Coronavirus

Telegraph
People aged over 70 face up to four months in self-isolation and the public risk being taken into jail or a £1,000 fine if they refuse to be tested or quarantined for suspected coronavirus. The emergency powers, expected to be announced this week, allow police in England and Wales to use ‘reasonable force’ to detain people who are at risk of infecting others. The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, published on the government’s website, states that those suspected of having the disease, can be held for up to 14 days in a secure hospital or other suitable location. If they abscond they can be taken into custody before being returned to detention or isolation, the regulations state. Failing to comply is a criminal offence punishable on summary conviction by a level 3 fine of up to £1,000. Not paying the fine could also lead to imprisonment. The new regulations also state that those suspected of being infected must consent to having their throat and nose swabbed or giving a blood sample. They must also disclose travel history and people they have been in contact with, and can be fined for providing false information. Over -70s were told they would be asked to self-isolate to protect them from the peak of the epidemic as the Covid-19 death toll in the UK reached 35 and the rate of people testing positive rose.

Mail
People who refuse to go into quarantine risk being thrown into jail or being slapped with a fine of up to £1,000, it was reported last night. Anybody in England and Wales who denies testing for suspected coronavirus, or continues to refuse to self-isolate, could be forced by police, as reported by The Telegraph. The emergency powers, expected to be announced this week, will give police the right to use ‘reasonable force’ to detain those who could infect others. The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, published on the government’s website, says those suspected of infection could be held for up to 14 days in a secure hospital or other suitable location.

Times
All people aged over 70 will be advised in the coming weeks to stay at home for an extended period as Britain boosts measures to combat coronavirus, the health secretary confirmed yesterday. Matt Hancock said that older people would be asked to self-isolate for “a very long time”, thought to be up to four months, to protect themselves. Tomorrow emergency powers will be announced allowing the state to detain people infected with the disease and to lower standards to draft in more doctors and social workers for the health service. Powers to ban mass gatherings and to compensate organisations are also likely to be included.

Express
BRITAIN is on the brink of shutdown with the Government ready to close pubs, restaurants and shops to fight coronavirus. The crisis is now expected to last until spring 2021, according to a leaked document from Public Health England. It fears that 80 percent of the population are likely to be infected in the next 12 months with up to 7.9 million going to hospital. Pensioners aged over 70 will be asked not to go out for up to four months for their own “self-protection”.  Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged to “stop at nothing” to limit the disease’s impact and said everyone’s life will be affected. Millions of Europeans are in lockdown, only able to leave homes under limited circumstances.  The US Federal Reserve last night cut interest rates to zero due to the virus. Ireland’s government yesterday ordered all bars in the Republic to close for at least two weeks and urged residents not to hold private parties, hitting St Patrick’s Day celebrations tomorrow, the biggest day in the country’s social calendar.

Morning Star
COMMUNITIES are coming together across Britain to stop the most vulnerable from falling through the cracks as the government said the elderly may have to self-isolate for months today. Over 200 “mutual aid” groups have popped up across the country from Aberdeenshire to Totnes to ensure isolated residents are getting the help they need. Health Minister Matt Hancock announced today that over-70s could be asked to self-isolate for up to four months to “shield” themselves from the virus. Mr Hancock confirmed the plans after writing the proposals in a Telegraph article which was initially under a paywall. Organisers of the mutual aid group are posting leaflets around neighbourhoods, delivering food and providing a “friendly ear” to anyone feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic.

Sky News
The coronavirus epidemic could see up to 7.9 million people requiring hospital treatment in the next 12 months, according to a Public Health England briefing seen by Sky News. The document also confirms that healthcare workers who have symptoms of COVID-19 would not necessarily all be tested. “Laboratory capacity is growing steadily but remains under significant demand pressures,” it said. Dr Susan Hopkins, deputy director of PHE’s national infection service, said: “PHE used reasonable worse-case scenario figures, to restate the importance for people with symptoms to stay at home, including health care workers in order to reduce the spread of the virus.”

Telegraph
Top intensive care specialists have warned that Britain is not ready for the coronavirus crisis, with the ‘overwhelmed’ NHS in danger of running out of protective clothing, drugs, beds and oxygen supplies. In a special webinar organised by the Association of Anaesthetists, watched by around 1,000 medics this weekend, experts admitted that there was not enough equipment or staff available to fight the crisis. The experts predicted that a hospital with 10 patients with coronavirus would run out of the crucial sedation drug propofol within 11 days and alfentanil – a painkiller and anaesthetic – in less than 24 hours. They also warned that there was already a national shortage of opioid fentanyl.  Stricken hospitals could also run short of oxygen within “hours rather than days”, warned the president of the Intensive Care Society Dr Ganesh Suntharalingam, who said that medical oxygen from BOC Healthcare was being quadrupled ahead of the emerging crisis.

Star
Medical boffins have voiced fears that vital medical oxygen could run out in no time at all as the stretched NHS is bombarded with coronavirus cases. As killer Covid-19 leaves sufferers gasping for breath, it is crucial to ventilate them with oxygen as medics battle desperately to save them in the early hours following diagnosis. But experts are worried companies tasked with supplying the oxygen to the NHS won’t be able to keep up with demand. Dr Ganesh Suntharalingam, president of the Intensive Care Society, told The Telegraph: “There needs to be a greater heightened sense of urgency about this. “Oxygen supply is not something we’re used to thinking about, but there is no guarantee it won’t run out in a matter of hours rather than days.”

Sun
MILLIONS of workers will remain at home today as the coronavirus crisis sees the country put on a war footing. Many offices will operate with skeleton staff numbers, while the rest of the employees work remotely. Britain’s death toll leapt from 21 to 35 today and included Nick Matthews, 59 — the youngest UK victim. Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the elderly will be told to stay indoors for four months. Ministers also warned they could be forced to ration products such as toilet roll and beans, if panic buying continues. Major companies in London — including JPMorgan, Deloitte, Google and HSBC — have activated contingency plans for the pandemic such as staff working from back-up locations and from home.

Times
America’s central bank slashed interest rates to close to zero last night and restarted a money-printing programme not seen since the global financial crisis as it sought to calm markets rocked by the coronavirus pandemic. The US Federal Reserve cut its base interest rate by one percentage point in only its second emergency reduction since 2008 and said that it would pump $700 billion into the economy in the coming weeks. The Fed also said that it had agreed a combined action with the Bank of England and four other central banks to boost access to US dollars to ensure liquidity in the international financial system.

Times
The £1 billion loan scheme to help small businesses cope with the coronavirus crisis may be too small, too complex and take too long to launch, banks say. Plans announced last week by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, to help banks to make short-term loans to businesses struggling with cashflow and other problems by underwriting 80 per cent of those loans with public money were praised. But that has turned to frustration among banks as the terms are yet to be set, which could mean it will be weeks before businesses receive the support. There are also concerns that it is too small to have an impact and may be too bureaucratic if businesses are required to fill in extensive forms.

Mail
Supermarket bosses launched a plea for calm among shoppers yesterday after a wave of panic-buying around the country cleared shelves as people stockpiled for the expected coronavirus epidemic. The chaotic scenes, with people scrabbling to load up with loo rolls, long-life milk and pasta, have led to rationing by the major shop chains – and triggered alarm in No 10. The issue has been high on the agenda of Boris Johnson‘s COBRA emergency meetings on the crisis, with the Army being readied as a contingency to guard supermarkets and secure food convoys. More than one third of shoppers have said they are stockpiling produce.

Times
Supermarkets have called on shoppers to stop the panic buying that has left shelves in stores across the country bare of goods. Consumers fearful that the coronavirus pandemic will cause shortages of staple items such as lavatory rolls, dried pasta and tinned goods have been stockpiling supplies. Pictures of supermarket aisles ravaged by hoarders have been shared online, which has fuelled yet further panic buying. In an unprecedented move 12 of Britain’s biggest retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S, put their names to a joint letter being published in national newspapers and urging consumers to buy responsibly. “We understand your concerns but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without.

Guardian
Boris Johnson will seek to shore up public confidence in the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday by holding the first of what are intended to be daily ministerial press conferences on the crisis. The prime minister, who had been under growing pressure to start holding daily briefings amid criticism of his response to Covid-19 and the media strategy used to explain it, will personally chair many of the daily briefings, which No 10 says will continue “as long as necessary”. On Monday afternoon he will also chair another Cobra meeting, where ministers will discuss measures that would dramatically escalate the steps being taken by the UK to tackle the virus. They are expected to discuss a planned ban on mass gatherings, proposals to ask whole households to stay at home when someone falls ill and the move, expected within weeks, to ask the over-70s to stay at home for up to four months. They are also due to discuss the modelling used by the government to determine its overall strategy, which is due to be published soon.

Mirror
Eight thousand private hospital beds will be used to relieve pressure on the NHS as it battles the coronavirus crisis. They will be rented as the Government steps up its fight against the disease. Troops will be mobilised in three weeks to keep the country running. People aged over 70 will be told to stay in strict isolation for four months, reports said tonight. And as the US banned flights from the UK, planes en route to Spain had to turn around in mid-air today.   The drastic move – as the UK coronavirus death toll hit 21 – could be enforced within 20 days to save lives and prevent the NHS “falling over”.

Sky News
More than 10,000 British soldiers, sailors and airmen could be put on standby in the coming weeks as the coronavirus crisis worsens. Officials have been drawing up plans for weeks and are now ready to submit proposals to the prime minister. The plans, codenamed Operation Broadshare according to army sources, were originally due a few weeks ago but have been delayed so they can be altered to reflect the rapid spread of virus. Although Britain’s armed forces are used to helping in times of national emergency, such as flooding or fuel strikes, never have they had to consider so many unknown potential scenarios. At the extreme end, proposals have even been considered to cope with the breakdown of civil society. “It feels like we’re getting ready for war, but this time at home,” one senior source familiar with the plans told Sky News.

Huffington Post
The NHS may not have enough ventilators to treat all  coronavirus patients struggling with the disease, health secretary Matt Hancock has conceded.  The minister was asked repeatedly by Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday whether everyone who needed the key piece of equipment would get access to one and could not confirm they would. He said prime minister Boris Johnson would be asking British manufacturers to “turn their production and their engineering minds” to making more and additional NHS will be trained to use them. The NHS has around 5,000 ventilators and it is thought there could be a shortage. Hancock also revealed that the over-70s and other vulnerable people will “soon” be asked to self-isolate for as long as four months to protect themselves from the disease. He stressed, however, that the government was “not yet” officially ordering such action, but it was “clearly in the action plan” drawn up this week.

Breitbart
Prime Minister Boris Jonson is asking British manufacturers to switch their production lines to start mass-producing ventilators, as the nation faces a shortage of the critical machines in the event of a large-scale coronavirus outbreak. In a move unseen in the United Kingdom since the Second World War, the Prime Minister has called on manufacturers such as Rolls Royce, JCB, and Unipart to start mass-producing ventilators in what is being dubbed a “national effort” to confront the threats posed by the Wuhan coronavirus. They are joining Mr Johnson on a conference in which he will stress the “vital role” that British manufactures must play in combatting the pandemic, according to The Telegraph. The chief executive of the National Health Service (NHS) said that the government-run healthcare system will need “every part of society and every industry to ask what they can do to help the effort.”

EU

Times
Anne Hidalgo, the centre-left mayor of Paris, appeared to be heading for re-election last night after a first round of national council elections. There was a record low turnout because of coronavirus. Ms Hidalgo, 60, a Socialist, was on course to win 30 per cent of the vote. Rachida Dati, her conservative challenger, was on 22 per cent and Agnès Buzyn, the candidate of La République en Marche, President Macron’s party, polled a humbling 17 per cent. Ms Buzyn was a late entry to the race but her weak performance reflected discontent with the president even in Paris, which gave him his highest tally in the 2017 presidential elections. Candidates for En Marche made little headway.

Bercow

Times
John Bercow allegedly erupted in rage at a female employee after his toothpaste was confiscated at airport security, according to a new book. He was apparently angered over incidents involving his toiletries on two official foreign trips when he was Speaker of the Commons, it was claimed. When his toothpaste was taken, he declined to talk to Kate Emms, then his private secretary, for the duration of the flight, it was alleged. A member of Miss Emms’s family was quoted as saying: “He was absolutely outraged. He thought that was profoundly disrespectful. He didn’t talk to Kate for the whole of a nine-hour flight, which was ridiculously out of proportion.”

Sun
JOHN Bercow once raged at a female staff member — because his toothpaste was taken by airport security, a new book claims. The former Speaker showed “fiendish rudeness” to his colleagues, including former private secretary Kate Emms, the biography says. Ms Emms was later signed off work due to stress. John Bercow: Call To Order by Sebastian Whale says friends of Ms Emms described him as “vile” and “appalling”. Mr Bercow is said to have erupted during one foreign trip after his toothpaste was taken away at the airport. A family member is quoted as saying: “‘He was absolutely outraged.

Potholes

Times
Large parts of Britain’s road network are unfit for cyclists as local councils routinely fail to repair potentially deadly potholes on time, according to research published today. Cycling UK found that only one-in-eight local authorities was meeting targets to fill potholes and repair other road defects on time. In one case, a council only plugged 13 per cent of potholes within the suggested three month time frame, depending on the severity. Separate figures showed that at least 448 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in crashes involving road defects over a 10-year period. It is feared that the true number is much higher as incidents are only recorded if police attend the scene.

E-scooters

Mail
Electric scooters could be legalised for road use if trials are successful, ministers will announce today. Although sales have soared, the 30mph vehicles, which look similar to a child’s scooter and cost between £200 and £500, can at the moment be used only on private land. Ministers have decided to act as hundreds of owners have been caught riding the battery-powered machines illegally on the road. Safety campaigners say they are a risk to other road users and want them banned.

Sun
CONTROVERSIAL e-scooters are set to be legalised under plans to shake up travel in Britain. The Department for Transport will consult on rules to allow the electric scooters on roads for the first time. Currently it is illegal to ride them on public roads and pavements. The consultation will look at minimum age, speed limits, licensing, insurance and helmets. Trials are planned for e-scooters in Portsmouth, Southampton, the West of England, Derby and Nottingham and the West Mids. Other proposals put forward in the £90million Future Transport Zones plan include using drones to ferry medical supplies from the Isle of Wight to the mainland. And self-driving cars will be trialled in Bristol and Bath.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email