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Welsh First Minister threatens to use ANPR cameras to fine English drivers entering his country

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welsh first minister threatens to use anpr cameras to fine english drivers entering his country

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has threatened to use number plate recognition cameras to fine English drivers entering his country despite police saying his ban is ‘unenforceable.’

Mr Drakeford announced yesterday he intends to bar entry from English regions with high levels of Covid-19 if Boris Johnson fails to impose UK-wide travel restrictions.  

But the Police Federation of England and Wales said ‘policing in Wales is already over-stretched due to the pandemic’ and the new measures would add ‘yet another level of complexity to policing’. 

Mr Drakeford defended his proposals on Thursday morning, arguing that the police could use ANPR technology to catch visitors crossing the frontier. 

The Welsh Labour Party leader also said holiday providers in Wales should not accept bookings from people in hotspot areas of the UK as he warned existing getaway plans ‘will no longer be able to be honoured’.    

It came as Nicola Sturgeon backed Mr Drakeford’s call for nationwide travel restrictions on high incidence areas as she said she would not rule out imposing a Wales-style ban on visitors. 

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured in Cardiff in May) said people from coronavirus hotspots in the UK would be hit with fines if they travel to Wales

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured in Cardiff in May) said people from coronavirus hotspots in the UK would be hit with fines if they travel to Wales

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured in Cardiff in May) said people from coronavirus hotspots in the UK would be hit with fines if they travel to Wales

Tory MPs have accused Mr Drakeford of being 'guilty of small man syndrome'. The Welsh First Minister is pictured with Boris Johnson in July last year

Tory MPs have accused Mr Drakeford of being 'guilty of small man syndrome'. The Welsh First Minister is pictured with Boris Johnson in July last year

Tory MPs have accused Mr Drakeford of being ‘guilty of small man syndrome’. The Welsh First Minister is pictured with Boris Johnson in July last year

Nicola Sturgeon has backed Mr Drakeford's calls for Mr Johnson to introduce UK-wide travel restrictions on hotspot areas

Nicola Sturgeon has backed Mr Drakeford's calls for Mr Johnson to introduce UK-wide travel restrictions on hotspot areas

Nicola Sturgeon has backed Mr Drakeford’s calls for Mr Johnson to introduce UK-wide travel restrictions on hotspot areas 

What laws can be used to stop the English travelling to Wales? 

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford yesterday announced an extraordinary bid to ban people from coronavirus hotspots in England entering the country.

In Wales, health protection legislation – a devolved power – falls under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

It was updated in 2010 to give public authorities ‘more comprehensive powers and duties to prevent and control risks to human health from infection or contamination’. 

In its basic form, the act allows Welsh ministers to make laws ‘for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public health response to the incidence or spread of infection or contamination in Wales’. 

The laws that can be put forward include ‘restrictions or requirements on or in relation to persons, things or premises in the event of, or in response to, a threat to public health’.

While the act does not specifically mention limitations on movements, the travel ban will likely be made law using the powers it grants.

However, the unprecedented nature of Mr Drakeford’s proposals – and the prospect of ANPR being used to catch rule-breakers – could result in a legal challenge. 

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The proposals have sparked a furious political backlash with Tory MPs labelling the move ‘heavy handed and stupid’ as they also accused Mr Drakeford of being ‘guilty of small man syndrome’. 

Meanwhile, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said ‘putting a border between England and Wales is unconstitutional’ and warned it would put the police in an ‘invidious position’.

Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament yesterday that he had asked for work on the travel ban to be brought forward after Mr Johnson failed to reply to two letters requesting he introduce the measure across the UK.

The Welsh Government’s plans will bring people elsewhere in the UK in line with measures currently in place in the 17 areas of Wales under local lockdown restrictions.

Under those rules, people must not enter or leave an affected area without a reasonable excuse such as work or education.

But currently, people living in Covid-19 hotspots elsewhere in the UK are free to enter areas of Wales not under restrictions where levels of the virus are low.

The ban is likely to apply to people living in Tier Two and Tier Three areas of England and is designed to prevent them from travelling to tourist destinations such as the far west and south west of Wales, which have low levels of coronavirus.

It will also affect those living in areas of Scotland and Northern Ireland with a high prevalence of Covid-19.

Those who ignore the restrictions will be breaking the law and could face fixed penalty notices starting at £50. 

But Mark Bleasdale, Police Federation of England and Wales’ Welsh Lead, said: ‘On the face of it, this is unenforceable because of the difficulty of identifying where people are coming from and where they are going to.

‘There will also be plenty of individuals travelling legitimately from areas which are not high risk, and this will only add to the other difficulties officers face when policing the existing regulations.

‘Some areas of Wales are already in lockdown, and many individuals are already unable to travel in and out of counties unless they have good reason. In other locations provisions are more relaxed, so this proposed travel ban adds yet another level of complexity to policing.’ 

Mr Drakeford’s proposals have prompted a political firestorm, with Tory MPs furious at the prospect of the Welsh government banning visitors from some parts of England. 

One Tory MP suggested Mr Drakeford, who is approximately the same height as Mr Johnson who is 5ft 9ins tall, was trying to overcompensate for the relative small size of Wales compared to England by proposing such tough action. 

They said: ‘It is a thoroughly bad idea. Drakeford is a quasi-nationalist. He quite clearly is guilty of small man syndrome.

‘He is going to make himself look rather foolish and I suspect the police will just pay lip service to it.

‘It is heavy handed and stupid and he is going to cultivate an awful lot of grievance.’ 

Mr Rees-Mogg lashed out at the plan in the Commons, telling MPs: ‘What would you expect of a hard left Labour government? 

‘The approach to putting a border between England and Wales is unconstitutional and will place the police in an invidious position, considering that they serve the whole of the United Kingdom.

‘We are one single United Kingdom and we should not have borders between different parts of the United Kingdom. I’m afraid that is what you get when you vote for socialists.’

Tory member of the Welsh Parliament Andrew RT Davies said: ‘The Welsh Government’s unhealthy obsession with travel restrictions and ”banning the English” flies in the face of all the evidence.’ 

The Welsh Government will ban people from Covid hotspots in England entering the country

The Welsh Government will ban people from Covid hotspots in England entering the country

The Welsh Government will ban people from Covid hotspots in England entering the country

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The cases by date reported are shown above for the four UK Nations. It shows the number of individuals who have had at least one lab-confirmed positive Covid-19 test result

The cases by date reported are shown above for the four UK Nations. It shows the number of individuals who have had at least one lab-confirmed positive Covid-19 test result

The cases by date reported are shown above for the four UK Nations. It shows the number of individuals who have had at least one lab-confirmed positive Covid-19 test result

Mr Drakeford defended his proposals this morning as he said ANPR technology could be used by police to identify visitors from areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus. 

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘I believe the police will have a range of techniques that they will be able to use.

‘Number plates are one of the ways in which they are able to identify cars that are travelling long distances, but that won’t be the only way.

‘They will have long-practised techniques developed earlier in the year and they will apply those again over the weeks to come.’

Mr Drakeford said he is ‘baffled’ by Mr Johnson’s reluctance to impose travel restrictions on people in Covid-19 hotspots across the UK. 

He said Mr Johnson ‘could still change his mind and then we wouldn’t need to do what we are doing’.

There are growing fears the travel ban will do lasting damage to the Welsh tourism industry. 

Mr Drakeford said holiday providers in Wales should not accept half-term bookings from people in high incidence areas of the UK. 

Asked about existing bookings, he told BBC Breakfast: ‘I’m afraid those bookings will no longer be able to be honoured.’  

It came after Ms Sturgeon said a similar travel ban could be rolled out in Scotland to stop people travelling from coronavirus hotspots elsewhere in the UK.            

The SNP leader said she wants all parts of the UK to restrict travel from areas with the highest number of cases, as she warned Scots not to travel to or from hotspots inside the country, mainly around the Central Belt where cases are soaring.

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She added: ‘The First Minister of Wales is seeking agreement between the four UK nations on travel restrictions where necessary from high prevalence areas in one UK nation to lower prevalence in others.

‘I want to be clear today that I back the calls from the First Minister of Wales and I’ll be writing to the Prime Minister today to seek urgent talks on that issue.

‘If we think putting formal travel restrictions in place is necessary, we will do that. I don’t rule that out – I don’t rule anything out. But obviously the police can’t stop everyone on the roads to check whether they are travelling for essential purposes.’

Miss Sturgeon was reported to have asked for urgent legal advice on whether a cross-border travel ban can be introduced.

And this morning, the SNP’s Westminster leader said Scotland could implement measures to prevent non-essential travel from coronavirus hotspots.

Ian Blackford told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We of course have the opportunity to put in place appropriate public health measures.

‘What we can do, if necessary, is say that people should not travel from hotspots, whether they should be from in Scotland or people coming to Scotland from other parts of the United Kingdom.’   

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Months after falling ill with the virus, puppeteer Matthew Corbett has had to move home for care

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months after falling ill with the virus puppeteer matthew corbett has had to move home for care

Sooty puppeteer Matthew Corbett first experienced symptoms of Covid-19 when he popped down to the cellar to fetch a bottle of wine on his birthday.

As he came up the stairs on March 28, just days after the start of lockdown, the 72-year-old started to sweat, feel dizzy and was suddenly convinced there was a huge party going on in his home.

‘The house looked as if it was full of people, they were very nice but not speaking to me,’ says Matthew. ‘They looked a little strange as they were all a grey colour.

‘Then everything became a confused blur and my wife Sallie put me to bed, telling me there were no people.’

The party was, in fact, a hallucination, an early symptom of the virus. Within days, Matthew was admitted to hospital, suffering from a range of severe symptoms, including chest pains and pneumonia.

Seven months on, the ordeal has left him feeling breathless, fatigued and so frail that he is no longer able to do the DIY and gardening jobs he previously enjoyed.

Matthew Corbett, with Sooty (left) and Scampy (right). The Sooty puppeteer first noticed symptoms of Covid-19 March 28

Matthew Corbett, with Sooty (left) and Scampy (right). The Sooty puppeteer first noticed symptoms of Covid-19 March 28

Matthew Corbett, with Sooty (left) and Scampy (right). The Sooty puppeteer first noticed symptoms of Covid-19 March 28

Struggling to cope and with no NHS aftercare, reluctantly he and Sallie have sold their much-loved house in Cheshire and, in August, moved to a retirement village in West Sussex, closer to their three children and five grandchildren, where more help would be on hand.

Matthew’s experience is not uncommon, says Professor Lynne Turner-Stokes, one of the experts who has recently begun drawing up new, fast-tracked guidelines for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to help the thousands of people who need follow-up care and rehabilitation after Covid infection.

Matthew Corbett on 'Lorraine' ITV, September 2015

Matthew Corbett on 'Lorraine' ITV, September 2015

Matthew Corbett on ‘Lorraine’ ITV, September 2015

It is estimated that 300,000 people in the UK are suffering from ‘long Covid’ — symptoms that endure months after their initial illness and may differ from the original symptoms — although the true number could be much higher as not all patients have sought medical help.

Those recovering at home and who have never been to hospital may have organ damage without knowing it, warns Professor Turner-Stokes, director of the regional hyperacute trauma unit at Northwick Park Hospital in London.

‘We’ve all been surprised by the magnitude of this pandemic and its effects — and we haven’t seen the end of it,’ she says. ‘Some parts of the country are getting their act together with aftercare, but mostly it is very patchy.’

Matthew took over as the puppeteer of Sooty, Sweep and Soo in 1976, after his father Harry Corbett, who created the trio, had a non-fatal heart attack. The Sooty Show thrived on television and stage, with the catchphrase: ‘Izzy Wizzy, let’s get busy!’

He retired in 1998, aged 50, having sold the brand to the Bank of Yokohama for £1.4 million, and over the next 20 years developed a number of health problems, including type 2 diabetes. However, nothing could have prepared him for the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on his health. In the days after his symptoms first appeared, Matthew developed a cough, felt weak and didn’t eat for ten days because the taste in his mouth was ‘fetid and disgusting’.

On leaving hospital, Matthew (pictured with Sooty) was overjoyed to be reunited with Sallie, who had not been allowed to visit him because of Covid rules

On leaving hospital, Matthew (pictured with Sooty) was overjoyed to be reunited with Sallie, who had not been allowed to visit him because of Covid rules

 On leaving hospital, Matthew (pictured with Sooty) was overjoyed to be reunited with Sallie, who had not been allowed to visit him because of Covid rules

‘On April 3, six days after I became ill, Sallie called the GP as my symptoms had worsened and was told she should take me to hospital as it was an emergency,’ recalls Matthew. ‘I tested positive for Covid and was admitted to the intensive care unit.

‘My memories of that time are hazy, but I was sweating a lot and hallucinating — I kept thinking the bed was rotating. My youngest son is a GP and followed my progress, explaining everything to Sallie and the other children.’ Despite the hallucinations, Matthew was discharged three days later — a decision he now believes was a mistake.

Covid-19 has changed Matthew Corbett's life due to longterm symptoms

Covid-19 has changed Matthew Corbett's life due to longterm symptoms

Covid-19 has changed Matthew Corbett’s life due to longterm symptoms

‘I think it was too early because the hallucinations became worse,’ he says. ‘I was convinced that Sallie, a former sister in a psychiatric ward, was trying to get me committed to a mental hospital.

‘I absolutely believed she wanted to get me sectioned and I became a bit odd, arguing a lot. She said at one point that she was frightened of me, because I was quite aggressive in insisting on certain facts.’

Eventually, Matthew spent another six days in hospital, where he was diagnosed with viral pneumonia, a complication of Covid, and atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm. He was given antibiotics for the pneumonia and medication to regulate his heart.

On leaving hospital, Matthew was overjoyed to be reunited with Sallie, who had not been allowed to visit him because of Covid rules. Despite not needing any further hospital treatment, his road to recovery has been slow. When he tried to take his first walk to the village, ‘it was traumatic’, he says.

‘I fell to my knees after just a few steps and had to pull myself up. Thank goodness nobody saw me.

Matthew Corbett, with Sooty (centre) and Sweep (left), celebrating 21 years with Thames TV 1990

Matthew Corbett, with Sooty (centre) and Sweep (left), celebrating 21 years with Thames TV 1990

Matthew Corbett, with Sooty (centre) and Sweep (left), celebrating 21 years with Thames TV 1990

‘Worried friends and family kept ringing and wanted to hear that I was better. If I said: ‘Not quite,’ they would say: ‘Good, as long as you’re making an improvement.’

‘The trouble was, I wasn’t actually feeling better. A phone call that would take too long would be tiring, and still is. I have to stop talking and lie down. I have a croaky voice, with a lack of power and vocal control.’

In May, seven weeks after first developing symptoms, Matthew started to become breathless and, until August, he was also suffering visual disturbances on exertion; his vision went ‘misty and dark with red spots that moved around’ when he walked uphill.

HOWEVER, despite these ongoing health problems, Matthew received no follow-up care from the NHS. ‘I wasn’t contacted by the hospital,’ he says. ‘Nobody seemed interested in me.’

The key to recovering from any virus, says Professor Turner-Stokes, is not to stop doing activities, but to do them in a ‘carefully paced way’.

‘We need to know first if it is safe for them to do it,’ she says. ‘Then rehabilitation and therapies such as those offered by physiotherapists come in,’ she adds. It is hoped the new NICE guidelines, expected at the end of this year, will offer this kind of help for long Covid.

The plan is to set up a network of one-stop clinics for long Covid patients where they can have a range of tests and see different specialists depending on the ways they have been affected.

And it can be complicated. As Professor Turner-Stokes says: ‘Initially we thought Covid was a respiratory disease, but we now know that it can affect the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, brain, nervous systems and muscles — you name it, Covid can affect it.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Militant killed by own explosive device in Turkey near Syria border

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militant killed by own explosive device in turkey near syria border

A suspected Kurdish militant detonated an explosive device and blew themselves up following a police chase near Turkey’s border with Syria, officials have said. 

The explosion occurred in the town of Iskenderun in the southern province of Hatay on Monday evening, after police tried to stop two individuals inside a vehicle at a road block, according to the local governor.  

Governor Rahmi Dogan said on Twitter that an explosion took place as ‘one out of two terrorists’ was ‘rendered ineffective’ following the chase. 

No one else was killed in the explosion but the security operation is ongoing, he added.

Shops are left damaged after the militant detonated an explosive device in the town of Iskenderun in the southern province of Hatay on Monday evening

Shops are left damaged after the militant detonated an explosive device in the town of Iskenderun in the southern province of Hatay on Monday evening

Shops are left damaged after the militant detonated an explosive device in the town of Iskenderun in the southern province of Hatay on Monday evening

Emergency teams, including the police, fire service rescuers and medical teams, are dispatched to the area

Emergency teams, including the police, fire service rescuers and medical teams, are dispatched to the area

Emergency teams, including the police, fire service rescuers and medical teams, are dispatched to the area

In a statement on Twitter the governor wrote: ‘One of the two terrorists suspected by our security units at the Payas checkpoint was neutralised as a result of the pursuit and an explosion occurred in the meantime.

‘There was no loss of life. The operation continues. The public will be informed.’

In mobile phone footage, captured by one witness at the scene, loud gunshots are heard before a ball of fire is seen on the street.   

HaberTurk television said the suspect died after detonating an explosive device.

A Turkish security source said the two individuals were from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and an army sergeant had been injured in the attack, without providing further details.

The source said that the two individuals tried to escape, but realising they would be caught, one detonated the bomb on their body, while the second ran away. 

The PKK, which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, is blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara, the United States and the European Union. 

Following the incident, police forces, fire service rescuers and medical teams were dispatched to the area, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

The incident comes days after the U.S. Embassy in Turkey issued a security alert, saying it had received reports of a possible attack on Americans and other foreigners, and urged American citizens to exercise caution. 

Police vans arrive to the scene after the militant t detonated an explosive device near Turkey's border with Syria

Police vans arrive to the scene after the militant t detonated an explosive device near Turkey's border with Syria

Police vans arrive to the scene after the militant t detonated an explosive device near Turkey’s border with Syria

Car horns are heard blaring in the streets

Car horns are heard blaring in the streets

A ball of fire is seen further along the road

A ball of fire is seen further along the road

Loud gunshots are heard before a ball of fire is seen along the street during the explosion

In a statement the embassy in Ankara said: ‘The U.S. Mission in Turkey has received credible reports of potential terrorist attacks and kidnappings against U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in Istanbul, including against the U.S. Consulate General, as well as potentially other locations in Turkey.’

A representative for the embassy lated told The New York Times: ‘The U.S. mission to Turkey issued this notice as a result of our ongoing assessment of security conditions. 

‘The statement speaks for itself. We are grateful for the support of the Turkish government in ensuring the safety of Americans living in Turkey as well as Turkish citizens who visit our embassy and consulates.’

The warning came in the wake of a similar message in Turkey, where U.S. diplomats have reported ‘credible’ threats of attacks or kidnappings targeting Americans in Istanbul or other localities.

It was not clear if the warnings were linked. 

The Islamic State group and an outlawed Kurdish militant group conducted deadly attacks on Turkish soil between 2015 and 2017. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Finnair is selling business class meals in a local supermarket

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finnair is selling business class meals in a local supermarket

Finland’s national carrier, Finnair, has started selling its business class meals in a supermarket to prevent job cuts at its catering unit due to Covid-19.

The airplane meals have quickly turned into a hit, Finnair said, with 1,600 meals sold within days at the supermarket, which is located near Finnair’s main hub – Helsinki Airport. It plans to sell in more outlets.

‘There are redundancies and layoffs going on already at Finnair and we are trying our best to find new innovative ways,’ head of Finnair Kitchen Marika Nieminen told Reuters.

Finnair has started selling its business class meals in a supermarket to prevent job cuts at its catering unit due to Covid-19. Pictured is the carrot and cheese mousse starter (€5.90) and smoked char main €12.90

Finnair has started selling its business class meals in a supermarket to prevent job cuts at its catering unit due to Covid-19. Pictured is the carrot and cheese mousse starter (€5.90) and smoked char main €12.90

Finnair has started selling its business class meals in a supermarket to prevent job cuts at its catering unit due to Covid-19. Pictured is the carrot and cheese mousse starter (€5.90) and smoked char main €12.90

The meals are currently being sold at the K-Citymarket Tammisto in the city of Vantaa. 

For €5.90 (£5.36/$6.97) customers can buy the roasted carrot and blue cheese mousse with hazelnuts starter. 

There are two main dishes on offer, a smoked char with chanterelle risotto and beef with teriyaki-radish sauce, spring onion and rice. Both are €12.90 (£11.71/$15.24). 

The two main course options are available throughout the week from Monday to Sunday, with the appetiser available from Friday to Sunday. The menu will change every two weeks. 

‘We have had very much positive feedback from our customers and this product has become one of the best-selling products in our store,’ Kimmo Sivonen, a shopkeeper at the supermarket said. 

While Mika, a customer at the store, added: ‘In this desperate remote work environment this is a small, nice taste of normal life.’  

Finnair says it plans to introduce new dishes, including reindeer meat from Finnish Lapland and Japanese-style pork shoulder, for supermarkets. 

Finnair Kitchen head of product development, Juha Stenholm, said the food’s high quality justified the relatively high price for a packed takeaway meal.

Finnair, Finland's national carrier, said last Tuesday it would cut around 700 jobs by March 2021

Finnair, Finland's national carrier, said last Tuesday it would cut around 700 jobs by March 2021

Finnair, Finland’s national carrier, said last Tuesday it would cut around 700 jobs by March 2021

‘Our unit is focusing on business class food so … premium raw materials,’ he said. 

In 2017, the airline stopped outsourcing its catering services by buying LSG Sky Chefs, a company that operated at Finland’s main airport, from a Lufthansa subsidiary and renamed it Finnair Kitchen.

A year later, Finnair Kitchen produced some 12,000 meals a day, but the numbers collapsed when the Covid-19 pandemic hit air travel.

Finnair said last Tuesday it would cut around 700 jobs by March 2021. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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