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Matt Hancock DENIES plans for over-50s lockdown after outcry

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matt hancock denies plans for over 50s lockdown after outcry

Matt Hancock today denied claims that over-50s will be targeted for a fresh lockdown as the Government was told that any new measures should be aimed more at young people.

Officials have drawn up radical plans that could see millions of people asked to stay at home if a second wave of coronavirus infections takes hold.

Under one option, people aged between 50 and 70 would get personalised risk ratings as part of a significant widening of the shielding programme.

Asked about the report Mr Hancock told Sky News: ‘We have paused the shielding programme because the number of infections is so low. 

The reports with respect to the over-50s are inaccurate and they are speculation. But we will always do whatever is necessary to keep people safe.’

However, neither he nor Number 10, who repeated his claim of inaccuracies later, were able to explain which parts of the report they believed were wrong.   

Rules? What rules? Youngsters pack together for afternoon drinks in central London

Rules? What rules? Youngsters pack together for afternoon drinks in central London

Rules? What rules? Youngsters pack together for afternoon drinks in central London 

After a weekend when the young flouted distancing rules across the country, the proposals last night attracted a storm of protest. 

Critics warned that they failed to recognise the important contribution over-50s make to the economy and risked stigmatising older people in the workplace.

Former government adviser Joan Bakewell said ministers needed first to tackle the problem of young people failing to socially distance.

Baroness Bakewell, who was tsar for the elderly in the last Labour government, said: ‘Certainly older people have to take care – I have been taking great care myself – but what is happening is that young people are not distancing and they are not wearing masks. The young have got to get their act together.

‘Young people assume it is over and are not distancing themselves as they should. They know they should, they have been told they should, but they cannot be bothered. That is the crux.’

The 87-year-old warned that it would be problematic to ask vast swathes of the population to stay at home again. She said: ‘It is hard, I did 115 days of isolating, and it is tough and quite a commitment. To do it again is perhaps putting us under too much pressure.’

Boris Johnson (pictured) was told he should prioritise getting young people to follow social-distancing rules before targeting over-50s with another lockdown

Boris Johnson (pictured) was told he should prioritise getting young people to follow social-distancing rules before targeting over-50s with another lockdown

Boris Johnson (pictured) was told he should prioritise getting young people to follow social-distancing rules before targeting over-50s with another lockdown

Former Tory minister Ros Altmann branded the proposals ‘dangerous and wrong’, as she warned: ‘Age 50 is not old, it isn’t halfway through your adult life.’

She told how that the coronavirus crisis was ‘introducing into society a worrying element of ageism that we have worked very hard to try to overcome’.

Baroness Altmann said: ‘What we’re talking about here is a group in society that is being potentially singled out for different treatment just on the basis of their age.

‘It’s not that the over-50s are somehow old and therefore at risk and the under-50s are young and therefore not at risk.’

Labour peer Lord Foulkes said: ‘It is both ageist and ill-thought-out. Some under-50s have underlying health conditions, while some over 50s are key to our economy.’ Dame Esther Rantzen said people of the same age cannot be lumped together as being identical.

But the 80-year-old said she would be prepared to stay at home to prevent another lockdown for all age groups. She said: ‘Ferocious as I am in protecting older people’s rights, I think that it would be sensible to make a distinction between people in the their 20s and people like me in our 80s.

Youngsters fail to socially distance as they gather in Soho Square in the capital

Youngsters fail to socially distance as they gather in Soho Square in the capital

Youngsters fail to socially distance as they gather in Soho Square in the capital 

‘I don’t want people in their 20s, 30s and 40s to be restricted in what they can do because of a desire to protect me. It is too high a price for the nation, it is too high a price for our young peop le to lock them down for my sake. I will lock myself down and if the Government make me because I’m 80, so be it.’

Official figures show that almost three quarters of the 51,264 deaths in the UK involving coronavirus were people aged over 75, with much lower mortality rates amongst those younger. According to the Office for National Statistics, just 4,895 people aged 45 to 64 have died and 7,549 aged 65 to 74, compared to 16,586 in the 75 to 84 age bracket and 21,766 aged over 85.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick last night attempted to defuse the row as he insisted that talk about expanding the shielding programme was ‘just speculation’.

Sun, sea and strife: Two women tussle on the ground on the south coast, as tempers flare among the drinkers packed on to benches

Sun, sea and strife: Two women tussle on the ground on the south coast, as tempers flare among the drinkers packed on to benches

Sun, sea and strife: Two women tussle on the ground on the south coast, as tempers flare among the drinkers packed on to benches

He added: ‘You would expect the Government to be considering all of the range of options that might be available.’

Mr Jenrick insisted that the proposals were not ‘being actively considered’, but failed to rule out them being adopted if there is a second wave.

He, however, denied that ministers were planning to shut down pubs to help reduce infection rates ahead of the re-opening of schools in September.

Let’s not panic now – we CAN deal with this virus, says Professor KAROL SIKORA 

Commentary by Professor Karol Sikora

Hard to imagine now, but it was only a fortnight ago that Boris Johnson set today as the date when the nation should scrap the previous exhortation to ‘work from home’, and, where possible, get back to the office.

So this week should have been the crucial point at which our national recovery began, when we slipped the shackles of Covid-19 and started to rebuild the economy.

Instead, everything I’ve heard or read since last week – and particularly over the weekend – suggests the very opposite.

Indeed, the incoherent messaging seems almost eerily designed to foster anew a pervasive sense of panic, fuelling fears that we are heading towards wide-scale partial lockdowns – or even back to a total national lockdown.

Thursday’s announcement of new restrictions in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire followed by Friday’s U-turn on lifting restrictions on bowling alleys, skating rinks, wedding receptions and some beauty salon procedures, followed loose talk of a ‘second wave’ of the coronavirus.

Together they have created exactly the wrong atmosphere at a time when a sense of national renewal is desperately needed to get people off their sofas and into their workplaces. Most alarming of all, it is reported the Prime Minister and his Cabinet have been ‘war-gaming’ anti-Covid ‘nuclear options’ such as a re-imposition of a full quarantine regime for air passengers, draconian restrictions on London travel and even confining millions of the over-50s to their homes.

This is despite the fact that the chances of an otherwise healthy 50-year-old suffering serious health consequences from infection are statistically very small. And that if you remove people over 50 from the workplace, either by order or by fear, you are effectively decapitating the workforce and condemning all of us to permanent economic impoverishment.

Panic at this stage is not just foolish, but unnecessary. By most measures, things are going well. Hospital admissions for those with Covid-19 complications are flat, and so is the mortality rate. And far from being overwhelmed, the NHS is operating at only about 50 per cent capacity overall.

The most sensible single measure the PM could take today would be to ban his Cabinet and Downing Street advisers from using the term ‘second wave’.

It is a dangerous phrase because it deters people from even thinking about a return to normal working – which is the only way the economy can recover.

It is also inaccurate: we are not witnessing a second wave or even the beginnings of one. We are seeing geographically separated, localised spikes. We also know why they are happening, and to whom. These postcode blips are overwhelmingly in communities where strong family values mean households are large, and often comprise three, or sometimes four, generations with all the attendant comings and goings.

On the margins, there are other factors, including possibly a greater genetic susceptibility to the virus and a higher than average prevalence of conditions such as diabetes (a risk factor for Covid-19) in these communities.

These spikes can be flattened by targeted measures, and the model for this is Leicester where rates began to decline rapidly after rigorous action was taken locally with full co-operation by all.

We do know how to tackle coronavirus and we should have some confidence in our ability, yet national morale is once again plumbing the depths.

For that I blame parts of the media – and particularly the BBC – for giving too much prominence to epidemiologists of a rather pessimistic stripe. This science tracks epidemics and models worst-case scenarios. The danger is it leaves out other considerations, such as the long-term economic consequences of mitigation efforts.

Only the PM can really take rounded decisions about what level of risk is tolerable for the overall good of society.

My area of expertise is cancer and in a normal year 360,000 cases are diagnosed in the UK. Due to the collapse of the NHS diagnostic network during the pandemic, and the fact that many people have been reluctant to visit GPs, we are running at roughly half that rate of diagnoses this summer.

As a result, tens of thousands of people who might have survived their cancers with early diagnosis may die. I don’t wish to depress or alarm anyone, but we cannot ignore that there are grave consequences to the excessive countermeasures being taken to control a virus which is statistically unlikely to kill anyone except the very old, and those at greater risk because of a pre-existing condition.

And it is particularly stupid when a senior Government scientific adviser sees fit – as Professor Graham Medley did – to suggest that if schools are to reopen next month, then we might have to shut down pubs again in a ‘trade off’. The two options are not related, and to attach a false connection is to spread alarm and confusion. It would be disastrous if hard-liners in the teaching unions were given yet more ammunition in their efforts to frustrate a return to school, which is essential not just for education’s sake, but our children’s mental well-being.

Mr Johnson has had a bad seven days in his Covid-19 war. The nation cannot afford any further signs of a lack of grip or nerve.

  • Karol Sikora is professor of medicine at University of Buckingham Medical School and Chief Medical Officer at Rutherford Health.

 

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Listed status for former Cambridge home of labourer David Parr

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listed status for former cambridge home of labourer david parr

The home and workshop of a working-class Victorian labourer who decorated houses and colleges around Cambridge has been given Grade II listed status.

David Parr bought his two-bedroom terraced home at 186 Gwydir Street in the city in 1886 and worked on it tirelessly until his death in 1927.

His descendants lived in the house until 2013, preserving it like a time capsule, and it has since been turned into a visitor attraction showcasing his craft.

Behind the door of this unassuming house is an extraordinary artistic masterpiece which can now be enjoyed by a much wider audience via the socially-distanced audio tours

Behind the door of this unassuming house is an extraordinary artistic masterpiece which can now be enjoyed by a much wider audience via the socially-distanced audio tours

Behind the door of this unassuming house is an extraordinary artistic masterpiece which can now be enjoyed by a much wider audience via the socially-distanced audio tours

Inside the home of David Parr:  The working-class Victorian labourer created a work of art on walls and ceilings with all-over patterns adapted from schemes he painted for his employer

Inside the home of David Parr:  The working-class Victorian labourer created a work of art on walls and ceilings with all-over patterns adapted from schemes he painted for his employer

Inside the home of David Parr:  The working-class Victorian labourer created a work of art on walls and ceilings with all-over patterns adapted from schemes he painted for his employer

David Parr worked tirelessly on his two-bedroom terraced home at 186 Gwydir Street in Cambridge from 1886 until his death in 1927

David Parr worked tirelessly on his two-bedroom terraced home at 186 Gwydir Street in Cambridge from 1886 until his death in 1927

David Parr worked tirelessly on his two-bedroom terraced home at 186 Gwydir Street in Cambridge from 1886 until his death in 1927

It appears in passing to be an ordinary mid-Victorian worker’s terraced house, but inside Parr created a work of art, with its walls and ceilings covered in intricate patterns adapted from schemes he painted for his employer.

Parr was employed by the nationally renowned firm of artistic workmen FR Leach & Sons, which had its showroom at 3 St Mary’s Passage in Cambridge.

The two properties have been listed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

The intricate details on the ceilings and walls are a true work of art which can be marvelled at by people through audio tours

The intricate details on the ceilings and walls are a true work of art which can be marvelled at by people through audio tours

The intricate details on the ceilings and walls are a true work of art which can be marvelled at by people through audio tours

The house has been meticulously crafted and designed both inside and out and is now open to the public and operating socially-distanced audio tours as The David Parr House

The house has been meticulously crafted and designed both inside and out and is now open to the public and operating socially-distanced audio tours as The David Parr House

The house has been meticulously crafted and designed both inside and out and is now open to the public and operating socially-distanced audio tours as The David Parr House

Arts and Crafts: From industrial-era chaos to beauty in the everyday 

The Arts and Crafts movement took off in the second half of the 19th century to elevate the way society viewed design and manufacture.

It was born out of the damaging effects of industrialisation and the lack of appreciation of the decorative arts.

In order to develop products in a less dehumanising way, designers started to adopt new principles to the manufacturing of objects.

William Morris was seen as the the father of the Arts and Crafts movement, who by the 1880s became internationally renowned as a successful designer and manufacturer.

He believed in the importance of creating beautiful objects that could be used in daily life.

His belief was that makers must remain connected to their product and other people.

The Arts and Crafts movement was also influenced by the work of Gothic revivalist Augustus Pugin (1812–1852).

The interior designer and architect helped challenge the mid-Victorian fashion for ornamentation.

Like Morris, he focused on the medieval period as a template for good design and good living.

Other key influencers were George Bodley, the Gothic Revival architect and Charles Kempe, the stained-glass artist.

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His home, now open to the public and operating socially-distanced audio tours as The David Parr House, has been listed at Grade II*, while his employer’s former showroom has been listed at Grade II.

Tony Calladine, regional director for Historic England in the East of England, said: ‘The listing of David Parr House and 3 St Mary’s Passage gives due recognition to the unknown highly talented artists and craftsmen who brought to life the creative inspiration of celebrated designers.

‘In supporting David Parr House to create a digital tour, we hope this extraordinary artistic masterpiece will be enjoyed by a much wider audience.’

Historic England awarded a Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund Resilience Grant of more than £40,000 to enable David Parr House to offer the pre-bookable digital tours.

Tamsin Wimhurst, chairwoman of trustees of David Parr House, said: ‘This is wonderful recognition for all the hard work shown by everyone who helped to save and conserve the David Parr House.

‘It highlights the importance of having spaces where we can celebrate ordinary working people, the beauty of making and the comfort of home.’

Parr, who together with his wife Mary Jane raised their three children Mary, David and Sarah at their house, kept a notebook in which he recorded the transformation of the house.

Alongside the painted decoration, items of joinery designed and built by Parr also survive, alongside the original curtain rails, the late 19th century toilet and the 1920s oven, which provide an almost complete picture of a house of this period.

The recent conservation of the house, which was based on detailed research and carried out with scrupulous care, has ensured its ongoing preservation.

The house is described by Historic England as a ‘physical embodiment of the renaissance of crafts encouraged by the Gothic Revival and, later, the Arts and Crafts movement’.

FR Leach & Sons, whose former showroom has been listed, received the keys to 3 St Mary’s Passage in 1880.

The company worked in partnership with some of the country’s best-known designers and architects, notably William Morris, father of the Arts and Crafts movement; George Bodley, the Gothic Revival architect; and Charles Kempe, the stained-glass artist.

It faced financial difficulties during the First World War and the company was placed into liquidation in 1916.

The building was acquired by King’s College Cambridge in 1936 and it currently operates as a shop.

The working-class Victorian labourer decorated houses and colleges around Cambridge and spent decades designing his own with scrupulous care

The working-class Victorian labourer decorated houses and colleges around Cambridge and spent decades designing his own with scrupulous care

The working-class Victorian labourer decorated houses and colleges around Cambridge and spent decades designing his own with scrupulous care

A fireplace in St Mary's Passage, Camrbridge, the workshop of David Parr, the Vcitorian designer and decorator who transformed the mansions of the wealthy

A fireplace in St Mary's Passage, Camrbridge, the workshop of David Parr, the Vcitorian designer and decorator who transformed the mansions of the wealthy

A fireplace in St Mary’s Passage, Camrbridge, the workshop of David Parr, the Vcitorian designer and decorator who transformed the mansions of the wealthy 

David Parr: Victorian decorator paid a pittance to transform the interiors of lavish mansions he could but only dream of living in 

David Parr (pictured) decorated houses and colleges around Cambridge and used his expertise and knowledge to decorate his own home with minute detail

David Parr (pictured) decorated houses and colleges around Cambridge and used his expertise and knowledge to decorate his own home with minute detail

David Parr (pictured) decorated houses and colleges around Cambridge and used his expertise and knowledge to decorate his own home with minute detail

David Parr was a working-class Victorian decorator in Cambridge who took his work home with him – and created a masterpiece of his own to live in.

Decorators of that era were often paid a pittance to design and decorate interiors and exteriors of private mansions of the rich and famous and Cambridge colleges.

After completing his day job, Parr would return to his humble two-bedroom terraced house and work tirelessly into the night by candlelight to decorate it.

It took him 40 years to painstakingly decorate the walls and ceilings with scrupulous detail.

He turned his own home into a masterpiece with all the craftmanship and artistry he had acquired through his employment.

Parr kept a notebook in which he meticulously wrote down the cost of materials, how long it took him to complete each task and how much it would have cost in labour.

According to the notebook some jobs took him as much as 85 hours and others more than 30 years.

He was a great fan of Morris’s patterns and used some of them to design his own home. 

The Cambridge house was bought by Parr in 1886 and he didn’t stop working on it until his death in 1927.   

His granddaughter Elsie Palmer lived at the house for 85 years soon after his death and left it largely unchanged.

 

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Government’s warning of 50,000 cases a day in October is based on few hundred positive cases

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governments warning of 50000 cases a day in october is based on few hundred positive cases

The Government’s claim that Britain could face 50,000 coronavirus infections a day was based on studies involving just hundreds of positive cases, it has been revealed, as debate rages over whether Number 10’s restrictions go far enough in stemming the spread of coronavirus.

Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty made the stark forecast on Monday, but it has since been decried by scientists as ‘implausible’ and ‘designed to scare us’. And even Boris Johnson U-turned from the prediction, admitting to the Commons yesterday that the number of infections may actually only be doubling every 20 days. 

Advisers have now revealed the Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Medical Officer’ prediction was based on older studies claiming Covid-19 cases would double every week – a figure from the start of September that is no longer supported by the Government’s own testing data.

Figures suggest the outbreak is doubling every two weeks, rising from an average of 1,022 infections a day on August 22 to 2,032 on September 7, to 3,929 yesterday. Neither Spain nor France, whose outbreaks the UK is thought to be on a par with, have got anywhere near the dreaded 50,000 cases a day mark.

It comes as scientists trade blows over whether Number 10 has imposed adequate measures to curb the spread of the virus. Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine told BBC Radio 4 he thought the measures showed a shift from a suppress the virus model to a Sweden-leaning contain model.

‘We are starting to understand that we are trying to control the spread of the infection as opposed to suppress it,’ he said. ‘What we are starting to see is a move towards Sweden. So for instance, when you look at bars and restaurants, that’s the policy there – they have table service. I’m hoping we now start to see a more consistent policy, one that stays in place.’

His words were hot on the heels of Professor John Edmunds, an epidemiologist from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and SAGE member, who slammed the Government for ‘not learning the lessons from March’ and alleged there could be another damaging lockdown as in March unless more drastic measures are implemented.

Experts threw cold water on the dramatic graph presented by Sir Patrick and Professor Whitty, saying it was 'implausible' that case numbers would outstrip France and Spain by so much

Experts threw cold water on the dramatic graph presented by Sir Patrick and Professor Whitty, saying it was 'implausible' that case numbers would outstrip France and Spain by so much

Experts threw cold water on the dramatic graph presented by Sir Patrick and Professor Whitty, saying it was ‘implausible’ that case numbers would outstrip France and Spain by so much

Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser, and Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, made the prediction using studies that had detected more than a hundred positive cases of coronavirus to make the prediction

Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser, and Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, made the prediction using studies that had detected more than a hundred positive cases of coronavirus to make the prediction

Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser, and Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, made the prediction using studies that had detected more than a hundred positive cases of coronavirus to make the prediction

Professor Carl Heneghan, from Oxford University, said this morning that the UK is starting to look at a 'control' rather than 'suppress' strategy

Professor Carl Heneghan, from Oxford University, said this morning that the UK is starting to look at a 'control' rather than 'suppress' strategy

His words were hot on the heels of Professor John Edmunds, a member of SAGE from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who said the Government had failed to learn the lessons from March

His words were hot on the heels of Professor John Edmunds, a member of SAGE from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who said the Government had failed to learn the lessons from March

Professor Carl Heneghan, from Oxford University, said this morning that the UK is starting to look at a ‘control’ rather than ‘suppress’ strategy. His words were hot on the heels of Professor John Edmunds, a member of SAGE from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who said the Government had failed to learn the lessons from March

DO CURFEWS WORK AT SLOWING THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS?

From Thursday evening, bars, pubs and restaurants across England will be required to close from 10pm every night. 

The move is an ‘intermediate’ step in the fight against the virus, and follows in the steps of Thailand.

When Thailand imposed a 10pm to 4am curfew on April 3 it was counting just over 100 cases of coronavirus a day. By the time the curfew was removed on June 15 this number had dropped into the low tens.

Although the country’s success has been attributed to the curfew, some scientists dispute this, saying that the lockdown and other social measures in force at the time had a greater impact.

The UK is hoping that its curfew may help it mirror the success of the South-east Asian nation.

Linda Bauld, professor of public health at Edinburgh University, told HuffPost curfews are used because ‘we know that night time economy generally is risky’.

‘There have been outbreaks linked to nightclubs and to bars and restaurants,’ she said. ‘We’ve known this for months.’

‘The longer people are in these venues, the more they probably let their guard down and the mix of social distancing and alcohol is not a good one despite the best efforts of publicans and venue owners.’

Behavioural expert Professor Susan Michie, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said she thought the 10pm time had been chosen to balance the needs of the night-time economy with the need to control the virus.  

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A spokesman for Sir Vallance confirmed yesterday that the seven-day estimate was ‘heavily’ based on findings of the weekly survey of the Office for National Statistics, and the React-1 survey by Imperial College London.

The studies test a random sample of 100,000 people but, as the virus remains at low levels, they have to base their predictions off only a few hundred positive cases.

In the last React-1 study on September 7, they identified 136 coronavirus cases out of 153,000 people sampled. The low number led them to predict that infections could double every seven days, a figure that was then used by the Government scientists.

The Government admitted it used these surveys as opposed to actual testing data because it was worried the figures lagged behind the spread of the disease. 

Hugh Pennington, an emeritus microbiologist at Aberdeen University said their prediction ‘wasn’t scientifically accurate’.

‘It was almost designed to scare us,’ he said. ‘It didn’t take into account we are doing a lot. I was annoyed because they were naughty doing that.’

Professor Paul Hunter, a medical expert at the University of East Anglia, said the figures they presented were ‘implausible’ for mid-October.

‘It’s important to bear in mind that they were not making a prediction, they were presenting an illustration of what would happen if cases continued to double, which they almost certainly will not,’ he said.

Professor Anthony Brookes, an expert in genomics at the University of Leicester, said they had presented a ‘distorted, unbalanced view of reality’.

‘Modelling is using guestimates and trying to predict the future,’ he said. ‘But models are not data. There should be a way to try and replicate what has happened in the past and try and go forward (with this).’ 

The UK statistic regulator revealed yesterday it has had to step in seven times during the pandemic after Government departments quoted data that had not been made available to the public.

The head of the Office for Statistics Regulation, Ed Humpson, said such incidents were ‘disappointing’.

On one occasion they stepped in to contact the Department of Health when a figure for the distance people were travelling to get a Covid-19 test was quoted ‘quite widely in the public domain’ but without the underlying data being made available.

NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government was also contacted after data on antibody testing had been quoted but was not publicly available.

The Prime Minister told the Commons yesterday: ‘I’m sorry to say that as in Spain, France and many other countries we have reached a perilous turning point.

‘A month ago, on average, around a thousand people across the UK were testing positive for coronavirus every day. The latest figure has almost quadrupled to 3,929.

‘Yesterday the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser warned that the doubling rate for new cases could be between seven and 20 days with the possibility of tens of thousands of new infections next month.’

The 3,929 figure referred to by the Prime Minister is the average number of cases diagnosed each day in the week leading up to September 21. That has almost doubled from 2,032 on August 22, suggesting a doubling time of two weeks.

The Office for National Statistics, however, estimates that infection rates are higher at around 6,000 people per day, as it argues the testing system is not catching all positive cases. But this is expected to fall as restrictions stem the spread of the virus.

Boris Johnson told the nation last night that the virus cannot be allowed to rip through the country as it will eventually find its way to older and more vulnerable people

Boris Johnson told the nation last night that the virus cannot be allowed to rip through the country as it will eventually find its way to older and more vulnerable people

Boris Johnson told the nation last night that the virus cannot be allowed to rip through the country as it will eventually find its way to older and more vulnerable people

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It comes as scientists trade blows on the Government’s strategy for controlling coronavirus – after it was announced that pubs would be closed at 10pm every night, office workers should work from home again where possible, and the number of people allowed to attend weddings was slashed to 15.

Professor Heneghan said he thought the Government’s strategy demonstrated a change in direction towards a more Sweden-leaning model.

‘So I’m hoping we now start to see a more coherent consistent policy, one that stays in place,’ he said this morning. ‘So we don’t keep seeing the almost daily changes which become utterly confusing for the public.

‘There will be an inevitable rise in cases now as we go in to winter. The key is not to panic. You’ve got to let some of these measures work, and they will take a few weeks to come through, and you have to reinforce the messaging.

‘If at every point there is an uptick in cases and we panic with more measures, we will talk ourselves back into a lockdown, which as a whole society is hugely disruptive.

‘We have a mantra of fear, with enforcement and fines, but if you look at Sweden they are much more supportive, trying to bring people with them.’

Sweden never imposed a national lockdown, instead asking more vulnerable people to stay at home, and suffered an 8.6 per cent contraction in its economy between April and June, compared to 20.4 per cent shaved off the UK economy in the same period.

The country also has a clear system to support those in self-isolation, where they all get two weeks pay.

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The Government’s direction of travel has, however, been slammed by Professor Edmunds who accused them of failing to heed the lessons learnt in March.

Speaking in a personal capacity, he told the Today programme that authorities will let cases of coronavirus ‘double and double and double again’ before taking the right steps, but by then it will be ‘too late’.

‘And then we’ll have the worst of both worlds, because then to slow the epidemic and bring it back down again, all the way down to somewhere close to where it is now or where it was in the summer, will mean putting the brakes on the epidemic for a very long time, very hard,’ he said.

‘(This) is what we had to do in March because we didn’t react quickly enough in March, and so I think that we haven’t learnt from our mistake back then and we’re unfortunately about to repeat it.

‘I suspect we will see very stringent measures coming in place throughout the UK at some point, but it will be too late again.’

Dropping potential hints on the Government’s thinking, Boris Johnson said in a statement to the country last night that the ‘tragic reality’ of coronavirus is that ‘your mild cough can be someone else’s death knell’.

‘And as for the suggestion that we should simply lock up the elderly and the vulnerable – with all the suffering that would entail – I must tell you that this is just not realistic, because if you let the virus rip through the rest of the population it would inevitably find its way through to the elderly as well, and in much greater numbers.

‘That’s why we need to suppress the virus now, and as for that minority who may continue to flout the rules, we will enforce those rules with tougher penalties and fines of up to £10,000. We will put more police out on the streets and use the army to backfill if necessary.’ 

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Pubs prepare for last night out before 10pm Covid curfew kicks in tomorrow

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Restaurant owners are seeing a wave of cancellations before Boris Johnson‘s new Covid curfew kicks in tomorrow – as drinkers prepare to hit town and city centres for one final evening of late-night drinking.

One restaurant boss says he could lose up to 20 per cent of his evening trade following the new measures announced yesterday by the Prime Minister.

The new rules, which also ban customers from ordering from the bar, come as the government aims to avoid a second national lockdown in the face of rising coronavirus infection figures.

But just hours after the announcement was made by Mr Johnson in a televised address to the nation, food establishments which are only just recovering from months of full Covid lockdown were faced with a wave of cancellations from concerned customers.

George Madgwick, who runs The Wicks Bistro, in Cosham, near Portsmouth, said he has already had eight cancellations from worried diners who had booked late-evening tables.

Mr Madgwick, 30, who started the business in February, a month before lockdown began, said: ‘People don’t want to rush and are worried because it’s not last orders at 10pm, it’s everyone out the door at 10pm. 

‘It’s taken away our ability to do three sittings in a night. Around 50 per cent of our business comes in at 7.30pm and we get around 20-25 per cent for 5pm tables, so the 8.45pm tables is about 20-25 per cent of our nightly business.

‘We’ve already had eight cancellations since the announcement and in the last 24 hours we have had zero bookings after 8.30pm, when we would normally have three or four. 

Mr Madgwick says the cost to the business could be around £300-a-night. But he says the biggest impact of the curfew will be on his staff.

He said: ‘Instead of working until 11.30pm everything has to close at 10pm so it will be more like 10.15pm, which is an hour and a quarter less hours every day.

‘It also has an impact on our supplies because we will be using less. We use local suppliers so it has an impact down the chain as well.’

Meanwhile Dean Mac, owner and founder of cocktail bar 186 in Manchester also said he has lost business following the curfew announcement. 

He said: ‘The 10pm curfew essentially means our bookings have been cut in half.

‘Since the announcement, we’ve had to follow up with each and every guest booked in and make them aware of the changes, including changing our entire infrastructure so we can look to open earlier and keep ourselves in operation.

‘Essentially we’ve had to cancel 50 per cent of our reservations as they are often made for around 9pm or 10pm.

‘To us it felt like some form of normality was returning and we were finding our feet again, only to have the rug pulled out from underneath us.

‘It feels like the hospitality industry has been used as a scapegoat by the government.’ 

It comes as party-goers are expected to hit town and city centres across the country tonight ahead of the rule changes, which will see pubs, bars and restaurants close at 10pm.

The rule is part of a series of new measures announced yesterday by the Prime Minister, as the government aims to avoid a second national lockdown in the face of rising coronavirus infection figures. 

Revellers are set to descend on pubs and bars for a final evening of late-night drinking before Boris Johnson's new Covid curfew kicks in tomorrow. Pictured: Revelers leaving a student bar in Birmingham last night

Revellers are set to descend on pubs and bars for a final evening of late-night drinking before Boris Johnson's new Covid curfew kicks in tomorrow. Pictured: Revelers leaving a student bar in Birmingham last night

Revellers are set to descend on pubs and bars for a final evening of late-night drinking before Boris Johnson’s new Covid curfew kicks in tomorrow. Pictured: Revelers leaving a student bar in Birmingham last night

With the academic year underway, students were out celebrating in Birmingham yesterday, but nights out could change dramatically from Thursday

With the academic year underway, students were out celebrating in Birmingham yesterday, but nights out could change dramatically from Thursday

Party-goers are expected to hit town and city centres across the country tonight ahead of the rule changes, which will see pubs, bars and restaurants close at 10pm. Pictured: Revellers are pictured outside in Birmingham last night

The rule is part of a series of new measures announced yesterday by the Prime Minister, as the government aims to avoid a second national lockdown in the face of rising coronavirus infection figures. Pictured: Students enjoy a night out in Leeds yesterday

The rule is part of a series of new measures announced yesterday by the Prime Minister, as the government aims to avoid a second national lockdown in the face of rising coronavirus infection figures. Pictured: Students enjoy a night out in Leeds yesterday

The rule is part of a series of new measures announced yesterday by the Prime Minister, as the government aims to avoid a second national lockdown in the face of rising coronavirus infection figures. Pictured: Students enjoy a night out in Leeds yesterday

But hours after the announcement was made in a televised broadcast to the nation last night, scores of revellers descended onto the streets of London (pictured: People drinking while socially distanced at a bar in London), Leeds and Birmingham to max-out their drinking time ahead of the curfew starting on Thursday

But hours after the announcement was made in a televised broadcast to the nation last night, scores of revellers descended onto the streets of London (pictured: People drinking while socially distanced at a bar in London), Leeds and Birmingham to max-out their drinking time ahead of the curfew starting on Thursday

But hours after the announcement was made in a televised broadcast to the nation last night, scores of revellers descended onto the streets of London (pictured: People drinking while socially distanced at a bar in London), Leeds and Birmingham to max-out their drinking time ahead of the curfew starting on Thursday

But hours after the announcement was made, scores of revellers descended onto the streets of London, Leeds and Birmingham to max-out their drinking time ahead of the curfew starting on Thursday. 

Party-goers, including those who had recently arrived in Leeds and Birmingham to begin their academic year at university, swapped a night in at home to hit the numerous pubs and bars in the area and celebrate with their friends.

Crowds of alcohol-fuelled revellers appeared in high spirits as they huddled in large groups without face masks and walked onto the streets of Leeds city centre into the small hours amid the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Six months’ of restrictions at a glance

  • All pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be subject to a 10pm curfew from Thursday, while premises must kick out all of their customers by the cut off point; 
  • The hospitality sector will also be restricted to table service only as the Government outlawed drinkers making a trip to the bar; 
  • All workers and customers in indoor hospitality settings will be required to wear masks except when they are seated to eat or drink;
  • All workers who can work from home are now being encouraged to do so from tomorrow; 
  • Fines for flouting the Rule of Six and not wearing a mask are increasing to £200 for first offences; 
  • The police will now have the option of asking the military for support with soldiers potentially being drafted in to guard protected sites in order to allow officers more time to crackdown on rule-breakers; 
  • The number of people allowed to attend weddings in England is being slashed to 15 from Monday but the number of people allowed to attend a funeral will stay at 30;  
  • Plans for the partial return of sports fans to stadiums have been paused;
  • Rule of Six exemptions are being tightened to ban indoor team sports like five-a-side-football matches  
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Meanwhile others were spotted queuing outside The Bristol Pear pub in Selly Oak, Birmingham, to enjoy a drink and mark the start of the academic year.

The scenes came just hours after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on the virus, which has so far claimed more than 40,000 lives and infected more than 400,000 people in the UK.

As well as the curfew, which Mr Johnson is adamant that premises must follow and kick out all of their customers by the cut off point, the hospitality sector will also be restricted to table service only as the Government outlawed drinkers making a trip to the bar.

All retail workers and customers in indoor hospitality settings will be required to wear masks – except when they are seated to eat or drink – while all workers who can work from home are now being encouraged to do so from tomorrow.

Fines for breaking the rule of six and for failing to wear a face covering are increasing to £200 for a first offence.

The police will now have the option of asking the military for support with soldiers potentially being drafted in to guard protected sites in order to allow officers more time to crackdown on rule-breakers.

Members of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said the curfew would not be enough to slow the rate of infection.

But Mr Johnson insisted his approach was based on trying to ‘balance saving lives with protecting jobs and livelihoods’.

However, he said he reserved the right to ‘deploy greater fire power’ should it be necessary.

Mr Raab today said a second national lockdown could be needed to control the spread of coronavirus if the latest measures do not work.

He told Sky News: ‘We’ve always said we’ve got a sort of repository of measures in the arsenal to take.

‘I don’t think we would speculate about what further could be done.

‘But the reality is they will be more intrusive or we could end up in a national lockdown. That is what we want to avoid.’

The Foreign Secretary said that if ‘everyone plays by the rules’ then a national lockdown may not be needed at Christmas.

He said: ‘Let’s hope that we can get through the winter months if we take these measures and if everyone plays by the rules, and we go into Christmas not needing to go into that national lockdown with all the impact on society and families but also the damage it would do to businesses.’

Mr Raab also defended the Government’s 10pm curfew on hospitality, despite figures suggesting just five per cent of coronavirus cases are linked to pubs, bars and restaurants.

‘We know that in bars and restaurants, particularly after people have had a few drinks, as you go into the later hours of the evening, that there’s a risk that the compliance with the guidance ebbs a little bit,’ he said.

‘So we’re taking this measure, we’re confident based on the evidence that we’ve got domestically and internationally that it’s one element of those that we need to make.’

The scenes came just hours after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on the virus, which has so far claimed more than 40,000 lives and infected more than 400,000 people in the UK. Pictured: Revellers outside a bar in Selly Oak, Birmingham, last night

The scenes came just hours after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on the virus, which has so far claimed more than 40,000 lives and infected more than 400,000 people in the UK. Pictured: Revellers outside a bar in Selly Oak, Birmingham, last night

The scenes came just hours after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on the virus, which has so far claimed more than 40,000 lives and infected more than 400,000 people in the UK. Pictured: Revellers outside a bar in Selly Oak, Birmingham, last night

Students in Selly Oak, Birmingham, were seen walking past a bar carrying a crate of Carling lager hours after the new restrictions were announced last night

Students in Selly Oak, Birmingham, were seen walking past a bar carrying a crate of Carling lager hours after the new restrictions were announced last night

Students in Selly Oak, Birmingham, were seen walking past a bar carrying a crate of Carling lager hours after the new restrictions were announced last night

Students in Birmingham headed out to Broad Street on Tuesday night, before pubs and bars are forced to follow a 10pm curfew from tomorrow

Students in Birmingham headed out to Broad Street on Tuesday night, before pubs and bars are forced to follow a 10pm curfew from tomorrow

Students in Birmingham headed out to Broad Street on Tuesday night, before pubs and bars are forced to follow a 10pm curfew from tomorrow

Punters were a little worse for wear in Birmingham as they made the most of their local pubs, just hours after Boris Johnson had told the nation that Covid-19 restrictions were being tightened

Punters were a little worse for wear in Birmingham as they made the most of their local pubs, just hours after Boris Johnson had told the nation that Covid-19 restrictions were being tightened

Punters were a little worse for wear in Birmingham as they made the most of their local pubs, just hours after Boris Johnson had told the nation that Covid-19 restrictions were being tightened 

In Leeds some students tried to wear masks as they passed through revellers on the streets, but most were out socialising

In Leeds some students tried to wear masks as they passed through revellers on the streets, but most were out socialising

In Leeds some students tried to wear masks as they passed through revellers on the streets, but most were out socialising 

Groups of students gathered on the streets of Leeds last night to enjoy the start of the academic year, before 10pm curfews come into effect

Groups of students gathered on the streets of Leeds last night to enjoy the start of the academic year, before 10pm curfews come into effect

Groups of students gathered on the streets of Leeds last night to enjoy the start of the academic year, before 10pm curfews come into effect

The new rules will be a particular blow to students who already faced a wildly different ‘Freshers Week’ due to government’s previous Covid restrictions. 

In September, students arriving to Birmingham were urged to stick to social distancing rules and Covid gathering guidelines to prevent outbreaks of the virus at universities in the city. 

It came after the city, which is home to more than 1.5million people, was hit with draconian lockdown rules after the number of coronavirus patients being admitted to hospitals in the city soared.

This month people in Birmingham and neighbouring Solihull and Sandwell were banned from mixing with anyone outside of their own household in private homes, pubs, restaurants or in gardens.

The move followed two days of crunch talks between the Government and local health leaders after Birmingham’s seven-day infection rate rose to 78 cases per 100,000. 

Meanwhile Leeds was teetering on the brink of a local lockdown and was placed on Public Health England’s list of areas of concern after the Yorkshire city, which is home to half a million people, saw its infection rate rise to 32.4 new cases per 100,000 people.  

Leeds students decided to go out and hit the town, rather than stay in and watch Boris Johnson address the nation over Covid restrictions

Leeds students decided to go out and hit the town, rather than stay in and watch Boris Johnson address the nation over Covid restrictions

Leeds students decided to go out and hit the town, rather than stay in and watch Boris Johnson address the nation over Covid restrictions

Leeds is teetering on the brink of a local lockdown and has been placed on Public Health England's list of areas of concern

Leeds is teetering on the brink of a local lockdown and has been placed on Public Health England's list of areas of concern

Leeds is teetering on the brink of a local lockdown and has been placed on Public Health England’s list of areas of concern

Many people predict punters will simply arrive at pubs earlier and drink faster ahead of the 10pm curfew, which starts later this week

Many people predict punters will simply arrive at pubs earlier and drink faster ahead of the 10pm curfew, which starts later this week

Many people predict punters will simply arrive at pubs earlier and drink faster ahead of the 10pm curfew, which starts later this week 

Drinking at home might be an alternative once pubs shut their doors at 10pm, with some going for that option in Birmingham

Drinking at home might be an alternative once pubs shut their doors at 10pm, with some going for that option in Birmingham

Drinking at home might be an alternative once pubs shut their doors at 10pm, with some going for that option in Birmingham

A group of students hit the streets in Leeds just hours after the Government announced its tougher measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus

A group of students hit the streets in Leeds just hours after the Government announced its tougher measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus

A group of students hit the streets in Leeds just hours after the Government announced its tougher measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus

Revellers hit the streets of Leeds and party into the small hours just hours after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on the coronavirus

Revellers hit the streets of Leeds and party into the small hours just hours after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on the coronavirus

Revellers hit the streets of Leeds and party into the small hours just hours after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on the coronavirus

Scores of revellers and students break social distancing guidelines as they gather together in the city without face masks into the small hours

Scores of revellers and students break social distancing guidelines as they gather together in the city without face masks into the small hours

Scores of revellers and students break social distancing guidelines as they gather together in the city without face masks into the small hours

Revellers and students arrived to The Bristol Pear pub in Selly Oak, Birmingham, to enjoy a night out before the new 10pm curfew came into force

Revellers and students arrived to The Bristol Pear pub in Selly Oak, Birmingham, to enjoy a night out before the new 10pm curfew came into force

Revellers and students arrived to The Bristol Pear pub in Selly Oak, Birmingham, to enjoy a night out before the new 10pm curfew came into force

Earlier this month thousands ministers discouraged young people preparing for university from attending Freshers’ events, with Health Minister Lord Bethell urging freshers and returning university students to resist going to mass social gatherings ‘in pubs, clubs and bedrooms’.

Meanwhile, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan furiously warned large event organisers that police will take ‘serious action’ against them, following reports that some companies have been advertising mass social Freshers’ events.

And Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, pleaded with students to ‘follow the rules’ for ‘the sake of your education and your parents’ and grandparents’ health’. 

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: ‘We are deeply concerned about the spread among students. Some of that spread will take place in universities, and I pay tribute to the efforts of vice-chancellors to put in place social distancing arrangements in universities; we hope that they will have an impact.

‘However, some of the effect is in their social life – in pubs, clubs and bedrooms up and down the country.

‘That is the responsibility of the students themselves, and we are looking at measures to enhance and enforce the social-distancing measures that will stop the spread of this disease.’ 

Revellers enjoy a night out in Leeds city centre

Revellers enjoy a night out in Leeds city centre

A group of revellers party into the small hours in Leeds

A group of revellers party into the small hours in Leeds

Groups of revellers appeared in high spirits as they huddled in large groups without face masks and celebrated into the small hours

Revellers flout social distancing guidelines as they hit the streets of Leeds and enjoy a night out amid the coronavirus pandemic

Revellers flout social distancing guidelines as they hit the streets of Leeds and enjoy a night out amid the coronavirus pandemic

Revellers flout social distancing guidelines as they hit the streets of Leeds and enjoy a night out amid the coronavirus pandemic

A group of revellers hit the streets of Leeds without masks and enjoy a night out just days before the 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants comes into place

A group of revellers hit the streets of Leeds without masks and enjoy a night out just days before the 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants comes into place

A group of revellers hit the streets of Leeds without masks and enjoy a night out just days before the 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants comes into place

Crowds of people stand outside a pub in Leeds to enjoy a night out despite the Rule of Six measures now in force

Crowds of people stand outside a pub in Leeds to enjoy a night out despite the Rule of Six measures now in force

Crowds of people stand outside a pub in Leeds to enjoy a night out despite the Rule of Six measures now in force

People cross a street in Leeds as scores of revellers hit the streets of the city to enjoy a night out amid the coronavirus pandemic

People cross a street in Leeds as scores of revellers hit the streets of the city to enjoy a night out amid the coronavirus pandemic

People cross a street in Leeds as scores of revellers hit the streets of the city to enjoy a night out amid the coronavirus pandemic 

Party-goers gather on the streets in Leeds to enjoy a night out and party into the small hours just days before the new curfew is kicked into force

Party-goers gather on the streets in Leeds to enjoy a night out and party into the small hours just days before the new curfew is kicked into force

Party-goers gather on the streets in Leeds to enjoy a night out and party into the small hours just days before the new curfew is kicked into force

People gather on the streets of Leeds to enjoy a night out just days before the new 10pm curfew comes into force

People gather on the streets of Leeds to enjoy a night out just days before the new 10pm curfew comes into force

People gather on the streets of Leeds to enjoy a night out just days before the new 10pm curfew comes into force

People queue outside The Bristol Pear pub just hours after the Government toughened its coronavirus measures

People queue outside The Bristol Pear pub just hours after the Government toughened its coronavirus measures

People queue outside The Bristol Pear pub just hours after the Government toughened its coronavirus measures

Crowds of students flout the Rule of Six as they huddle in large groups without face masks in a nearby par

Crowds of students flout the Rule of Six as they huddle in large groups without face masks in a nearby par

Crowds of students flout the Rule of Six as they huddle in large groups without face masks in a nearby par

The scenes come as Boris Johnson today announced a new wave of Covid-19 restrictions that could last up to six months- including a 10pm curfew on bars, pubs and restaurants in England.  

The 10pm curfew on the hospitality sector has sparked an immediate industry backlash as the UKHospitality group said it was ‘another crushing blow’.    

There are also fears the move could have unintended consequences amid warnings of a potential ‘surge of unregulated events and house parties’.

Tory MPs also expressed concerns about the curfew plans, describing them as a ‘terrible blow’ for the hospitality industry and warning there must not be another ‘major lockdown’.

It was claimed overnight that Mr Johnson had initially backed a total shutdown of the hospitality and leisure sectors before Chancellor Rishi Sunak persuaded him to take a less severe course after warning of economic carnage.   

Under the new measures, plans for a partial return of sports fans to stadiums from October 1 have been ‘paused’ while the number of people allowed to attend weddings is being reduced to 15. 

Mr Johnson also announced the end of the Government’s back to work drive, urging Britons to work from home if they can.

Pub-goers at the Westminster Arms pub in London watch the Prime Minister address the nation regarding new coronavirus restrictions

Pub-goers at the Westminster Arms pub in London watch the Prime Minister address the nation regarding new coronavirus restrictions

Pub-goers at the Westminster Arms pub in London watch the Prime Minister address the nation regarding new coronavirus restrictions

Customers at the Westminster Arms pub in London watch Boris Johnson issue an emotional plea to the country

Customers at the Westminster Arms pub in London watch Boris Johnson issue an emotional plea to the country

Customers at the Westminster Arms pub in London watch Boris Johnson issue an emotional plea to the country

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Face masks will also have to be worn on public transport and in many indoor spaces, including shops, shopping centres, indoor transport hubs, museums, galleries, cinemas and public libraries. 

Those who fail to wear face masks could face a fine of £200.

Just hours after setting out the new measures, the Prime Minister issued an emotional plea to the nation and warned Britons they faced a long hard winter of police-enforced curbs on their freedom to see off coronavirus.

He also hit out at his critics – including Tory MPs and business leaders who warned of the economic impact of the tough measures, adding: ‘To those who say we don’t need this stuff, and we should leave people to take their own risks, I say these risks are not our own.

‘The tragic reality of having Covid is that your mild cough can be someone else’s death knell. 

The Prime Minister said it was necessary to reintroduce the measures to avoid a dramatic surge in deaths and a second, economically devastating total lockdown

The Prime Minister said it was necessary to reintroduce the measures to avoid a dramatic surge in deaths and a second, economically devastating total lockdown

The Prime Minister said it was necessary to reintroduce the measures to avoid a dramatic surge in deaths and a second, economically devastating total lockdown

‘And as for the suggestion that we should simply lock up the elderly and the vulnerable – with all the suffering that would entail – I must tell you that this is just not realistic.

‘Because if you let the virus rip through the rest of the population it would inevitably find its way through to the elderly as well, and in much greater numbers.’            

Despite the PM’s new crackdown, some experts have already warned the measures will not be enough after Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said yesterday the UK could hit 50,000 cases a day by mid-October and 200 plus daily deaths by November unless Britain changes course. 

DO CURFEWS WORK AT SLOWING THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS?

From Thursday evening, bars, pubs and restaurants across England will be required to close from 10pm every night. 

The move is an ‘intermediate’ step in the fight against the virus, and follows in the steps of Thailand.

When Thailand imposed a 10pm to 4am curfew on April 3 it was counting just over 100 cases of coronavirus a day. By the time the curfew was removed on June 15 this number had dropped into the low tens.

Although the country’s success has been attributed to the curfew, some scientists dispute this, saying that the lockdown and other social measures in force at the time had a greater impact.

The UK is hoping that its curfew may help it mirror the success of the South-east Asian nation.

Linda Bauld, professor of public health at Edinburgh University, told HuffPost curfews are used because ‘we know that night time economy generally is risky’.

‘There have been outbreaks linked to nightclubs and to bars and restaurants,’ she said. ‘We’ve known this for months.’

‘The longer people are in these venues, the more they probably let their guard down and the mix of social distancing and alcohol is not a good one despite the best efforts of publicans and venue owners.’

Behavioural expert Professor Susan Michie, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said she thought the 10pm time had been chosen to balance the needs of the night-time economy with the need to control the virus.  

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