Covid UK news LIVE – Three metre rule must be enforced, experts say as supermarkets get tough on coronavirus masks

POLICE have vowed to get tougher than ever with coronavirus lockdown flouters.

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said it was “preposterous” that anyone could still be unaware of the tough measures in place, adding that it was now "increasingly likely" flouters would be fined.

And today SAGE experts recommended a new three-metre social distancing rule to combat huge growth in the virus – a move that would change advice from “one metre plus" to “two metres plus”, according to the Daily Mail.

The news comes as a string of supermarkets vowed to crackdown on those refusing to wear a mask in stores.

Morrisons said customers refusing to wear a mask without an official medical exemption will be told to leave, while Sainsbury’s said security will "challenge” shoppers who aren't wearing masks or are walking in groups.

Follow the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis in our live blog below.

  • Christy Cooney

    QUARTER OF COVID ADMISSIONS IN ENGLAND UNDER 55

    A quarter of all coronavirus admissions in England are under 55, the head of NHS England has said.

    Appearing before the public accounts committee on Monday, Sir Simon Stevens discussed the pressure on hospitals caused by the virus, which he said is now spreading "out of control".

    “In London perhaps one in 30 people has the coronavirus, in parts of London it may be twice that number," he said.

    "In Merseyside in just the last week there has been a further 50% increase in the number of Covid hospitalisations.

    “It’s worth remembering that this affects all ages. A quarter of the Covid admissions to hospital right now are for people aged under 55.”

  • Christy Cooney

    TRANSPORT WORKERS CALL FOR BETTER PROTECTION

    Staff on London's transport services are calling for better protection from the coronavirus, the BBC reports.

    Fifty-seven staff from the network – including 42 on London's buses, eight on the tubes and rail, three office staff, and four from partner bodies – have died since the start of the pandemic.

    The Rail, Maritime and Transport union has called for all vulnerable workers to be sent home and for higher-quality PPE to be made available.

    Representing the union, Mick Cash said: "The only way we can get through the pandemic to the other side of a vaccinated and safe London is if transport staff are adequately protected."

    The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association has also said essential transport workers should be given a vaccine.

  • Christy Cooney

    IN PICTURES – A WOMAN GIVES A THUMB UP AS SHE LEAVES THE VACCINATION HUB AT THE EXCEL CENTRE, LONDON

  • Christy Cooney

    ASDA TO TURN AWAY CUSTOMERS WITHOUT MASKS

    Asda has said it will begin refusing customers entry to its stores if they are not wearing a mask.

    It becomes the latest in a string of supermarkets – including Sainsbury's and Morrisons – to impose the measures.

    Asda said an exemption would apply for customers with a valid medical reason for not wearing a mask.

    A statement read: "If a customer has forgotten their face covering, we will continue to offer them one free of charge.

    "But should a customer refuse to wear a covering without a valid medical reason and be in any way challenging to our colleagues about doing so – our security colleagues will refuse their entry."

  • Christy Cooney

    EXERCISE RULES NEED CLARIFYING, SAY POLICE LEADERS

    Police leaders have called for the clarification of "woolly" lockdown rules governing the distance people can travel from their homes to exercise.

    It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was seen on Sunday riding his bike in the Olympic Park, Stratford, seven miles from Downing Street.

    Government guidance currently tells the public to only exercise in their local area, but there is no maximum distance set by law.

    Brian Booth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: "The guidance is that you should be local in your own community near where you live but people are far exceeding that.

    "Officers have no power in law to deal with it, so it is a bit of a nonsense really. The guidance is people's moral judgement, should they be doing it, but with regard to policing it – it's impossible."

  • Christy Cooney

    WHO EXPERTS TO VISIT WUHAN FIRST IN VIRUS PROBE

    Scientists from the World Health Organisation investigating the origins of the coronavirus in China will begin their visit in the city of Wuhan, China has said.

    Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the team are due to arrive in the city on Thursday.

    The coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan late last year, and has been traced to a market selling wild animals in the city.

    It comes after WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week criticised China for taking to long to grant investigators entry to the country.

  • Chris Bradford

    JOHN LEWIS SUSPENDS CLICK AND COLLECT DUE TO COVID

    Retailer John Lewis have confirmed it would temporarily suspend click & collect services based within its department stores in a bid to discourage non essential travel.

    The department stores' in-home services and installations teams will also only carry out a significantly reduced range of activities in customers' homes, pausing services which are not essential to the health and wellbeing of customers and their families.

    The partnership's Waitrose supermarket chain has also followed rivals in making the wearing of face coverings by customers mandatory.

  • Chris Bradford

    JAB DELAY

    An A&E nurse has tested positive for coronavirus a month after having his first vaccine dose, and just days after his second dose was cancelled.

    David Longden, 43, is at least the second healthcare worker to fall ill with the disease after having being given one dose of the Pfizer jab.

    Other junior NHS staff members have reported getting the virus after receiving the jab, according to Professor Tim Spector, who heads up the ZOE Symptom Tracker App study.

    It comes after the Government's controversial new plan to leave a three month gap between the necessary two vaccine doses.

    Originally patients were to be given their second dose 21 days after the first, giving them the optimal level of protection.

    The change was made in order to speed up the roll-out during the most serious point of the pandemic, spread doses across a larger population, and therefore save more lives.

    Read more HERE.

     

  • Chris Bradford

    ASDA SAYS CUSTOMERS MUST WEAR FACE MASKS WHEN ENTERING STORES

    ASDA has said that customers who refuse to wear a face mask without a valid medical reason will be denied entry to its stores.

    The supermarket giant followed Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons in making the policy change, which comes after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

    In a statement, an Asda spokesperson said: "If a customer has forgotten their face covering, we will continue to offer them one free of charge – but should a customer refuse to wear a covering without a valid medical reason and be in any way challenging to our colleagues about doing so – our security colleagues will refuse their entry."

  • Chris Bradford

    COPS WILL CLAMP DOWN 'SWIFTLY' ON LOCKDOWN BREACHES, WARNS MET CHIEF

    Police will move "swiftly" to fine people who blatantly ignore coronavirus lockdown rules, Britain's most senior officer has warned.

    Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said officers in London had issued more than 300 notices in the space of 24 hours for "flagrant" violations of the regulations.

    "That is quite a lot. I think it will have an impact and it will encourage more people to recognise that we are in a health crisis," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

    "We are at a terrible time. For the next few weeks, we must absolutely do our best to reduce the spread of the virus."

    Crime and policing minister Kit Malthouse said the Government was closely monitoring the numbers of cases before deciding whether further measures were needed for England.

    "We are at a very, very perilous stage in the progress of this virus through our country," he told Sky News.

  • Chris Bradford

    300K MORE LAPTOPS AND TABLETS FOR DISADVANTAGED PUPILS

    A further 300,000 laptops and tablets will be delivered to schools in England to help disadvantaged children learning from home, the Government has announced.

    The Department for Education (DfE) said the boost brings the total number of laptops and tablets being made available for pupils to 1.3 million, amid concerns that many lack a suitable device in order to study remotely.

    Students in schools and colleges in England – except children of key workers and vulnerable pupils – have been told to learn at home until mid-February due to tighter restrictions.

    Over 100,000 laptops and tablets were delivered last week alone, according to the department, which said that three-quarters of a million devices are expected to have been delivered by the end of this week.

    According to estimates from Ofcom, between 1.14 million and 1.78 million children in the UK (9 per cent) do not have home access to a laptop, desktop or tablet.

  • Christy Cooney

    SWITZERLAND APPROVES MODERNA VACCINE

    The Moderna vaccine has become the second coronavirus vaccine to be approved for use in Switzerland.

    A statement from regulator Swissmedic read: "Following a thorough review of all the submitted data on safety, efficacy and quality, Swissmedic has today temporarily authorised the Moderna vaccine, which is based on an mRNA platform, for use in Switzerland."

    The country already approved the Pfizer/ BioNTech jab in December.

  • Christy Cooney

    FOOD PARCELS 'WOEFULLY INADEQUATE', SAYS STARMER

    The free school meal parcels being sent to some families during the coronavirus lockdown are "woefully inadequate", Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said.

    It comes after one mum shared a picture showing a small parcel of food she had been sent that was supposed to be worth £30 and to last ten days. 

    Writing on twitter, Starmer said: "The images appearing online of woefully inadequate free school meal parcels are a disgrace.

    "Where is the money going? This needs sorting immediately so families don’t go hungry through lockdown."

    Manchester United star Marcus Rashford, who for months has lobbied the government to make sure families have enough food during the crisis, earlier said the package was "unacceptable". 

  • Christy Cooney

    IN PICTURES – PEOPLE QUEUE TO BE VACCINATED AT THE CENTRE FOR LIFE, NEWCASTLE

  • Christy Cooney

    EXCESS DEATHS PASS 88,000

    The number of excess deaths recorded in the UK since the start of the coronavirus pandemic has now passed 88,000.

    There were 79,739 excess deaths in England and Wales registered between March 7 2020 and January 1 2021, according to figures published by the ONS on Tuesday.

    The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland show there were 6,701 excess deaths in Scotland between March 16 2020 and January 3 2021.

    And there were were 1,929 excess deaths in Northern Ireland between March 14 2020 and January 1 2021, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.

    Together, these totals mean that 88,369 excess deaths have occurred in the UK since the outbreak of Covid-19.

  • Christy Cooney

    SHOP WORKERS CONSIDERED IN PHASE TWO OF VACCINE ROLLOUT

    Shop workers may be among those to receive a coronavirus vaccine in the second phase of the rollout, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

    Under the first phase, now underway, priority is being given to the elderly, vulnerable people, and frontline medical staff.

    Hancock has previously said the government hopes to vaccine the 13.9million highest-priority people by mid-February.

    Speaking in the Commons today, he said the government was looking "very carefully" at which professions should be "prioritised in phase two of the prioritisation programme".

    "We will look at teachers and police, but also we will look at shop workers and we will make those decisions based on the data," he said.

  • Christy Cooney

    US SEES SEVENTH DAY OF 200,000 CASES

    The United States has recorded 200,000 cases of coronavirus for the seventh day in a row.

    Yesterday saw 214,683 people test positive for the virus, bringing the country's overall case count to 23,143,197.

    The US currently has the worst outbreak of coronavirus in the world, with cases there accounting for just over a quarter of the global total.

    Its death toll so far stands at 385,249.

  • Christy Cooney

    INDIA BEGINS VACCINE DELIVERIES

    Airlines in India have begun delivering batches of coronavirus vaccines to sites around the country before the vaccination programme gets underway on Saturday.

    Doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were sent from the Serum Institute of India in the city of Pune and loaded into private air carriers for distribution on Tuesday.

    The government plans to vaccinate 300 million of India's 1.3billion population over the next six to eight months.

    First will be 30million frontline health workers, then around 270million vulnerable people and people aged over 50.

  • Christy Cooney

    POPE'S DOCTOR DIES FROM COVID

    Pope Francis's personal doctor has died aged 78 from complications of the coronavirus.

    Fabrizio Soccorsi, the pope's doctor since 2015, was hospitalised on Boxing Day with issues related to cancer.

    His death was announced on Saturday by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

    The pope has said he is set to receive the coronavirus vaccine this week.

  • Christy Cooney

    HIGHEST WEEKLY DEATH TOLL SINCE MAY

    England and Wales recorded 3,144 coronavirus-related deaths in the week ending January 1, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

    This is up from 2,912 deaths in the week to December 25 and is the highest weekly figure since the week ending May 15.

    It also accounts for almost a third – 31.2 percent – of all deaths registered in that week.

    The UK's death toll since the start of the pandemic currently stands at 81,960.

  • Christy Cooney

    SIZE OF FOOD PARCELS 'UNACCEPTABLE', SAYS RASHFORD

    The size of the free school meal parcels being sent to some families during the coronavirus lockdown is "unacceptable", Marcus Rashford has said.

    It comes after one mum shared a picture showing a small parcel of food she had been sent that was supposed to worth £30.

    The package was supposed to last ten days, but included just a loaf of bread, a bag of pasta, two potatoes, a can of beans, and a number of other small items.

    Writing on Twitter, Man United star Rashford said: "Where is this being rolled out? Unacceptable."

    Read the full story here.

  • Christy Cooney

    NHS 'DEALING WITH CONSEQUENCES OF WEEKS OF SPREAD'

    The NHS is now dealing with the consequences of weeks of the spread of coronavirus, a top health official has said.

    Speaking to BBC Breakfast, chief executive of NHS Confederation Danny Mortimer, said: "I think what we're seeing right now is the fact that actually the steps that were taken in the autumn and before Christmas weren't effective.

    "Our following of the rules in November time was much, much weaker than it was in March.

    "Christmas may well only have exacerbated that position.

    "We're dealing with the consequences now of many, many weeks of the spread of the virus."

  • Christy Cooney

    AUSTRALIAN AND CHINESE GRANDS PRIX POSTPONED

    The Australian and Chinese Grands Prix will both be postponed because of coronavirus travel restrictions.

    The races were set to be the first and third of Formula One's 2021 season.

    The Australian race had been scheduled for March 19-21, while the Chinese leg was to take place on April 9-11.

    The Australian race will now be held on November 19-21, while discussions for a new date in China are ongoing.

    The season will now kick off with a race in Bahrain on March 26-28.

  • Christy Cooney

    HERD IMMUNITY 'UNLIKELY THIS YEAR', WARNS WHO

    The world is unlikely to achieve heard immunity from coronavirus this year, despite the vaccination programmes now being rolled out in numerous countries, the World Health Organisation's chief scientist has said.

    At a press conference on Monday, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said it was important social distancing and other preventative measures remained in place for the foreseeable future.

    “Even as vaccines start protecting the most vulnerable, we’re not going to achieve any levels of population immunity or herd immunity in 2021,” she said.

    “Even if it happens in a couple of pockets, in a few countries, it’s not going to protect people across the world.”

  • Christy Cooney

    WHERE ARE THE VACCINE SUPER HUBS?

    Seven vaccination super hubs have been opened in cities across England. They are:

    • Millennium Point, Birmingham
    • Ashton Gate football, Bristol
    • ExCel centre, London
    • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
    • Center for Life, Newcastle
    • Robertson House, Stevenage
    • Epsom racecourse, Surrey

    Source: Read Full Article