Coronavirus

Times
Britain’s social life was cancelled last night during a Downing Street press conference at which Boris Johnson laid out “draconian” restrictions that are unlikely to be lifted for months. In the first of what will be daily appearances to explain the government’s handling of the crisis, the prime minister and his advisers told the country: Don’t go to pubs or eat out. Socialising is considered non-essential and people should therefore not attend any gatherings where they would mix at close quarters. “You should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues,” Mr Johnson said. This applies to entertaining at home and holding family get-togethers.

Mirror
Everyone must stop “all non-essential social contact” to help contain the coronavirus, Boris Johnson has said. The government is now encouraging people to avoid public areas wherever possible. Mr Johnson said: “We need people to start working from home where they possibly can and you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.” He added: “Without drastic action, cases could double every four or five days.” Mr Johnson also said that as soon as one person in a household was infected that the whole home must now self isolate for 14 days.

Telegraph
Everyone in the UK must now avoid visits to pubs, restaurants and “non-essential contact” with other people, Boris Johnson has declared, as he implemented the biggest restriction of civil liberties “in peacetime”. In a dramatic escalation of the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister said all “unnecessary” travel must end, meaning all employees should work from home from Tuesday “if possible”. The measures may last for a “prolonged period” which could stretch into months. Around a third of the public – everyone over the age of 70, millions who are younger but suffer from health conditions, and pregnant women – are being asked to go further by avoiding almost all social contact from this weekend.

Mail
Boris Johnson
plunged Britain into an extraordinary lockdown today – urging everyone in the country to stop all ‘non-essential’ contact with others. The PM warned that the coronavirus was now in a phase of rapid spread across the UK, with London seeing a particular surge, and it was time to take radical action to stop the NHS being swamped.   Everyone should avoid contact that is not absolutely necessary – with restaurants, bars and cinemas and travel off limits, and an end to large gatherings. Admitting that the squeeze could last 12 weeks or even longer, Mr Johnson acknowledged he was ‘asking a lot’.

Times
Normal life was put on hold for up to a year last night after Boris Johnson was told that it was the only way to save a quarter of a million lives. In restrictions unprecedented in peacetime, the prime minister urged Britons not to go to pubs and theatres, to work from home if they could, and to stop non-essential travel. He emphasised that the advice was “particularly important” for the 8.8 million people who are aged 70 or above in Britain. They were urged to avoid other people “as much as you can and significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family”.

Sun
MEDICAL advisers have warned that 260,000 people will die in Britain unless the lockdown is made stricter. Drastic restrictions will be required for up to 18 months if hundreds of thousands of British lives are to be saved, experts have warned. Earlier, Boris Johnson said the UK economy could be hit ‘severely’ due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has seen the death toll hit 55 and cases total 1543 as of Monday, March 16, 2020. The Prime Minister also urged Brits to work from home as the virus continues to spread.

ITV News
The UK Government has taken “drastic action” against coronavirus because research which informed the decision suggested that unless more stringent measures were taken, Covid-19 could lead to up to 250,000 deaths. Researchers from Imperial College’s Covid19 Response Team added that the demand for intensive care beds could also have reached eight times capacity.

Sky News
The government ramped up measures against the coronavirus epidemic following new predictions that the UK could otherwise have seen 250,000 deaths. A new document published by the COVID-19 team at London’s Imperial College – which is advising the government on its coronavirus response – warns the current public health threat is the “most serious” from a respiratory virus since the Spanish Flu in 1918. They advised the UK adopts a strategy of “epidemic suppression” – for a period of potentially 18 months or more – rather than “mitigation”.

Times
More than a quarter of a million people would have died under previous plans to control the spread of coronavirus, according to the government’s own advisers. Data modellers from Imperial College London said that Britain was now adopting a strategy to suppress and halt the outbreak rather than contain it or “flatten the curve”. They added that dramatic restrictions on movements announced yesterday were likely to stay in place until a vaccine was found in 12 to 18 months because, without herd immunity, the disease would simply return once they were lifted.

Sun
CORONAVIRUS patients are contagious for two weeks after symptoms disappear, the World Health Organisation has warned. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today warned that quarantine measures should continue for up to a fortnight after being infected. Dr Tedros told a press conference in Geneva: “People infected with Covid-19 can still infect others after they stop feeling sick, so these measures should continue for at least two weeks after symptoms disappear.

BBC News
The government is set to announce more financial measures to help the economy during the coronavirus outbreak, amid warnings the latest restrictions could put firms out of business. Boris Johnson has urged everyone to avoid unnecessary social contacts, to work from home where possible, and to stay away from pubs and restaurants. People in at-risk groups will be asked within days to stay home for 12 weeks. The number of people who have died with the virus in the UK has reached 55.

Corona/schools

Independent
The government is facing rising anger over Boris Johnson’s decision to keep schools open amid the coronavirus  pandemic. The prime minister’s spokesperson said the scientific advice was that school closures were not a step the government should be taking at this time. However, concerned parents have been keeping their children at home and complaining other countries were doing more to stop the spread of Covid-19. The hashtags #Covid19Walkout and #CloseTheSchoolsNow were both trending on Twitter on Monday, with pupils posting photos of densely packed school corridors and saying it was impossible for follow guidance on social distancing.

Sun
SCHOOLS have been told to stay open during the coronavirus outbreak – but attendance has plummeted as worried parents keep their kids at home. Kids with a cough or fever will be isolated in a room at school and then sent home for a fortnight to try to halt the spread of the outbreak. But as Boris Johnson announced that most of Britain will be put in lockdown, schools will stay open. Advice released by Public Health England (PHE) yesterday states: “PHE will rarely advise a school to close, but this may be necessary if there are so many staff being isolated that the school has operational issues.

Guardian
Teaching unions and school leaders are to hold talks with the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, on Monday to discuss plans for schools and colleges in England as they start to negotiate the impact of the growing coronavirus emergency. The government has until now resisted pressure to close schools as other countries have done, but there is mounting concern in the sector about how schools will continue to function with growing numbers of staff required to self-isolate. The education secretary is also expected to address concerns about potential disruption to GCSEs and A-levels this summer, amid calls from some to delay examinations until September or even postpone until 2021, which could result in pupils having to repeat the current year.

Mail
Boris Johnson said today schools will stay open after health bosses told teachers to send home children with coughs despite calls for closures over coronavirus.  The Prime Minister said from Downing Street: ‘We think it’s better we can keep schools open for all sorts of reasons but we will keep this under review.’ Chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance appeared alongside Mr Johnson at the PM’s first daily press briefing for COVID-19. Sir Patrick said: ‘It may be necessary to think about things like school closures but they have to be done at the right time.’

Morning Star
THE National Education Union (NEU) slammed Ofsted today for continuing inspections while school staff suffer from anxiety and stress due to the coronavirus. NEU joint-leader Mary Bousted said that it is unacceptable for the school inspectorate to be adding extra burdens on teaching staff during the pandemic. She urged Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman to follow the example of the Welsh and Scottish school-inspection bodies and cease routine inspections in England. “School leaders and staff are straining every sinew to support and protect their students,” Ms Bousted said in a statement.

Corona/prisons

Times
Offenders will be released into the community earlier under proposals aimed at easy chronic overcrowding in prisons. Hundreds of offenders serving under four years in jails could be freed up to six weeks earlier than before under legislation announced yesterday, with the eligible period for release moving from four and a half to six months into a sentence. Earlier this month The Times revealed that the Ministry of Justice had been warned in December that recent trends in the prison population “mean we risk running out of prison capacity in late 2020”.

Mail
Prisons across the UK could be forced to release low-category inmates to control the spread of coronavirus across the British justice system.  General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association Steve Gillan this morning said that some prisoners across sites in the UK have already been forced to self-isolate within the prisons due to the virus. So far in the UK there have been over 1,000 confirmed cases of the disease and 35 people have died and Mr Gillan said he wasn’t aware of any prisoners across the system having tested positive but said that 75 were in isolation along with over 100 staff members.

Corona/pollution

Times
Lower pollution emissions were recorded across Britain yesterday as large numbers of people stayed at home while coronavirus lockdowns led to unprecedented improvements in air quality across Asia and Europe. Levels of air pollution were judged to be “low” at all of the 165 sites monitored by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The readings came as Boris Johnson urged anybody who could do so to abandon commuting and work from home. “It’s probably too early for any firm conclusions for the UK as pollution levels will vary day by day due to changes in the weather,” Professor Ian Colbeck, of the University of Essex, said.

Corona/Brexit

Express
BORIS Johnson will not allow the coronavirus to delay Britain’s full departure from EU rules after Downing Street confirmed he will not extend the transition period. After leaving the EU on January 31 Britain is currently living under EU rules in a transition period until the end of 2020 and it is understood that senior civil servants have suggested that this is extended. The Sunday Express has been told that their advice is that Britain and the EU do “not have the necessary bandwidth” to carry out trade negotiations on a tight timescale and deal with a major crisis in the coronavirus.

Corona/Labour leadership

Express
THE Labour leadership election race has, like most other aspects of daily life, been affected by the coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the UK and the world. What does the coronavirus outbreak mean for the Labour leadership election? COVID-19 has spread to 155 countries, infected more than 179,000 and killed at least 7,000 people. In the UK, the number of confirmed cases rises every day with the tally currently at 1,543 and 55 deaths. The pandemic has led to the cancellation of sporting events and the Labour leadership race has not escaped the effects of coronavirus.

Corona/The Queen

Star
The Queen has surprised royal fans by returned to Buckingham Palace in central London amid the coronavirus  pandemic. The Royal Standard is flying above the head of state’s official London residence Buckingham Palace – the working headquarters of the monarchy. The Queen, 93, travelled back to the Palace following her usual weekend break at Windsor Castle in Berkshire. She had no official public engagements on Monday, but is continuing to deal with her official papers in her famous red boxes, as well as other business of state.

Corona/EU

Times
President Macron announced last night that the EU would close its external borders as he placed France on lockdown in what he called the war on coronavirus. In a televised address to the nation, Mr Macron said that the French would be banned from leaving home for all but essential journeys and added that the EU would shut its borders, initially for a 30-day period. He said both measures would come into force at 11am British time today. Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, said that Britons would be exempted from the travel ban into the EU, adding: “The UK citizens are European citizens so of course there are no restrictions for the UK citizens to travel to the Continent.”

Mail
President Emmanuel Macron tonight said ‘we are at war’ with coronavirus as he ordered a full lockdown in France and told the public to stay at home. In a solemn live TV address on Monday evening, the head of state said that people would have to stay at home unless shopping for food or going to a pharmacy, heading for absolutely essential work, or exercising alone. French troops are also being deployed to transport patients to a field hospital which is being set up in the east of the country and today, in scenes reminiscent of China’s lockdown, army trucks rolled through the streets of Paris.

ITV News
There are so many reports, figures and updates coming out of Europe that it may be time to try and collate the latest into one place, at least once each day. And – so that you don’t have to – I shall try and make sense of what we’re hearing from across the channel on a regular basis. Much of it may quickly be out of date – things are moving too fast in too many places. But hopefully it will give at least a broad-brush impression of how and where things are moving. On the EU level the big development on Monday is the proposal by the Commission in Brussels for a ban on all non-essential travel into the Schengen area, with the hope that the UK and Ireland will follow suit. Thirty countries in all would be covered by a ban.

Breitbart
The president of the European Commission called for borders to remain open within the EU’s Free Movement travel zone during the COVID-19 outbreak, as countries across the bloc enact border controls. On Sunday, Ursula von der Leyen urged European Union member states to keep their borders open so that medical supplies will be able to be transported to countries most affected from the coronavirus. “In this moment of crisis it is of utmost importance to keep our internal market going,” von der Leyen said in a video on social media. “If we do not take action now, shops will start facing difficulties in refilling their stocks of certain products coming from elsewhere in the Single Market,” she said.

Yahoo News
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced Europe’s borders will close at lunchtime today for 30 days. “All trips between non-European countries and the EU and the Schengen zone will be suspended for 30 days,” he said in a televised address to the nation. French people on holiday will be able to come back to France and those living abroad were told to contact embassies and consulates who will help them be repatriated. Brussels had announced earlier on Monday it had proposed closing the EU’s borders to stop the spread of coronavirus but said a decision would not be made until the next day.

Sun
EMMANUEL Macron has put France on total lockdown with the country’s borders closed and socialising outside banned as he declared “we are at war” with coronavirus. The French President has addressed the nation tonight after the number of COVID-19 cases “doubled every three days” to more than 5,000 people. Mr Macron said that “movements will be very strongly reduced” for 15 days starting at midday Tuesday. He said people will only be permitted to leave their homes for necessary trips such as going to work or the supermarket. People who break these restrictions will be “punished”, although the French leader did not elaborate further.

Northern Ireland

Mail
Boris Johnson may give his Attorney General the final say over prosecutions of UK troops to end the witch-hunt of veterans who served in Northern Ireland. It would extend the chief legal adviser’s powers after former soldiers, now in their seventies, were dragged to court over deaths during the Troubles half a century ago. The Government is committed to announcing a system for historic military cases by Wednesday, 100 days after the general election. Handing the say on prosecution to Attorney General Suella Braverman will let the Government end prosecutions that aren’t in the public interest, ministers believe.

Dementia

Times
Inflammation in the brain appears to play a larger role in different forms of dementia than had been thought, according to a study that raises hope for new types of treatment. Cambridge University researchers found that by mapping the location of inflammation they could identify and distinguish three types of frontotemporal dementia, a condition that hits people as early as their thirties and affects about 16,000 in Britain. The scientists have also discovered that levels of inflammation in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia, are a powerful indicator of how aggressively their symptoms are likely to progress.

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