Government considering closing UK borders to prevent Covid spread, Eustice says
The government has considered the possibility of closing the borders to all foreign travellers to prevent new strains of Covid being spread in the UK, cabinet minister George Eustice has said.
It comes amid reports the prime minister is being urged by his cabinet colleagues to impose the draconian measure while the government presses ahead with the roll-out the Covid-19 vaccine.
Pressed on speculation and whether he would like to see a temporary closure of British borders to foreign visitors, Mr Eustice told Sky News: “We always keep these things under review. It’s been considered.”
The environment secretary said that while he thinks the quarantine and testing requirement are sufficient, the government “can’t rule anything out”.
Mr Eustice’s remarks follow reports that people who test positive for Covid could be paid £500 in a bid to boost self-isolation figures after research revealed many could not afford to take the time off work.
No 10 refuses to deny reports that vaccines will be moved from Yorkshire and the North East
Downing Street has refused to deny reports that vaccines will be moved away from some regions and redistributed to others that have inoculated a lower proportion of their population.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi previously denied that vaccines would be moved from Yorkshire and the North East to help other regions in England.
But when asked to repeat the denial, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “I’m simplifying pointing out the fact that we’ll continue to prioritise the over-80s and will ensure the areas that need more in order to increase those percentages can receive it, while ensuring that we provide vaccine doses to all areas of the country.”
Clea Skopeliti22 January 2021 13:22
Boris Johnson rejects £500 payment for Covid-positive people
Boris Johnson has rejected plans to pay people £500 to help them self-isolate if they catch coronavirus.
The prime minister’s spokesperson said on Friday the government had “no plans” to introduce the payments.
It comes after a leaked document from Matt Hancock’s department of health revealed that the policy was being looked at.
Jon Stone has the latest here:
Clea Skopeliti22 January 2021 13:11
‘I’ll keep it to 14 then don’t worry’: Government mocked over £800 fines for house parties
A new £800 fine for house party guests has been mocked on social media, with users joking about the 15-person threshold.
People suggested the new move – which imposes harsher penalties for those at parties over a certain number – appeared to condone smaller gatherings.
Read Zoe Tidman’s report here:
Eleanor Sly22 January 2021 13:07
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane tests positive for Covid-19
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has tested positive for coronavirus, the club have revealed in a brief statement which revealed no other information regarding Zidane’s symptoms or the playing squad’s test results.
Real are second in the league standings, seven points behind Atletico Madrid, and play Alaves away on Saturday which Zidane will now miss.
Lawrence Ostlere reports here:
Eleanor Sly22 January 2021 12:56
More than one million people in England had coronavirus last week, according to ONS study
More than one million people in England are estimated to have had Covid-19 last week, new figures show.
One in 55 people were infected with the disease between 10 and 16 January, according to the Office for National Statistics, the equivalent of 1.02 million people – or 1.88 per cent of the population.
Eleanor Sly22 January 2021 12:32
Scottish coastguards help to deliver Covid tests
Coastguard Rescue Teams in Barra, Lochboisdale, Stornoway and Harris have been praised for using coastguard drivers and vehicles to help transport completed Covid tests.
Both Barra and island of Vatersay have been put into lockdown following an outbreak of more than 40 positive cases of virus.
NHS Western Isles Chief Executive, Gordon Jamieson, said: “Coastguard teams have been invaluable in the Western Isles’ response to Covid-19″
Eleanor Sly22 January 2021 12:23
Fifteen residents died in recent weeks at care home in Worcester
Bosses at Perry Manor nursing home said they were “saddened by the losses” which came “in recent weeks”, after having managed to keep coronavirus out of the facility “until last month”.
The facility, which has capacity for up to 82 people, was rated outstanding in its most recent independent inspection – the highest possible grading. Care UK, which runs the home, said it had plenty of PPE, all necessary sanitation equipment, and stuff were trained in their use.
The home’s bosses said 33 members of staff had been infected in total, but none became seriously ill. Most were asymptomatic and had since returned to work after quarantining.
Care UK said more than half of staff have now had the Covid-19 vaccine, as well as “all those residents who were well and have not returned a positive test”.
Clea Skopeliti22 January 2021 11:58
Black and Asian Covid patients dying disproportionately, study finds
Black and Asian ethnicity patients more likely to die prematurely of Covid, a large cohort study has found.
The research, published in the journal BMJ Open, is based on more than 1,700 patients admitted to five acute hospitals within Barts Health NHS Trust between 1 January and 13 May 2020.
After adjusting for factors like age, sex, obesity, smoking and frailty, the study found that, compared with those from white backgrounds, Asian patients were 1.49 times, and black patients 1.3 times, more likely to die from Covid-19.
The researchers also found that patients from minority ethnic backgrounds were younger and less frail, compared with white patients. Black and Asian ethnicity patients had median ages of 64 and 59 respectively, compared with 73 in the white group, the researchers said.
It also showed that black patients were 1.8 times, and Asian patients 1.54 times, more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) and need mechanical ventilation.
The cohort was made up of 538 (31 per cent) Asian patients, 340 (20 per cent) black patients, and 707 (40 per cent) white patients.
Clea Skopeliti22 January 2021 11:34
Over 450 Scottish care homes investigated over Covid-related deaths
More than 450 care homes in Scotland are under investigation over deaths linked to the coronavirus.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s dedicated Covid-19 Death Investigation Team (CDIT) is probing the circumstances of coronavirus-related deaths in 474 care homes.
The team had received 3,385 death reports as of Thursday, with a majority of those believed to be linked to people who lived in care homes. The figure includes retrospective reports, a spokesman for the Crown Office told PA media.
Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, which represents the care home sector, said the investigations are “wholly disproportionate”, telling the BBC that the probes “are causing irreparable damage to the professional integrity of nurses and carers who are exhausted beyond measure in fighting the virus”.
Clea Skopeliti22 January 2021 11:23
Highest proportion of adults ‘staying at home’ since May 2020, ONS survey finds
More than six in ten adults (65 per cent) reported staying at home or only leaving for work, exercise, essential shopping or medical needs in the past seven days; the highest proportion reporting this since May 2020.
The statistics agency also found that the proportion of employed adults that have worked remotely was at its highest since June 2020, with 45 per cent reporting having done so this week compared with 43 per cent last week.
Meanwhile, compliance with most measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus remained at high levels. The same percentage as last week reported ‘always’ or ‘often’ washing their hands after returning home (90 per cent), wearing a face mask (96 per cent) and avoiding physical contact when outside their home (93 per cent).
Clea Skopeliti22 January 2021 11:07