Many of Britain’s coronavirus wards are standing empty as new figures have today revealed that the number of people in hospital and dying from Covid-19 has plummeted by 99 per cent since the height of the pandemic.
Coronavirus death figures in hospitals have plummeted from 866 people a day at the height on April 10 of the pandemic to five last Thursday.
The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has also plummeted by 96 per cent since the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, according to official data.
Under pressure hospital staff were treating more than 17,000 patients a day for coronavirus in England at the height of the pandemic in mid-April.
But as of August 6, official NHS England data shows staff were treating 700 Covid-19 patients.
It comes as it has been revealed some hospitals did not have a single coronavirus patient on their wards last week, with one top doctor suggesting that Britain is ‘almost reaching herd immunity’, according to The Sunday Times.
Under pressure hospital staff were treating more than 17,000 patients a day for coronavirus in England at the height of the pandemic in mid-April. Pictured: Nurses care for a patient in an intensive care ward
One doctor also described the downturn as ‘huge’ and said he did not expect a future increase in hospital admissions.
Doctor Ron Daniels, an intensive care consultant in Birmingham, told the Times: ‘I think that’s highly unlikely, because the pubs have been open for over a month, people have been interacting heavily during that time and the natural history of the disease is that and you are going to end up in hospital you are pretty much in hospital within 15 days of contracting it.
He also suggested the downturn could be due to the most vulnerable in the UK having contracted the virus in ‘March and April’ and that the virus may have become ‘less virulent’.
It comes as preliminary figures today reveal a further ten people who tested positive for Covid-19 have died in Britain.
The latest figures – which only cover deaths in hospital – bring the UK’s total death toll during the pandemic to 46,576.
However as of August 6, official NHS England data shows staff were treating 700 Covid-19 patients. Pictured: Clinical staff wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Coronavirus death figures in hospitals have also plummeted, from 866 people a day at the height on April 10 of the pandemic to five last Thursday. Pictured: A nurse at an intensive care unit wears PPE
The numbers are likely to be higher when figures for deaths across all settings – including in care homes and the wider community – are revealed.
Both Scotland and Wales reported no further deaths.
Figures released on Sunday are usually smaller due to a delay in processing over the weekend.
Scotland has reported 48 new cases today, while Wales has reported a further 26.
England has not released its case figures yet.
Northern Ireland stopped reporting its data on the virus at weekends so the daily figures for positive cases are for Britain only.
The figures came as a landmark coronavirus study found the risk of transmission in classrooms is minimal, ratcheting up pressure on the Education Secretary to fully reopen schools in September.
Boris Johnson is understood to have warned that Gavin Williamson’s ‘head will be on the chopping block’ if pupils are not back in lessons next month.
The Prime Minister has declared resuming classes a ‘national priority’ and is planning an advertising blitz to urge anxious parents to send their child back to school.
His campaign was yesterday bolstered by encouraging scientific evidence which found a low threat of catching infection in schools.
Boris Johnson (pictured left) is understood to have warned that Gavin Williamson’s (pictured right) ‘head will be on the chopping block’ if pupils are not back in lessons next month
Government Sage adviser Professor Russell Viner outlined the forthcoming Public Health England study and stressed that reopening schools was ‘imperative’.
‘A new study that has been done in UK schools confirms there is very little evidence that the virus is transmitted in schools,’ he told the Sunday Times.
‘This is some of the largest data you will find on schools anywhere. Britain has done very well in terms of thinking of collecting data in schools.’
Labour, the unions, and the Children’s Commissioner have all today voiced support for the principle of schools reopening in September.
But thorny issues such as routine testing and the wearing of masks remain – which were both today slapped down by the schools minister.
Prof Viner, also president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said keeping schools shut would take a further toll on both young people’s academic attainment and mental health.
Mr Johnson outlined similar concerns in an article for today’s Mail on Sunday where he heralded the resuming of lessons a ‘moral duty’ and ‘crucial’ for pupils’ ‘welfare, their health and for their future.’
He wrote: ‘The education of our children is crucial for their welfare, their health and for their future. That is why it is a national priority to get all pupils back into school in September.
‘The message I have given to Ministers and civil servants is this: we can do it – and we will do it. Social justice demands it.’
He spoke of the ‘uplifting sight… as millions of parents rose to the challenge of educating their children’ amid the added pressures of lockdown, but said that had to end.
The PHE study, which tested more than 20,000 pupils and 100 teachers, is hoped to allay the concerns of wary teacher unions, which thwarted ministers’ initial attempts to resume classes for fears of staff catching the virus.
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A second national lockdown would put a million jobs at risk, warn hospitality chiefs
The bosses of some of Britain’s best-known restaurants and bars last night warned a second national lockdown would devastate the industry and lead to a million more job losses.
They said a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in October would cripple hospitality firms, which are ‘only just recovering from life support’.
Will Beckett, chief executive of Hawksmoor, said further lockdowns ‘will be financially disastrous for most, and terminal for many,’ adding: ‘It will mean huge losses for the weeks we are closed, and reopens all the difficulties over rents with landlords.’
The bosses of some of Britain’s best-known restaurants and bars last night warned a second national lockdown would devastate the industry and lead to a million more job losses. A waitress is pictured above in a pub in Chessington, Greater London
Restaurateur Des Gunewardena, chief executive of the D&D London group that owns Le Pont de la Tour, 20 Stories and Bluebird, said: ‘If Ministers tell people to eat out to save the economy in August, then stay at home in September, it looks as though they are panicking and don’t know what they are doing.’
Around 900,000 hospitality employees are still on furlough.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said: ‘Without any additional Government support in a second lockdown, that’s the potential number of jobs that are at risk.
‘Even the businesses that have done well are only just breaking even.’
Martin Wolstencroft, the chief executive of bar chain Arc Inspirations, said a two-week lockdown would cost him £1.5 million in lost sales from his 17 bars in the North and force him to make further job cuts.
He said: ‘We shouldn’t be penalised for the shortcomings of others who are tarnishing the industry’s reputation and making the Government take away people’s civil liberties.’
Entrepreneur Jonathan Downey, who is closing his Soho bar Milk & Honey this month, said: ‘This will just be another million jobs gone. It’s like shooting the wounded.’
Bosses said a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in October would cripple hospitality firms, which are ‘only just recovering from life support’. A track and trace QR code is pictured above in London
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Sasha Swire isn’t afraid to hurt people’s feelings writes CRAIG BROWN
After two decades of being expected to grin and bear it, Sasha Swire has had her revenge. Diary Of An MP’s Wife contains a litany of abuse. Theresa May is ‘humourless’, Tony Blair is ‘a slimeball’, Julian Fellowes is ‘faintly ridiculous’, Jeremy Hunt is ‘oily’, Anna Soubry is ‘irritating’, Nadine Dorries is ‘mad’ and William Hague is ‘only ever interested in himself’.
And so it goes on – Dominic Cummings ‘looks like one of those odd amoebas you find in jars in school science labs’, Boris Johnson is ‘driven by jealousy’, Prince Charles‘s fingers are ‘like sausages’, and Prince Andrew‘s chairmanship of a group of businessmen is ‘excruciatingly painful to watch’. At various times, John Bercow is called ‘the dreaded’, ‘the little weasel’, ‘the little creep’, ‘the revolting’ and ‘that little goblin’.
Even Her Majesty the Queen gets it in the neck, for her failure to acknowledge the importance of Sasha Swire: ‘She fixes her beady eyes on me briefly, then swans past, not saying a word. She is telling me I am just a plus-one, not a player or heroine.’
In her introduction, Swire claims that ‘at no time did I write with the intention of publication’, though two sentences later she contradicts herself. ‘I can’t say the thought didn’t exist at the back of my mind’, she writes, ‘but I always pushed it away because I thought my family, my husband’s colleagues and my friends would see it as an act of betrayal.’
After two decades of being expected to grin and bear it, Sasha Swire, pictured, has had her revenge
Which is, of course, what it is. When Swire’s good friend Samantha Cameron confided in her that she had drunk a large Negroni at breakfast before her husband’s resignation speech, was she expecting her to publish it?
‘Dave apparently recoiled from her gin-sodden breath,’ adds Sasha, for good measure.
Another friend, Amber Rudd, mentioned over lunch that working for Theresa May was ‘like having a dragon breathing down her neck… you can’t talk to her like a normal person; she is just very cold.’ In it went.
Her friend Kate Fall told her that ‘she bumped into Sarah Vine at some party, who said what an utter nightmare it was living with her husband’.
Scribble, scribble, scribble! Diaries are constructed from the ruins of broken confidences. Despite Swire having had ahem, ahem, no thought of publication, last year, ‘out of curiosity and somewhat foolishly’ she passed a few extracts to a top agent (by sheer luck, the same top agent who handled the diaries of Chris Mullin and Kenneth Williams and the memoirs of Ann Widdecombe).
‘And before I knew it, I was swept up in a publishing tornado.’
For tornado, read cheque. Needless to say, she justifies publication for feminist reasons. ‘I think it is very rare indeed to read a female perspective on what is still a very male-dominated and secret world.’
Oh, yes? Harriet Harman, Edwina Currie, Mo Mowlam, Barbara Castle, Shirley Williams, Margaret Hodge, Cherie Blair, Kate Fall, Christine Hamilton and Margaret Thatcher are just a few to have offered us the female perspective in memoirs or diaries.
In Swire’s diaries, she says Dominic Cummings, pictured, ‘looks like one of those odd amoebas you find in jars in school science labs’
‘I regret if I have offended anyone… I imagine some entries might offend without meaning to do so. If so, I apologise.’ She is being disingenuous.
In her entry for February 28, 2017, she observes that David Cameron is hard at work on an autobiography. Never backward in coming forward, she offers a warning. ‘Of course, unless he is prepared to settle scores and wash his dirty linen in public it won’t exactly fly off the shelves, and I doubt he will do that as he is too much of a gent.’
I wonder if Swire will extend her apologies to her own daughters?
She might not be on a par with Edwina Currie, who called one of her daughters ‘hard as nails’ in her diaries, and the other ‘so shallow and trivial’, and even outed one of them for having illegal underage sex.
Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that young Siena Swire will be thrilled at her mother telling the world about her crying fits, or her ‘unhealthy obsession’ with Made In Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, who, in one passage, she stalks ‘up and down the King’s Road, such is her great love for him’.
On the other hand, while discretion may be the better part of valour, it is the worst part of a diary.
‘What is more dull than a discreet diary?’ asked the great political diarist Chips Channon.
The former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett once published a diary of 850 pages, having first excised anything personal: it was one of the dullest books I have ever read.
Samantha and David Cameron, pictured, are heavily referenced in the controversial book
The self-portrait that emerges from Swire’s diaries is of a social blunderbuss, one of those irritating people who delight in saying the wrong thing. Of her relationship with David Cameron, she reflects, ‘He likes me because I am not remotely nervous around him; I’m cheeky, lewd and sometimes a little bit too challenging.’
And how! Over a grand dinner at Chequers, she shouts across at Cameron that his plans for Syria are all wrong. When Francis Maude complains to her that Theresa May is ‘so boring and grey’, she replies, ‘Pot calling kettle black, Francis. You were the most boring politician of the century.’
At a formal dinner at No 10, she tells Boris Johnson, ‘You can’t serve this food, it’s disgusting.’
She has a perverse fondness for setting people at their unease. In 2010, she sits next to the Countess of Wessex at an official dinner.
‘So, bet he didn’t tell you he was Royal when he married you.’
She looks at me, puzzled. ‘I knew he was a Royal, of course I did. What do you mean by that?’
‘It was a joke!’
Later, she concludes that Sophie Wessex is ‘definitely sad’. But the poor woman would probably have been all smiles if she had been placed next to someone else.
On the other hand, the best diarists have always been blabbermouths, eager and willing to hurt people’s feelings.
At various times, John Bercow, pictured, is called ‘the dreaded’, ‘the little weasel’, ‘the little creep’, ‘the revolting’ and ‘that little goblin’
Swire has clearly been influenced by the brilliantly witty diaries of the Thatcherite Minister Alan Clark. They even share some of the same targets, among them Michael Heseltine, William Hague and the Queen. But Swire’s waspishness lacks Clark’s iconoclastic precision: he once complained of Her Majesty’s ‘frumpish and ill-natured features’.
Inevitably, given that her role was subordinate to someone who was himself subordinate, many of Swire’s anecdotes are second-, or even third-hand. As the diaries roll on, it becomes increasingly obvious that she was often not in the same room, or even in the same country, when the events she describes occurred. Instead, she just scribbled down the anecdotes her husband Hugo told her on his return from this or that get-together.
Did he know that she was writing it all down? Judging by the book’s dedication ‘To Hugo – Sorry!’ it seems not.
Despite what you may have read in the papers, many of the diary entries are on the dull side: holidays in Wales, patronising remarks (‘I always find Amber so politically naive’) and hand-me-down political overviews (‘the fragmentation of British politics continues apace…’). She also offers her own predictions, most of which have been rendered defunct by time. Before the 2017 Election, she predicts that Theresa May ‘will walk it’ and that ‘Boris is clearly not a leader-in-waiting’.
The book is more successful as a revealing portrait of a posh public school coterie who, in a weird throwback to the 1950s, found themselves with the keys to No 10.
‘We are like kids in a sweet shop,’ she writes of those early days.
In an additional twist, she has such an innate sense of entitlement that she remains largely unaware of the full comic absurdity of her narrative. Her diary starts when Cameron becomes Prime Minister in 2010. Sasha and Hugo – who she describes, optimistically, as ‘renowned in political circles for his charm and humour’ – are out shopping for antiques when the call comes through from Dave, who offers him a job as Northern Ireland Minister. For the rest of the day, Hugo keeps asking her to repeat the words, ‘Yes, Minister’ because ‘he likes the tone’.
In Northern Ireland, the Troubles have only just begun. To her horror, Swire finds that two sets of curtains in their swanky new apartment at Hillsborough Castle have been whisked away by the wife of the Secretary of State. ‘I don’t care who she is, it’s bloody bad manners!’ says Swire. ‘I’m going straight to the top on this one!’ Without further ado, she puts a call through to No 10.
Even Her Majesty the Queen, pictured, gets it in the neck, for her failure to acknowledge the importance of Sasha Swire
Later, when Hugo is moved to the Foreign Office, he is approached by a fellow Minister. ‘You couldn’t give me South America, could you, old chap? You know my wife is from Venezuela.’ The energetic scratching of backs continues throughout his career, and beyond.
After Hugo’s ministerial days are over, ‘Alan Duncan said en passant that he was putting his name forward to be Prime Minister’s trade envoy to the Pacific Alliance’. Nothing comes of it, but not to worry. ‘Hugo has quite an extensive list of directorships and chairmanships at the moment,’ notes Swire.
The right to preferment permeates the book: Swire regularly complains that her father, the former Defence Secretary Sir John Nott, has never been elevated to the House of Lords, and that, as an Old Etonian, her husband has been excluded from the Cabinet due to an absurd bias towards women and members of ethnic minorities.
But it all remains very chummy. Looking around the Camerons’ party in 2011, she concludes that ‘The closeness of this circle is unprecedented. They are all here, the ones that eat, drink, party together, they are all intimately interlocked… We all holiday together, stay in each other’s grace-and-favour homes, our children play together, we text each other, bypassing the civil servants.’
For no clear reason, five years later Cameron rewards Hugo with a knighthood in his Resignation Honours. There is bit of a hullabaloo in the press. ‘I don’t know what all the fuss is about’ complains Swire. ‘Why can’t Dave pack out the list with his cronies if he wants to?’
Despite Hugo’s apparently renowned charm and humour, he comes across as more of an amiable klutz – the Mr Bean of the Foreign Office.
In South Korea he presses the wrong buttons in the loo, and emerges showered with water. Opening a school sports centre in Shanghai, he throws himself to the ground when the fireworks go off, thinking he’s under attack.
Back home, he mixes up his breath freshener and his lens-cleaning liquid, and complains that his glasses are permanently fogged up and his mouth tastes funny. Swire dutifully logs all these pratfalls. Could these diaries be an unconscious act of revenge?
It emerges that Sir Hugo’s chief claim to fame is that, in his youth, he enjoyed a brief fling with someone very glamorous. This is certainly what interests Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
‘Hugo!’ he shouts across the table at a No 10 dinner for departing MPs, ‘Did you s*** Jerry Hall?’
If he did, then he is linked not only to Mick Jagger but to Rupert Murdoch, and perhaps, via Wendy Deng, to Tony Blair. Well, knighthoods have been handed out for less.
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Boris Johnson backs MoS campaign to end lone births scandal
Boris Johnson has backed The Mail on Sunday’s campaign to end lone births, saying ‘no woman should have to go through labour alone’.
Nearly half of hospital Trusts continue to ban partners from attending either labour or scans, or both, because of draconian Covid-19 rules.
This newspaper is campaigning to end the scandal, which has left women to give birth or receive devastating news of miscarriages without support.
The Prime Minister said it is of ‘upmost importance’ that every hospital allows partners to be present in what are ‘incredibly special moments in people’s lives’.
The Government has published guidelines on how hospitals can safely do this, but many Trusts are refusing to implement it. Mr Johnson told The Mail on Sunday: ‘No woman should have to go through labour alone without the support of partners or loved ones.’
Boris Johnson has backed The Mail on Sunday’s campaign to end lone births, saying ‘no woman should have to go through labour alone’
‘The guidance has changed to ensure pregnant women can have someone with them for vital appointments and throughout the birth of their child.’
He said Ministers have been working with NHS England to ensure every hospital follows the guidance. Since The Mail on Sunday launched the campaign last weekend, several Trusts have performed U-turns.
In one victory, Ruth Watson, whose husband had been banned from attending her 36-week scan tomorrow, was told he could be there after this newspaper reported her concerns.
Sir Simon Stevens, the NHS chief executive, said: ‘Wherever possible mums should be able to be accompanied by their partners for scans, antenatal visits and of course for childbirth. The Mail on Sunday is quite right to highlight the importance of getting this right.’
The Prime Minister said it is of ‘upmost importance’ that every hospital allows partners to be present in what are ‘incredibly special moments in people’s lives’. (File image)
The chief midwife will be putting more pressure on hospitals that continue to ban partners from attending.
But former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says more action is needed to ensure all NHS trusts change their policies.
Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, he says: ‘I don’t think a voluntary framework will end the arbitrary way these rules are being applied by some hospitals. A postcode lottery is unacceptable.’
A petition to allow partners at all stages of labour into all hospitals has attracted more than 418,000 signatures. Joeli Brearley of campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed said: ‘Pregnant women must be a priority considering the impact stress has on a growing foetus.’
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