandwiched between Liverpool and Manchester, will go into Tier 3 lockdown 48 hours earlier than expected, with new restrictions coming in on Tuesday

The town of Warrington, sandwiched between Liverpool and Manchester, will go into Tier 3 lockdown 48 hours earlier than expected, with new restrictions coming in on Tuesday

A map shows where Warrington is located in relation to Liverpool and Manchester, which are also under Tier 3 lockdown restrictions

A map shows where Warrington is located in relation to Liverpool and Manchester, which are also under Tier 3 lockdown restrictions

A map shows where Warrington is located in relation to Liverpool and Manchester, which are also under Tier 3 lockdown restrictions

WHAT ARE THE RULES IN DIFFERENT TIERS OF LOCKDOWN?

TIER ONE 

Tier one restrictions mirror those already in place across England.

These include the rule of six, a 10pm curfew, group sport to be played outdoors only and a maximum of 15 guests at wedding ceremonies.  

TIER TWO 

Tier two restrictions mean people are prohibited from socialising with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting

Two households may be allowed to meet in a private garden and public outdoor spaces, as long as the rule of six and social distancing are followed.

Tradespeople – such as plumbers and electricians – can continue to go into a household for work. 

TIER THREE 

Restaurants can open, but only until 10pm. 

Pubs and bars will be ordered to close unless they also operate as a restaurant.

This definition extends to pubs which sell ‘substantial’ meals, which like restaurants will be allowed to stay open but only serve alcohol to people eating a meal.

Locals are advised only to leave their areas for essential travel such as work, education or health, and must return before the end of the day.

Overnight stays by those from outside of these ‘high risk’ areas are also be banned. Households are not be allowed to mix either indoors or outdoors.     

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Cllr Bowden said: ‘We know that our case numbers in Warrington remain stubbornly high, but what is more concerning is the number of admissions into hospital. 

‘The upsetting and grim reality is that there are more people in hospital, more people in intensive care beds and more people being taken by the virus, and we need to do all we can to try to bring this under control.

‘Moving into tier 3 is one of many important steps we need to take as a town to try and reduce transmission of the virus. 

‘Please keep doing all you can to play your part: wash your hands, keep your distance from others not in your household, wear a cloth face covering and if you have any symptoms, however mild, self-isolate and get tested immediately. 

‘We need to act together, and now, to protect our elderly and vulnerable loved ones, and to support our hospital and their staff who are doing a tremendous job.’

As part of the move into tier 3, the council secured a £5.9m support package, with £1.68m allocated to public health – including public protection, testing and enforcement – with a further £4.2m to be used for business and employment support.

The move plunges another 210,000 people into tighter restrictions and means more than 7.5million Brits are living under the toughest tier of curbs. 

Nearly 40million people across the country will be living under some form of lockdown when all the measures are fully enforced next week. 

The North West town diagnosed 347 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending October 18. This is the 35th highest level in the country. 

Public Health England data shows 730 people in the town tested positive, and health chiefs say cases are climbing in older age groups.

It came after it was revealed that the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Manchester will reopen in the next week as the city heads into Tier 3. 

A local NHS boss announced yesterday the temporary hospital, set up in the Manchester Central Conference Centre, will be brought back into use before the end of next week. It will become the first one in England to reopen.

It had closed in June when the first wave of the UK’s outbreak burned out, but there are now fears that local hospitals will be inundated with Covid patients again. The Nightingale will not be used to treat people seriously ill with coronavirus but instead opened to add capacity for ‘additional rehabilitation’.

The city entered Tier 3 lockdown rules at midnight on Friday after a week of wrangling between the Government and the mayor, Andy Burnham, because the city has one of the highest infection rates in England. 

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Areas of England under Tier 3 lockdown 

Greater Manchester

Lancashire

Liverpool City Region

South Yorkshire

Warrington (from Tuesday)

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Mr Burnham this week Boris Johnson to Manchester for face-to-face talks to ‘clear the air’ as he said he does not want a ‘lingering political argument’ with the Government.  

The Labour Mayor has suffered a bruising week after talks with ministers over moving Greater Manchester into Tier Three coronavirus restrictions collapsed, prompting Mr Johnson to unilaterally impose the rules. 

The two sides failed to reach an agreement after Mr Burnham initially demanded a £90 million bailout for businesses before saying he could not accept less than £65 million but the PM would go no higher than £60 million. 

The failure to reach an agreement prompted a furious war of words but Mr Burnham said this morning he now wants to ‘reset things on a better footing’ as he claimed to be ‘misunderstood down there’ in Westminster.

He later told MPs that the Government still ‘holds all of the power and all of the money’ and that mayors have to ‘go on bended knee’ to ministers to secure funding as he called for devolution to be made a ‘reality’. 

However, the chances of a repairing of relations appears slim after Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg accused Mr Burnham of ‘playing party politics of the cheapest and most disagreeable kind’. 

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson this afternoon denied he had gone to ‘war’ with Mr Burnham and other local leaders as he said that was ‘not the case’ and stressed he had had ‘great conversations’ with politicians across the country. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Two week circuit breaker lockdowns ‘do not work’, say experts

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two week circuit breaker lockdowns do not work say

Experts have warned that two-week circuit breaker lockdowns ‘do not work’ as they point to Scotland’s extension of their coronavirus restrictions.  

Nicola Sturgeon introduced a 16-day circuit-breaker which forced pubs and licensed restaurants in five health board areas across the central belt to close – impacting 3.4 million people – earlier this month.

The temporary measures, which had been set to end on October 25, also saw other venues across the country restricted to only operating indoors between 6am and 6pm and being banned from from serving alcohol inside. 

But Ms Sturgeon later announced a change of plan by extending the restrictions for a further week before introducing a new five-tier lockdown system on Thursday. 

The First Minister said that her mini-circuit breaker lockdown appeared to be working despite the drastic change of tack.

But experts have warned that the short-term nature of the clampdown meant it was too soon to say if it had an impact due to the incubation period of Covid-19 as the measures were ‘not really getting at the fundamentals’.

The warning comes after Scotland recorded 1,433 new coronavirus infections and 11 reported deaths in the past 24 hours.

Nicola Sturgeon introduced a 16-day circuit-breaker which forced pubs and licensed restaurants in five health board areas across the central belt to close - impacting 3.4 million people - earlier this month

Nicola Sturgeon introduced a 16-day circuit-breaker which forced pubs and licensed restaurants in five health board areas across the central belt to close - impacting 3.4 million people - earlier this month

Nicola Sturgeon introduced a 16-day circuit-breaker which forced pubs and licensed restaurants in five health board areas across the central belt to close – impacting 3.4 million people – earlier this month 

Hugh Pennington, Emeritus Professor of Microbiology at Aberdeen University, told The Telegraph: ‘There’s the old argument that if we hadn’t done (the mini-circuit breaker), cases would have gone up faster. But that’s a guess, and the figures haven’t come tumbling down.

‘They were always going to have difficulty in knowing how effective it was because the figures wouldn’t have come through to really give them an indication as to whether it was having any effect at all.’

He also criticised Ms Sturgeon for claiming the restrictions would only be in place for 16 days and claimed that this was projected as a ‘short-term measure’ to avoid major backlash. 

‘It’s got to be statistically significant, it’s the figures coming down that they’re looking for. To expect that would happen within 16 days was unrealistic. At a guess, I’d say her reason for saying that was so she could say “I’m going to make things tough, but it’s only for 16 days”, to get people to buy into it. 

‘If you close the pubs, you’re going to stop pub outbreaks. You’re addressing little bits of the transmission route, but not really getting at the fundamentals, which is making sure people who have the virus, and their contacts, are kept away from everybody else by self-isolating.’ 

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Scotland’s new 0-4  tier system, how it works:

Nicola Sturgeon laid out plans for a new 0-4 tier lockdown today. Here is how it would work. 

Level 0 

As close to normal as possible. Broadly in line with the situation in Scotland in August when the virus was suppressed but still around. 

At this level people would be able to meet indoors with eight people from three households and most businesses would be open safety measures in place.

Level 1 

Household meetings would reduce to six people from two households but there would still be a reasonable degree of normality overall.

Level 2 

Restrictions broadly similar to those currently in place currently outside Scotland’s central belt. It includes  limitations on hospitality and no gatherings inside people’s homes.

Level 3

Broadly similar to the tougher restrictions which currently apply across the central belt  – including Glasgow and Edinburgh, with much of hospitality being closed completely. But restaurants would be able to be open ‘at least partially’.

Both Levels 2 and 3 are intended to apply for relatively short periods of time to bring transmission under control.

Level 4

This would kick in when ‘transmission rates are, or are threatening to become, very high with corresponding pressure on the NHS and perhaps the risk of the NHS being overwhelmed’.

Closer to a full lockdown, with non-essential shops closed. But six people from up two households could still meet outdoors, there would be no limit on outdoor exercise for individuals, manufacturing and construction businesses would stay open with safety measures in place.

Ms Sturgeon added: ‘We do not envisage returning to a situation as severe as the first lockdown imposed back in late March.’  

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Ms Sturgeon’s scientific advisers themselves warned on Thursday it was ‘too early to detect any impact on transmission from the restrictions introduced on October 9’. 

But she insisted during a press conference on Thursday that Scotland was making ‘progress in tackling the virus’.

Latest figures suggest that the rate of spread across Scotland has indeed slowed in recent weeks across all but two health boards – Borders and the Western Isles –since the new measures were introduced.

But this is has largely been attributed to the ban on household mixing rather than the closure of the hospitality industry.  

In the week leading up to Friday October 9, the average rise in the number of cases across the country was 52 per cent up on the previous week. 

In the week leading up to Friday, October 16, there was an increase of 29 per cent on the previous week.

And on Thursday, this was up by just 7 per cent on the previous week.  

But the data showed that the pandemic was far from being ‘under control’ as test positivity continues to rise along with the number of deaths.

The infection numbers have also remained relatively static in the 20-39 age range despite infringements on social gatherings.    

The First Minister’s newly-suggested tiered approach means those in the highest band would see the shutters come down once again on the Scottish high street while trying to keep some other businesses going.

Outlining the new Level 0 – 4 system live on television she held out an olive branch to hospitality businesses who blasted the harsh new restrictions, which would place some level of barre on trading at all levels.

She said while she would listen to arguments about trying to keep some pubs and restaurants open at higher tiers but she would not promise to make changes.

She warned ‘it is possible that the whole country could be placed in the same level’ and refused to rule out some parts of the country immediately being placed in Level 4. 

Under the new 0-4 tier system, the restrictions currently in place in the central belt, where pubs are closed, would be Level Three. Under Level Four even non-essential retail shops would close again. But Ms Sturgeon pledged to keep schools open.

Ms Sturgeon said Level One and Level Two are the closest to normal the country can be without effective treatment or a vaccine, while the highest grade would be more similar to a full lockdown. 

The Scottish Retail Consortium said closing non-essential shops in Level Four – the highest tier – will do little to reduce coronavirus rates.

The First Minister gave details of the scheme – which is subject to being ratified by the Scottish parliament next week – despite a furious backlash from restaurants and retailers over the prospect of heightened restrictions staying in place indefinitely. 

It is thought that the new restrictions will see two-thirds of  hospitality businesses close in the coming months and put more than 50 per cent of jobs at risk. 

Industry bodies have now launched a legal bid aimed at overturning the proposals following a judicial review. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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