Net migration to the UK from countries outside the European Union has risen to its highest level for 45 years, the Office for National Statistics says. Figures show an estimated 282,000 more non-EU citizens came to the UK than left in 2019, the highest since the information was first gathered in 1975. The ONS says a rise in students from China and India has driven this. In contrast, the number of people arriving from EU countries for work has “steadily fallen”.
Immigration to the UK from outside the EU is at its highest since records began, official figures published yesterday showed. Increases in the number of migrants from south and east Asia, including China, India and the Philippines, pushed overall arrivals from non-EU states to 404,000 last year, the biggest total since the Office for National Statistics began collecting the figures in 1975. Overseas students from outside the EU are now at their highest level in eight years, driven by substantial increases in migrants from China and India.
The French coast guard ship filmed by Brexit leader Nigel Farage escorting illegal migrants into British waters is a regular visitor, its own safety transponder data reveals, and can be proven to have made such missions at least twice in the past week. The French coast guard “large patrol vessel” Fourmentin — ironically named after a famous 18th-century French pirate who made a living attacking the British — was filmed taking part in an illegal migrant handover mid-English Channel by Brexit veteran turned investigative reporter Nigel Farage on Wednesday.
ANGELA MERKEL and Emmanuel Macron’s plans to set up a €500billion (£448billion) to help the economic recovery of EU states following the coronavirus pandemic has been derailed by Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron plan for the European Commission, the EU executive, is to borrow €500billion (£448billion) as common debt and transfer it to the regions and industries hit hardest.
Experts have warned that a ruling by the German constitutional court on the European Central Bank (ECB) could lead to the breakup of the euro currency. Guntram Wolff, chief of the think tank Bruegel, is one of the experts to sound the alarm over the German court’s ruling, labelling it “dangerous” and saying it affected “the entire EU legal order but also the ECB’s functioning”. The German court rejected earlier this month a programme by the ECB to buy several trillions of euros worth of government bonds to combat inflation, saying the bank would need to prove the bond-buying was necessary and proportionate.
A personal cap on care costs in England was being considered by ministers prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the BBC has learned. The idea was raised during talks with Sir Andrew Dilnot, the former UK statistics chief, whose proposals for a cap were abandoned in 2017. It is understood a specific social care tax was among options discussed to cover the costs. Details were not agreed by the March Budget and were put off till autumn. A senior figure involved in the talks, which took place in January and February, said there had been “90% agreement” on revisiting Sir Andrew’s model.
MPs will be asked to support new quarantine measures for all international arrivals which will give police the power to carry out spot checks at homes and impose £1,000 fines. The Government is on Friday expected to unveil its long-awaited quarantine plans which will require all arrivals, including returning Britons, to provide an accommodation address where they will self-isolate for 14 days. Border Force, police and Public Health England (PHE) officers will run and enforce the quarantine where travellers will face spot checks at the addresses they submit on forms on arrival at airports or ports.
International travellers could face spot checks and £1,000 fines if they fail to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the UK under measures to guard against a second wave of coronavirus. Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to outline the plans – which will be introduced early next month – at the daily Downing Street briefing on Friday, a senior government official confirmed. Exemptions for road hauliers and medical officials will apply, while the common travel area with Ireland will be unaffected.
International travellers could face fines of £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the UK, the government is expected to announce. Visitors would be asked to share their contact details under the measures, with health officials performing spot checks to ensure they are complying with the rules. The policy, which will be introduced early in June, is set to be unveiled by Home Secretary Priti Patel at the daily Downing Street briefing this afternoon.
Fruit and vegetable pickers will be exempted from quarantine measures requiring travellers to isolate for 14 days after arriving in the UK. Priti Patel, the home secretary, will announce plans today requiring arrivals to quarantine for a fortnight from early June, regardless of their mode of travel. The government has drawn up a list of exemptions including foreign fruit and vegetable pickers, who will be required to live on the farms where they are working. The list has been intensely debated by ministers amid warnings that a blanket quarantine risks further damage to tourism and business.
Immunity certificates for people to prove they are protected against coronavirus are back under consideration by ministers in an effort to get people back to work. Matt Hancock announced yesterday contracts for 10 million antibody tests had been signed that would be given to NHS and care workers from next week. The Health Secretary told yesterday’s Downing Street briefing: ‘We’re developing this critical science to know the impact of a positive antibody test and to develop the systems of certification to ensure people who have positive antibodies can be given assurances of what they can safely do.’
IMMUNITY certificates could be given to millions of Brits who have recovered from coronavirus to free them from social-distancing rules. Matt Hancock said giving survivors proof of immunity could help ease Brits back to normality – after suggesting almost four million are thought to have recovered from Covid-19.
Immunity certificates to free people from social distancing are being considered again, the health secretary revealed yesterday, as he suggested that almost four million people had recovered from the coronavirus. Matt Hancock said that “systems of certification” were being worked on in government to allow such people to resume more activities.
Pubs and restaurants could reopen tomorrow without posing the threat of a second wave of coronavirus, a leading Oxford scientist has suggested. Sunetra Gupta, a professor of Theoretical Epidemiology, said there was a “strong possibility” that the hospitality industry could get back to work without posing a danger to the public. In an interview, Prof Gupta called for a “rapid exit” from lockdown and said the coronavirus epidemic was already “on the way out”.
Matt Hancock last night warned of the risk of returning to “square one” of the coronavirus lockdown as police chiefs said people were becoming blase about social distancing. As thousands took advantage of glorious weather by flocking to beaches and beauty spots around the country, the health secretary called on the public to renew their efforts to stick to the rules. He added: “Let’s not go back to square one.
A SECOND wave of coronavirus is inevitable in Europe because so few people are immune to the bug, a top expert has warned. The EU’s disease control chief said a second bout of the virus was inevitable, and also warned that people are starting to ignore lockdown rules. Dr Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control urged EU leaders to prepare for resurgence in coronavirus cases, as she warned that a lack of immunity could mean the second wave is worse than the first. The disease expert said that only between two per cent and 14 per cent of the populations of European countries had been infected with coronavirus.
Pubs could open now without risking a second coronavirus wave, a scientist has claimed. University of Oxford professor Sunetra Gupta, claims there is a “strong possibility” the UK’s hospitality sector could open without a spike. The professor of Theoretical Epidemiology also called for a “rapid exit” as the disease is “on its way out”. She told Unherd: “The Government’s defence is that this (the Imperial College model) was a plausible worst case scenario. “I agree it was a plausible – or at least a possible – worst case scenario. The question is, should we act on a possible worst case scenario, given the costs of lockdown?
Track and trace
ENTIRE office blocks, schools or streets will be ordered into immediate new quarantines under the government’s tough new ‘track and trace’ plan. It has emerged that the 25,000-strong contact tracing force will have a sweeping remit to issue targeted two week-long lockdowns of potentially hundreds of people, as well as individuals. The new programme is deemed as key by scientists to stamp out new coronavirus outbreaks once the national lockdown is lifted from June 1. Full details of the system are to be announced within days.
While the vast majority of those who contract Covid-19 will make a full recovery, there is increasing concern about a small but significant number of patients whose symptoms persist weeks and even months after first falling ill. These long-term symptoms are often “bizarre”, say experts, and range from strange pains and fevers to debilitating headaches and lethargy. They can impact those who suffer only mildly from the disease initially and there may be a link with exercise and the recurrence of symptoms. According to the latest research from King’s College London, around one in 20 Covid patients experience long-term symptoms for at least a month, sometimes longer.
SCHOOLS can’t reopen safely by June 1, an independent group of scientific experts has warned. Former Chief Scientific Adviser and chair of ‘the Independent SAGE’ group, Sir David King, has urged the Government to push back the date to reopen the nation’s schools. Boris Johnson has been adamant schools should reopen by June 1 for primary school pupils in reception, year one and year six to give them a month of learning before the summer holidays. The group of top experts, who will meet at midday today, said the risk to children will be HALVED if they return just two weeks later.
Parents are being told to make their minds up by today if they intend to send their primary school-aged children back to school after half term. The government has said it wants primaries to reopen to pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from June 1. Teaching unions have strongly rejected the plan, saying staff and pupils will be at too much risk. Many councils and schools agree and say they will not open.
TEACHERS will be at no greater risk of catching coronavirus when schools return than any other key worker, scientific advice will reveal. And the Government took an ultra-cautious approach in deciding to only open primary schools gradually from June 1, the papers will show. The findings in the Sage scientific papers come amid a massive row over whether it’s safe to send England back to school. A whopping 10.6 million people – a third of all workers – are ‘key workers’ across the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Government plans to reopen primary schools are grounded in welfare concerns rather than evidence younger pupils are less vulnerable to coronavirus, a Sage source revealed last night. In the first phase of his back-to-school blueprint, Boris Johnson wants children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to go back to class on June 1. An expert on Downing Street‘s scientific advisory subcommittee on schools claimed that these specific year groups were selected based on worries for their education and wellbeing – not that they are more shielded to the disease.
Plans to reopen schools have been plunged into chaos – as a government minister admits England’s primaries might not all open on June 1. England’s primaries were told to prepare to bring back year R, 1 and 6 pupils back to class, with other primary years returning later in June. But those plans were hurled into doubt by a mass revolt from unions and councils. Liverpool, Hartlepool, Birmingham, and even Tory-run Solihull and Essex have warned June 1 might not be possible.
Schools have been told to sanitise library books and have a system in place to watch children’s face-touching before they reopen, guidelines show. Arts and crafts materials used for painting, sticking and cutting should also be washed before and after use by children, the guidance, published by the UK’s largest teachers’ union, says. The National Education Union (NEU) has published a checklist of over 100 issues on which members should seek assurance from their school before they agree to return to work. Teachers have been told not to mark homework or take any schoolbooks home in order to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
Two weeks have now passed since London diagnosed more than 100 COVID-19 cases in a day, statistics show. Fewer than 100 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus each day in the capital for almost a fortnight since May 7, when there were 149 new cases. This marks a staggering drop from the more than 1,000 cases being diagnosed each day at the outbreak’s peak. By comparison on May 15 – the latest date for which data are reliable, 52 people were found to have the disease, despite a marked increase in testing capacity over the past month.
Boris Johnson has ordered civil servants to draw up plans codenamed Project Defend to end Britain’s reliance on China for vital medical supplies and other strategic imports in light of the coronavirus crisis. Officials across Whitehall have been asked to identify the country’s key economic vulnerabilities to potentially hostile foreign governments as part of a new approach to national security. The initiative, led by Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, could lead to the government intervening to support the “repatriation” of key manufacturing capabilities such as pharmaceuticals as part of a new national resilience framework.
On-the-spot coronavirus tests which give results in only 20 minutes will begin public trials on Friday as part of efforts to get the UK out of lockdown. On Thursday night, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, announced the launch of a major trial aiming to give people instant information about whether they are carrying the virus. If successful, the scheme will be rolled out nationally in six weeks, with pop-up facilities and drive-through facilities planned.
A new Covid-19 test that could return results in just 20 minutes telling someone whether they have the virus is being trialled. Up to 4,000 people will take part in a pilot in Hampshire, after the rapid test proved effective in clinical settings, the Department of Health said. The swab test will be carried out in a number of A&E departments, GP testing hubs and care homes in the county in a trial lasting up to six weeks. The loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) swab can be processed on-site rather than needing to be sent to a lab, and could mean healthcare workers can, depending on the result, return to a shift or isolate on the same day they take the test.
A new coronavirus test that can return results in 20 minutes could be rolled out across the county if it performs well in a six-week trial that began yesterday. The test detects whether people have the virus in their system and will not identify people who have had the disease and recovered. Unlike the so-called PCR tests that have been used to detect active cases of Covid-19 so far, it does not have to be sent to a laboratory. The government hopes that it could provide prompt guidance to people with symptoms on whether they have to isolate themselves or can go to work.
Antibody tests for coronavirus will be provided on the NHS under a deal signed by the government, and trials are to begin for separate “20-minute” tests. NHS staff and care workers are first in line for the antibody checks, which can tell whether a person has had the virus and produced the antibodies to fight it. It is hoped that people who have already had the virus have developed immunity to it. Scientists do not yet know what level of protection is built up. Experts say increased herd immunity to the disease is required to allow more people to return to normal life without disruptive lockdown measures.
Tens of thousands of Covid-19 tests have been double-counted in the Government’s official tally, public health officials have admitted. Diagnostic tests which involve taking saliva and nasal samples from the same patient are being counted as two tests, not one. The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England each confirmed the double-counting. This inflates the daily reported diagnostic test numbers by over 20 per cent, with that proportion being much higher earlier on in the crisis before home test kits were added to the daily totals.
Hopes are rising that England will fulfil their entire international schedule this summer after Australia signalled they are keen to play their one-day series here in September. England are confident of getting their matches against West Indies, Ireland and Pakistan approved by Government but it had been thought the Australia series of three T20s and three ODIs would be cancelled due to international travel restrictions for Australian citizens. But those fears have been eased and the Australian board are keen for their players to play again.
For some, staying slim involves an iron will, gruelling exercise and a frugal diet. Others have an ability to eat what they want, laze around and remain indolently, infuriatingly slender. Now scientists may have identified one of their secrets — a “skinny gene”, which could potentially be manipulated to combat the obesity epidemic. Researchers who compared the genetics of 47,000 people found that those who were healthy and thin tended to have certain variants of the ALK gene.