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Deadly coronavirus has now arrived in Africa

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Governments and institutions across Africa are preparing for an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus
Governments and institutions across Africa are preparing for an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus

Countries across Africa are preparing for an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus after the continent’s first case was reported in Egypt.

Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Mugahed said that the affected person was a ‘foreigner’ who did not show any serious symptoms.

Officials were able to confirm the case through a screening programme for travellers arriving from countries where the disease has spread.

The ministry statement said the person was hospitalised and in isolation. It did not specify the person’s nationality or their point of entry.

epa08186028 Airport officials wait to screen the temperature of passengers in order to detect a possible coronavirus infection, at Cairo International Airport, in Cairo, Egypt, 01 February 2020. The coronavirus, called 2019-nCoV, originating from Wuhan, China, has spread to all the 31 provinces of China as well as more than a dozen countries in the world. The outbreak of coronavirus has so far claimed 259 lives and infected more than 11,000 others, according to media reports. EPA/STR
Airport officials wait to screen the temperature of passengers in order to detect a possible coronavirus infection, at Cairo International Airport (Picture: EPA)

Coronavirus has spread to over 25 countries worldwide since emerging at a seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan in early December.

The death toll has surged past 1,500 and there have been over 60,000 cases globally – although experts say this figure could be much higher.

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The latest development in Egypt makes it the first country in the African continent to report an infection and the second in the Middle East, after the United Arab Emirates diagnosed its first cases late last month.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has previously warned of deadly consequences if the virus hits poorer countries who do not have the capacity to deal with an epidemic.

Egyptian Quarantine Authority employees scan body temperature for an incoming traveller at Cairo International Airport on February 1, 2020, amidst efforts to detect possible cases of SARS-like "Wuhan coronavirus" (novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV). (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
Egyptian Quarantine Authority employees scan body temperature for an incoming traveller at Cairo International Airport (Picture: AFP)

The institution’s Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said ‘a global coordinated effort’ is needed to enhance preparedness in more unstable regions of the world.

He called on richer nations to donate funds to a £520m preparedness plan to help China and states with weaker health systems.

WHO has prioritised support for 13 African countries on the basis of their close transport links with China: Algeria, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The strategy includes issuing technical guidance, advising health ministries on how to limit human-to-human transmission and ensuring they have the capacity to isolate and provide appropriate treatment to affected people.

WHO Africa programme manager for emergency operations Michel Yao said: ‘We all know how fragile health systems [are] in the African continent, they are already overwhelmed by many outbreaks.

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‘For us, it is critical to detect coronavirus earlier [so] that we can prevent spreading within communities that can trigger a number of cases that can overwhelm the treatment capacity’.

The Director of Africa Centre for Disease Control, John Nkengasong, also outlined the threat to Africa posed by the coronavirus, now renamed Covid-19.

He said: ‘This disease is a serious threat to the social dynamics, economic growth, and security of Africa.

‘If we do not detect and contain disease outbreaks early, we cannot achieve our developmental goals.’

Africa’s preparedness efforts have been boosted with $19 million donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with some of it going towards training.

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Source: Metro News

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Coronavirus UK: Family found dead in lockdown murder-suicide

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A family of four including two adults and two girls aged just three and five have been found dead along with their pet dog at home in a picturesque West Sussex village.

The £500,000 property in Woodmancote was home to builder Robert Needham, 42, his mother Maureen, 77, his partner Kelly Fitzgibbons, 40, and their two children Ava, five, and Lexi, three. Mr Needham, Ms Fitzgibbons and the girls were all found dead.

It came just two days after Ms Fitzgibbons posted a series of photos on Facebook of her family out in the countryside last Friday under the heading ‘our walk for the day’. 

Maureen Needham, at a location away from the home at the time of the deaths, said on Facebook today: ‘It was Robert, Kelly and my lovely grandchildren that all died upstairs.’  She wrote this under a picture of the family posted online last Wednesday.

Sussex Police went to the three-bedroom home at 6.45pm on Sunday after receiving a call raising a welfare concern for the residents. All four were pronounced dead at the scene, along with the dog, which was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Bill. 

Detectives launched a murder probe, amid suspicions over a possible murder-suicide. Officers confirmed they are not seeking anyone else in connection with it.

Mr Needham owned a company called Needham Building Services which specialised in domestic construction, but this was dissolved last October. Since then he had been building an extension for his family after moving back into his mother’s home.

The killing death toll during the coronavirus lockdown which began last Monday is now at nine, after three other incidents in Wales, Hertfordshire and South Yorkshire.

The Sussex murders were the latest in a string of cases at the weekend at the end of Britain’s first week on lockdown, following concerns raised when the measures were imposed of a possible increase in domestic violence and mental health issues. 

The other cases saw:   

  • Former Asda worker Ruth Williams found unconscious at home in Cwmbran, South Wales, at 7am on Saturday before dying in hospital – and her husband Tony Williams later charged with murder; 
  • NHS nurse and mother-of-three Victoria Woodhall, who worked at Rotherham General Hospital, killed in the street in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, at 5pm on Sunday – and her husband Craig Woodhall also later charged with murder;
  • Police investigating after the ‘suspicious’ deaths of Gary Walker, 57, his wife Caroline, 50, and their daughter Katie, 24, who were found dead after a fire tore through their home in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, on Sunday at 12.30pm. 

In West Sussex, Douglas Meany, 70, a retired neighbour of the Needham family, said today: ‘I’ve known the family a very long time. We got on well as neighbours. 

‘As far as I know they were a fairly close-knit family, just normal, but not in each other’s pockets. For a while the house was used as a care home which the family ran.

‘Previous to that Maureen and her husband used to run a village shop. On Sunday I was alerted to the fact there was a lot of activity in the lane outside. I saw two paramedic vehicles, unmarked police cars in the lane as well as marked.  

Robert Needham, 42, his partner Kelly Fitzgibbons, 40, and their two children Ava, five, and Lexi, three, died in a house in Woodmancote, West Sussex, in a suspected murder suicide

Robert Needham, 42, his partner Kelly Fitzgibbons, 40, and their two children Ava, five, and Lexi, three, died in a house in Woodmancote, West Sussex, in a suspected murder suicide

Robert Needham, 42, his partner Kelly Fitzgibbons, 40, and their two children Ava, five, and Lexi, three, died in a house in Woodmancote, West Sussex, in a suspected murder suicide

The deaths came just two days after Ms Fitzgibbons posted a series of pictures on Facebook of her family out in the countryside last Friday under the heading 'our walk for the day'

The deaths came just two days after Ms Fitzgibbons posted a series of pictures on Facebook of her family out in the countryside last Friday under the heading 'our walk for the day'

The deaths came just two days after Ms Fitzgibbons posted a series of pictures on Facebook of her family out in the countryside last Friday under the heading ‘our walk for the day’

A photograph Ms Fitzgibbons posted on Friday - two days before the family were found dead

A photograph Ms Fitzgibbons posted on Friday - two days before the family were found dead

A photograph Ms Fitzgibbons posted on Friday – two days before the family were found dead

'Lovely grandchildren' Ava and Lily (pictured) were found murdered in an upstairs room and their parents, named as Robert and Kelly, were also found dead

'Lovely grandchildren' Ava and Lily (pictured) were found murdered in an upstairs room and their parents, named as Robert and Kelly, were also found dead

‘Lovely grandchildren’ Ava and Lily (pictured) were found murdered in an upstairs room and their parents, named as Robert and Kelly, were also found dead

A blue police evidence tent sits in front of a house this morning (centre) in Woodmancote, West Sussex, after the bodies of two adults and two children were found there on Sunday

A blue police evidence tent sits in front of a house this morning (centre) in Woodmancote, West Sussex, after the bodies of two adults and two children were found there on Sunday

A blue police evidence tent sits in front of a house this morning (centre) in Woodmancote, West Sussex, after the bodies of two adults and two children were found there on Sunday

Maureen Needham, 77, who was at another location away from the home in West Sussex at the time, said on Facebook: ‘It was Robert, Kelly and my lovely grandchildren that all died upstairs’. She wrote the comment under a picture of the family posted online last Wednesday

‘That carried on right through the night, comings and goings, and forensics seemed to arrive at around midnight. At first we didn’t know who or what was involved, but because of the activity it was obviously important. 

‘As there was more police and paramedics involved, we knew that somebody was in trouble, then it came to light that there may have been fatalities and there might have been more than one.’

It comes as health officials said 1,789 people who have tested positive for the virus in Britain have now died as of 5pm yesterday, up 381 from 1,408 the day before.

In West Sussex, Mr Meany added of the four deaths: ‘We were naturally very surprised, it would take a lot for somebody to do that but there was no evidence previously that there was a problem.

‘Robert was building an extension for the family to live in, but whilst he was building that he wasn’t getting an income from any other building work so it might have been that there were issues over finance or it might have been issues over people living together in confined conditions.

‘I think Robert and Kelly and the children tended to stay in a section of the house and Maureen stayed in another section. I don’t know how Robert used to get on with Kelly but there was never any evidence of any discord. 

‘Maureen has relatives in Manchester and near London and she does spend time with them. I don’t know where she is but I would suspect that she might be with one of her daughters.’

Other neighbours of the family also reacted with shock today at the deaths, with one who did not wish to be named telling MailOnline: ‘This is an awful, awful tragedy.

‘It is a very small community and everyone knew the family, who were lovely. We know the police are not looking for anyone else so it makes it all the more shocking.’ 

Mr Needham and his partner Ms Fitzgibbons (above) lived at his mother's home in West Sussex

Mr Needham and his partner Ms Fitzgibbons (above) lived at his mother's home in West Sussex

Mr Needham and his partner Ms Fitzgibbons (above) lived at his mother’s home in West Sussex

Mr Needham and his partner Ms Fitzgibbons had two children - Ava, five, and Lexi, three

Mr Needham and his partner Ms Fitzgibbons had two children - Ava, five, and Lexi, three

Mr Needham and his partner Ms Fitzgibbons had two children – Ava, five, and Lexi, three

Another neighbour said: ‘I looked out there were upwards of eight or 10 police cars and a couple of paramedics vehicles with both marked and unmarked police cars.

‘A lot of activity around one particular house in the lane (on Sunday night), and from there it just emerged that there had been a major incident at the house.

‘The family are, as I understand it, a close family. The house is owned by the grandmother. After her husband died some years ago the son moved back in with his partner and they, between them, had two children.

‘Recently they had been building a very large extension on the house and a brick wall outside on the frontage to replace an old hedge.

‘The owner of the house, I sometimes would take to the doctors or to the hospital because she is somewhat disabled, she has had joint replacements and suffers somewhat with rheumatism.’

He added: ‘What is sad is that we don’t know who is dead over there. The son he always seemed quite calm, collected, laid back, I would say.

Forensics officers work at the scene in Woodmancote this morning. Sussex Police went to the three-bedroom home at 6.45pm on Sunday after receiving a call raising a welfare concern

Forensics officers work at the scene in Woodmancote this morning. Sussex Police went to the three-bedroom home at 6.45pm on Sunday after receiving a call raising a welfare concern

Forensics officers work at the scene in Woodmancote this morning. Sussex Police went to the three-bedroom home at 6.45pm on Sunday after receiving a call raising a welfare concern

Forensic officers lift up tape in Woodmancote today after the family of four were found dead. Police launched a murder investigation, amid suspicions over a possible murder-suicide

Forensic officers lift up tape in Woodmancote today after the family of four were found dead. Police launched a murder investigation, amid suspicions over a possible murder-suicide

Forensic officers lift up tape in Woodmancote today after the family of four were found dead. Police launched a murder investigation, amid suspicions over a possible murder-suicide

Police tape surrounds the garden of a house in the West Sussex village of Woodmancote this morning. Officers confirmed they are not seeking anyone else in connection with the deaths

Police tape surrounds the garden of a house in the West Sussex village of Woodmancote this morning. Officers confirmed they are not seeking anyone else in connection with the deaths

Police tape surrounds the garden of a house in the West Sussex village of Woodmancote this morning. Officers confirmed they are not seeking anyone else in connection with the deaths

‘The mother, whenever I took her out she would say, ‘he’s done this, he’s done that’ – she was quite proud of the fact that he’s got on and done the building work over there.

‘You can never tell what’s going on behind doors. I’ve never heard any sound of argument coming from the house.’ 

Sussex Police Chief Superintendent Jerry Westerman said: ‘This is believed to be an isolated incident contained to one property and in these early stages of the investigation we are not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident.’

Locals were warned of a heightened police presence, and anyone with information was told contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting Operation Cotton.

It is one of a string of murder investigations now under way after multiple domestic killings during the lockdown, with a total of nine people killed in four incidents:

VICTORIA WOODHALL, 31 – BARNSLEY, SOUTH YORKSHIRE, SUNDAY, 5pm

In South Yorkshire, a 40-year-old husband has been charged with murdering his healthcare worker wife aged 31 – with whom it was said he had recently broken up with despite marrying her only six months ago. She was stabbed to death.  

Craig Woodhall, of Barnsley, has been charged with the murder of his wife Victoria Woodhall (pictured together)

Craig Woodhall, of Barnsley, has been charged with the murder of his wife Victoria Woodhall (pictured together)

Craig Woodhall, of Barnsley, has been charged with the murder of his wife Victoria Woodhall (pictured together)

Mother-of-three Victoria Woodhall, 31, was stabbed multiple times on Sunday evening outside her home in the village of Middlecliffe, near Barnsley in South Yorkshire

Mother-of-three Victoria Woodhall, 31, was stabbed multiple times on Sunday evening outside her home in the village of Middlecliffe, near Barnsley in South Yorkshire

Mother-of-three Victoria Woodhall, 31, was stabbed multiple times on Sunday evening outside her home in the village of Middlecliffe, near Barnsley in South Yorkshire

Forensic teams arrive to the scene of the murder yesterday after mother-of-three Mrs Woodhall was stabbed multiple times outside her home in Middlecliffe, near Barnsley

Forensic teams arrive to the scene of the murder yesterday after mother-of-three Mrs Woodhall was stabbed multiple times outside her home in Middlecliffe, near Barnsley

Forensic teams arrive to the scene of the murder yesterday after mother-of-three Mrs Woodhall was stabbed multiple times outside her home in Middlecliffe, near Barnsley

Mother-of-three Victoria Woodhall, who worked at Rotherham General Hospital, was attacked in Windsor Crescent in the Middlecliffe area of Barnsley just before 5pm on Sunday.

Women’s Aid say more resources are needed amid the coronavirus lockdown as domestic abuse cases surge

Northern Ireland’s main domestic violence charity has called for more resources as it braces itself for a surge in the number of cases due to coronavirus.

Women’s Aid urged a ‘guaranteed commitment’ from Stormont’ ministers following restrictions imposed on movement and official encouragement to stay at home.

Police are also geared up for more cases of domestic violence as homes are put under strain by extended periods of self-isolation, a senior commander said.

A Women’s Aid statement said: ‘We need resources and a guaranteed commitment across the whole of the UK to support all victims of domestic violence and abuse.

‘We are in uncharted territory and all domestic violence charities are bracing themselves for a marked increase in numbers of people coming forward.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said victims who are isolated with their abusers during the lockdown sparked by Covid-19 will not be forgotten.

According to Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) statistics, while overall crime has decreased, domestic abuse incidents and crimes with a domestic abuse motivation have increased.

In 2019 there were 31,705 incidents, a rise of 399 (1.3%) on the previous year and one of the highest recorded since 2004.

The number of crimes reached 18,033, an increase of 2,322 (14.8%).

There were 17 domestic abuse incidents and 10 domestic abuse crimes per 1,000 population.

Five of the 11 policing districts showed an increase in incidents and all districts had higher levels of crime.

Today, forklift truck driver Mr Woodhall appeared at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court charged with murder – and was remanded in custody to appear at Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday. 

The couple got married just six months ago but were said to have recently broken up. They have two sons together. 

Gareth Cowley, Mrs Woodhall’s ex-husband and her childhood friend of 20 years, said his 13-year-old daughter, who he had with the NHS nurse, is in ‘bits’ after hearing news of her mother’s death.

Posting on Facebook, he wrote: ‘I can’t believe this has happened. She was the most amazing mum to my daughter even though we weren’t together anymore.

‘When we were married she was absolutely amazing and would do absolutely anything for anyone. When we split we still talked on and off.

‘To go from me and my daughter seeing her yesterday afternoon before she went back home to being told this, I really truthfully don’t know what to say. My daughter is in absolute bits.’

Police said a post-mortem carried out on March 30 found that the cause of death was ‘multiple stab wounds’. 

Tributes have been paid Mrs Woodhall and a GoFundMe page has been set up by her friends, Donna Wetherall and Kelly Sims, to raise money towards funeral costs and to help her children.

Ms Wetherall and Ms Sims said Mrs Woodhall was an operating department practitioner, who was ‘always helping others’ and ‘lived for her children’.

They said: ‘Victoria worked really hard at university, qualifying to become an ODP at the Rotherham General Hospital.

‘She will be deeply missed by friends, family and her children.

‘She was lovely and caring, always helping others, lived for her children, and sadly she was taken away at a young age of 31.’

The page raised nearly £4,000 in 24 hours and the pair who set it up said: ‘Thank you to all that donated, we are overwhelmed by the response. Vicky would truly be amazed.’

At the scene of Mrs Woodhall’s death, white-suited forensic officers wearing face masks could be seen at a property in the street.

A card on a floral tribute attached to the fence outside read: ‘Taken from us. Always in our hearts and thoughts. A loving mummy, daughter and sister. xxxxx.’ 

RUTH WILLIAMS, 67 – CWMBRAN, SOUTH WALES, SATURDAY, 7AM

In South Wales, a husband appeared in court yesterday accused of strangling his wife of 44 years at their semi-detached home.  

Anthony Williams (left), 69, is accused of killing wife Ruth (right), 67, at their semi-detached home in Cwmbran, South Wales, on Saturday, where they had been self isolating

Anthony Williams (left), 69, is accused of killing wife Ruth (right), 67, at their semi-detached home in Cwmbran, South Wales, on Saturday, where they had been self isolating

Anthony Williams (left), 69, is accused of killing wife Ruth (right), 67, at their semi-detached home in Cwmbran, South Wales, on Saturday, where they had been self isolating

Mrs Williams (pictured) was found 'unconscious and unresponsive' at the property in South Wales and died later in hospital of suspected head injuries

Mrs Williams (pictured) was found 'unconscious and unresponsive' at the property in South Wales and died later in hospital of suspected head injuries

Mrs Williams (pictured) was found ‘unconscious and unresponsive’ at the property in South Wales and died later in hospital of suspected head injuries

The couple had been self isolating at their home (file picture) in Cwmbran, South Wales

The couple had been self isolating at their home (file picture) in Cwmbran, South Wales

The couple had been self isolating at their home (file picture) in Cwmbran, South Wales

Tony Williams, 69, is charged with murdering his wife Ruth, 67, a former Asda worker, who was found ‘unconscious and unresponsive’ at the couple’s house.

Mrs Williams, from Cwmbran, died in hospital of suspected strangulation, a court heard.

Ben Williams, defending, said: ‘They were in a loving 44-year marriage – her death is a mystery.’

Williams, a retired construction worker, was remanded in custody and will appear at Cardiff Crown Court today.

Mrs Williams was found unconscious shortly before 7am on Saturday. It is understood she received her injuries hours earlier.

One neighbour described the couple as ‘devoted’ and said Mrs Williams was ‘always really nice and chatty’.

GARY WALKER, 57, CAROLINE WALKER, 50, KATIE WALKER, 24 – HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HERTFORDSHIRE, SUNDAY, 12.30pm 

Meanwhile a married couple and their daughter were killed after a fire tore through their home in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, on Sunday evening. 

Detectives are investigating the deaths of a father, his wife and their daughter at a house in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire - which is pictured today

Detectives are investigating the deaths of a father, his wife and their daughter at a house in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire - which is pictured today

Detectives are investigating the deaths of a father, his wife and their daughter at a house in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire – which is pictured today

A floral tribute outside the property in Hemel Hempstead today after the house fire on Sunday

A floral tribute outside the property in Hemel Hempstead today after the house fire on Sunday

A floral tribute outside the property in Hemel Hempstead today after the house fire on Sunday

Firefighters smashed the front door down after smoke was spotted pouring out of a window at the end-of-terrace house where draughtsman Gary Walker, 57, his wife Caroline, 50, and their 24-year-old daughter Katie lived.

Fears of a rise in mental health homicides amid strain on NHS  

Fears have been voiced of a spike in the number of mental health-related killings amid the coronavirus crisis.

Julian Hendy, director of Leeds-based national charity hundredfamilies, supports those whose lives have been shattered by psychiatric homicides.

Mr Hendy expressed a concern of a rise in cases as anxiety and isolation take its toll on the vulnerable.

He said: ‘We know from official NHS statistics and from other statistics there are about 100 -120 homicides by people with mental illness in the UK every year – so that’s at least two a week as a baseline.

‘I imagine that is going to increase because of the pressures of coronavirus. I have heard reports personally of people having difficulty accessing services.

‘I think mental health services are trying their best to see people by phone but for people in a crisis that’s often not enough.

‘I’m worried about the risk increasing of self-harm but also harm to others.’

He suggested another problem could be mental health staff being diverted to deal with coronavirus patients.

He added: ‘One of my fears as well is that often the crisis plan for people with serious mental illness is if they are having difficulty to go to A&E or to call the police and that seems to be inappropriate in the current climate.’ 

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Mr Hendy set up hundredfamilies.org following the death of his 75-year-old father Philip Hendy in 2007 at the hands of a psychotic man in Bristol who was well known to mental health services.

All three members of the family were pronounced dead at the scene in Hemel Hempstead.

Police are understood to be considering theories – including one family member killing the other two before setting fire to the £400,000 four-bedroom property.

Neighbour Peter Downer, 67, who raised the alarm, speculated there could have been a trigger caused by the lockdown. 

Mr Downer said: ‘What happened is not sort of in character for them. I reckon something has gone wrong. I don’t think it was accidental.

‘They were such a nice family, it is unbelievable. The coronavirus pandemic could have sparked anxieties in them, you just don’t know.

‘If people have mortgages and you don’t know how secure your job is, you are going to be worried.’ 

He added: ‘We called the fire brigade when I saw smoke coming from the toilet. We were shocked when we heard what happened. They were a quiet family and had lived here for a long time.’

Mr Downer said Gary had worked as a draughtsman, while Caroline had worked at a supermarket. Their daughter Katie, 24, worked with animals. 

This morning, the road was cordoned off and a blue police tent remained erected in the garden. A sole bunch of flowers was left at the entrance to the street.

Mr Walker and his wife had lived at the property for around 30 years. The couple also had a son, Christopher, 28, and another daughter, Sarah, 26. 

Another neighbour said: ‘They were a lovely family. They had been here for about 30 years. It is a terrible tragedy. We don’t know what happened.’ 

Detective Iain MacPherson, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit, said the deaths were ‘suspicious’ but that they were not seeking anyone else in connection to the incident.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123, visit a local branch or go to www.samaritans.org   

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People CAN go shopping more than once a week says No 10 after minister says single trip is the limit

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Downing Street was forced to clarify the rules on shopping today after a senior Cabinet sowed confusion by suggesting people could only make one weekly trip to stock up. 

Transport Secretary’s Grant Shapps comments during a television interview this morning appeared to put him at odds with the official Government guidance.

The official coronavirus guidance issued by the Government does not set out how often people are allowed to leave their home to go shopping, but recommends that it is ‘as infrequent as possible’.

Mr Shapps made the comments in a BBC interview, after police forces were accused of heavy-handed tactics in enforcing the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Government.

He acknowledged there had been ‘teething problems’ but said people should follow the rules.

‘People know the rules that have been set, try and shop just once a week,’ he told the BBC.

‘Just do the essentials, not everything else.’

But asked about Mr Shapps’ comments a short time later, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘The guidance does not specify that, no, the guidance says it should be ”as infrequent as possible”.’

Mr Shapps made the comments in a BBC interview, after police forces were accused of heavy-handed tactics in enforcing the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Government.

Mr Shapps made the comments in a BBC interview, after police forces were accused of heavy-handed tactics in enforcing the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Government.

Mr Shapps made the comments in a BBC interview, after police forces were accused of heavy-handed tactics in enforcing the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Government.

The official coronavirus guidance issued by the Government does not set out how often people are allowed to leave their home to go shopping, but recommends that it is 'as infrequent as possible'.

The official coronavirus guidance issued by the Government does not set out how often people are allowed to leave their home to go shopping, but recommends that it is 'as infrequent as possible'.

The official coronavirus guidance issued by the Government does not set out how often people are allowed to leave their home to go shopping, but recommends that it is ‘as infrequent as possible’.

He went on to say that for some people ‘their judgment will be that that will be once a week, but it’s not what the guidance specifies’.

The spokesman added: ‘The guidance in relation to only making journeys when necessary and shopping as infrequently as possible is very clear.’

Mr Shapps said there had been ‘one or two instances’ of police being overzealous with enforcement measures but forces were generally being ‘sensible’.

He said: ‘I think the police are doing a difficult job.

‘There will be one or two instances where they have perhaps not approached it in the right way but in general, actually, across the country not only are people complying very well but, generally speaking, the police are taking a very sensible approach to it.’

Mr Shapps also said people should not be getting into cars to drive to the countryside to take their daily exercise.

‘The simple thing is, if at all possible, please take exercise close to your home,’ he told the BBC.

‘I’ve got dogs and, rather than put them in the car and drive somewhere with them, it’s about stepping out of the house and walking them around the block, or whatever it requires.’

However, the Government guidance differs from what has actually been made law.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 for England, which were enacted on Thursday giving police powers to enforce rules with fines and even arrests, says: ‘During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.’

A reasonable excuse includes to buy food and exercise.

The legislation does not specify – or limit – how many times per day someone can leave their house. Neither does it forbid people from using cars or any other vehicle in any circumstance.

Source: BBC – Daily Mail

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Coronavirus UK: Death toll hits 1,798 as over 22k test positive

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A record-breaking 390 coronavirus deaths have been announced in the UK today, taking the total to 1,798 fatalities.

It marks the darkest day so far for the NHS, which has seen patients dying by the dozen in hospitals in every corner of the country.

And the figure is more than twice as high as it was yesterday, when only 180 new fatalities were announced. 

One of today’s victims was just 19 years old and didn’t have any other health conditions, making them the UK’s youngest otherwise-healthy patient to have died. 

England is at the centre of Britain’s crisis and 1,651 people there have died after testing positive for COVID-19 in a hospital. Meanwhile more than 60 people have died in both Scotland and Wales, plus around 30 in Northern Ireland. 

Today’s development comes after government statisticians revealed this morning that the true death toll may be 24 per cent higher when people who died outside of NHS hospitals are added in to the count.

The Office for National Statistics found that 210 people had died in the UK by March 20, when the Government had only record 170 in the same time frame – a difference of 24 per cent. If that ratio remains true today the true number of people dead could be 2,230. 

Other developments in the UK’s crisis include:

  • Utility companies warned there is a risk staff shortages will lead to power cuts and have written to vulnerable customers to make sure they’re prepared
  • Statistics have revealed the early coronavirus deaths in the UK were overwhelmingly elderly and male, with over-85s making up 47% of all fatalities
  • Hundreds of shoppers sparked fury in Bristol after being spotted buying plants and headphones on leisurely shopping trips despite a Government lockdown
  • Foreign NHS staff will receive automatic visa extensions from the Government to enable them to stay in the UK fighting the coronavirus outbreak
  • London, Sheffield, Birmingham and Slough have the highest rates of coronavirus infections in the UK, per 100,000 people, according to official data
  • NHS Blood and Transplant has said it is rejecting organ transplants from donors infected with the coronavirus
Medical staff are pictured wheeling a patient out of an ambulance at St Thomas' Hospital in London today. The capital city, home to around nine million people, is at the centre of the UK's crisis

Medical staff are pictured wheeling a patient out of an ambulance at St Thomas' Hospital in London today. The capital city, home to around nine million people, is at the centre of the UK's crisis

Medical staff are pictured wheeling a patient out of an ambulance at St Thomas’ Hospital in London today. The capital city, home to around nine million people, is at the centre of the UK’s crisis

An ambulance is pictured outside the ExCeL conference centre in London, which has been converted into a makeshift hospital for coronavirus patients

An ambulance is pictured outside the ExCeL conference centre in London, which has been converted into a makeshift hospital for coronavirus patients

An ambulance is pictured outside the ExCeL conference centre in London, which has been converted into a makeshift hospital for coronavirus patients

In its statement published this afternoon, NHS England said: ‘A further 367 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in England to 1,651.

‘Patients were aged between 19 and 98 years old and all but 28 patients (aged between 19 and 91 years old) had underlying health conditions.’ 

Increases in positive tests today pushed the number of diagnosed coronavirus patients in Scotland to 1,993, 1,563 in Wales and 586 in Northern Ireland.

An update on the number of positive tests in England is expected from the Department of Health later this afternoon.

Experts believe the true number of people who have been infected with the coronavirus could now be more than two million, but the Government is only testing people ill enough to be admitted to hospital.

Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser to the Government, has said there could be around 1,000 cases for every one person who dies.

With a death count of 1,798, this could mean almost 1.8million people have been infected with the virus.  

Sir Patrick, speaking at yesterday’s Government briefing, said the number of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 is going up ‘in a constant amount’.

The number of hospital patients has risen to around 9,000 from just 4,300 last Thursday. 

But Sir Patrick assured the public the fact the NHS was seeing an additional 1,000 patients a day with coronavirus-related admissions was ‘not an acceleration’ and that the health service was still coping. 

The new death figures come after a set of statistics this morning suggested the number of people dying could be 24 per cent higher than the NHS says. 

Patients who had COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificates numbered 210 in England and Wales up to March 20, the Office for National Statistics revealed.

Sheffield and Slough are coronavirus hotspots in the UK, not far behind London which continues to speed ahead. London has 64 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Sheffield, in South Yorkshire, with 52 cases. Birmingham is third with 50 cases per 100,000, followed by Slough, a town in Berkshire, with 49 cases per 100,000

Sheffield and Slough are coronavirus hotspots in the UK, not far behind London which continues to speed ahead. London has 64 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Sheffield, in South Yorkshire, with 52 cases. Birmingham is third with 50 cases per 100,000, followed by Slough, a town in Berkshire, with 49 cases per 100,000

Sheffield and Slough are coronavirus hotspots in the UK, not far behind London which continues to speed ahead. London has 64 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Sheffield, in South Yorkshire, with 52 cases. Birmingham is third with 50 cases per 100,000, followed by Slough, a town in Berkshire, with 49 cases per 100,000

Statistics released this morning revealed basic details about the first 108 people in Britain to have COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate. Elderly people and men were the worst affected, the data showed

Statistics released this morning revealed basic details about the first 108 people in Britain to have COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate. Elderly people and men were the worst affected, the data showed

Statistics released this morning revealed basic details about the first 108 people in Britain to have COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate. Elderly people and men were the worst affected, the data showed








STATISTICS REVEAL DETAILS OF FIRST 108 UK COVID-19 DEATHS 

Three quarters of the UK’s first coronavirus fatalities were over the age of 75, according to official statistics. 

Details of the first 108 people to die from COVID-19 in England and Wales have emerged today in figures revealing deaths outside of NHS hospitals for the first time.

They show that 59 per cent of the victims up to March 20 were male, a total of 64 out of 108, while 44 women died.

Only one person under the age of 44 was counted among the fatalities and 73 per cent (79 people) were over the age of 75.

The numbers, published by the Government’s Office for National Statistics, revealed that the true death toll of the virus may be 24 per cent higher than NHS data shows.

The ONS recorded 210 deaths up to and including March 20 in England and Wales, during which time the Department of Health tallied only 170.

The higher figure includes anyone who had COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate, whether it was a direct cause of death or not. Some may not have even been tested. 

Statistics show the majority of the first coronavirus deaths in England and Wales were among people aged over 85.

There were 45 deaths among over-85s; 34 deaths in the 75-84 age group; 21 deaths between 65 and 74; seven for 45 to 64-year-olds; and one between 15 and 44. There were none among children. 

The single hardest-hit age group was men over 85, among whom there were 27 fatalities. There were 20 among men aged 75-84, and 18 for female over-85s.

This was 24 per cent higher than the 170 deaths recorded by NHS England and Public Health Wales during the same time frame. 

If the ratio has stayed true since that time, the true current number of fatalities could be around 1,739 instead of the official 1,408.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has launched a new data series adding in the numbers of people who have died with or after having COVID-19 in the community, including those who died in care homes or their own houses.

Coronavirus was not necessarily the cause of death for every one of the patients, but was believed to have been a factor. 

The statistics show that only one of the UK’s first 108 coronavirus victims was under the age of 44. 60 per cent of them were men and 93 per cent were aged over 65. 

The data does not include Scotland or Northern Ireland – up to March 20, eight people had died in the those countries (six in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland), suggesting the true figure could have been 10.

Anyone who has the virus – for which at least 22,141 people have tested positive in the UK – mentioned on their death certificate will be included in the weekly statistics.

This adds to the daily updates coming from NHS hospitals around the country where adults of all ages are dying in intensive care units. 

It comes after it was revealed that King’s College Hospital in London has had three times as many deaths as official figures show and there are concerns the true figure is days or even weeks behind because of how long it takes to confirm cases.

In France, senior officials have admitted they expect their national count is wrong because of delays and unreported deaths happening outside of hospitals. 

The ONS showed that a total 210 deaths in England and Wales that occurred up to and including March 20 (and which were registered up to March 25) had COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate.

This compares with 170 coronavirus-related deaths reported by NHS England and Public Health Wales up to and including March 20. 

The majority of the deaths reported by health authorities around the UK have taken place in the 10 days since March 20.

During that period the fatality total has risen almost 10-fold from 177 to 1,408. 

While statistics have until now only counted people dying in NHS hospitals, new counts will show any death that medics link to the virus, wherever it happens.

Death tolls around the UK are expected to soar in the coming days and weeks as people who caught the virus before the country was put into lockdown succumb to the disease.

It can take up to three weeks before somebody is killed by COVID-19, suggesting there could be another fortnight before the effects of last Monday’s travel restrictions start to show.

It has been one week since Britons were told not to go outside unless it was necessary.

As well as a delay between people catching the virus and dying, there can also be lags between someone’s death and it being officially announced.

NHS staff have to test critically ill patients more than once to confirm they have the disease and must also notify their families.

Death statistics being shared by NHS hospitals have already shown time lags of 10 days or more.








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