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UK coronavirus: More deaths announced on Friday

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uk coronavirus more deaths announced on friday

Another nine victims of the coronavirus have been confirmed in England and Northern Ireland today, taking the total number of victims to die within a month of testing positive to 41,347.

Scotland and Wales have not added any more deaths to their totals, and a full UK round-up including care home residents will be announced later today. 

It comes as official data this afternoon tempered fears that new cases of the disease are surging out of control again, as the Office for National Statistics said the outbreak in England has stabilised again after a rise in July.

Concerns of a second major surge had been rising in recent weeks as local lockdowns sprung up in the Midlands and North of England, and Boris Johnson said he must ‘squeeze the brakes’ on easing rules at the end of July. 

But today’s weekly estimates are mostly the same as last week except for a slight rise in the estimated daily new cases.

The report published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there are now around 3,800 people catching the virus each day in the community, and there were an estimated 28,300 people infected at any one time in the first week of August. 

It suggests 0.05 per cent of the population of England currently has Covid-19 – around one in every 1,900 people.

The ONS said that while recent figures had suggested the percentage of individuals testing positive for Covid-19 in households in England had risen slightly in July, this trend now appears to have levelled off.

Official testing figures have been rising this week, with more than 1,000 cases declared on three occasions in four days after the number not being hit since June. 

But experts say this is down to better testing which is finding cases more accurately thanks to increased efforts in virus hotspots and looser criteria on who can be tested. Tests still only appear to account for a quarter of the real number of new cases each day. 

In Wales the report estimated that 1,500 people had coronavirus at any one time between August 3 and August 9 – one in every 2,100 people. 

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Office for National Statistics data shows that an estimated 0.05 per cent of people in England currently have coronavirus - one in ever 1,900. This is down from a slight rise in July and significantly lower than a peak at the start of the monitoring when more than 0.3 per cent were positive - one in every 333 people

Office for National Statistics data shows that an estimated 0.05 per cent of people in England currently have coronavirus - one in ever 1,900. This is down from a slight rise in July and significantly lower than a peak at the start of the monitoring when more than 0.3 per cent were positive - one in every 333 people

Office for National Statistics data shows that an estimated 0.05 per cent of people in England currently have coronavirus – one in ever 1,900. This is down from a slight rise in July and significantly lower than a peak at the start of the monitoring when more than 0.3 per cent were positive – one in every 333 people

The ONS report this week used results from 122,021 swab tests taken over six weeks, out of which 58 people tested positive for Covid-19.

People who have coronavirus and are in hospital or care homes are not included in the data.

Lifting lockdown on July 4 – Super Saturday – does not appear to have led to a spike in the numbers of people catching coronavirus, the ONS reports show. 

There was a small rise in cases in July – the percentage of people testing positive rose to 0.07 per cent in the week ending July 26 – but this appears to have dropped again.

The percentage has remained below 0.1 per cent – one in every 1,000 people – since May 30, showing there have been no drastic increases.

‘There is evidence that the incidence rate for England has increased in the most recent weeks following a low point in June and appears to have now levelled off,’ the report said. 

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King's College London say the UK is not at the beginning of a second coronavirus wave and cases have dipped to their lowest since the beginning of July

King's College London say the UK is not at the beginning of a second coronavirus wave and cases have dipped to their lowest since the beginning of July

King’s College London say the UK is not at the beginning of a second coronavirus wave and cases have dipped to their lowest since the beginning of July

Today’s update comes after researchers yesterday said there is no evidence that England is entering a second wave of coronavirus infections, and that it is in fact still coming to the end of the first wave.

WORKPLACE COUGHS AT HIGHEST LEVEL ALL YEAR

Outbreaks of coughs and chest infections are at their highest levels all year, according to Public Health England figures published today.

The organisation’s weekly Covid-19 report shows there were 47 outbreaks of respiratory infections in workplaces in the week ending August 9.

The illnesses are not explicitly said to be Covid-19 but are characterised by the same symptoms – coughing and breathing problems.

August 9th’s figure is the highest for the whole of 2020 so far, with 152 recorded in the past month, up from 140 the month before.

Up until May 3 there had only been one outbreak reported all year – likely because most workplaces were closed during lockdown. But there were none recorded even before lockdown started.

Since that time there have been a total of 340 outbreaks recorded. Each outbreak consists of two or more people with the same symptoms.

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A team of scientists at King’s College London, who run the Covid Symptom Tracker mobile app, said cases appear to have actually dipped to their lowest since the beginning of July.

The app estimates cases depending on users reporting their symptoms and positive test results.

It estimates 1,434 people are being infected per day in the UK, according to data in the two weeks up to August 8, which does not include care homes or hospitals.

This is down on the 1,626 daily new cases in the two weeks up to 1 August, and 2,110 in the two weeks up to 25 July.

Across July, the researchers were concerned that Covid-19 cases were possibly rising, or were barely dropping below 2,000 new daily cases.

But now they are at last falling to levels recorded before pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and other venues re-opened on ‘Super Saturday’ – July 4.

In contrast, the government tally shows new cases, confirmed with a lab test, are on the rise. More than 1,000 Britons tested positive for coronavirus yesterday after record low cases in July.

And there are concerns spikes abroad in holiday destinations Spain, France and Greece will soon hit Britain. 

In light of increasing cases, scientists have said we must learn to live with Covid-19 and that small surges in cases are to be expected.  

The COVID-19 Symptom Study app has now been downloaded by over 3.9million people in the UK who regularly update information about if they have symptoms of have had a Covid-19 test.

The latest figures were based on the data from 10,988 swab tests done between  26 July to 8 August. They estimate that 24,131 people currently have symptomatic Covid-19 in the UK. 

It’s down on the 26,512 reported last week (up until August 1) and 29,174 on the week prior (up until July 25).  But despite the positive signs, the team said the data suggests Covid-19 cases have ‘remained stable’ overall.

They are cautious to make firm conclusions that the outbreak is either growing or shrinking until they are certain. 

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Backlash over PM’s SIX MONTHS of curbs: Tories and businesses warn Boris will ‘destroy jobs’

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backlash over pms six months of curbs tories and businesses warn boris will destroy jobs

‘Six months’ of curbs at a glance

  • All pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be subject to a 10pm curfew from Thursday, with the PM adamant that 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 retail 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 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 fulfil office roles and 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 remain at 30.  
  • Plans for the partial return of sports fans to stadiums on October 1 has been paused.
  • Rule of six exemptions are being tightened to ban indoor team sports like five-a-side-football matches.  
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Boris Johnson was tonight facing a furious backlash over a dramatic new set of lockdown measures that could last six months, amid fears they go too far and risk severe damage to the economy.

The beleaguered Prime Minister faced fire from all sides as he U-turned on his push to reopen workplaces after just a few weeks to tell office staff to work from home if they can.

He also faced barbs for introducing other swingeing new measures including a 10pm pub curfew and £200 fines for mask rule-breakers among new restrictions on social settings in England in the face of a surge of new coronavirus infections sweeping the country. 

He warned that they may have to be left in place for six months, potentially ruining families Christmases and New Year celebrations, and taking the total time spent under coronavirus restrictions of some kind up to a calendar year. 

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

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: ‘It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just five per cent of infections out of the home are related to hospitality.’

At the same time Tory MPs warned there must not be another ‘major lockdown’. 

They warned the decision to ditch the back to work drive will cause widespread ‘dismay’ among workers who live in ‘cramped, overcrowded accommodation’.

They also also said their constituents would be furious at the new crackdown after they followed the Government’s rules only to have seen ‘people at protests, at street parties, not having action taken against them’. 

Meanwhile Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that his actions did not go far enough as she banned her countrymen from visiting each other in their own homes in a bid to slash to Covid-19 R rate in Scotland.  

Boris Johnson announced today that pubs and restaurants in England will be subject to a 10pm curfew from Thursday

Boris Johnson announced today that pubs and restaurants in England will be subject to a 10pm curfew from Thursday

Boris Johnson announced today that pubs and restaurants in England will be subject to a 10pm curfew from Thursday

The Prime Minister said the police will now have the 'option to draw on military support where required' to free up officers so more can go out and crackdown on rule-breakers as he revealed fines are being doubled to £200

The Prime Minister said the police will now have the 'option to draw on military support where required' to free up officers so more can go out and crackdown on rule-breakers as he revealed fines are being doubled to £200

The Prime Minister said the police will now have the ‘option to draw on military support where required’ to free up officers so more can go out and crackdown on rule-breakers as he revealed fines are being doubled to £200

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Public Health England data reveals that of the 729 outbreaks in the week to September 13, only five per cent occurred in food outlets such as restaurants and pubs

Public Health England data reveals that of the 729 outbreaks in the week to September 13, only five per cent occurred in food outlets such as restaurants and pubs

Public Health England data reveals that of the 729 outbreaks in the week to September 13, only five per cent occurred in food outlets such as restaurants and pubs

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that his actions did not go far enough as she banned her countrymen from visiting each other in their own homes in a bid to slash to Covid-19 R rate in Scotland

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that his actions did not go far enough as she banned her countrymen from visiting each other in their own homes in a bid to slash to Covid-19 R rate in Scotland

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that his actions did not go far enough as she banned her countrymen from visiting each other in their own homes in a bid to slash to Covid-19 R rate in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon BANS Scots from visiting each other in their own homes 

Scots will be banned from visiting each other in their own homes from tomorrow, Nicola Sturgeon said today as she reintroduced stringent lockdown rules.

The First Minister said that a ‘high proportion’ of new cases in the country were linked to transmission within private homes where social distancing and ventilation were more difficult than outdoors or public buildings.

She spoke to MSPs at Holyrood minutes after Boris Johnson has unveiled new lockdown measures in England, saying that his steps did not go far enough and her advice was that it ‘will not be sufficient to bring the R number down’ north of the border.

Addressing reports that measures in Scotland could be in place for up to six months, the First Minister said she hoped that would not be the case.

She told MSPs: ‘It is certainly the case, until scientific developments such as a vaccine change the game in the battle against Covid-19, it will have an impact on our lives.

‘That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the new restrictions I am announcing today will be in place for six months.

‘By acting early and substantially, our hope is that these new measures will be in place for a shorter period than would be the case if we waited longer to act.’ 

 

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The unveiling of the Government’s latest coronavirus clampdown came as:

  • Sir Keir Starmer used his first Labour conference speech as leader to warn that a second national lockdown would be a ‘sign of Government failure, not an act of God’ that would take an ‘immense toll’ on public health and the economy. 
  • Sir Keir also claimed the ‘incompetence’ of the Government is ‘is holding Britain back’ and that the ‘underfunding of the NHS’ and the ‘abandonment of social care’ by the Conservatives had meant the UK was not prepared for the pandemic.
  • Julian Knight, the Tory chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee, said without a ‘route map’ for getting spectators back to sports events ‘we risk decimation of our sporting and cultural infrastructure’. 
  • Shares in some of Britain’s biggest pub chains felt the pinch following the announcement of the 10pm curfew as City Pub Group fell 6.6 per cent while Wetherspoons dropped 0.4 per cent.
  • Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething welcomed the UK Government’s decision to revert back to working from home as he said it was ‘a welcome shift… that matches our position’. 
  • Tory peer Andrew Lloyd Webber warned that commercial theatre will not survive unless the Government ‘steps up to the plate’.
  • Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said the increase in coronavirus cases is ‘extremely difficult news for all of us and the whole country’ as he said the Bank ‘will do everying we can do… to support the businesses and people of this country’. 
  • The Government said that as of 9am on Tuesday there were a further 4,926 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, taking the total to 403,551.

Mr Johnson said the UK is at a ‘perilous turning point’ in the fight against the virus and that his new measures could be in place for six months, setting up the prospect of an austere Christmas and New Year for many families. 

He imposed a 10pm curfew on all restaurants, bars and pubs across England from Thursday with the hospitality sector also being restricted to table service only, despite figures suggesting only five per cent of infections have originated in pubs.  

A requirement to wear face coverings will be extended to include retail workers and customers in indoor hospitality settings, except for when they are seated at a table to eat or drink. 

Dash to the altar this weekend! Hammer blow for couples tying the knot as wedding guests will be limited to 15 from Monday under new Covid rules

Wedding ceremonies and receptions in England are to be capped at 15 people, as part of new coronavirus restrictions to curb a surge in cases.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the number of people permitted at wedding celebrations is to be halved. 

But he added that funeral services would be exempt from the restrictions, with the maximum number of mourners remaining at 30.

Celebrations held this weekend will narrowly avoid the new restrictions, which come into effect in England on Monday.

Setting out the measures in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said: ‘Fifth, now is the time to tighten up the rule of six.

‘I’m afraid that from Monday a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, though up to 30 can still attend a funeral as now.’

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions were included in a list of exemptions to the ban on social gatherings of more than six, with up to 30 people, including the couple, allowed to attend.

Funeral services remain exempt from the rule of six, unless specified in areas with local lockdown restrictions.

A maximum of 30 people are allowed to attend a funeral in England and Wales, while no more than 20 are permitted in Scotland.

But the ban on gatherings of more than six applies to wakes or receptions held in private homes or gardens in England, unless those attending are all from the same household or support bubble. 

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He also announced the end of the Government’s back to work drive as he said he is now ‘asking office workers who can work from home to do so’. 

The Government has been actively encouraging workers to ditch working from home and today’s U-turn represents a humiliating climbdown for the PM who earlier this month had told his Cabinet that ‘people are going back to the office in huge numbers across our country and quite right too’.  

The decision to urge workers to work from home sparked dire warnings about the future of struggling town and city centres as business groups immediately demanded the Government extend its furlough scheme which is due to close at the end of October.   

Mel Stride, the Tory chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, told the PM that lockdowns ‘destroy jobs and also personal wellbeing’ as he urged the Government to pay attention to the concerns of businesses.

He said: ‘The fact the lockdowns have damaged our national economy means that in the years ahead a smaller economy will probably have serious impacts on the health of millions of people up and down our country.’

He added: ‘Yes, we should listen very carefully to the epidemiologists but we must also listen very carefully to the Treasury, to businesses and to economists too.’ 

Mr Johnson today announced he is making the Army available to help the police enforce stringent new coronavirus rules. The Prime Minister said the police will now have the ‘option to draw on military support where required’ to free up officers so more can go out and crackdown on rule-breakers as he revealed fines are being doubled to £200. 

Downing Street ruled out deploying soldiers on the streets however, saying they would be used ‘backfilling certain duties, such as office roles and guarding protected sites, so police officers can be out enforcing the virus response’. 

The PM also said that if the new plans fail to get the disease under control he ‘reserves the right to deploy greater fire power’.    

Plans for a partial return of sports fans to stadiums from October 1 have also been ‘paused’ while the number of people allowed to attend weddings is being reduced to 15 from Monday. Exemptions to the rule of six are also being reduced, banning indoor team sport such as five-a-side football matches. 

Mr Johnson did not announce a ban on households mixing indoors in England but Nicola Sturgeon this afternoon followed Northern Ireland as she said that from tomorrow Scots will not be able to meet in other people’s homes, prompting questions over which of the home nations has adopted the correct approach.  

Some experts have already warned the PM’s curfew does not go far 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. 

The five days of panic which paved the way for Boris Johnson to impose a curfew on pubs

Thursday: The latest official data presented to ministers showed that coronavirus cases were on the rise in all age groups while hospitalisations were also increasing across the board. The numbers are said to have prompted Michael Gove to call for decisive action to be taken. By the end of the day a ‘consensus’ had reportedly emerged around a plan for a total shutdown of the hospitality and leisure sectors, with Mr Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock said to be the leading advocates. Advisers on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies also backed the plans on the grounds that it was not possible to predict the impact of a less severe curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants. Mr Johnson was reportedly initially in favour of the total shutdown. 

Friday: The prospect of a total shutdown spooked ministers and officials in the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who were afraid of the damage such a move would do to the economy. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to have asked to see the Prime Minister and the pair then met on Friday afternoon. Mr Sunak spelled out his fears in person and Mr Johnson was apparently sympathetic to the message from the Chancellor, asking officials to look at other options. 

Saturday and Sunday: Mr Johnson held further talks with senior ministers as well as with Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty as the premier tried to hammer out an agreed way forward. Mr Johnson eventually decided to go ahead with a curfew plan instead of a total shutdown as the ‘hawks’ in the Cabinet appeared to win the battle with the ‘doves’.

Monday: The PM’s latest lockdown plans were formally decided upon by senior ministers ahead of a formal announcement today.

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Calum Semple, a professor of Child Health and Outbreak Medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said there are ‘several sectors of society which will need to increase their restrictions unfortunately’.  

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. 

Setting out his proposals to MPs in the House of Commons this lunchtime, Mr Johnson said the UK is at a ‘perilous turning point’ amid a surge in infections across the country. 

He said: ‘This is the moment when we must act. 

‘If we can curb the number of daily infections and reduce the reproduction rate to one then we can save lives, protect the NHS and the most vulnerable and shelter the economy from the far sterner and more costly measures that would inevitably become necessary later on.’

Mr Johnson said workers who can work from home should now do so. 

He told the Commons: ‘We must take action to suppress the disease. First we are once again asking office workers who can work from home to do so.

‘In key public services and in all professions where home working is not possible such a construction or retail people should continue to attend their workplaces.’

He also set out an extension of the current rules on the wearing of face masks, telling MPs: ‘We will extend the requirement to wear face coverings to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles and staff and customers in indoor hospitality expect when seated at a table to eat or drink.’ 

He added: ‘These rules, these measures will only work if people comply and there is nothing more frustrating for the vast majority who do comply, the law abiding majority, than the sight of a few brazenly defying the rules.

‘So these rules will be enforced by tighter penalties. We have already introduced a fine of up to £10,000 for those who fail to self-isolate and such fines will not be applied to businesses breaking Covid rules.

‘The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.

Boris Johnson’s 10pm curfew ‘isn’t enough’, claims SAGE adviser

Boris Johnson’s 10pm curfew for all pubs, bars and restaurants will not be enough to curb the spread of the coronavirus, one of the government’s scientific advisors warned today.

Professor Calum Semple, from the University of Liverpool and a member of SAGE, said the measures will ‘have to go further’ to halt Britain’s rapidly growing outbreak.

And he said tougher restrictions are likely to be needed for the hospitality sector, which today hit back at the curfew and called it ‘another crushing blow’.

Professor Semple said: ‘In time, it will probably have to go further than a 10pm curfew and table service only.’ He also warned that ministers may have to consider ‘restricting inter-mingling between households’.

He said new measures needed could include keeping people away from the office on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, just minutes before Michael Gove confirmed the government is ditching its back to work drive.

And Professor Semple added: ‘I think the Rule of Six has been tried, it’s not had time to kick in yet, but based on the numbers I’m seeing, it doesn’t go far enough.

‘The epidemiologists and scientists that I work with, and I’m not just talking about the ones on SAGE, I’d say there’s hardly a cigarette paper’s thickness between what we feel about this.

‘The time to act is now, we are in a serious situation, and the numbers that are rising are tracking the current worst case scenario.

Explaining the situation at his local hospital in Wirral, Liverpool, he warned there were already several cases in intensive care.

‘We’re seeing a rise in hospital admissions,’ he said. ‘I can tell you our hospital on the Wirral has several cases in the intensive care unit.

‘A study that I run which looks at hospital cases in England, Scotland and Wales is seeing a rapid rise in case admissions and, interestingly, we’re actually seeing a rise in people between the age of 20 and 40, particularly women, which we didn’t see previously.

‘And that suggests that it’s community exposure in hospitality settings and care settings, which we didn’t see before, probably because people under the age of 50 are less invested in social distancing.’ 

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‘We will provide the police and local authorities with the extra funding they need, greater police presence on our streets, and the option to draw on military support where required to free up the police.’

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman later clarified that military personnel could be used to fill police office roles and to guard protected sites in order to free up officers so they can go out and enforce the coronavirus rules. 

The spokesman said soldiers would not be replacing the police in enforcement roles ‘and they will not be handing out fines’. 

Mr Johnson also said that if the latest wave of measures fails to bring the disease under control then the Government will not hesitate to impose even tougher restrictions. 

He said: ‘I must emphasise that if all our actions fail to bring the R below one then we reserved the right to deploy greater fire power with significantly greater restrictions.’

He added: ‘We will not listen to those who say let the virus rip, nor to those who urge a permanent lockdown. We are taking decisive and appropriate steps to balance saving lives with protecting jobs and livelihoods.’

The unveiling of the new restrictions immediately prompted business concerns amid fears they will inevitably lead to more job losses. 

CBI director general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn told the BBC: ‘It is now desperately urgent to have a successor scheme to the furlough scheme.

‘It has been a huge success. It has saved thousands and thousands of jobs but there is a cliff-edge looming. And, now, with today’s announcement that is more urgent than ever.

‘We are calling for the Treasury to announce a successor scheme very quickly. It should be more targeted. It doesn’t need to be quite as generous. But, if we are going to protect jobs… in the medium-term it needs to be brought in within days or weeks. This is now desperately urgent.’

Ms Fairbairn also said ‘there can be no avoiding the crushing blow’ the new proposals on working from home will bring for firms, particularly those in city centres. 

Mr Gove confirmed the shift on working from home this morning, telling Sky News: ‘There is going to be a shift in emphasis and one of the things that we are going to emphasise is if it is possible for people to work from home then we would encourage them to do so.

‘Now, it is important to stress there are many, many, many roles which can’t be performed from home.

‘There are people in manufacturing, in construction, in retail and in other roles where we recognise that is simply impossible and that is why we have worked to make sure you can have Covid-secure workplaces and we need to balance, obviously, the need to ensure that people can continue to work and indeed critically continue to go to school and to benefit from education against taking steps to try to reduce the virus which is why we can limit or appropriately restrain social contact, that is what we are trying to do.’ 

He also said plans for a partial return of sports fans to stadiums from October 1 have been ‘paused’.  

Michael Gove today confirmed the Government is ditching its back to work drive as he said people who can work from home should now do so

Michael Gove today confirmed the Government is ditching its back to work drive as he said people who can work from home should now do so

Michael Gove today confirmed the Government is ditching its back to work drive as he said people who can work from home should now do so

The decision to ditch the back to work drive represents a damaging moment for Mr Johnson who has been actively encouraging workers to go back to their offices. A London Underground train is pictured this morning

The decision to ditch the back to work drive represents a damaging moment for Mr Johnson who has been actively encouraging workers to go back to their offices. A London Underground train is pictured this morning

The decision to ditch the back to work drive represents a damaging moment for Mr Johnson who has been actively encouraging workers to go back to their offices. A London Underground train is pictured this morning

THIRTY TWO academics urge Boris Johnson to think twice about plunging Britain into a second lockdown – as questions mount about advisors’ doomsday numbers

A group of scientists and doctors have written to the Prime Minister urging him not to opt for a second lockdown and to stop presenting Covid-19 as a mortal danger.

Thirty-two top academics have called on Boris Johnson and his scientific and medical advisers to avoid a knee-jerk reaction to rising cases and hospitalisations.

They said the debate about coronavirus is ‘unhelpful’ because it is divided between people who want total lockdowns and people who want no restrictions at all.

Calling for decision-makers to ‘step back’ and think carefully about what to do next, the researchers said there had not yet been any ‘readily observable pattern’ between tight social distancing rules and the numbers of people dying of coronavirus.

The open letter was written by Oxford’s Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Carl Heneghan, by the University of Buckingham’s Professor Karol Sikora, and by Sam Williams, director of the consultancy firm Economic Insight.

Tweeting a copy of the letter today, cancer doctor Professor Sikora pleaded: ‘We desperately need a rethink to find a better balance’.

It comes amid fierce criticism from experts of the Government’s top scientists after they presented a ‘doomsday’ scenario of 50,000 daily coronavirus cases within a month – which appeared not to be backed by data from France and Spain. 

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‘It is the case that we’ve been piloting some open air venues, and we do want to be able in due course to allow people to return to watch football and other sporting events,’ he told BBC Breakfast.

‘But it is the case that we just need to be cautious at the moment and I think a mass reopening at this stage wouldn’t be appropriate.’

He added: ‘It was the case that we were looking at a staged programme of more people returning – it wasn’t going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans.

‘We’re looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme. But what we do want to do is to make sure that as and when circumstances allow, (we) get more people back.’

Mr Gove was unable to say how long the Government’s new coronavirus measures are expected to last. 

‘What we hope is we can take appropriate steps now, which mean that if we succeed in beating back the virus, then we will in the future be able to progressively relax them,’ he told BBC Breakfast.

‘But what I can’t do is predict with absolute certainty.’ 

Pressed on whether it would be months or weeks, Mr Gove said: ‘It is the case, as Professor Vallance and Chris Whitty pointed out yesterday, that we’re going to have a challenging next six months.’

Mr Gove insisted the Government was taking ‘reluctant steps’ with the new coronavirus measures, but added that they are ‘absolutely necessary’.

‘There will be more details that the Prime Minister will spell out, and again, one of the points that he’ll make is that no one wants to do these things, no one wants to take these steps,’ he told Sky News.

‘They are reluctant steps that we’re taking, but they are absolutely necessary.

‘Because as we were reminded yesterday, and as you’ve been reporting, the rate of infection is increasing, the number of people going to hospital is increasing, and therefore we need to act.’

He insisted there is evidence to support the Government’s decision to set the curfew on pubs and restaurants at 10pm. 

He told the BBC: ‘There is evidence that the longer venues stay open, the greater degree of social mixing that takes place.

‘So, placing a restriction like this is something that we’ve already done in parts of the country where the virus has been spreading particularly fast.’

It was claimed overnight that Mr Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock had pushed for a total shutdown of the hospitality sector. 

The Times reported a ‘consensus’ formed around the move last Thursday with members of Sage also on board on the grounds that it would not be possible to predict the impact of a curfew.  

The Prime Minister is said to have initially been supportive of the shutdown plan which sparked concern in the Treasury and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, prompting Mr Sunak to ask for a meeting with Mr Johnson. 

That meeting took place on Friday as Mr Sunak warned of the economic damage a total shutdown of the hospitality sector could do, leading to Mr Johnson changing his mind and pushing forward with the less severe curfew plans instead.   

The fresh restrictions sparked anger from the hospitality sector, with Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, describing them as ‘another crushing blow’ for many businesses.

‘A hard close time is bad for business and bad for controlling the virus – we need to allow time for people to disperse over a longer period,’ she said.

‘Table service has been widely adopted in some parts of the sector since reopening but it is not necessary across all businesses, such as coffee shops.

‘It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just 5% of infections out of the home are related to hospitality.’

Official Downing Street slides showed that if the current rate of infection continues there could be 50,000 coronavirus cases every day by the middle of October and that could lead to 200 plus deaths a day by the middle of November

Official Downing Street slides showed that if the current rate of infection continues there could be 50,000 coronavirus cases every day by the middle of October and that could lead to 200 plus deaths a day by the middle of November

Official Downing Street slides showed that if the current rate of infection continues there could be 50,000 coronavirus cases every day by the middle of October and that could lead to 200 plus deaths a day by the middle of November 

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Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night-Time Industries Association, warned the measures could trigger ‘a surge of unregulated events and house parties which are the real hot-beds of infection, attended by frustrated young people denied access to safe and legitimate night-time hospitality venues’.

Ian Wright, the chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said: ‘These new restrictions on the UK’s fragile hospitality and food service sector are a potentially fatal blow to manufacturers who specialise in supplying the hospitality sector. 

‘Many pubs and coffee shops will not be able to trade profitably under these new rules and will have to close again, with further threats from enforced closure due to local or national lockdowns.’ 

The measures also sparked a Tory backlash, with senior Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin labelling them a ‘terrible blow’.  

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The people running pubs, owning pubs, these people are in terrible strain.

‘And the life line of the bounce back loans and the grants has kept these people, just about, their heads above water, and this will be a terrible blow to them.’

He added: ‘What would be the worst case is if we have to have another major lockdown. That would be terrible for the economy.

‘And, so anything that can avoid that risk, or mitigate that risk, seems to be justified.

He said Parliament must debate and vote on the measures being proposed by the Government after his Tory colleagues yesterday accused Mr Johnson of ‘ruling by decree’.

There are already fears that the Government will have to impose more draconian restrictions in the coming weeks and months. 

Professor Semple was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if he believed the 10pm curfew for pubs and bars will be enough to stop the spread of infection. 

He replied: ‘No, it is not going to be. There is several sectors of society which will need to increase their restrictions unfortunately but it is necessary now because we are starting to see rising cases not just in the frail elderly but also in people under the age of 50.’

Asked what else could soon be subject to a clampdown, the Sage adviser said: ‘We are going to have to see potentially reductions in the sporting events and that is going to hit many of us hard because we enjoy the football, the boxing, other activities particularly in the north west of England.

‘We are likely to see increased restrictions on the hospitality sector I think in time, it probably will have to go further than 10 o’clock curfew and table service only, I think that is very likely.’

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey today said the rise in Covid-19 cases is ‘extremelt difficult news for all of us’ but the Bank is prepared to act to protect businesses where it can. 

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Just FIVE PER CENT of Covid infections are passed on in pubs and restaurants

Ministers have been warned that a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants will be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ for many businesses still treading water after the first wave of Covid-19.

Exasperated hospitality bosses are fuming that they are bearing the brunt of Boris Johnson’s coronavirus crackdown when Government figures show a comparably low spread of the disease in food and drink outlets.

Public Health England data reveals that of the 729 outbreaks in the week to September 13, only five per cent occurred in food outlets such as restaurants and pubs – 45 per cent were in care homes, 21 per cent in schools and 18 per cent in places of work.

Wetherspoons founder Tim Martin said: ‘The curfew doesn’t even stand up to five minutes consideration by an intelligent person because if you look at the stats… there are relatively few transfers of infections in pubs.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UK Hospitality, urged the Government to heed its own statistics because the curfew could take a sledgehammer to the industry which is already ‘on its knees’.

She said this morning: ‘People will think it’s not that significant, but it really will have a big economic impact on jobs, not just on pubs, but also for cafes and restaurants.’

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FTSE 100 claws back some losses after yesterday’s £51bn plunge with markets opening 0.3% up by 38 points to 5,820 after 10pm curfew was announced for pubs and restaurants

The FTSE 100 clawed back ground this morning after the worst sell off since June saw more than £50billion wiped off the value of Britain’s blue chip companies.

The index was 0.3 per cent in the green at opening today – up 38 points to 5,821 – a day after a £51bn plunge amid a market rout across Europe and America caused by a spike in Covid infections.

Pub chains and airlines were hammered as ministers warned of new rules to limit social contact, while banking shares slid amid fresh claims of money laundering. 

Meanwhile, the pound slipped to a two-month low against the dollar today ahead of the restrictions. 

Sterling fell 0.51 per cent to $1.2751 against the dollar, the lowest level since July 24 while the pound was down 0.25 per cent against the European common currency at 92 pence.  

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Speaking on a British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) webinar, Mr Bailey said: ‘The latest news, that we are seeing a very unfortunate, faster return of Covid-19 is extremely difficult news for all of us and the whole country.

‘That does reinforce the downside risks we have in our forecasts.

‘The Bank of England will do everything we can do within our remit and powers to support the businesses and people of this country and we will do that.’

Elsewhere, Sir Keir Starmer said a second national lockdown would be a ‘sign of Government failure, not an act of God’ that would take an ‘immense toll’ on public health and the economy.

Sir Keir used his first Labour Party conference speech as leader to argue there should be ‘nothing inevitable about a second lockdown’. 

Speaking from Doncaster, he told the virtual party conference: ‘The warnings yesterday from the Government’s advisers were stark. They can’t be ignored.

‘Labour will act in the national interest. We will be a constructive opposition. We will support whatever reasonable steps are necessary to save lives and protect our NHS.

‘But I also want to say this: There should be nothing inevitable about a second lockdown.

‘It would be a sign of Government failure, not an act of God. It would take an immense toll on people’s physical and mental health and on the economy. We need a national effort to prevent a national lockdown.’

Sir Keir also claimed the ‘incompetence’ of the Government is ‘holding Britain back’. 

He said: ‘I think Britain has so much yet to achieve. And it angers me that this Government is holding us back.

‘I’ve tried to be constructive. I appreciate that these are unprecedented times and that governing is difficult. I’ve tried to be fair, to give the Government the benefit of the doubt.

‘But now, with one of the highest death rates in the world, and on the threshold of one of the deepest recessions anywhere, I’m afraid there is no doubt.

‘This Government’s incompetence is holding Britain back.’

The PM’s announcement of new crackdown measures comes after the Government’s two top scientists painted a grim picture of what could happen if the UK does not get coronavirus under control. 

Sir Patrick said yesterday that there could be 50,000 new daily cases by October and more than 200 daily deaths by November – numbers which provoked anger from some scientific critics who suggested he was being far too negative. 

Speaking alongside Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Patrick said the ‘vast majority of the population remain susceptible’ to catching coronavirus and the current situation required swift action to bring the case numbers down. 

Prof Whitty suggested that reducing social contacts was a key way to curb the spread but acknowledged there was a balance to be struck in terms of protecting the economy.

‘Ministers making decisions – and all of society – have to walk this very difficult balance,’ he said.

‘If we do too little, this virus will go out of control and you will get significant numbers of increased direct and indirect deaths.

‘But if we go too far the other way, then we can cause damage to the economy which can feed through to unemployment, to poverty, to deprivation – all of which have long-term health effects, so we need always to keep these two sides in mind.’

He suggested that science would eventually ‘ride to our rescue’, but ‘in this period of the next six months, I think we have to realise that we have to take this, collectively, very seriously’. 

The UK’s four chief medical officers last night recommended raising the Covid alert level from three to four – the second highest – indicating the ‘epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially’.

Boris Johnson’s coronavirus lockdown statement in full 

Mr Speaker, with your permission, I will make a statement on our response to the rising number of Coronavirus cases and how we must act now to avoid still graver consequences later on.

At every stage in this pandemic we have struck a delicate balance between saving lives by protecting our NHS and minimising the wider impact of our restrictions.

And it is because of the common sense and fortitude of the British people that earlier this year we were able to avert an even worse catastrophe, forming a human shield around our NHS, and then by getting our country moving again by reopening key sectors of our economy and returning children to school.

But we always knew that while we might have driven the virus into retreat, the prospect of a second wave was real. 

And I am sorry to say that – as in Spain and 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.

I wish I could reassure the House that the growing number of cases is merely a function of more testing, but a rising proportion of the tests themselves are yielding a positive result.

I also wish I could say that more of our people now have the antibodies to keep the virus off, but the latest data suggest that fewer than 8 per cent of us are in this position.

It is true that the number of new cases is growing fastest amongst those aged 20-29,  but the evidence shows that the virus is spreading to other more vulnerable age groups, as we have seen in France and Spain where this has led to increased hospital admissions and, sadly, more deaths.

In the last fortnight, daily hospital admissions in England have more than doubled.

Tens of thousands of daily infections in October would, as night follows day, lead to hundreds of daily deaths in November and those numbers would continue to grow unless we act.

And as with all respiratory viruses, Covid is likely to spread faster as autumn becomes winter.

Yesterday, on the advice of the four Chief Medical Officers, the UK’s Covid alert level was raised from 3 to 4, the second most serious stage, meaning that transmission is high or rising exponentially.

So this is the moment when we must act.

If we can curb the number of daily infections, and reduce the Reproduction rate to 1, then we can save lives, protect the NHS, and the most vulnerable, and shelter the economy from the far sterner and more costly measures that would inevitably become necessary later.

So we are acting on the principle that a stitch in time saves nine.

The Government will introduce new restrictions in England, carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in the R number with the minimum damage to lives and livelihoods.

I want to stress that this is by no means a return to the full lockdown of March. We are not issuing a general instruction to stay at home.

We will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open – because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people. We will ensure that businesses can stay open in a Covid-compliant way.

However, we must take action to suppress the disease.

First, we are once again asking office workers who can work from home to do so.

In key public services – and in all professions where homeworking is not possible, such as construction or retail – people should continue to attend their workplaces.

And like Government, this House will be free to take forward its business in a Covid-secure way which you, Mr Speaker, have pioneered.

Second, from Thursday all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, Mr Speaker, except for takeaways.

Together with all hospitality venues, they must close at 10pm.

To help the police to enforce this rule, I am afraid that means alas closing, and not just calling for last orders. Simplicity is paramount.

The same will apply to takeaways – though deliveries can continue thereafter.

I am sorry this will hurt many businesses just getting back on their feet, but we must act to stop the virus from being transmitted in bars and restaurants.

Third, we will extend the requirement to wear face coverings to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. 

Fourth, in retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, our Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations.

Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules. 

Fifth, now is the time to tighten up the rule of six.

I’m afraid that from Monday, a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions.

Though, up to 30 can still attend a funeral as now.

We will also have to extend the rule of six to all adult indoor team sports.

Finally, we have to acknowledge that the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events so we will not be able to do this from 1 October.

And I recognise the implications for our sports clubs, which are the life and soul of our communities, and my RH Friends the Chancellor and Culture Secretary are working urgently on what we can do now to support them.

Mr Speaker, these rules measures will only work if people comply. 

There is nothing more frustrating for the vast majority, the law-abiding majority that do comply than the sight of a few brazenly defying the rules. So these rules will be enforced by tighter penalties.

We have already introduced a fine of up to £10,000 for those who fail to self-isolate and such fines will now be applied to businesses breaking Covid rules.

The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.

We will provide the police and local authorities with the extra funding they need, a greater police presence on our streets, and the option to draw on military support where required to free up the police.

The measures I have announced all apply in England and the Devolved Administrations are taking similar steps.

I spoke yesterday with each of the First Ministers and again today and I thank them for their collaboration: the health of everyone in these islands depends on our common success.

Already about 13 million people across England are living under various local restrictions, over and above national measures.

We will continue to act against local flare-ups, working alongside councils and strengthening measures where necessary.

And I want to speak directly to those who were shielding early in the pandemic and may be anxious about being at greater risk.

Following advice from our senior clinicians, our guidance continues to be that you do not need to shield – except in local lockdown areas – and we will keep this under constant review. 

I must emphasise that if all our actions fail to bring the R below 1, then we reserve the right to deploy greater firepower, with significantly greater restrictions.

I fervently want to avoid taking this step, as do the Devolved Administrations, but we will only be able to avoid it if our new measures work and our behaviour changes.

Mr Speaker, we will spare no effort in developing vaccines, treatments and new forms of mass-testing but unless we palpably make progress, we should assume that the restrictions I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.

For the time being, this virus is a fact of our lives and I must tell the House and the country that our fight against it will continue.

We will not listen to those who say let the virus rip; nor to those who urge a permanent lockdown; we are taking decisive and appropriate steps to balance saving lives with protecting jobs and livelihoods.

I know all of this will have profound consequences for our constituents, so the government will give the House every opportunity to scrutinise our decisions.

In addition to regular statements and debates, Hon Members will be able to question the government’s scientific advisers more regularly, gain access to data about their constituencies, your constituencies and join daily calls with my RH Friend the Paymaster General.

After six months of restrictions, it would be tempting to hope that the threat has faded, and seek comfort in the belief that if you have avoided the virus so far then you are somehow immune. 

I have to say that it is that kind of complacency that could be our undoing.

If we fail to act together now we will not only place others at risk but jeopardise our own futures with the more drastic action that we would inevitably be forced to take.

Mr Speaker, no British government would wish to stifle our freedoms in the ways that we have found necessary this year.

Yet even now we can draw some comfort from the fact that schools and universities and places of worship are staying open, shops can serve their customers, construction workers can go to building sites, and the vast majority of the UK economy can continue moving forwards. 

We are also, Mr Speaker, better prepared for a second wave, with the ventilators, the PPE, the dexamethasone, the Nightingale Hospitals, and a hundred times as much testing.

So now it falls to each of us and every one of us to remember the basics – wash our hands, cover our faces, observe social distancing – and follow the rules.

Then we can fight back against this virus, shelter our economy from even greater damage, protect the most vulnerable in care homes and hospitals, safeguard our NHS and save many more lives.

And I commend this statement to the House.

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Those new rules in full that will wipe out Christmas and New Year: Working from home is back, facemasks in pubs and restaurants – and will hairdressers and gyms be included in the Rule of Six?

Boris Johnson apologetically took a hammer to Britons’ social lives today as he reintroduced lockdown measures in England to see off a second wave of coronavirus.

Pubs and other leisure and hospitality businesses like restaurants will face a 10pm curfew from Thursday.

People working in retail, those travelling in taxis, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality will also have to wear face coverings – except while seated at a table to eat or drink.

And in a dramatic reversal of the Government’s recent drive to get people back to workplaces, all office workers will be advised to work from home where they can as soon as possible. 

In a grave Commons statement the Prime Minister warned that the new curbs could last for six months – taking them well beyond Christmas – ‘unless we palpably make progress’. 

Here we look at the new rules that have been unveiled today:

So can I still go to the pub for a pint? 

In a grave Commons statement the Prime Minister warned that the new curbs could last for six months - taking them well beyond Christmas - 'unless we palpably make progress'

In a grave Commons statement the Prime Minister warned that the new curbs could last for six months - taking them well beyond Christmas - 'unless we palpably make progress'

In a grave Commons statement the Prime Minister warned that the new curbs could last for six months – taking them well beyond Christmas – ‘unless we palpably make progress’

Pubs like the French House in Soho, central London, will have to close at 10pm. That is not last orders at 10pm, that is close at 10pm.

Pubs like the French House in Soho, central London, will have to close at 10pm. That is not last orders at 10pm, that is close at 10pm.

Pubs like the French House in Soho, central London, will have to close at 10pm. That is not last orders at 10pm, that is close at 10pm.

Yes. But the pub will have to close at 10pm. That is not last orders at 10pm, that is close the bar at 10pm. This is also coming into force in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today.

And you will not be able to wander up to the bar for a drink. All pubs and bars must become table service only, like restaurants, which are also covered by the curfew.

This is a change from the current rules, where standing at the bar for a pint was allowed as long as there was social distancing in place.  

It also applies to takeaway services, many of which sustained businesses through the worst of the original lockdown.

But food (and drink) deliveries are allowed to continue after 10am because it is easier to limit human contact.

A 10pm curfew seems a bit odd, what’s the reason for it?

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The Prime Minister told the Commons ‘the spread of the disease does tend to happen later at night after more alcohol has been consumed’.

In reply to Meg Hillier, Labour chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee he said: ‘These are not easy decisions, nobody wants to be curtailing the right of restaurants and other businesses to go about their lawful business.

‘What we have seen from the evidence is that alas the spread of the disease does tend to happen later at night after more alcohol has been consumed.

‘This is one way that we see of driving down the R without doing excessive economic damage and that’s the balance we have to strike.’

This is not going to be good for businesses through, is it? 

Ministers have been warned that a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants will be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ for many businesses still treading water after the first wave of Covid-19.

Exasperated hospitality bosses are fuming that they are bearing the brunt of Boris Johnson’s coronavirus crackdown when Government figures show a comparably low spread of the disease in food and drink outlets.

Public Health England data reveals that of the 729 outbreaks in the week to September 13, only five per cent occurred in food outlets such as restaurants and pubs – 45 per cent were in care homes, 21 per cent in schools and 18 per cent in places of work.

Wetherspoons founder Tim Martin said: ‘The curfew doesn’t even stand up to five minutes consideration by an intelligent person because if you look at the stats… there are relatively few transfers of infections in pubs.’

The Government faced renewed calls to do more to support businesses, with the hospitality industry warning that the new restrictions would be a ‘crushing blow’.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, said: ‘It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just 5 per cent of infections out of the home are related to hospitality.’

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, warned the measures could trigger ‘a surge of unregulated events and house parties which are the real hot-beds of infection, attended by frustrated young people denied access to safe and legitimate night-time hospitality venues’.

Up to 6,000 jobs are being axed at Premier Inn owner Whitbread, which also operates the Beefeater pubs and Brewers Fayre chains.

The Wetherspoon pub chain also said it had written to its 1,000 airport staff to warn them that between 400 and 450 jobs are at risk of redundancy. 

What about face masks, do I need to wear one? And what if I don’t?

A man enjoys a a drink at The Kings Ford pub in Chingford, East London, as the PM made his announcement in the Commons this afternoon

A man enjoys a a drink at The Kings Ford pub in Chingford, East London, as the PM made his announcement in the Commons this afternoon

A man enjoys a a drink at The Kings Ford pub in Chingford, East London, as the PM made his announcement in the Commons this afternoon

Yes. Customers in indoor hospitality will also have to wear face coverings – except while seated at a table to eat or drink.

Face coverings must also be worn in taxis and private hire vehicles, and by retail staff while at work, although most had already brought in this requirement anyway. 

People face £200 penalties for failing to wear masks where required or breaching the so-called ‘rule of six’, where a maximum of six people from more than one household can meet-up together outside, socially distanced.

The Prime Minister also announced tougher enforcement measures, with businesses facing fines or closure for failing to comply with coronavirus rules, meaning there will be consequences for pubs that try to serve you at the bar.  

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said: ‘Individuals, businesses and households all have a responsibility to ensure the virus is suppressed and police will play their part in supporting the public to navigate the measures in place for our safety.

‘Our approach of engaging with people and explaining the regulations in place will remain. The vast majority of situations are resolved following those two stages, with little need for further encouragement or enforcement action to be taken,’ he said.

‘Police will continue to work with their communities and only issue fines as a last resort.

‘Chiefs will be stepping up patrols in high-risk areas and will proactively work with businesses, licensing authorities and local authorities to ensure the rules are being followed.

‘If members of the public are concerned that the law is being broken or they are experiencing anti-social behaviour, they can report this to the police, who will consider the most appropriate response and will target the most problematic behaviour.’ 

Are any other hospitality businesses affected and are any exempt? 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden this afternoon confirmed that it would also apply to casinos. But theatres and cinemas ‘where performances may run over the 10pm deadline’ will not be subjected to the restriction. 

But he said that it did apply to indoor grassroots sports and ‘amateur performing arts and choirs’. 

Should I be going to the office or should I be working from home? 

If you work in an office, you should go back to working from home where it is possible.

Mr Johnson confirmed this change, which followed several months of his ministers attempting to reopen workplaces across the country.  This is also coming into force in Scotland.

But it is less of a blanket move than that taken in March. Mr Johnson told the Commons: ‘In key public services – and in all professions where homeworking is not possible …  people should continue to attend their workplaces.’ 

Examples of sectors of the economy where people should continue to go to work include: retail, construction, manufacturing, hospitality, education and health.

Asked if the WFH change was ‘immediate, from tomorrow’, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters today: ‘Effectively yes, it is as soon as possible.’ 

So are schools also closing again?

No. Along with protecting the economy, one of the main thrusts of today;s announcements is the Government’s desire to prioritise keeping schools open.

Mr Johnson said: ‘I want to stress that this is by no means a return to the full lockdown of March. We are not issuing a general instruction to stay at home.

‘We will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open – because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people. We will ensure that businesses can stay open in a Covid-compliant way.’

Can I still go and get my hair done? Or go to the gym?

At the moment yes, but the rules have been tightened. The Rule of Six has been extended to take in ‘leisure, entertainment, tourism and close contact’ sectors’.

The later includes hairdressers and other beauty treatments.

More details are awaited on what else specifically it will mean for places like gyms, although Mr Johnson today banned indoor group sports like five-a-side football.  

I’m getting married on Saturday, can the wedding still go ahead? 

Yes. Wedding ceremonies and receptions in England are to be capped at 15 people, but not until Monday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the number of people permitted at wedding celebrations is to be halved, in a bid to ‘tighten up’ the current rule of six.

But he added that funeral services would be exempt from the restrictions announced on Tuesday, with the maximum number of mourners remaining at 30.

Celebrations held this weekend will narrowly avoid the new restrictions, which come into effect in England on Monday.

Setting out the measures in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said: ‘Fifth, now is the time to tighten up the rule of six.

‘I’m afraid that from Monday a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, though up to 30 can still attend a funeral as now.’

Current guidance states that up to 30 attendees are permitted in Wales, while in Scotland, ceremonies and receptions are limited to 20 people, and numbers are dependent on the venue in Northern Ireland.

One bride, due to get married on December 12 after being engaged for five years, who had originally planned a wedding with 100 people in Norfolk, said she felt ‘gutted’ following the announcement.

‘We are then seeing people say online that it doesn’t matter, it’s not important and at least we don’t have Covid and then we feel like our feelings are not valid,’ 40-year-old Laura Brown told the PA news agency.

‘It’s a day but it’s so much more than a day, because of all the emotions that go into it.’

Meanwhile, self-employed wedding celebrant Chris Gray, from Glasgow, called the restrictions around weddings ‘nonsensical’, such as couples being required to wear coverings during the ceremony.

The 29-year-old added: ‘That’s led so many people having to cancel or rearrange weddings and in the short-term it’s been an absolute hammer blow for cash flow for me.’ 

Will professional sports matches be allowing spectators again soon?

No. Mr Johnson announced on Tuesday that the planned return of spectators to sports venues in England could be on hold for six months, raising the prospect of months more of games behind closed doors..

A number of pilot test events, in which capacities have been capped at 1,000, have taken place and it was hoped venues would be allowed to welcome more spectators from the start of October.

But the PM set out a range of tough new restrictions for England designed to limit the spread of Covid-19.

‘We have to acknowledge that the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events,’ he told the House of Commons.

‘So we will not be able to do this from October 1 and I recognise the implications for our sports clubs which are the life and soul of our communities, and… the Chancellor and the Culture Secretary are working urgently on what we can do now to support them.’

He said the measures being announced on Tuesday would remain in place for ‘perhaps six months’.

It is a devastating blow to sporting organisations, many of whom rely heavily on match-day revenue for survival, and there have already been calls from governing bodies for the government to provide emergency funding.

Professional sport, including the Premier League and Test cricket, has largely been played behind closed doors since it returned following the coronavirus shutdown earlier this year.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirmed all pilot events scheduled for September had now been cancelled. They will now take place with no fans.

In a statement this afternoon, the Premier League said fans would be ‘as safe or even safer than at any other public activity currently permitted’. 

‘The Premier League notes the Government’s announcement today and while the health of the nation must remain everyone’s priority, we are disappointed that the safe return of supporters to matches has been postponed,’ it said.

‘The Premier League is certain that, through League-wide guidelines and a code of conduct developed with scientific experts and agreed by the Government’s Sports Ground Safety Authority, fans in stadiums will be as safe or even safer than at any other public activity currently permitted. This is already evident in other European leagues.’

How long is this going to last? 

Mr Johnson said that the restrictions announced could remain in place for ‘perhaps six months’.

He told the Commons: ‘I fervently want to avoid taking this step, as do the devolved administrations but we will only be able to avoid it if our new measures work and our behaviour changes.

‘We will spare no effort in developing vaccines, treatments, new forms of mass-testing but unless we palpably make progress we should assume that the restrictions that I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.

‘For the time being, this virus is a fact of our lives and I must tell the House and the country that our fight against it will continue.’  

Where did Prof Gloom and Dr Doom get THAT chart? French and Spanish numbers suggest infections could only be ONE FIFTH of advisors’ terrifying 50,000 a day prediction

By Sophie Borland for The Daily Mail and Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter for MailOnline

Scientists have questioned whether the UK is likely to see 50,000 new infections a day by next month as projected by the Government’s chief scientific adviser.

Sir Patrick Vallance yesterday said he believed the epidemic was doubling every seven days, and claimed new cases could rise exponentially to 50,000 per day within a month if ‘nothing is done’. He said it could lead to 200 deaths a day by mid-November.

The chief scientific adviser stressed that there were a lot of unknowns behind those projections, based on modelling that has not been made publically available for other scientists to scrutinise. 

Sir Vallance said: ‘If, and that’s quite a big if, but if that continues unabated, and this grows, doubling every seven days… if that continued you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.’ 

But academics have pointed out that in reality, there are significant measures being taken to try and curb the spread of the coronavirus, including social distancing, hand washing and face-mask-wearing, and therefore once we reach mid-October, the projections will look ‘gloomy’ in comparison. 

Sir Patrick explained that the UK’s rise in cases was closely following the trends in France and Spain and pointed to a graph to illustrate this.

If the UK were to follow the trends in these two countries, then cases would be at 10,000 a day by next month. But if cases were to jump to 50,000 a day by next month, as suggested, then they would be off the scale compared with France and Spain – six and three times higher, respectively. 

One academic said these figures, presented to the nation, may warrant investigation from the Office for Statistics Regulation, which regulate statistics given to the public.

Critics accused Number 10 of trying to ‘scare’ people ahead of Boris Johnson’s grand unveiling of tougher Covid-controlling policies today because they presented the ‘worst case scenario’. 

Only three countries in the world – India, USA and Brazil – have ever reported more than 50,000 new cases per day. Scientists predict that more than 100,000 Britons were getting newly infected each day during the peak of the crisis – which has not been proven due to a lack of testing.

But this was when the coronavirus was left to spread uncontrollably. The situation is vastly different now compared to March and April.   

Sir Patrick Vallance yesterday said he believed the epidemic was doubling every seven days, which would lead to 200 deaths a day by mid-November. But figures throw into doubt some of his calculations

Sir Patrick Vallance yesterday said he believed the epidemic was doubling every seven days, which would lead to 200 deaths a day by mid-November. But figures throw into doubt some of his calculations

Sir Patrick Vallance yesterday said he believed the epidemic was doubling every seven days, which would lead to 200 deaths a day by mid-November. But figures throw into doubt some of his calculations

Professor David Paton, an industrial economist at the University of Nottingham, hit out at the 50,000 per day prediction. 

He wrote on Twitter last night: ‘Hard to be shocked any more, but finding it hard to believe that @CMO_England [Professor Whitty] and @uksciencechief [Sir Patrick] presented data like this. Given the serious policy implications, I wonder if there is a case for @StatsRegulation [the Office for Statistics Regulation] to intervene.’

He pointed out that France and Spain, to which the UK was compared, are seeing cases double every three weeks, not every one week.

If the UK is following the same trajectory as France and Spain, it would put Britain at more like 7,000 to 8,000 per day by mid-October, rather than an astonishing 50,000.

He said the 50,000 per day would be a rate at least three times higher than currently being seen in Spain or France.

Professor Paton told MailOnline: ‘It seems a very strange scenario to present, it’s not, as far as I can tell, based on any particular modelling. 

‘If you look at the past few days, cases have been going down rather than going up, doesn’t seem to be any basis to select this doubling ‘every seven days’. 

‘It [also] seems odd, to me, to choose to compare against France and Spain. There are other countries they could have looked at, where cases have been doubling every three weeks. Nobody knows what will happen to cases in the UK.

‘Do they really think we’ll have five to six times more cases than France?’

Sir Patrick made the warning based on the current epidemic doubling time of eight days, as revealed in Imperial College London’s official REACT study this month, which looked at mass testing results up to September 7.

And the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the spread of the disease through random swab tests, says the number of cases almost doubled in England between September 3 and 10, jumping from 3,200 new infections a day to 6,000. 

However, official numbers of cases found in positive tests have taken two weeks to double – from a daily average of 1,812 on Sunday, September 6, to 3,679 yesterday, September 20.   

Another point of contention concerns the virus’s growth rate, the rate at which cases are increasing.

The UK’s current growth rate is somewhere between 2 and 7 per cent, according to Government figures last Friday.

But if the virus cases were doubling every day, the growth rate would be just over 10 per cent. It could be that officials expect the growth rate to increase – as it has been over the past few weeks – but this was not explained at yesterday’s briefing.

Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, said: ‘The suggestion of a potential 50,000 new cases per day mentioned in today’s press briefing will inevitably cause consternation as it would put the UK right at the top of the list of world’s countries affected by COVID-19.

‘Only three  countries in the world – India, USA and Brazil – have ever reported more than 50,000 new cases per day (though in the early stages of the pandemic there will have been substantial under-reporting). Only India is currently reporting more than 50,000 cases per day.

‘That number of cases in the UK corresponds to 75 per 100,000 population per day. At present, the worst affected country in the world (other than Aruba) is Israel with 51 cases per 100,000 population per day.

‘Many observers may consider this an implausible scenario. Presumably the UK government intends it to illustrate the consequences of sustained exponential growth.’  

Professor Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, said: ‘What they presented is the very worst possible case, given the state of the epidemic at the moment.

‘I think it is pretty implausible we will be seeing 50,000 cases a day by the middle of 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 the growth of an outbreak tends to decline as it moves towards the peak, adding: ‘It would not surprise me if we end up following the trajectory of France and Spain over the next few weeks – it’s entirely plausible we would be seeing 10,000 cases a day by the middle of October.’

Professor Karol Sikora, a cancer doctor and former World Health Organization director, told MailOnline it ‘seems unlikely to me we will have 50,000 infections by mid-October’.

‘The other possibility is there will be only 5,000 cases a day. Do we really need a two week lockdown to prevent that? I don’t think we do.’

He added: ‘They’re so negative. The graph for the worst case scenario, for 50,000 cases a day by next month, it’s just scaring people.’ 

Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said the 50,000-a-day figure was a ‘worst case scenario’.

He added: ‘Modelling has to calculate best, worst, and likely scenarios to allow different plans to be put in place. We are very unlikely to see cases at that level because interventions will be rolled out that restrict the spread of the virus, such as regional lockdowns.’

Scientists pointed out that restrictions imposed in recent weeks, including the ‘rule of six’ and local lockdowns, are dampening the growth of the outbreak and would bring down the infection rate. 

Dr Flavio Toxvaerd, a university Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, who specialises in the economics of infectious diseases and economic epidemiology, said: ‘These projections often rely on behavioural assumptions that are unlikely to be borne out in practice and so the projections often look too gloomy in retrospect.

‘Most epidemiologists are not trained to analyse human behaviour, a key to understanding the spread of diseases like COVID-19. They therefore model disease dynamics by essentially guessing how people will respond to different policy measures. 

‘The worst-case scenarios that are depicted in the graphs assume that people do nothing at all to protect themselves, something most epidemiologists agree is highly unlikely to be the case. In practice, the expectation is that people will self-protect and thereby curb the epidemic somewhat.’  

Professor Whitty (right, with Vallance on the left) appealed to the public’s selflessness in adhering to the rules and not just assuming they could ‘take their own risks’

Professor Whitty (right, with Vallance on the left) appealed to the public’s selflessness in adhering to the rules and not just assuming they could ‘take their own risks’

Professor Whitty (right, with Vallance on the left) appealed to the public’s selflessness in adhering to the rules and not just assuming they could ‘take their own risks’

Robert Dingwall, Professor in the School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University, pointed out that models of disease progression – which have guided ministers during the pandemic – are ‘only as good as the data at the time and assumptions made’.

He told MailOnline: ‘I’m not a modeller but I do know there is concern among the modelling community to the extent the Government is being influenced by these ‘worse case scenarios’.’

All models are a simplification of reality because they make various assumptions. For example, a model may assume, based on current knowledge, that the majority of people carrying the coronavirus show symptoms. But in truth, it is still not clear exactly how many show symptoms of the disease, and how many are ‘silent carriers’. 

One of the earliest and arguably most influential models in the pandemic was that of Imperial College London’s, which warned in March 500,000 Britons could die from coronavirus if no action was taken.

The workings, led by Professor Neil Ferguson, are understood to have single-handedly prompted the national lockdown a week later and triggered a dramatic change in the Government’s handling of the outbreak, as they moved away from herd immunity to a lockdown.

However, since then Professor Ferguson’s work has been described as ‘totally unreliable’ by other experts.

David Richards, co-founder of British data technology company WANdisco said the model was a ‘buggy mess that looks more like a bowl of angel hair pasta than a finely tuned piece of programming’,  The Telegraph reported.  

Professor Whitty, presenting a heat map of the UK, warned that coronavirus cases are now rising all over the UK and not just in a handful of areas.

‘This is not someone else’s problem, this is all of our problem,’ the chief medical officer warned.

He explained: ‘What we’ve seen is a progression where… first we saw very small outbreaks, maybe associated with a workplace or another environment, then we’ve seen more localised outbreaks which have got larger over time, particularity in the cities.

‘And now what we’re seeing is a rate of increase across the great majority of the country. It is going at different rates but it is now increasing.’

Nigel Marriott, an independent statistician, claimed that although the cases were doubling in parts of the North they were actually falling in some regions in the South. 

He added: ‘This regional disparity makes the national picture hard to interpret and it suggests that the goal should be to halt the northern wave as fast as possible before it has a chance to spread to the South.’

Public Health England’s data from Friday also shows that infections were actually falling or stagnant in 43 out of 149 areas – 29 per cent. 

Meanwhile, the UK’s Covid-19 alert level was raised from three to four last night as Government advisers warned that virus cases are probably rising ‘exponentially’.

The decision was taken by the nation’s four chief medical officers, who urged the public to follow basic hygiene and social distancing practices to avoid ‘significant excess deaths’.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘This country now faces a tipping point in its response and it is vital everybody plays their part now to stop the spread of the virus and protect lives.’ It followed a rare televised address by Sir Patrick and Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England.

Professor Whitty appealed to the public’s selflessness in adhering to the rules and not just assuming they could ‘take their own risks’. 

He said: ‘The problem with a pandemic or an infection such as this is that if I as an individual increase my risk, I increase the risk to everyone around me and everyone who’s a contact of theirs.

‘Sooner or later the chain will lead to people who are vulnerable or elderly or have a long-term problem with Covid.’ Despite the gloomy tone of the briefing, Sir Patrick said there was a chance a vaccine could be available by the end of the year.  

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Expert claims Sweden now has ‘herd immunity’ from coronavirus

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expert claims sweden now has herd immunity from coronavirus

Sweden has beaten coronavirus by refusing to shut the country down and achieving herd immunity, according to an expert. 

The Scandinavian nation was the only country in Europe not to introduce strict lockdown measures at the start of the pandemic.

But scientists believe that this may have helped it avoid a second wave of Covid-19 as it continues to record its lowest number of cases since March – with just 28 infections per 100,000 people.

This figure is less than half of the UK’s own infection rate of 69 per 100,000 people.

Sweden may have avoided second wave of coronavirus as it continues to record its lowest number of cases since March - with just 28 infections per 100,000 people

Sweden may have avoided second wave of coronavirus as it continues to record its lowest number of cases since March - with just 28 infections per 100,000 people

Sweden may have avoided second wave of coronavirus as it continues to record its lowest number of cases since March – with just 28 infections per 100,000 people

Professor Kim Sneppen, an expert in the spread of coronavirus at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, said that Sweden might have beaten the pandemic.

He told Denmark’s Politiken newspaper: ‘There is some evidence that the Swedes have built up a degree of immunity to the virus which, along with what else they are doing to stop the spread, is enough to control the disease.

Professor Kim Sneppen, (pictured) an expert in the spread of coronavirus at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, said that Sweden might have beaten the pandemic

Professor Kim Sneppen, (pictured) an expert in the spread of coronavirus at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, said that Sweden might have beaten the pandemic

Professor Kim Sneppen, (pictured) an expert in the spread of coronavirus at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, said that Sweden might have beaten the pandemic

‘Perhaps, the epidemic is over there.’

He said that the virus may now have run out of steam.

He added: ‘That is what they have said. 

‘On the positive side, they may now be finished with the epidemic.’ 

Sweden was initially criticised at the start of the outbreak after recording a spike in its mortality rates which was five times that of Denmark and ten times that of Norway and Finland. 

Number of deaths per 24 hours peaked in April at 115 with more than half in care homes.

But its seven-day average for coronavirus-related deaths is now zero.  

Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who has become the face of the no-lockdown strategy, said in a recent interview that voluntary hygiene measures had been ‘just as effective’ as complete shutdowns. 

Sweden kept open schools for children under 16, banned gatherings of more than 50 people and told over-70s and vulnerable groups to self-isolate.

Shops, bars and restaurants stayed open throughout the pandemic and the wearing of masks has not been advised by the government.  

‘The rapidly declining cases we see in Sweden right now is another indication that you can get the number of cases down quite a lot in a country without having a complete lockdown,’ he previously told Unherd

The Scandinavian nation was the only country in Europe not to introduce strict lockdown measures at the start of the pandemic. Pictured: Crowds walking in Stockholm earlier this week

The Scandinavian nation was the only country in Europe not to introduce strict lockdown measures at the start of the pandemic. Pictured: Crowds walking in Stockholm earlier this week

The Scandinavian nation was the only country in Europe not to introduce strict lockdown measures at the start of the pandemic. Pictured: Crowds walking in Stockholm earlier this week

Tegnell added that ‘deaths are not so closely connected to the amount of cases you have in a country’, saying the death rate was more closely linked to whether older people are being infected and how well the health system can cope. 

‘Those things will influence mortality a lot more, I think, than the actual spread of the disease,’ he said. 

Swedish economic activity has also started to pick up with the effects of the downturn looking less severe than previously feared.

The economy had shrunk by nine per cent but this too was less than the 20 per cent dip seen in the UK.

It is thought that because many younger people have already had coronavirus in Sweden it now has less chance to spread through the population. 

Recent studies suggested that an infection rate of 43 per cent may be enough to achieve herd immunity – a figure much lower than the 60 per cent previously cited.   

WHAT IS HERD IMMUNITY?

Herd immunity is a situation in which a population of people is protected from a disease because so many of them are unaffected by it – because they’ve already had it or have been vaccinated – that it cannot spread. 

To cause an outbreak a disease-causing bacteria or virus must have a continuous supply of potential victims who are not immune to it.

Immunity is when your body knows exactly how to fight off a certain type of infection because it has encountered it before, either by having the illness in the past or through a vaccine.

When a virus or bacteria enters the body the immune system creates substances called antibodies, which are designed to destroy one specific type of bug.

When these have been created once, some of them remain in the body and the body also remembers how to make them again. Antibodies – alongside T cells – provide long-term protection, or immunity, against an illness.

If nobody is immune to an illness – as was the case at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak – it can spread like wildfire.

However, if, for example, half of people have developed immunity – from a past infection or a vaccine – there are only half as many people the illness can spread to.

As more and more people become immune the bug finds it harder and harder to spread until its pool of victims becomes so small it can no longer spread at all.

The threshold for herd immunity is different for various illnesses, depending on how contagious they are – for measles, around 95 per cent of people must be vaccinated to it spreading.  

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Coroner blasts ‘inadequate’ laws banning sale of ‘lethal’ diet pills after they killed builder

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coroner blasts inadequate laws banning sale of lethal diet pills after they killed builder

A coroner has called for a Home Office review into the sale of a ‘lethal compound’ marketed as diet pills that killed a 21-year-old man who consumed them. 

An inquest heard Vaidotas Gerbutavicius told his father he feared he would be ‘dead within an hour’ and that he felt a ‘burning sensation’ after ingesting several of the illegal toxic tablets in March 2018. 

Ruling the cause of his death as consumption of dinitrophenol (DNP), which is also used in explosives, senior coroner Nadia Persaud said legislation supposed to prevent the sale of the substance was ‘wholly inadequate’. 

DNP was marketed as a diet pill in the US in the 1930s, but selling it for human consumption has since been made illegal in the UK by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). 

Following the ruling, Ms Persaud told Walthamstow Coroner’s Court on Tuesday: ‘The current legislation is wholly inadequate and in no way an appropriate means by which to deal with offences that can result in the deaths of those who consume DNP.

An inquest heard Vaidotas Gerbutavicius told his father he feared he would be 'dead within an hour' and that he felt a 'burning sensation' after ingesting several of the illegal toxic tablets in March 2018

An inquest heard Vaidotas Gerbutavicius told his father he feared he would be 'dead within an hour' and that he felt a 'burning sensation' after ingesting several of the illegal toxic tablets in March 2018

An inquest heard Vaidotas Gerbutavicius told his father he feared he would be ‘dead within an hour’ and that he felt a ‘burning sensation’ after ingesting several of the illegal toxic tablets in March 2018

‘Those affected are often young and vulnerable people.’

The inquest heard Mr Gerbutavicius, a construction worker from Lithuania, had been overweight until he was 18 but had started to lose weight in 2016. 

His family thought it was a result of him growing older and having a new girlfriend. 

It was only on the day of his death that they realised he had been taking the slimming pills, which he purchased from a US seller over the dark web. 

Mr Gerbutavicius had also consumed vodka and rum alongside the DNP, but toxicologists ruled the alcohol was unlikely to have caused his death.  

The inquest heard Mr Gerbutavicius had called his father, Andrius, on the morning of March 10, 2018, telling him ‘no one could help’ him and that he ‘would be dead within the hour’. 

His parents and girlfriend called an ambulance, and he was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, London, where he died four hours later after suffering a cardiac arrest and with an extremely high temperature. 

Senior coroner Nadia Persaud told Walthamstow Coroner's Court, north London, legislation supposed to prevent the sale of dinitrophenol (DNP) was 'wholly inadequate'

Senior coroner Nadia Persaud told Walthamstow Coroner's Court, north London, legislation supposed to prevent the sale of dinitrophenol (DNP) was 'wholly inadequate'

Senior coroner Nadia Persaud told Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, north London, legislation supposed to prevent the sale of dinitrophenol (DNP) was ‘wholly inadequate’ 

The inquest was told nurses had used up all their ice packs attempting to cool Mr Gerbutavicius down. 

He later became ‘hysterical’ and had complained of pain in ‘my head and all over my body’. 

Senior coroner Ms Persaud said: ‘It is unlawful to sell DNP for human consumption, as it is an extremely harmful substance, but Vaidotas was able to purchase these pills over the internet. 

‘His actions appear to be impulsive and he had the lethal compound immediately available to him… (and) there is no antidote available.’

She added ‘DNP is not a drug, it’s a poison”, and it “can still be easily accessed over the internet.’ 

Ms Persaud ruled out suicide as the cause of Mr Gerbutavicius’s death because he appeared to have acted ‘impulsively’ following a disagreement with his girlfriend, and had been planning for his future. 

Barry Wright, from Northern Carolina, US, who sold the drug to Mr Gerbutavicius, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in Florida in February 2020. 

Mr Gerbutavicius’s father, who was present at the inquest via video link, had flown to the US to see Wright receive the maximum prison sentence available.

Since 2017, at least 30 people have died from taking DNP in the UK. 

Those who take DNP can suffer with high temperatures, nausea, abdominal pain, seizures, and organ damage. 

DNP is classified as an explosive under UN regulations and the UK Explosive Act 2014. 

It was initially used during World War I in munitions until, in the 1930s, U.S. scientists discovered it boosted metabolism and burned fat if swallowed.

His cause of death was ruled as consumption of dinitrophenol (DNP), which is also used in explosives

His cause of death was ruled as consumption of dinitrophenol (DNP), which is also used in explosives

His cause of death was ruled as consumption of dinitrophenol (DNP), which is also used in explosives

DNP was sold as a diet pill until 1938 before gruesome side-effects started being experienced, including multiple organ failure, cataracts, hypothermia, nausea, muscle rigidity and cardiac arrest. 

Eloise Parry, 21, who suffered from bulimia and had a borderline personality disorder, died ‘in the most horrendous way’, according to her family, after she took DNP in April 2015. 

Other victims include medical student Sarah Houston, 23, and bodybuilder Sean Cleathero, 28, in 2012; students Chris Mapletoft and Sarmad Alladin, both 18, in 2013; bouncer Liam Willis, 24, and Beth Shipsey, 21, in 2017. 

In 2018, Andrius, who moved to Britain 18 years ago from Lithuania, says that he does not want any family to have to go through the pain they have.

He said: ‘Before this, I had never heard of DNP. I had no idea such a thing existed in the world. There have been so many deaths in recent years, but people will keep on dying unless the law is changed and the Government starts to effectively tackle the sale of this deadly substance.

‘This cannot be allowed to continue.’

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