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Covid UK news – live: Christmas plans under threat amid warning over vaccine news leading to complacency

Cyclist rides past east London billboard

Cyclist rides past east London billboard

(PA)

As the UK recorded more than 27,000 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, scientists say the reproduction rate of infections is stabilising across the UK.

However, scientists warn that returning to a tiered system over the Christmas period after lockdown will see a rise in infections.

A document from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), dated 4 November, said: “If England returns to the same application of the tiering system in place before November 5, then transmission will return to the same rate of increase as today.”

On Saturday, a national crime agency warned there is an emerging threat to the UK in the form of fake coronavirus vaccines, as criminals continue to use coronavirus as a “hook” for fraud.

Meanwhile, new data found that a fifth of adults broke coronavirus restrictions earlier this month through socialising outside their “bubble.”. This comes as church leaders across the country take legal action over the ban on public worship within the second lockdown restrictions.  

In his first public address since Joe Biden was declared president-elect, Mr Trump singled out New York as the only state that would not receive the vaccine after the city’s Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he was enacting an independent review panel to analyse vaccine data.

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Anti-lockdown protestors arrested in Bristol after mass gathering

Some 200 demonstrators marched through Bristol on Saturday to protest for the right to gather in large groups – currently banned under new lockdown restrictions.

Local police arrested several protestors who refused to leave the anti-lockdown march while onlookers could be heard chanting “shame on you, shame on you” toward the officers.

Some of the signs held by those in attendance read “Fear is the currency of control” and “I do not consent.”

The conspiracy group Stand Up Bristol had organised the protest through their Facebook group, which currently has more than 2,800 members.

The group were warned by police before the march that participants will face fines for breaking coronavirus restrictions, with the current law stating that those caught participating in large gatherings can be fined £200.

Protesters holding placards during the anti-lockdown protest on 14 November in Bristol

(Getty Images)

Daisy Lester14 November 2020 14:50

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Gym owner facing £67K fine for refusing to close during lockdown

The owner of a gym in north London is facing a £67,000 fine from his local council after he refused to close during England’s second national lockdown.

Mr Michli told the PA news agency: “It was a bit of a pointless thing to do keeping the gym open while it was basically empty.

“A few people managed to climb over walls and shift through little gaps to get in, but it was pretty much empty.”

Haringey Council have repeatedly issued fines against the owner, and is now seeking to obtain a closure order through the courts.

Haringey Council leader Joseph Ejiofor said while the lockdown was an “extremely difficult time” for local businesses, the “law is the law and it applies to everyone”.

Daisy Lester14 November 2020 14:21

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Alcohol ban introduced on Scotland’s railway

Rail passengers on trains and in stations throughout Scotland will be prohibited from consuming alcohol from Monday onwards, in what the nations main train operator described as a “temporary measure”.

ScotRail announced: “The new measures will help to maintain the physical distancing required while travelling and will also support greater use of face coverings at all stages of the journey.

ScotRail’s sustainability and safety assurance director, David Lister, added: “The introduction of these restrictions on alcohol will help to ensure that our staff and customers remain safe.”

Rail staff will be encouraged to wear body cameras to help enforce the restrictions.

Simon Calder has the story here

Daisy Lester14 November 2020 14:03

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Medical ‘advances’ of 2020 could transform health care, leading experts say

Developments made in diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccine manufacturing and medical telecommunications are expected to leave a lasting legacy beyond the pandemic, health figures say.

For example, technology used to develop the Pfizer vaccine could be used to tackle illnesses such as cancer and other infections that are similar to coronavirus.

Meanwhile, oncologists, vaccinologists, biomedical engineers and doctors have all told The Independent that the technological advancements seen throughout the pandemic could have a “profound” impact on the future provision of care for patients suffering with a variety of conditions.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: “I think we’ll look back on the advances made in 2020 and say that was a moment when science really did make a leap forward, which we will come to celebrate in due course.”

Daisy Lester14 November 2020 12:42

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Home Office did not consult councils on decision to remove asylum evictions during pandemic

It has emerged that ministers did not consult councils when resuming to evict asylum seekers during the pandemic.

On 15 September, the Home Office announced that the ban on asylum evictions – introduced in March in response to Covid – was being lifted and that people refused refugee status would be served eviction notices “with immediate effect.”

However, new information obtained under freedom of information laws indicate that local authorities were not consulted, which they have said was “wholly unacceptable.”

May Bulman has the story

Daisy Lester14 November 2020 12:36

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Next two weeks “crucial” in ensuring lockdown ends

The next two weeks will be “absolutely crucial” in ensuring lockdown ends as planned on 2 December, one government advisor has warned.

Professor Susan Michie, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), urged the public to resist breaking current rules so as to “be in a position” to spend the festive period with friends and family.

Michie said that the announcement of a potential coronavirus vaccine may lead to complacency among people with the restrictions, adding that the vaccine will make “no difference” to the current wave.

This comes after documents released on Friday revealed Sage believe a return to a tiered system in the UK after lockdown will see a spike in coronavirus infections.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Professor Michie said: “They’re going to be a very challenging two weeks, partly because of the weather, partly because, I think, the promise of a vaccine may be making people feel complacent.”

Daisy Lester14 November 2020 12:20

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Why the Covid vaccine could create a better society than before

Could things be back to normal by 2021? News of the vaccine being developed by Pfizer earlier this week has raised hopes for a return to normality by spring, but what could this look like after a global pandemic?

The Independent asked immunologists, political scientists, philosophers and behavioural experts what the next year has in store for us.

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said we need to remain patient, as mass vaccination will only begin to make a “dramatic impact” on the epidemic after March and April.

Meanwhile, Eleanor Riley, a professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh, thinks that we may not even need to immunise people under the age of 50 for “something not far off normality” by the summer of 2021.

Daisy Lester14 November 2020 11:58

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China finds coronavirus on packaging of Saudi shrimp

New traces of coronavirus were found on the packaging of a batch of shrimp shipped from Saudi Arabia into China, as the nation enhances its testing on frozen foods.

The Lanzhou Municipal Health Commission in the western China city said in a statement on Saturday that it had found one positive sample on Friday on the inner packaging of imported frozen shrimp.

The cold storage plant, where the shrimp were being stored, has been temporarily closed and all employees at the plant have been tested.

Meanwhile the food is sealed and the whereabouts of all the shrimps sold has been determined, the statement added.

This detection follows positive traces of the virus being discovered on a batch of Brazilian beef in Wuhan on Friday and on Argentinian beef samples in Shandong and Jiangsu provinces this week.

Daisy Lester14 November 2020 11:14

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Covid vaccine fraud is ‘emerging threat’ to UK

A National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK have warned that fake coronavirus vaccines is a growing threat to the UK.

They said that they are working to prevent fraudsters from taking advantage of the crisis, as many did during the early stages of the pandemic when criminal groups used personal protective equipment (PPE) scams to target businesses.

Speaking at a webinar held by the Resilience First group, director general Graeme Biggar said: “We haven’t seen much of that yet but we absolutely expect when vaccines begin to roll out that there will be people offering fake vaccines. We are trying to get ahead of that trend now.”

Mr Biggar added that criminals are using coronavirus as a “hook” for many different kinds of fraud relating to online shopping, investments, romance and now vaccines.

Lizzie Dearden reports

Daisy Lester14 November 2020 11:30

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A fifth of adults ‘have had indoor contact with someone outside their bubble’

A new survey has found a fifth of adults had direct contact indoors with someone outside their “bubble” and household at the beginning of November.

Polling from the Office for National Statistics found some 22 per cent of adults in the previous 24 hours had had physical contact with at least one other person when socialising indoors.

These settings included private homes, cafes, pubs or restaurants, before a national lockdown for England was imposed on 5 November.

A quarter of adults aged 50-69 said they had physical contact while socialising indoors with someone who was not part of their household or bubble.

Meanwhile, those aged 70 and over were least likely to report this type of behaviour while 23 per cent of 16-29-year-olds said they had done so. 

Daisy Lester14 November 2020 10:49