Habib Al Mulla, the Executive Chairman of law firm Baker McKenzie, pictured outside a court in Al Ain, UAE, in 2010
Dubai’s ruling elite are facing a £1billion lawsuit over claims that a British property developer was ‘robbed’ of his £500million business in the Gulf state under the threat of going to jail.
It is alleged that high-ranking figures including Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Saeed al-Maktoum, the cousin of United Arab Emirate’s Prime Minister, plotted to defraud Mohammed Haddad of his business more than 10 years ago.
In a claim filed to the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Haddad said he was forced to sell his half of KM Holdings, a property firm in Dubai, to his associate.
Mr Haddad also alleged that he fled the UAE after he rejected the deal and the electricity and water to his home were shut off.
He claimed that Habib Al Mulla, the Executive Chairman of Baker McKenzie, an international law firm, represented his associate to acquire the shares through a court order and transfer them to a family member of Dubai’s ruling elite.
Mr Haddad told The Times: ‘I was told to accept four times less than the value of my shares or go to jail.’
Radha Stirling, Detained in Dubai and Due Process International’s chief executive, added: ‘In Mohamed Haddad’s case, we can say that the formal system conspired with the informal system of power in the UAE.
‘No judge in the UAE would ever hear this case impartially.’
It follows the High Court ruling in March this year that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, ordered and orchestrated’ the abduction of Princess Shamsa in 2002, and then her sister Sheikha Latifa during her escape bid in 2018 – with both being forcibly returned to the UAE.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Saeed al-Maktoum, pictured right, holding his horse. It is alleged he conspired to defraud Mohammed Haddad of his business more than 10 years ago
In a claim filed to the Royal Courts of Justice, pictured above, Mohammed Haddad said he was forced to sell his half of KM Holdings, a property firm in Dubai, to his associate (file photo)
The sheikh was also found to have waged a campaign of ‘fear and intimidation’ against his youngest wife, Princess Haya, who fled to Britain last year fearing that he would kill her.
The court found he masterminded behaviour which, on the balance of probabilities, potentially runs ‘contrary to the criminal law of England and Wales, international law and internationally accepted human rights norms’.
Latifa had been taken by Indian soldiers from a yacht 30 miles from Goa and forcibly returned to Dubai.
A spokesperson for Baker McKenzie told MailOnline: ‘As we have said on many previous occasions Mr. Haddad’s allegations and proceedings are without merit and have already been dismissed by the appropriate legal authorities.
‘We will contest them vigorously as an example of forum shopping.’
Timeline of the legal battle between Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his wife Princess Haya bint Al Hussain
The High Court in London previously published rulings relating to the legal battle between Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his former wife Princess Haya bint Al Hussain of Jordan.
Here is a timeline of events in the case.
July 15, 1949 – Sheikh Mohammed is born in Dubai.
May 3, 1974 – Princess Haya born in Amman, Jordan.
August 15, 1981 – Princess Shamsa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is born to Sheikh Mohammed, who has several wives.
December 5, 1985 – Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is born.
Summer 2000 – During a visit to England, Shamsa runs away from her family and seeks immigration advice to try and stay in the UK.
August 2000 – Shamsa is taken from the streets of Cambridge by men working for her father.
She is taken to her father’s home in Newmarket, before being taken by helicopter to France and then to Dubai. She has not been seen in public since.
March 2001 – A woman claiming to be Shamsa contacts Cambridgeshire Police, saying she has been taken from England to Dubai.
December 2001 – The Guardian publishes an article suggesting Shamsa has been abducted from the UK.
April 2004 – Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya are married.
December 2, 2007 – Al Jalila born.
January 7, 2012 – Zayed born.
February/March 2018 – A video of Latifa is uploaded to the internet, in which she gives a detailed account of important events in her life. She also describes what she knows about her sister Shamsa’s time in England and her subsequent abduction.
December 6, 2018 – The BBC broadcasts a documentary called Escape From Dubai: The Mystery Of The Missing Princess.
February 7, 2019 – Sheikh Mohammed divorces Princess Haya under sharia law without her knowledge. She says this date, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of her father’s death, is deliberately chosen to ‘maximise insult and upset to her’.
April 15 – Princess Haya travels to the UK with Jalila and Zayed.
May 14 – Sheikh Mohammed issues proceedings at the High Court in London seeking the summary return of his two children with Princess Haya to Dubai.
May 22 – First High Court hearing before Mr Justice Moor – the media, who are unaware of the hearing or even the proceedings, do not attend.
July 16 – On the eve of a ‘scoping hearing’ to consider media issues before Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the family division of the High Court, Princess Haya issues applications to make the children wards of court, for a forced marriage protection order and for a non-molestation order.
July 17 – Three journalists attend and lawyers for Sheikh Mohammed apply for them to be excluded. Sir Andrew says the hearing is relatively short while those in court ‘simply scope out what lies before us’ and to consider what information, if any, should be given to the media. The judge adds that the parties will issue a short statement explaining the nature of the proceedings.
July 18 – With the permission of the court, the parties release the following statement: ‘The parties to these proceedings are HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein. These proceedings are concerned with the welfare of the two children of their marriage and do not concern divorce or finances.’
July 30 – At a hearing to work out issues, including the question of media reporting and to how to proceed to a final hearing to determine the welfare issues, Sir Andrew allows the media to report that Sheikh Mohammed has applied for the summary return of the children to Dubai, and that Princess Haya has applied for the children to be made wards of court, for a non-molestation order and a forced marriage protection order.
November 12-13 – Sir Andrew conducts a hearing to make findings of fact in relation to Princess Haya’s allegations against Sheikh Mohammed.
December 11 – The judge delivers his ruling on the fact-finding hearing. However, strict reporting restrictions preventing its publication remain in force.
January 17, 2020 – The judge delivers a ruling on a series of ‘assurances and waivers’ given by Sheikh Mohammed to Princess Haya. He also conducts a hearing to determine whether his earlier rulings should be made public.
January 27 – Sir Andrew concludes that his earlier rulings should be published, but the publication is postponed pending a Court of Appeal challenge by Sheikh Mohammed to this decision.
February 26 – The Court of Appeal hears Sheikh Mohammed’s challenge.
February 28 – Three leading judges dismiss his appeal and refuse to grant him permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The stay on publication remains in force to give the father chance to make a fresh challenge to the Supreme Court.
March 5 – The Supreme Court announces that it has refused permission to appeal and all previous rulings are made public.
The judge’s conclusions are that Princess Haya was subjected to a sustained campaign of fear and intimidation by her former husband. He also finds that Shamsa and Latifa were abducted on their father’s orders.
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Madrid refuses to lock down despite mounting coronavirus crisis
The leader of Madrid has rejected calls for a new lockdown in the Spanish capital despite a mounting crisis in the city which is seeing thousands of new coronavirus cases per day.
Isabel Diaz Ayuso said ‘the solution is not a total confinement’ and demanded more help from the Spanish government as new restrictions were imposed on parks, shops and restaurants in another eight districts today.
Ayuso, who has previously argued that ‘people get run over every day but that doesn’t mean we ban cars’, is opposing tougher restrictions despite calls for new measures from Spain‘s health minister.
Protesters hit the streets outside Madrid’s regional parliament on Sunday with hundreds of people demanding an end to the restrictions and complaining of discrimination against poorer areas of the city.
Madrid piled up nearly 18,000 new cases last week alone and more than 40 per cent of its intensive care beds are now filled up with virus patients, raising fears of a return to the dark days of March and April.
Spain as a whole is recording more than 10,000 cases per day and an average of 350 people are going into hospital every 24 hours.
Madrid’s regional president Isabel Diaz Ayuso (pictured) has rejected calls for the city to go back into lockdown despite a surge in coronavirus cases
The worsening second wave has led the Spanish government to predict a worse economic slump in 2020 than previously predicted.
Official forecasts will be revised from a contraction of 9.3 per cent to between 10 and 11 per cent, local media said on Sunday.
The budget deficit is also likely to be worse than the 10.3 per cent of GDP which was announced as a target in May.
The Spanish economy contracted a record 17.8 per cent in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter and 21.5 per cent compared with the same quarter a year earlier.
Early indicators in August showed the recovery initiated in July slowed down during the summer as the second wave began to mount.
In Madrid, more than one in five tests are now coming back positive – easily the highest rate in Spain.
The city with its surrounding region is at the epicentre of the second wave of infections, with Catalonia urging its people not to travel to Madrid.
Madrid had 455 people in intensive care as of last Friday, filling up 40.1 per cent of ICU beds, while 25.4 per cent of all hospital capacity is being used for Covid-19 patients.
In Spain as a whole, the figures are 17.2 per cent of intensive care beds and 8.1 per cent of hospital beds.
France is also seeing a squeeze on hospitals, with medics in Paris and Marseille forced to postpone scheduled surgeries to free up space.
Patients are still facing backlogs caused by the lockdown in March and April, and more than 6,000 coronavirus patients are now being treated in French hospitals.
Restaurants and bars are closing for a week in Marseille, causing anger from business owners who say they were ‘starting to get back on our feet’.
Two Nobel Prize-winning economists proposed suggested at the weekend that France go into lockdown for the first three weeks of December to allow families to get together safely for the end-of-year holidays and ‘save Christmas.’
In response, health minister Olivier Veran told French television that ‘We do not want to confine the country again’.
MADRID CASES: Infections in the Spanish capital have soared in recent weeks as the country suffers the worst ‘second wave’ in Europe
Since last Monday, 850,000 people in 37 mainly low-income districts in southern Madrid have been confined to their neighbourhoods.
They are unable to leave except for work, school or medical reasons – although they are able to move freely within their own areas.
Parks in the affected neighbourhoods are closed and restaurants and other businesses must shut at 10 pm in a country with a tradition of eating late.
From today, the regional government of Madrid is extending the restrictions to eight more districts home to another 167,000 people.
Hundreds of people in the district of Vallecas, one of the neighbourhoods under partial lockdown since last week, to protest against the restrictions on Sunday.
‘It’s not lockdown, it’s segregation!’ the crowd chanted as they briefly blocked a road in front of the assembly.
‘They don’t confine the rich,’ was among one of the signs on display at the protest, which drew groups of young people, retired couples and young parents.
Similar smaller demonstrations were held in other parts of the city, including at the seat of Madrid’s regional government in the Puerta del Sol square.
‘It makes no sense that you can go to work in a wealthier area but can’t go have a drink,’ said Marcos Ruiz Guijarro, an electrician.
‘Infections are rising everywhere, the rules should be the same for everyone,’ said the 27-year-old, who travels to the centre of Madrid every day for work.
Some experts doubt whether the measures will be successful, because more than 85 per cent of workers affected by the new rules commute to zones with no restrictions to work, according to a study by the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
Many demonstrators complained that the regional government was failing to improve public healthcare or doing anything to reduce overcrowding in the transport system, where they said the virus could easily spread.
Police clash with protesters during demonstrations against the lockdown measures in Madrid on Sunday
The protesters clapped in unison while calling for the resignation of regional leader Ayuso, who is under fire for saying that the ‘lifestyle’ in the affected neighbourhoods was partly to blame for the rise in cases.
The regional government says it has targeted areas where the contagion rate is above 1,000 cases per 100,000 people.
But national health minister Salvador Illa has called for Madrid to extend restrictions to the entire city, as well surrounding areas with more than 500 cases per 100,000.
He warned that hospitals in the region of around 6.6million people are already overrun with coronavirus cases, and it should prepare for some ‘hard weeks’ ahead.
On Sunday he once again urged the regional government of Madrid to ‘review the measures it announced and follow the recommendations of scientists and health experts’.
Since the central government ended its state of emergency on June 21, responsibility for managing the pandemic has been transferred to Spain’s 17 autonomous regions.
Antonio Zapatero, deputy health chief of the Madrid region, said that more time was needed to see if the current restrictions are having any effect.
‘What we do, we do it based on technical criteria,’ Zapatero said, adding that ‘If decisions need to be taken, Madrid will take them.’
Spain’s lockdown in the first wave was one of the toughest in the world, with exercise not regarded as a valid excuse for leaving the house.
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
‘Overstretched police are struggling to crack down on curfew breakers’
Police are ‘struggling’ to enforce coronavirus rules because there are not enough officers to crack down on the 10pm curfew breakers, a union boss warned today.
John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation, said there were often now just ‘one or two’ officers available to police busy high streets in towns and cities at night when the curfew begins on pubs and restaurants.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think we’re struggling now if I’m honest, certainly my colleagues are, because of just the daily pressures.’
Mr Apter added: ‘Here’s the reality – in a typical large town or city centre, I think the public think we have hundreds and hundreds of police officers to police.
‘We probably have a handful, and we have to prioritise. So what we will find in a city centre, some officers will be dealing with 999 calls, crimes in action, people being seriously assaulted, that you might only have one or two people in a busy high street at 10pm when hundreds and hundreds of people are coming out onto the streets.
John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation, said there were often now just ‘one or two’ officers available to police busy high streets in towns and cities
‘Now my colleagues will do the best they can to encourage and coerce people to move on, but it’s really difficult, and all you need is a hostile group who turns against those officers and the resources for that town centre or that city centre are swallowed up dealing with that one incident. It happens all the time. It happens in every city.’
He added that other agencies must now step in to assist, including ‘local authorities and local health trusts and other organisations to help to try and make sure that the regulations are being enforced and are being complied with’.
It comes as police will carry out spot checks and act on tip-offs to enforce strict new Covid-19 self-isolation rules from today.
People ordered to quarantine after they or a contact test positive for the virus face a knock on the door from officers to check they are not leaving their home.
It comes amid a growing revolt by Tory MPs over the way Boris Johnson‘s Government is infringing liberties with restrictions to tackle the pandemic.
Signalling a tough crackdown, Home Secretary Priti Patel warned last night that ministers ‘will not allow those who break the rules to reverse the hard-won progress made by the law-abiding majority’.
From today, people across England are required by law to quarantine for ten days if they test positive for Covid-19 or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
Those who do not self-isolate – or employers who force staff to turn up to work – will be hit with fines of up to £10,000.
The police will be used to ‘check compliance’ with the rules and will investigate claims by informers that a person who should be in quarantine is flouting the requirement. In other developments:
- Ministers faced mounting pressure to review their ‘shambolic’ 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants after it caused huge crowds across city centres;
- A Mail poll found that a third of patients have avoided or delayed making a GP appointment in the past six months;
- Three more areas of South Wales were added to the local lockdown list yesterday, meaning two-thirds of the Welsh population are covered by restrictions;
- Labour called for a delay to the new university term in England after 1,700 students locked down in Manchester were unable to find out if they have Covid-19;
- Universities faced mounting pressure to refund tuition fees as thousands of students faced lockdowns, online-only courses, and the prospect of spending Christmas in their halls;
- More than 10 million Britons have downloaded the virus tracing app;
- Ministers promised they would provide four months’ worth of personal protective equipment to frontline health and care staff over the winter.
People ordered to quarantine after they or a contact test positive for the virus could face a knock on the door from officers to check they are not leaving their home. Pictured: Drinkers out in Nottingham around closing time
Signalling a tough crackdown, Home Secretary Priti Patel warned last night that ministers ‘will not allow those who break the rules to reverse the hard-won progress made by the law-abiding majority’. Pictured: Police attempt to disperse crowds gathered in London
The Prime Minister could suffer a hugely damaging defeat within days over his use of emergency legislation to push Covid-19 restrictions through the Commons without proper debate.
Conservative backbenchers are increasingly angry about the imposition of the ‘rule of six’ without debate in Parliament – and believe they have a good chance of winning a vote on Wednesday.
The Government said yesterday there had been a further 5,693 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus. While an increase on last Sunday’s total, this is nowhere near the doubling that chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance suggested last week was on the way.
Last night ministers unveiled the steps they will take to ensure people comply with self-isolation rules. The Government said it would ‘use police resources to check compliance’ in areas of the country with the highest rates of disease, and on people in high-risk groups.
The Prime Minister could suffer a hugely damaging defeat within days over his use of emergency legislation to push Covid-19 restrictions through the Commons without proper debate
Officers will ‘investigate and prosecute high-profile and egregious cases of non-compliance’, and ‘act on instances where third parties have identified others who have tested positive, but are not self-isolating’.
The rules state that if someone receives a positive test result, they are required by law to self-isolate for ten days after they first displayed symptoms, or ten days after the date of the test if they did not have symptoms.
Other members of their household must self-isolate for 14 days after the onset of symptoms, or after the date of the positive test.
Pubs and restaurants have started displaying QR codes to support the app, but punters have complained after they were denied entry for not installing it
If someone is instructed to self-isolate because they have had close contact with someone outside their household who has tested positive, they are legally required to self-isolate for the period instructed by NHS Test and Trace.
Users of the NHS contact tracing app are not covered by the new rules. They are anonymous and the Government cannot force them to self-isolate.
People on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result will be eligible for a new £500 ‘test and trace support payment’.
The legal obligation to self-isolate has exemptions, including for those who need to escape from illness or harm during their isolation.
1,400 cases at food factories
Virus infections linked to the nation’s food processing plants could be many times higher than admitted by industry bosses, it has been claimed.
Official records suggest there have been 47 infections and no deaths among the workforce.
However an investigation by Pirc, which advises shareholders on ethical investment, claims the number of infections is likely to be much higher and includes some deaths. It found that there have been at least 1,461 individual cases and six fatalities, with the true figures likely to be even higher.
The investigation found a loophole in the regulatory system potentially allows companies to determine whether employees became infected while at work or elsewhere in the community.
The findings were based on one-to-one interviews with workers, trade union surveys and media reports about food processing companies.
Tories are urged to call time on ‘shambolic’ 10pm pub curfew as swarms of young people are seen dancing in the streets after kicking-out time
As city centres were swamped with revellers over the weekend, the Government came under mounting pressure to review its ‘shambolic’ 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants last night.
Astonishing footage emerged of swarms of young people singing and dancing in the streets after kicking-out time.
Photographs captured across the country showed drinkers leaving pubs and bars at 10pm – and simply heading to off-licences or supermarkets to purchase more alcohol.
The weekend was the first with the new rule in effect.
MPs, business leaders and publicans condemned the measure as a ‘big mistake’ and ‘another random and arbitrary move’.
Photographs captured across the country showed drinkers leaving pubs and bars at 10pm – and simply heading to off-licences or supermarkets to purchase more alcohol. Pictured: Police speak to a group of young people on Harbourside, Bristol
Officers have been attempting to disperse large crowds of people in London’s West End after pubs were forced to move kicking-out time forward to 10pm
Leading hospitality figures also hit out at the lack of consultation before the curfew came into force.
Speaking to the Mail, Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s, which operates 420 pubs, said: ‘You can see from the photographs the problem with dispersing customers at exactly the same time. This creates the wrong signal that the customer is better off socialising at home in people’s houses.
‘I think it was clearly a big mistake and the Government has to be sensible and review their decision.’
Tim Martin, founder of JD Wetherspoon, added: ‘The main problem with the 10pm curfew is that it’s another random and arbitrary move by the Government which lacks logic or scientific credibility.’
Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said: ‘It’s very clear across the UK that this ill-thought-out 10pm curfew has pushed everyone out of venues with socially distanced measures into the streets, into off-licences, supermarkets, overcrowded public transport and house parties. Every operator predicted this. Shambolic.’
Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan will be put under coronavirus lockdown from tomorrow
Senior Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood added that the curfew ‘makes no sense’.
The criticism came as Professor Graham Medley, a member of the Sage group advising the Prime Minister on the virus, yesterday revealed scientists had ‘never discussed’ the curfew.
Professor John Edmunds, another member of the committee, added that the 10pm shut-off was ‘fairly trivial’ and ‘will have a very small impact on the epidemic’.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden yesterday insisted that there was ‘definitely science’ behind the measure as he was grilled by the BBC’s Andrew Marr, who suggested the measure was actually making matters worse.
Critics of the curfew said many would simply retire to one household or wander around city centres in groups in breach of Covid-19 guidelines
Mr Dowden said: ‘We are reducing the closing times in order to stop people staying later and drinking. The point about all of this is that everyone has their part to play.’
But critics of the curfew said many would simply retire to one household or wander around city centres in groups in breach of Covid-19 guidelines.
Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said he was ‘not clear’ where the science behind the move had come from, adding that it led to people ‘bubbling out of pubs… hanging around towns and they’re potentially spreading the virus’.
A Government spokesman yesterday said all measures were kept under ‘constant review’, adding: ‘These measures strike a balance between saving lives by protecting our NHS and the most vulnerable and minimising the wider impact on the economy and schools.
‘The latest data suggests a considerable rise in the infection rate from within the hospitality sector in recent weeks.’
Backlash over ‘pathetic’ Covid tracing app as pubs and restaurants turn away customers who don’t have it – despite faulty system blocking tens of thousands of users from logging their test results
Pubs and restaurants are turning away customers who don’t have the Government’s ‘pathetic’ tracing app,’ – despite glaring errors that stopped thousands from logging their test results.
The beleaguered app’s latest fiasco came last night when it blocked up to 70,000 users from logging their test results.
The app relies on Bluetooth to determine if someone has been within two metres of an infectious person for 15 minutes, but other Bluetooth devices can interfere with the signal, generating a ‘false positive’.
To compound the problems, it has also transpired that the app doesn’t work on millions of older smartphones.
It also requires a code to register a completed test but it is only given if the test returns as positive.
Those with a negative test are only able to register their result if they booked directly through the app.
Despite the issues, Matt Hancock hailed the app as a success as he revealed more than 10 million people downloaded it since its launch on Thursday.
It comes as a further 5,693 people tested positive for coronavirus in the UK today – marking a 46 per cent rise on last Sunday’s total, with 17 deaths.
Matt Hancock’s new coronavirus tracing app was hit by another fiasco last night after it blocked tens of thousands of users from logging their test results
The Health Secretary said on social media it was an ‘absolutely fantastic’ response so far, and urged more people to download it.
Despite problems, pubs and restaurants are starting to bar customers from entering, unless they’ve downloaded the beleaguered app, with QR codes on display for punters to use.
Government advice tells businesses they ‘must’ display the ‘official NHS QR poster’ and apply for a code to be connected to the app.
One punter wrote on Twitter today: ‘Last night I was denied a meal because I didn’t have a Gvt phone app!!!!
‘You may think I’m being over dramatic but you must now get the point. What else are we soon going to be denied access to unless we have a government phone app. Please, please, please people wake up.’
Development of an earlier version of the app – which cost nearly £11million – stopped in June.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that six million people had downloaded the app the first day it launched, and this had since risen to 10 million by midday on Sunday.
More than 1.5 million venue check-ins were recorded on Saturday while more than 460,000 businesses have downloaded and printed QR code posters that can be scanned by the app to check-in to premises, it added.
Mr Hancock said: ‘The enthusiastic response of over 10m people downloading the app in just three days has been absolutely fantastic.
‘This is a strong start but we want even more people and businesses getting behind the app because the more of us who download it the more effective it will be.
‘If you haven’t downloaded it yet I recommend you join the growing numbers who have, to protect yourself and your loved ones.’
One user, Chloe James, wrote: ‘I’m in a pub and apparently they’ve been told they can’t serve anyone unless they have the track and trace app.’
Brits have encountered problems using the tracing app, while others who refuse to install it say they have been denied entry into pubs and restaurants
Hospitality expert Ollie Vaulkhard wrote today: ‘Perhaps you could also trust hospitality to work alongside the app, rather than the current disaster? No app details being taken by people on the street at 10:30pm.’
Last night, Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said of the latest glitch: ‘This beggars belief.’
Other Labour politicians have lent their voice to the criticism.
David Lammy told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show this morning: ‘By Christmas we would have had the coronavirus for nine months, that we couldn’t get a test, track and trace system in place by then has got to be described as pathetic.’
Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday Shadow Culture Secretary Jo Stevens added: ‘The whole point of these local lockdowns, they’re happening because our test and trace system is not effective… the Government needs to get a grip on test and trace and isolate.’
Users, including NHS workers, have pointed out major flaws in the app that apparently drains battery and takes up space
The government’s advice to pubs and restaurants reads: ‘By maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors, and displaying an official NHS QR poster, you will help NHS Test and Trace to identify and notify people who may have been exposed to the virus.
‘You must register for an official NHS QR code and display the official NHS QR poster.
‘The NHS COVID-19 app has a feature that allows users to quickly and easily ‘check in’ to your venue by scanning the code.
‘The information stays on the user’s phone. In England, you do not have to ask people who choose to ‘check in’ using the official NHS QR code to provide their contact details.
‘If there is an outbreak associated with a venue, a message will be sent to the relevant app users with the necessary public health advice.
‘This will help to avoid the reintroduction of lockdown measures and support the country to return to, and maintain, a more normal way of life.
‘In addition to maintaining and sharing records where requested and displaying an official NHS QR poster, you must also continue to follow other government guidance to minimise the transmission of COVID-19. This includes maintaining a safe working environment and following social distancing guidelines.’
The app has come under fire after it emerged that only ‘Pillar 2’ tests – those carried out by commercial testing centres – provide the relevant codes to allow users to enter their results.
Although people tested under ‘Pillar 1’ – the NHS and Public Health England – will still be contacted by NHS Test and Trace if they test positive, they could not log the result on the app and alert everyone they have been in close contact with.
After a flood of complaints yesterday, the Department of Health and Social Care said it was ‘urgently’ trying to fix the problem. Hours later it promised that ‘everyone who receives a positive test result can log their result on the app’ by requesting a code from NHS Test and Trace.
The latest official Government figures show that a total of 409,975 people have been tested in England since the app was rolled out on Thursday morning, including 128,960 Pillar 1 and 281,015 Pillar 2 tests.
The blunder means that the results of 31 per cent of the tests carried out on Thursday and Friday have not been logged.
The app relies on Bluetooth to determine if someone has been within two metres of an infectious person for 15 minutes, but other Bluetooth devices can interfere with the signal, generating a ‘false positive’
Although the exact numbers are unclear, it potentially means that hundreds of positive cases uncovered since the app’s official launch have not yet been registered.
The shocking oversight came to light only after a Twitter user asked how he could log his test result if he did not have a code.
In response, the official Twitter page for the NHS Covid-19 app said: ‘If your test took place in a Public Health England lab or NHS hospital, or as part of national surveillance testing conducted by the Office for National Statistics, test results cannot currently be linked with the app whether they’re positive or negative.’
The reply was met with outrage online, with many users questioning why it was called an ‘NHS app’ when it did not recognise tests carried out by the NHS.
Last night, Mr Ashworth said: ‘This just beggars belief. How can this app be effective if someone is unable to link up their tests carried out by the NHS or tests carried out for surveillance? We all have an interest in this app working which is why we’ve promoted its uptake.
‘This weekend Ministers have thrown cash at promoting this app across local and national newspapers. They need to outline how they will quickly fix this flaw.’
Technology expert Benedict Evans told The Sunday Times: ‘A contact tracing app is based on people with a positive test entering that into the app. But the English app that just launched is incompatible with tests done by the NHS.
He added: ‘We’re six months into this and the UK still doesn’t have a unified test result system.’
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘We are urgently working to enable positive tests for people who aren’t already given a code to be added to the Covid-19 app.
‘NHS Test and Trace will continue to contact people by text, email or phone if your test is positive advising you to self-isolate and for those who don’t have a code, the contact tracers will shortly be able to provide codes to insert in the app.
‘If you book your test via the app, the results will be automatically recorded and the isolation countdown will be updated.’
The Welsh Government revealed it is an England-only issue. In a tweet yesterday after the Department of Health and Social Care statement, it said: ‘This issue doesn’t apply to Wales. We took the decision to link our all-Wales laboratory testing systems with the NHS Covid-19 app.’
Last week’s launch came after a fourth-month delay beset by technological problems.
A trial on the Isle of Wight had to be abandoned after the initial model failed to detect iPhones.
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
You’re never too old! A quarter of middle-aged women say sex is still ‘highly important’ to them
Hitting midlife can still turn up the heat among women – in ways many might not expect.
It’s not just the onset of hot flushes with the menopause – but the fire of passion burning brightly.
Thousands of women aged 45 to 60 were quizzed about their feelings on intimacy in the bedroom… or elsewhere for that matter.
Hitting midlife can still turn up the heat among women – in ways many might not expect. It’s not just the onset of hot flushes with the menopause – but the fire of passion burning brightly [File photo]
And rather than feeling like the flames of desire had long since gone out, more than a quarter said sex was ‘highly important’ when they got to middle age.
Not only that, it continued to matter as they headed into their senior years. They were also more likely to have better sexual satisfaction with their partners.
Meanwhile nearly half of those in the study told how sex was important during midlife although the buzz faded after 60.
The reactions of the 3,200 women interviewed about how their interest in sex was affected throughout the menopause echoed those of Davina McCall this month.
Flirty signs your date’s keen on you
Are you the kind of single chap who struggles to tell if your date likes your jokes – or can’t wait to head for the exit door?
Luckily for you, researchers think they’ve identified the look a woman gives when she’s interested in a man.
They cracked the ‘perfect flirting face’, used by women to demonstrate sexual interest.
The facial cues include a head turned to one side and slightly tilted down, a smile and eyes turned towards the implied target, the study published in the Journal of Sex Research found.
And these expressions are most likely to activate associations with relationships and sex in male brains. Lead author Omri Gillath, of Kansas University, said: ‘Not only were we able to identify the expressions that represent flirting, but we were also able to reveal their function.’
The TV presenter, 52, rejected the notion that women’s sex lives are ended by the change, insisting she still wants to be ‘naughty’ and women can still enjoy intimacy as they age.
She added: ‘People say, ‘Oh, it’s all gone… menopause… you’re finished’. It’s really important to say that people in their 50s are having the time of their lives.’
Scientists say studies like this are important in understanding the needs of women as they age.
Lead author Dr Holly Thomas said: ‘In contrast to prior literature reporting that the importance of sex decreases as women move through midlife, we found that, for a quarter of women, sex remains highly important.’
And rather than feeling like the flames of desire had long since gone out, more than a quarter said sex was ‘highly important’ when they got to middle age. Not only that, it continued to matter as they headed into their senior years [File photo]
From an ethnic perspective, black women were more likely to rate sex as important for the duration of midlife.
However, Chinese and Japanese women said more often that it did not matter or that intimacy became less important.
Other variables included women with symptoms of depression, who were more likely to rate sex as mattering less to them.
The results from the University of Pittsburgh study will be presented today during the virtual annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society.
Medical director Dr Stephanie Faubion said waning sexual desire was often dismissed as a natural part of ageing.
But she added: ‘Often there are other treatable reasons, such as depression.’
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
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