Project Fear (mark 3)
EMERGENCY plans have been drawn up to protect the UK from the perfect storm of a winter second wave of Covid-19 coinciding with a No Deal Brexit, a leaked document shows. The warnings, including needing the Navy to protect our fishing fleet from illegal EU boat incursions, pile pressure on ministers to do a deal with Brussels as well as ready the system for a virus spike. The Cabinet Office’s EU Transition Task Force gave ministers and officials a horror show Powerpoint presentation marked “Official Sensitive” amid concerns not enough is being done to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
A CORONAVIRUS second wave combined with a no-deal Brexit could spark a food crisis, official leaked papers have revealed. The Government plans to enforce pressure on ministers to prepare the NHS and strike a deal with the EU. The papers marked “Official Sensitive”, have drawn up plans for a “worst case scenario” in which the Royal Navy will have to protect UK fishing boats from foreign invasions. The Government fears that hospitals could be overwhelmed if restrictions on trade caused by a no deal scenario are combined with flu, floods and COVID-19.
Emergency plans drawn up by the government to protect the UK if a second coronavirus spike coincides with a no-deal Brexit have been revealed. A Cabinet Office “reasonable worst-case scenario” document, dated July 2020, has been leaked to The Sun newspaper. A government spokeswoman said it “reflects a responsible government ensuring we are ready for all eventualities”. The dossier warns that the military could be required to airdrop food to the Channel Islands. The navy may be required to stop British fishermen clashing with illegal European fishing boat incursions, the document adds.
Boris Johnson must form a new “root and branch” asylum-seeking Bill that ends all claims if migrants pass through safe countries, more than 40 Conservative MPs have said. In a letter seen by The Telegraph, the newly formed Common Sense Group of MPs urged the Prime Minister to overhaul the UK’s asylum system that they claim “is unfit for purpose”. “It is strikingly clear that this Government should introduce a Bill to overhaul the asylum system as a matter of urgency. Nothing less than root and branch reform is acceptable,” they wrote.
At least 25 per cent of illegal boat migrants claiming to be minors are in fact over the age of 18, Kent Country Council (KCC) has revealed. Over the past five years, over 400 of the 1,668 boat migrants who told immigration officials that they were children after crossing the English Channel from France in small rubber boats were later revealed to be adults. A source at Kent County Council (KCC) told The Telegraph: “Following age assessment around 25 per cent are assessed as being 18 or over. They will then almost definitely appeal this through the courts and KCC pays all of the legal fees.”
One in four migrants and refugees claiming to be children after crossing the Channel in small boats is assessed to be aged 18 or over. The assessments, conducted by social workers through a series of interviews, are designed to establish whether or not the individual is posing as a minor to get preferential treatment as their asylum claim is processed. A rise in the number of refugees chancing the crossing from France has prompted locals to call for the boats to be blocked and campaign groups are urging the government to improve routes into the UK for legitimate refugees and asylum seekers, particularly children.
A second lockdown is unnecessary because 91 per cent of people in England live in neighbourhoods that have not seen a single case of coronavirus in a month, an academic has argued. Government scientists have warned that another national shutdown could be needed if cases rise in a similar way to Spain and France. Britain’s second largest city, Birmingham, is also facing local restrictions, amid a recent spike in cases. But Prof John Clancy, of Birmingham City University, said putting the city into lockdown would be “lunacy” and warned current fears of a second wave were based on “dodgy data”.
MOST neighborhoods in England have recorded zero coronavirus cases in a month making a second national lockdown unnecessary, an expert has said. Professor John Clancy, of Birmingham City University, has warned current fears of cities in Britain returning to lockdown are based on “dodgy data”. Writing in a recent blog, Professor Clancy said: “91 per cent of England (that’s 51million people) live in neighbourhoods where there hasn’t been a recorded Covid-19 case in the last 4 weeks.” He added: “So-called ‘spikes’ are occurring here, there, and everywhere up and down the country because new testing regimes are causing them either with false positives, picking up residual infections or (usually more likely) suddenly increased testing in specific areas.
Nine out a 10 people in England live in areas that have not seen a Covid-19 case in a month and new lockdowns are not needed, an expert has said. Professor John Clancy, from Birmingham University, has warned that fears of another shutdown are based on ‘dodgy data.’ Writing in a blog, he said: ”91 per cent of England (that’s 51million people) live in neighbourhoods where there hasn’t been a recorded Covid-19 case in the last 4 weeks.’ He added: ‘So-called ‘spikes’ are occurring here, there, and everywhere up and down the country because new testing regimes are causing them either with false positives, picking up residual infections or (usually more likely) suddenly increased testing in specific areas.’
Police chiefs fear that dozens of illegal raves planned for the cancelled Notting Hill Carnival weekend may cause a Bank Holiday spike in coronavirus cases. The Metropolitan Police has received intelligence about nearly 40 unlicensed music events held to replace Europe’s largest street party, the Telegraph can disclose. Officers are scanning social media and other platforms to try and prevent the gatherings taking place, it is understood. The operation has been informally branded “Not the Notting Hill Carnival”.
COPS broke up an illegal rave with 300 people in Huddersfield and 70 other parties in Birmingham despite a looming lockdown threat. Officers were pelted with missiles as they busted the huge gathering in Huddersfield last night. Thankfully no cops were injured as revellers turned “hostile” towards them. West Yorkshire Police said they turned off the music and seized the equipment – with locals breaking out into “applause”. A spokesperson said: “On Saturday evening, officers deployed to an illegal rave that was taking place in Deighton, Huddersfield.
The streets of Nottingham were today overrun with a pro-veterans rally and clashing Antifa activists parading through the city centre. Giant crowds ignored social-distancing guidelines as they filled Old Market Square with banners claiming ‘Antifa protect pedos’ and ‘God bless Donald Trump‘. And one man was found holding a flag promoting the Werwolf Resistance – an alleged Neo Nazi group in the UK which named themselves after a Nazi campaign during WWI. Opposing protesters held signs saying: ‘Anti-fascists support Black Lives Matter.’
Most Britons reject COVID-19 “vaccine nationalism”, and say they would be willing to wait until health workers in other countries have had vaccines if that would help end the pandemic sooner, according to poll findings released on Monday. Conducted in mid-August by polling firm Savanta ComRes for anti-poverty organisation The ONE Campaign, the survey found significant public support for COVID-19 vaccines being made available to all countries at the same time, regardless of how rich or powerful they are.
England’s chief medical officer has warned it is unlikely that an effective coronavirus vaccine will be made available before winter next year. Professor Chris Whitty told reporters today he was confident in the ability of science to help tackle the disease but it would not be in the next few weeks or months. He said there was a ‘reasonable chance’ there could be a vaccine ready before the winter of 2021-2022 but even this is by no means certain and that it would be ‘foolish’ to plan for the season on the assumption one will be available.
Care homes were asked by NHS managers and GPs to place blanket ‘Do not resuscitate’ (DNR) orders on all their residents at the height of the coronavirus pandemic to keep hospital beds free, a new report has found. The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) – the world’s oldest nursing charity – discovered one in 10 care home staff surveyed was ordered to change DNR plans without discussion with family members, nursing staff, or with the residents themselves. Half of staff members who said they had been asked to change DNRs worked in homes for the elderly, while half worked in homes for younger people with learning or cognitive disabilities. Staff also warned that some hospitals were operating a ‘no admissions’ policy for care home residents – even for non-Covid-19 conditions such as heart attacks – and some said they had struggled to make appointments with GPs for elderly people.
Care homes were asked to introduce blanket “do not resuscitate” orders for all residents at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been claimed. The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI), a charity promoting community nursing, found that one in ten care homes were ordered to introduce the measure without discussion with staff, family members or the residents. It was intended to help keep hospital beds free. Half of staff members who said that they had been asked to change DNRs worked in homes for people with learning or cognitive disabilities.
Gavin Williamson has one ‘last chance’ to save his Cabinet position, with Ministers suggesting his final test will be the reopening of schools in nine days’ time. But some of the country’s biggest education and teaching unions don’t want to see him sacked, instead branding him their ‘very useful idiot’. The under-fire Education Secretary has said he is committed to doing ‘everything necessary’ to ensure pupils are back in the classroom for September, following the fiasco over A-Level, GCSE and BTEC grades.
Boris Johnson has appealed to parents to send their children to schools when they reopen next week as a major union warned more teachers are needed in preparation. The National Education Union (NEU) also accused ministers of being “negligent in the extreme”, saying schools had been left in the dark on how to deal with a coronavirus outbreak. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has warned the exams crisis that has engulfed the government for a fortnight has put the planned reopening of schools “at risk”.
Teachers are far more likely to spread Covid-19 than children, according to a leading scientist. Shamez Ladhani, a paediatric infectious diseases specialist at Public Health England (PHE), said that school staff will maintain social distancing rules during work but are more likely to break them outside the classroom. It comes as figures show that just 1 in 10,000 schools have been hit by a virus outbreak when they reopened in June. A PHE analysis, published on Sunday, found there were 67 single confirmed cases, four ‘co-primary cases’ (two or more linked cases diagnosed at the same time) and 30 outbreaks of Covid-19 in schools during June.
Teachers have been warned that they are spreading Covid-19 after a leading government scientist said they were far more likely to transmit the virus than children. New research from Public Health England revealed that two thirds of outbreaks arose from staff-to-staff transmission, or staff-to-pupil. In June the number of schools open was between 20,500 and 23,400, with pupil numbers increasing from 475,000 to 1,646,000. In June and last month 200 children and staff were affected by the illness. Over the same period 25,470 cases were recorded across England as a whole.
TEACHERS condemned the government for being “negligent in the extreme” today after an analysis found that there were 30 outbreaks of coronavirus in English schools after they reopened. The reopening of schools following the easing of national lockdown was associated with a total of 198 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 70 in children and 128 in staff, according to the report by Public Health England (PHE). There was a “strong correlation” between community coronavirus incidence and risk of outbreaks in educational settings, even during a period of low Covid-19 incidence, the report said.
Boris Johnson has pleaded with parents to send their children back to the classroom as he takes charge of the drive to get all schools open next week. The Prime Minister warned last night that pupils risk permanent damage to their future life chances if they continue to stay away. Mr Johnson, who tomorrow morning will return to No10 following his summer break, is in a race against the clock to get schools ready and persuade parents they are safe in time for the start of the new term.
Reopening schools could lead to coronavirus infections rising and force the reintroduction of some local lockdown measures, the UK’s most senior medical advisers have warned. In a joint statement on Saturday night, the chief and deputy chief medical officers from across the UK said while there were “no risk-free options”, further time out of the classroom would increase inequalities, reduce the life chances of children and could exacerbate physical and mental health issues. They said they were confident that there was an “exceptionally small risk of children of primary or secondary school age dying from Covid-19”.
Children are more likely to catch coronavirus at home than at school, a Public Health England (PHE) study has found. The findings come after England’s chief medical officer said reopening schools brings less risk of long-term harm than keeping children at home. PHE’s research detected just 67 single cases and 30 outbreaks, defined as two or more linked cases, in schools across England in June. The study also found Only 0.01% of open educational settings had an outbreak; Out of more than one million children attending pre-school and primary school in June, just 70 children were affected;
Up to four million people could be tested every day for coronavirus by early next year under ambitious plans to further ease restrictions and boost the economy, the Telegraph understands. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has contracted Deloitte as consultants to help develop a mass testing regime that would identify asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus, most of whom are currently missed by the current test and tracing. Such mass testing would allow ministers to see exactly where outbreaks are and stop infected people unknowingly spreading it.
The two-week quarantine imposed on arrivals from high-risk countries would be more than halved under plans for a new airport testing regime. Ministers are to consider proposals for dual tests in which passengers are screened for Covid-19 on arrival and again three to five days later. The system, which would be trialled at Heathrow, would free those with a negative result from quarantine. Swissport and Collinson Group, the aviation services companies, submitted the proposal to Matt Hancock, the health secretary, on Friday.
The aviation industry last night accused ministers of using ‘outdated algorithms’ to delay plans to cut quarantine times for travellers. As Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Iceland edged closer to the UK’s quarantine list, airport officials said the Government was dragging its heels on testing proposals. These plans would do away with the need for passengers to self-isolate for a full 14 days. Heathrow last week unveiled a facility with the capacity to carry out swab tests on thousands of travellers.
Thousands of clinical trials seeking new treatments for diseases including cancer and heart disease have been suspended or abandoned in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Experts warned that improvements in patients’ chances of survival in a variety of serious diseases were likely to reduce as a result. Analysis by Southampton University found that more than 1,500 clinical trials of new drugs and treatments had been permanently closed, while a further 9,000 had been suspended.
Councils have accepted hundreds of thousands of pounds from property developers to fund planning guidelines designed to help govern their own schemes, a Guardian analysis has found. In deals that have been criticised for allowing unfair influence and marginalising local residents, bodies including housing developers, landowners and urban regeneration companies paid large sums to draft supplementary planning documents (SPDs), which councillors must then consider when determining planning applications. The planning documents subsequently published set out major and potentially lucrative development strategies for the sites in which they have an interest.
Roads narrowed so that pavements can be widened. Streets reduced from two lanes to one. Extra cycle lanes. Town-centre parking spaces suspended. Major diversions. Under the guise of protecting us from Covid, councils all across the country have introduced a host of tough restrictions on motorists. Of course, everything necessary must be done to prevent the spread of coronavirus but many believe this is being done as an excuse to punish drivers as part of a wider campaign against car use. What’s more, these measures are killing trade on high streets at a time when the economy is in desperate need of all the help it can get.
House of Commons
The acclaimed architect Norman Foster has unveiled plans for the extraordinary pop-up Parliament that could become the potential new home for MPs as the House of Commons undergoes repairs. The £300 million purpose-built temporary Parliament would be built on the Horse Guards Parade and would be designed to be taken down and re-used once it has been vacated. The scheme comes after MPs and peers passed motions to give the green light to the restoration work of the Palace of Westminster amid growing concerns over its safety.
Language experts have claimed that young people find the full stop intimidating as it is seen as a sign of anger in text messages. As Generation Z – teenagers or those in their early twenties – have grown up in the age of instant messaging, the punctuation mark is no longer commonly used. Linguists experts from across the world have been investigating the purposefulness of the full stop as communication habits have evolved. Dr Lauren Fonteyn tweeted: If you send a text message without a full stop, it’s already obvious that you’ve concluded the message.