Coronavirus UK news – Christmas covid plan to be unveiled NEXT WEEK with 3rd month-long lockdown predicted for January

THE Government will unveil its Christmas coronavirus next week, Number 10 confirmed today.

A Downing Street spokesman said that Christmas gathering rules and “details of the next phase” of restrictions will be unveiled before the end of the month and ahead of December 2 – the date Lockdown 2 was due to end,

It is believed up to four households will be allowed to mix together indoors over a four-day weekend that begins on Christmas Eve and ends on December 28th.

The government is expected to clarify whether "meeting indoors" might be extended to meetings in pubs and restaurants, seeing as the current nationwide lockdown is due to end on December 2nd.

But SAGE experts have warned that the country is currently too fixated on a normal Christmas, adding that a five-day festive weekend would require a 25-day nationwide lockdown in January to bring the inevitable spike in infections back to manageable levels.

One expert, Professor Gabriel Scally, went even further, telling Good Morning Britain: "There is no point in having a very merry Christmas and then burying friends and relations in January and February."

Follow our coronavirus updates below

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    MINK KILLED DUE TO MUTATED COVID STRAIN

    Minks that were put down are transported to machines to further process them.

    Mink farms throughout Denmark have been ordered by the government to cull all animals to prevent the spread of a new discovered mutated coronavirus.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    MUTATED COVID STRAIN FROM MINK 'MOST LIKELY' EXTINCT

    A new mutated strain of the coronavirus stemming from mink farms in Denmark is “most likely” extinct, Denmark's Ministry of Health said today, citing an assessment from the State Serum Institute, which deals with infectious diseases.

    No infections with the new virus variant, known as Cluster-5, had been registered since September 15, the ministry said.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    FOUR IN 10 CONTACTS STILL NOT BEING REACHED THROUGH TEST AND TRACE

    Around four in 10 contacts of people testing positive for Covid-19 are still not being reached through the Test and Trace system.

    Some 60.5% of close contacts of people who tested positive in England were reached in the week ending November 11, according to the latest data from the Department of Health and Social Care.

    It is the fifth week in a row that the figure has been just above 60% – meaning a little under 40% of contacts continue to be missed.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    VACCINATING PEOPLE OUTSIDE AT-RISK GROUPS MAY END PANDEMIC EARLIER

    Giving Covid-19 vaccines to healthy people as well as those at risk “could get us to the end of a pandemic much earlier”, the head of the Oxford vaccine group has said.

    Professor Andrew Pollard said that if jabs were shown to work in preventing people transmitting the virus to one another, they could be rolled out more widely after at-risk groups are vaccinated.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    FRESH AIR IN ENCLOSED SPACES CAN HELP REDUCE SPREAD OF COVID

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    CITY OF DERRY AIRPORT RECEIVES £1.23M TO SURVIVE PANDEMIC

    City of Derry Airport has received £1.23 million in additional support to help it survive the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Stormont Executive is also giving “urgent consideration” to further support for Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said.

    Travel has been among the hardest hit industries throughout the pandemic.

    The £1.23 million grant for Derry is based on 50% of its deficit for this financial year, and is aimed to help the airport remain operational.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    MORE THAN 4,700 JOBS AT RISK AS PEACOCKS AND JAEGER FALL INTO ADMINISTRATION

    Fashion chains Peacocks and Jaeger have fallen into administration, putting more than 4,700 jobs and almost 500 shops at risk.

    The retailers, which were both part of billionaire Philip Day's EWM Group retail empire, confirmed on Thursday that they have appointed administrators from FRP Advisory.

    The administrators said no redundancies or store closures have been confirmed yet.

    An EWM Group spokeswoman said: “In recent weeks we have had constructive discussions with a number of potential buyers for Peacocks and Jaeger Ltd but the continuing deterioration of the retail sector due to the impact of the pandemic and second lockdown have made this process longer and more complex than we would have hoped.”

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    PUBS ACROSS NI AND IRELAND TO SWITCH ON CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SIMULTANEOUSLY

    Pubs across Northern Ireland and the Republic will simultaneously switch on Christmas lights this Friday at 5pm.

    The event is designed to highlight the role of local bars in society and the struggle publicans, bar staff and their families face to keep the lights on during the pandemic.

    Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said pubs had invested heavily in ensuring their outlets were ready to reopen safely.

    “Whether it's physical infrastructure such as PPE, Perspex screens and hand sanitiser or training for staff, we know that they have done the necessary to ensure that pubs can reopen safely alongside other sectors such as retail,” he said.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    FURTHER SUPPORT FOR CREDIT CARD AND PERSONAL LOAN CUSTOMERS

    Further support for borrowers whose finances have been affected by coronavirus, such as those with credit cards and personal loans, has been confirmed by the City regulator.

    The Financial Conduct Authority is updating its guidance for firms, which also covers store cards, catalogue credit, rent-to-own, buy now, pay later, pawnbroking, motor finance and payday loans.

    Consumers will have until March 31, 2021 to apply for an initial or a further payment holiday.

    After that date, they will be able to extend existing deferrals to July 31, 2021, provided these extensions cover consecutive payments, and subject to a maximum of six months' worth of deferrals being allowed.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    COVID RATES FALLING FOR MOST ADULT AGE GROUPS

    Covid-19 case rates in England have fallen for most adult age groups, though they are continuing to rise among people over 70, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England.

    The highest rate is still among 20 to 29 year-olds, which stood at 362.1 cases per 100,000 people in the week to November 15, down from 389.9 in the previous week.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    SUPERMARKETS MOST COMMON EXPOSURE SETTING FOR COVID

    Supermarkets are the most common exposure setting for people catching Covid-19, according to new data calculated by Public Health England.

    Analysing figures collected through the NHS Test and Trace app, PHE found the second most common location reported by those who tested positive for the virus were secondary schools.

    They were followed by primary schools, and then hospitals, and then care homes.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    HOW DOES THE NHS COVID-19 APP WORK?

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    MASS TESTINGS OF STUDENTS IN SCOTLAND

    Mass testing of students planning to head home for Christmas will begin at the end of the month at some Scottish universities.

    The University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews have announced plans to offer the voluntary tests from November 30.

    The Scottish Government is working with universities across the country and the UK Government's testing programme to offer free lateral flow testing, which can provide results in 30 minutes.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    VACCINE BOSS SUGGESTS 'RETURN TO NORMAL LIFE' BY SECOND HALF OF 2021

    The boss of one of the companies leading the charge for a coronavirus vaccine has expressed hope that there is “a light at the end of the tunnel”.

    Albert Bourla, chief executive of pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which has announced results of 95% efficacy in its vaccine, said that if vaccination was successful, normal life would return.
    Speaking to Sky News he said: “There is light at the end of the tunnel, it's real. We never believed to have a vaccine of this efficiency so people need to be patient.

    “I believe that the second half of 2021 will be a very different experience for a lot of us.

    “I think if we will be able to vaccinate, we can go back to normal life.”

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    MUM AND TWO SONS DIE OF COVID FIVE DAYS APART

    The triple funeral of a mum and her two sons who died from coronavirus within five days of each other took place today.

    Grandmother Gladys Lewis, 74, from Pentre, South Wales, died at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital on October 29.

    Her son Dean Lewis, 44, was found unresponsive at his home in nearby Treorchy the following day and pronounced dead a short time later.

    Younger brother Darren, 42, died on November 2 following treatment in intensive care at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

    All three had tested positive for coronavirus before they died, and their death certificates state Covid-19 as the cause.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    CHARITIES URGES CHANCELLOR TO INVEST TO HELP HOMELESS

    The Salvation Army is urging the Government not to squander progress made in tackling rough sleeping during the coronavirus pandemic as this group faces “the worst Christmas in years”.

    Almost 30 groups and charities are calling on the Government to make a significant investment and not cut homelessness funding in next week's spending review.

    In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, also signed by 28 other organisations, the charity warns that the long-term outlook for homelessness and rough sleeping “currently looks bleak”.

  • John Hall

    GLOBAL ECONOMY WILL ONLY RETURN TO PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS BY 2022, SAYS EXPERT

    Experts say global economic growth will only return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.

    Sunny Verghese of Olam International said: “I don't see V-shaped recovery. We've come down in an escalator, but we're going to go back up the stairs.”

    The comments came at the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) conference, just as recent positive data from two COVID-19 vaccine trials, which gave hope that the global economy would be back to normal by next year.

  • John Hall

    ASTI 'DISMAYED' THAT VULNERABLE STAFF ARE STILL REQUIRED TO WORK IN SCHOOLS IN IRELAND

    Kieran Christie from The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) says he is “dismayed” that pregnant teachers and other vulnerable staff and students are still required to attend school during the pandemic.

    He said: “In every school there are teachers and students who are vulnerable in terms of their health status or particular personal circumstances, including pregnancy”

    “The ASTI is dismayed that many of these members have been required to attend schools and no remote or reasonable accommodations have been implemented to allow them to participate in their work or studies in a more appropriate setting.”

    He added: “Teachers are essential workers in the education system. It is essential that schools are safe spaces for teachers and students: health, safety and welfare must be the priority of school management and the Department of Education and Skills.

    “Teacher workload and focusing on their wellbeing underpin the overall policy in ensuring that schools are open in a manner which is both safe and sustainable.”

  • John Hall

    NEW CORONAVIRUS TESTING CENTRE OPENS AT DUBLIN AIRPORT

    A new coronavirus testing centre has opened at Dublin Airport with the capacity to conduct thousands of tests per day.

    The drive-through facility, operated by Irish healthcare company RocDoc, officially began its operations this morning.

    The firm believes it can help facilitate safer national and international travel ahead of the Christmas period.

  • John Hall

    ARTHRITIS DRUG 'EFFECTIVE IN TREATING CRITICALLY ILL COVID-19 PATIENTS'

    A drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis can improve clinical outcomes of critically ill patients with Covid-19, early results suggest.

    Tocilizumab, a medicine that suppresses the immune system and reduces inflammation, has been shown to be effective in treating patients in intensive care units with severe Covid-19.

    This was when compared with patients who did not receive any immune-modulating drugs, which help to activate, boost or restore normal immune function.

    Professor Anthony Gordon, chairman in anaesthesia and critical care at Imperial College London and a consultant in intensive care medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “These early findings show that treatment with this immune modulating drug is effective for critically ill Covid-19 patients in intensive care units.

    “When we have the results available from all participants, we hope our findings will offer clear guidance to clinicians for improving the outcomes of the sickest Covid-19 patients.”

  • John Hall

    SPORTS ARENA COULD HOST ONE OF UK'S FIRST MASS COVID VACCINATION CENTRES

    One of the UK's first Covid-19 mass vaccination centres could be set up in a sports arena.

    Derby City Council confirmed talks were under way with the Government to use Derby Arena as a temporary facility to help administer the vaccine, developed by Pfizer.

    The vaccine, said to be 95% effective, is currently awaiting national approval from the UK medicines regulator following successful clinical trial testing on 43,500 people.

  • John Hall

    WUHAN LAUNCHES NEW AD TO ATTRACT TOURISTS

    Wuhan, where coronavirus was first reported, is attempting to encourage tourists to return with a new glossy travel campaign.

    A video titled “Let's meet in Wuhan” has been released by the Wuhan Culture and Tourism Bureau to attract holidaymakers.

    “Wuhan is never stingy in presenting its beauty, and we, who love it, hope more people can understand,” the bureau posted to Chinese social media site, Weibo.

    “[We] look forward to meeting you in Wuhan.”

    More on the story here

  • John Hall

    'STOP IGNORING US'

    Grieving families who lost loved ones during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic have projected video messages on to the Palace of Westminster asking the Prime Minister to meet with them.

    Organised by campaign groups Led by Donkeys and Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK, the relatives featured in the videos urged Boris Johnson to stop “ignoring” them.

    Lobby Akinnola, whose father Olufemi died from the virus in April, said: “I would do anything to have my dad back, but I can't. So instead I'm going to try and emulate him – and care for other people, and use everything I can to make sure that no-one else has to experience this.

    “There are lessons to be learned here that can prevent other people from feeling the pain that I feel every day.”

  • John Hall

    32 BILLION PIECES OF PPE

    Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed the Government would received more criticism if it had acted slowly to secure personal protective equipment (PPE) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Labour raised concerns over a lack of transparency and cronyism for the procurement process, but Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs: “The issue with procurement was there was a great deal that had to be done and that had to be procured extremely quickly.

    “The Government would have been much more criticised if it had not actually ensured that the equipment needed was provided.”

    Mr Rees-Mogg said 32 billion pieces of PPE have been provided since the beginning of the pandemic.

  • John Hall

    DROP IN ATM WITHDRAWALS

    Cash withdrawals have dropped by as much as 60% during the pandemic, according to a study by Link, the UK’s biggest cash machine network.

    Withdrawals, however, seem to be growing slowly, meaning people are still reluctant to handle cash.

    Experts at ABC Finance said: “We are seeing this grow each month, which is to be expected as more services return to trading and the economy opens up.

    “That being said, the growth in transactions appears to be slower than the growth in the economy, suggesting that people are still reluctant to handle cash.”

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