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Coronavirus - 4th November

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 09:13

Summary for Wednesday, 4th November

  • There are 11,000 "severely sick" Covid patients in English hospitals - NHS England chief Sir Simon Stevens
  • MPs to vote later on England's second national lockdown, which is due to start on Thursday
  • Boris Johnson tells PMQs the new lockdown will "expire automatically" on 2 December
  • Some shops extend opening hours for second day after long queues on Tuesday evening
  • Updated guidance expected on visiting rules for care homes
  • Scotland's first minister tells Covid committee she has "grounds for cautious optimism" but situation remains "very fragile"
  • The UK recorded a further 397 coronavirus deaths and 20,018 confirmed cases on Tuesday
  • Twitter bans conspiracy theorist David Icke for breaking misinformation rules
  • Sweden brings in rule of eight for cafes and restaurants as cases spike

Good morning and welcome to our coronavirus coverage.
While all eyes may be on the US election there is still plenty of news to bring you from the UK and around the world.
Here are some of the headlines this morning:


The things we are not being told as lockdown looms

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
Lockdown 2.0 is on its way, with ministers saying they have been left with no choice if lives are to be saved and the NHS is not to be overwhelmed.
It seems to be an open-and-shut case. But as MPs prepare to vote on the lockdown a number of questions remain.

  • How will it be used to fix test and trace, which is routinely failing to meet its targets?
  • How close is the NHS to being overwhelmed? - Figures obtained by the Health Service Journal suggest just over 80% of beds are occupied - a little lower than last winter and well below pre-pandemic levels
  • How many people could actually die? - The worst projection, based on data from early October, suggested deaths could reach 4,000 a day. If that was the case there should be 1,000 deaths a day by now - but the current average is a quarter of that
  • What is the impact of lockdown? - Government policy is normally accompanied by a full assessment, balancing the benefit of doing something against the cost. When the UK first entered lockdown, this was not done - and it seems to be no different this time.

Read more from Nick here .

11,000 coronavirus patients 'severely sick in hospital'

There are 11,000 "severely sick" coronavirus patients - enough to fill 22 hospitals - according to the chief executive of NHS England.
Simon Stevens told Today there had been a "very substantial" increase in admissions in October
He said: "We began early September with under 500 coronavirus patients in hospitals.
"By the beginning of October that had become 2,000. As of today that is just under 11,000.
Stevens added the UK was not unique in this, and pointed to European countries such as France and Germany putting in place stricter restrictions as their infection rates rose.

Step up testing to stop people catching virus in hospital - Hunt

The UK must step up testing to stop so many patients catching coronavirus in hospital during the second wave, according to former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The Commons health committee chairman told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "My biggest worry, frankly, is that we still have not introduced weekly testing of NHS staff.
"We know that up to 11% of coronavirus patients in hospital died last time having caught the virus in a hospital and I think it would be quite unforgivable if we made the same mistake twice and didn't take that terrible weight off the minds of NHS staff of worrying that they might be giving the infection to their own patients."
Hunt suggested that new quick-turnaround tests, like those being tried out in Liverpool , could also be used to allow people to visit relatives in care homes.
"I think this is something the government has looked at but if we are at the point where where we can offer these tests to a whole city, then surely we can find a way of offering them to people who have loved ones with dementia in care homes."

M&S suffers first ever loss as clothing sales hit

We're continuing to see the effect of the pandemic on retail this morning as Marks and Spencer gives a gloomy trading update.
The high street stalwart has fallen to a loss for the first time in its 94 years of trading as a publicly listed company.
In the six months to 26 September, it lost £87.6m, compared with profits of £158.8m in the same period last year.
M&S said clothing sales in particular were dented by lockdowns and the desire for more casual clothes.
At the same time, it has reported strong growth in its joint venture with Ocado, which started delivering M&S food as the start of September.
It said the partnership has reported a 47.9% jump in sales, while profitability has also improved.

Living with children 'doesn't increase virus risk'

Adults who live with children are not at greater risk from coronavirus than those who don't, a study has found.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Oxford University looked at data on nine million adults, and found sharing a house with under-18s did not increase the risk of getting seriously ill or dying.
In fact, the risk of dying was much lower - perhaps because people with children on average have healthier lifestyles.
One of the research team said it showed "no net harm in kids coming back to the house from school".
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 09:28

The Guardian

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

  • The number of coronavirus patients in US hospitals breached 50,000 on Tuesday, the highest level in nearly three months, as a surge in infections threatens to push the nation’s healthcare system to the edge of capacity, Reuters reports.
  • Seven US states report record hospitalisations. Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and New Mexico all reported record high hospitalisations this week.
  • India recorded fewer than 50,000 cases for the tenth day. India recorded 46,253 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Wednesday, with cases rising again in some parts including the capital, New Delhi. With 8.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases, India is the world’s second most affected country, behind only the United States. But the spread has slowed down since a September peak, and the country has reported less than 50,000 infections daily for 10 straight days.
  • The recovery in China’s service sector activity extended into a sixth straight month in October, an industry survey showed on Wednesday, with hiring picking up to the highest level in a year but overseas demand slipping.
  • The border between the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria – the country’s two most populous states – will reopen on 23 November, NSW state premier Gladys Berejiklian has just announced.
  • UK registers highest daily increase in Covid-related deaths registered in five months. A further 397 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19. It brings the UK government’s tally to 47,250. The Tuesday tally each week tends to be higher owing to a delay in reporting deaths over the weekend, but the latest figure is still the highest recorded since 422 people were reported as having died on 27 May. Full story here .
  • Europe passed a bleak milestone after reporting more than 11 million coronavirus cases, as Austria and Greece became the latest countries on the continent to impose shutdowns. The continent has now registered 11,008,465 infections and almost 285,000 deaths according to an AFP tally of official sources on Tuesday.
  • France’s daily Covid-19 death toll rose by 854 on Tuesday, an increase unseen since 15 April, while the number of people hospitalised for the disease went up by more than a 1,000 for the fifth time in nine days. More here .
  • Hungary will close bars and entertainment venues and impose a night-time curfew as of midnight to curb a fast spread of coronavirus infections, the prime minister, Viktor Orbán said. From Monday, those violating rules on wearing face masks risk stiff fines, with offending restaurants and shops to be closed by authorities if necessary.
  • The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has ordered extra lockdown measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the Netherlands, and said the government is also considering curfews and school closures. The new measures, which include a ban on public meetings of more than two people not in the same family, were imposed amid signs the epidemic had reached a second peak. More here .
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 13:22

'Fines don't tend to make people self-isolate'

Coronavirus - 4th November A5e53810

Fining people for breaking self-isolation "tends not to work" , a Welsh government adviser has said.
Ann John said support, such as a £500 payment for low earners, was more effective than "punitive measures".
Her comments come after the Welsh government announced a legal requirement to self-isolate if told to by contact tracers.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said fines would be used when "we've run out of everything else" and how much those fines would be has not be announced. In England fines can go up to £10,000.

Police chiefs warn of tougher enforcement for rule-breakers

Police chiefs in the north-west of England are asking the government and courts for support to help them take tougher action against people who ignore new lockdown restrictions .
In an open letter, the chief constables for Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside warn the "minority of people who feel the restrictions don't apply to them" to be prepared for "greater levels of enforcement".
They write: "We will collectively target those who flout the restrictions, particularly those organising large gatherings and music events, repeatedly holding parties or deliberately causing harm to our communities by not following the restrictions, such as self-isolating where necessary."
They say have taken a "measured" approach to enforcement since the start of the pandemic and most people have complied but a "significant minority" of people issued with fixed penalty notices "think they can ignore them".
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 13:25

What will England's lockdown mean for you?

Today people in England are preparing for a four-week national lockdown with sweeping new restrictions poised to come into force.
Pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will have to close and the government has published a full list of businesses able to remain open .
No household mixing will be allowed indoors or in private gardens, but outdoor exercise with one other person is encouraged.
Unlike the spring lockdown schools and universities will remain open.
If approved, the restrictions will come into force just after midnight and will last until 2 December.
MPs will be voting later today and the vote is expected to pass, despite some criticism among Conservatives.

Lessons from the first lockdown

As people in England head into a month of home-dwelling - joining those in Wales and Northern Ireland - BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat has been talking to young readers and listeners about what they learned from the last lockdown - and what they'll do differently this time.
Leonie Wall, 22, wants to "be easier on herself" with less pressure to "be productive and get things done".
But Amelia Benjamin, 23, plans to spend less time in her pyjamas.
"Now I know I feel much better when I take a shower and get dressed and leave my bedroom much more," she said.
Josh Murray, 28, is really keen to "get into the routine" of going outdoors, saying he "took the nice weather for granted" earlier this year.

Sturgeon: Covid situation in Scotland 'very fragile'

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said there are "some grounds for cautious optimism" and the steps that have been taken in recent weeks have had a positive impact.
But giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Covid committee she warned the situation was "very fragile".
"If we go into winter with a high base line of infections, any, even quite marginal, increase in the R number would risk the virus overwhelming us and that would have significant implications for the the national health service and of course for health and life," she said.
She added she had not yet received clarity on the availability of the furlough scheme to Scotland from the UK government.
You can follow her evidence here .
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 13:35

'Difficult period' ahead says NHS boss

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens says the health service has prepared "very carefully" for the "next phase of coronavirus".
But he adds: "However well prepared hospitals, the NHS, GP surgeries are, it is going to be a difficult period."
"We want to try and ensure that the health service is there for everybody, minimising the disruption to the full range of care that we provide, not just Covid but cancer services, routine operations and mental health services.
"And the truth, unfortunately, is that, if coronavirus takes off again, that will disrupt services.
"We are seeing that in parts of the country where hospitals are dealing with more coronavirus patients now than they were in April."
He also says that, for some patients, mortality in hospital and intensive care has "halved since Covid was first known to humanity".

Wales Covid case rate now 250 per 100,000 people

There have been a further 44 deaths of people with coronavirus, Welsh government minister Eluned Morgan has told a press conference.
"It is with much regret that I tell you that Public Health Wales will today report a further 44 deaths," she told the briefing.
"My thoughts are with all those who are grieving and mourning the loss of a loved one at what is already a difficult time."
More detail will be revealed by Public Health Wales later.
Morgan also said it would report 1,200 new Covid cases across the country.
This meant the rate of infection across the nation was 250 cases per 100,000 people, she said.
The highest rates are in Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf, with the level above 500 per 100,000 people in some places.

Manchester Nightingale hospital already taking patients

More from the NHS press conference earlier where the BBC's Nick Triggle asked about the NHS's capacity to treat patients with coronavirus.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: "At the peak of the first wave we had 19,000 hospital inpatients with coronavirus and as a consequence in this country - and in many others by the way - deferrals had to be made to non-urgent care."
This was something he wanted "to minimise this winter".
Stevens says the Nightingale hospitals have been kept ready over the summer and will be used as fits the local circumstances - with the temporary hospital in Manchester already starting to take patients.
He says: "Our local health systems are working to ensure staff are working flexibly and if needed can staff those Nightingales, so they are there and they are ready, but of course what we really want to do is ensure that infection rates reduce and the pressure overall is reduced so we don't need to see the sickest patients in Nightingale hospitals."
Alison Pittard, dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, said: "We can't stop cancer developing, we can't stop a heart attack or a stroke, but we can reduce the transmission of Covid in the community."
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 13:46

Russia’s daily tally of new coronavirus cases surged to a record high of 19,768 on Wednesday, Reuters reports, including 5,826 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 1,693,454 since the pandemic began.
Russia also reported 389 deaths in the last 24 hours, a record high that pushed the official death toll to 29,217.




Indonesia reported 3,356 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, Reuters reports, taking its total number of cases to 421,731, data from the country’s Covid-19 taskforce showed.
The country reported 113 more deaths, taking total fatalities to 14,259.
As of Wednesday, 353,282 people had recovered from the virus in Indonesia.




Poland expected to announce new curbs amid record new cases

Poland reported a record 24,692 new coronavirus infections and 373 deaths on Wednesday, Reuters reports, amid expectations that the government would announce more restrictions to curb the pandemic.
The health ministry said that, as of Wednesday, Covid-19 patients occupied 18,654 hospital beds and were using 1,625 ventilators, out of available 27,143 and 2,094 respectively.




Malaysia’s health ministry reported 1,032 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the total to 35,425 infections, Reuters reports.
The south-east Asian country also recorded eight new fatalities, raising the death toll from the pandemic to 271.




Hungary’s foreign minister has tested positive for Covid-19 in Thailand, shortly after flying in from a meeting with the Cambodian leader, Hun Sen.
Péter Szijjártó, who has been visiting south-east Asian countries, is asymptomatic but has been sent to Thailand’s Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute. He will be evacuated by plane later today, while the rest of his 12-member delegation, who were not found to be infected, will travel in a separate aircraft.
Szijjártó, 42, had arrived in Thailand following a one-day visit to Cambodia, where he met the prime minister, Hun Sen, 68, as well as the foreign minister, Prak Sokhonn. In photographs of their meetings, Szijjártó and Hun Sen were not wearing masks.
Hungary is seen by Cambodia’s strongman leader as an ally within Europe . During the visit, Szijjártó opened a satellite office of Hungary’s embassy in neighbouring Vietnam and signed economic cooperation agreements.
The Hungarian news agency MTI, reported that that Szijjártó had tested negative before leaving last month for his Asian tour.
Cambodia has escaped the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, recording fewer than 300 cases and no fatalities. Hungary, which has reported more than 2,000 deaths and almost 91,000 cases, recently announced the closure of bars, and a night-time curfew to curb a rise in infections.




Jordan suffers Covid surge after early success against virus

On Monday this week the country of 10 million people announced it had detected a daily record 5,877 cases – one of the highest per capita rates in the world – with more than 80,000 detected overall. Nearly 970 people have died.
“I believe that we are now witnessing the first wave – what we dealt with in the beginning was cluster cases,” said Ismail Matalka, the former dean of the school of medicine at Jordan University of Science and Technology.
You can read the full report from our Middle East correspondent, Michael Safi, here .




Poland will announce more restrictions on Wednesday to halt the spread of the coronavirus, the prime minister’s chief of staff, Michał Dworczyk, said, as daily infections and deaths reached new records.
The country reported 24,692 new Covid-19 cases and 373 deaths on Wednesday and is running out of hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen and medics.
“The situation is serious and today the prime minister will announce further restrictions,” Dworczyk told Catholic radio station Siodma9. The prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, and the health minister were due to give a news conference at 1pm (GMT).
Dworczyk said the measures would limit movements and the number of social contacts.
The government has said it wanted to avoid a full lockdown, which could prove disastrous for the economy, but has not ruled out stricter measures if new infections continue to rise.




Austria’s daily tally of new coronavirus infections climbed above 6,000 for the first time on Wednesday to a new record of 6,211, data from the health ministry shows.
Tougher nationwide restrictions aimed at bringing infections under control took effect on Tuesday, including a nightly curfew from 8pm to 6pm and the closure of cafes, bars and restaurants to all but take-away service. Theatres, cinemas and museums are also closed until the end of the month.




Hungary could run out of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients by the middle of next month under the most pessimistic scenario, prime minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, has warned.
The country has 32,000 hospital beds set aside for patients with the coronavirus, he added.




Lithuania’s government has declared a three-week lockdown starting on 7 November, to slow the spread of Covid-19.
The country has seen a surge in new infections in recent days, reporting 639 new cases on Wednesday, three times more than the 205 daily cases reported on 20 October. In total, Lithuania has reported 18,092 total cases and 182 deaths.
It comes as many European countries, including France, the UK and Germany, opt for new lockdowns amid a second wave of coronavirus infections.




Switzerland’s government will deploy up to 2,500 military personnel to help the country’s hard-pressed health care system handle a second wave of coronavirus infections.
It is the second time this year the army has rolled out to support hospitals as they treat and transport patients.
New infections surpassed 10,000 in a day on Wednesday, threatening to overwhelm the health care system.
“With the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of cases is rising sharply and with it – with a delay of one to two weeks – the number of hospitalisations and patients in intensive care units. Since Tuesday, 27 October 2020, several cantons have submitted requests for military support,” the government said after a cabinet meeting.




Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has extended the country’s nightly curfew to 3 January as part of a raft of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus after cases surged last month.
“October has gone down as the most tragic month in our fight against Covid-19,” Kenyatta said, adding that the positivity rate had shot up to 16% in the month, four times what it was a month earlier.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 14:58

Covid: Nine ways England's lockdown is different from last time

Eleanor Lawrie - BBC News
On Thursday, England will be going back into lockdown, with pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops told to close.
Here are nine things that are different from the March lockdown.

1. You can meet one friend... with your children

In March, you could only meet others from outside your household in a very limited set of circumstances.
Meeting another person socially wasn't allowed until May.
This time, you can catch up with a friend in an outdoor public place, like a park or beach, as long as you socially distance and neither of you is self-isolating.
And this time, children of pre-school age are not included in the two-person limit, so those looking after youngsters can still have social contact.


2. Schools and universities are staying open

The government has emphasised that it is prioritising education - so schools, colleges and universities will all remain open, as will nurseries and other childcare.
They closed back in March and while studies continued online, many students did not return in person until September.
In the summer, scientists had warned that pubs and other activities might have to close for schools to remain open in the second wave.
''We cannot let this virus damage our children's futures even more than it has already,'' Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, adding that clinical advice is for young people to be in school.

3. Public toilets will not be closed

The government has specifically said that public toilets can remain open.
This also applies at visitor attractions like gardens and castles, if they are normally available to the public and are sufficiently separate.
During the last lockdown, many councils did not reopen their public toilets when allowed.
People with young children and long-term health conditions were particularly affected, and with pubs and restaurants closed, many complained they were forced to relieve themselves in public places.

4. 'Bubbles' exist

Many people are going into this lockdown as part of a support "bubble", a concept which didn't exist back in March.
It means that an adult living alone or a single parent family can mix freely with one other nominated household of any size.
A household with children under 13 can also form a childcare bubble with another household to help with informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare. This must always be between the same two households.However, the Cabinet Office has been unable to confirm to the BBC whether one or more people from the second household can provide the childcare - so in the case of grandparents, for example, whether only one of them can do it.
Bubbles will continue during the lockdown.


5. Click and collect services will be available

Non-essential shops are closing once again, but this time click and collect - where customers order products online and go to pick them up - will be allowed.
Click and collect involves minimal contact, and could help shops to keep more workers employed.
Garden centres can also stay open this time, as can waste and recycling tips.

6. Sitting on a bench is allowed

In the early days of lockdown, sitting on a bench could be interpreted as breaking coronavirus rules - unless the person was taking a break from exercising. Sunbathing or reading outdoors were also not permitted.
This time, the government has not placed any time limit on recreational activities, with the prime minister suggesting that meeting a friend in the park for a walk or sitting on a bench and eating a sandwich was perfectly fine.


7. You can take unlimited exercise

The message is very different now to March, when people were told to take only one form of exercise outdoors a day.
The government is mindful of obesity, mental health and other problems caused by lockdown inactivity, and the risks of coronavirus transmission are generally higher indoors.
The new lockdown guidance says "you can and should still travel to... spend time or exercise outdoors. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel to do so if necessary".
Only essential travel was permitted in the spring, but this was open to interpretation, with one police force criticised for sharing drone footage of ramblers online.

8. Dentist and opticians are staying open

Dentists and opticians were only open for emergency appointments at the start of the last lockdown.
But they can open as usual this time, as can chiropractors and osteopaths.
Boots Opticians and Specsavers say they will operate as normal, while the British Dental Association has confirmed that dental services will be available.
An alarming side-effect of the last lockdown was missed medical appointments, as many worried about burdening the health service or being exposed to the virus.
This has potentially led to thousands of missed diagnoses and treatments.
Mr Johnson stressed it is ''really important'' to ''get your scans, turn up for your appointments and pick up your treatments'', during this lockdown and all winter.

9. Nobody will formally shield

About two million vulnerable people had to shield in the last lockdown, meaning they stayed at home.
Many found this advice ''very restrictive,'' the government says.
The aim is to strike a balance between practical measures to keep people safe, while reducing the harm caused to their wellbeing and mental health.
"I know how tough shielding was, and we will not ask people to shield again in the same way," Mr Johnson said.
However, the "clinically extremely vulnerable", including organ transplant patients and people with certain cancers, have been told to take extra care to minimise contact with others, including working from home.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 15:03

Should I stay or should I go? The question facing students

That's the question facing students in England as they prepare for the latest lockdown.
They have been told, including by universities minister Michelle Donelan , not to return home before the latest restrictions kick in.
But many have already endured enforced isolation, had their lectures moved online and are now unsure if the lockdown will be extended over Christmas.
The National Union of Students is warning there could be a "mass exodus" .
President Larissa Kennedy said it was understandable some students would want to leave university accommodation during this "challenging period", adding they should be able to travel home safely before lockdown starts - in line with current guidance for the wider population.
There
You can find out which way some students have decided to go here .

302 more deaths in hospitals in England

A further 302 people who tested positive for the Covid-19 have died in hospitals, NHS England has said.
It brings the total number of deaths between 30 March and 3 November by this measure to 33,637.
The UK-wide figures, including new cases, will be published later.

NI medical leaders 'extremely concerned'

Medical leaders in Northern Ireland have called for "breathing space", as the rise in Covid-19 cases places increasing pressure on health services.
The Royal Colleges of Surgeons, General Practitioners and Physicians said they were "extremely concerned".
The appeal was issued as the latest Department of Health data showed hospitals were operating at 96% capacity.
Trusts are understood to be escalating plans to deal with the surge.
Of Northern Ireland's 120 intensive care unit beds, 51 were occupied by Covid-19 patients on Tuesday and a further 54 by patients with other conditions, leaving 15 available.
Read more on this story here .
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 15:06

Takeaway beer sales 'will make a difference'

A government U-turn allowing pubs to sell takeaway beer during the latest lockdown has been broadly welcomed by the industry.
Kris Gumbrell, chief executive officer of 22-pub chain Brewhouse & Kitchen, said it was "a tremendous result".
"I think it will make a significant difference, not only for my company, but for the entire sector," he told Radio 4's Today Programme.
But some chains say they will still struggle to survive.
Under the new restrictions, customers must order their drink via a website, phone or text message. Deliveries are also allowed.
Mark Newcombe, head of a community-run pub called the Craufurd Arms, in Maidenhead, says his pub will still have to close.
His pub doesn't have an app and he says it is not in a position to run a pre-ordered takeaway service.
Read more on this story here .
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 16:43

Care homes told to allow 'safe' lockdown visits

Families should be able to visit loved ones who are in care homes in a Covid-safe way during the lockdown in England, the government has said.
New guidance says measures such as floor-to-ceiling screens, visiting pods and window visits should be used to allow contact.
Care homes, especially those which have not allowed visits since March, will be encouraged and supported to provide safe visiting opportunities, the Department for Health and Social Care said.
Plans are also being developed to allow specific family and friends to visit care homes supported by testing, the government said.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "It is vital high quality, compassionate care and infection control remains at the heart of every single care home, to protect staff and resident’s lives, but we must allow families to reunite in the safest way possible."

Analysis: Is this a return to shielding?

Philippa Roxby - Health reporter, BBC News
The guidance for people with medical conditions which make them extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 has been announced less than 24 hours before new restrictions are introduced in England.
But this is not a return to shielding, as it was called during the first lockdown.
The advice then was very restrictive and meant many thousands of people didn’t leave their homes for months on end.
This new guidance is more relaxed but it’s still a big ask for more than 2.2 million people who may not be able go to work for the next month if they can’t work from home.
This time around the main difference is that exercise outdoors is allowed and most children - even if vulnerable - can go to school because of their very low risk of becoming ill from Covid-19.
But shops, pharmacies and non-essential travel are still out of bounds so charities say support for these people is more important than ever.
Another 80,000 people have also been added to the group who need extra protection, including adults with Down’s syndrome.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 16:49

Poland introduces partial lockdown after record daily infections

Adam Easton - Warsaw Correspondent
Poland is introducing a partial lockdown from Saturday after reporting record daily coronavirus infections and deaths.
Most shops, including shopping centres, cinemas, museums, theatres and hotels will be forced to close.
Poland reported 24,692 infections and 373 virus-related deaths for the previous 24 hours - the highest figures for both since the pandemic started, the Polish health ministry tweeted.
In shopping centres, only chemists, supermarkets and services will remain open, while hotels will only be open for health service workers.
From Monday the first three years of primary schools will switch to online classes, as all other primary, secondary and higher education classes have already done.
The number of people allowed in shops, churches and public transport will also be restricted.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said November would be "one of the most difficult moments in the pandemic".

Woman fined for trip to see her horse

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A woman from Leicester has been fined for breaching Covid lockdown rules by visiting a horse in Wales.
The Welsh 17-day "firebreak" lockdown came into force on 23 October, with a ban on non-essential travel among the restrictions .
Dyfed-Powys Police said the driver was stopped during routine checks in the Ceredigion area on Sunday.
She admitted she had undertaken the 320-mile round trip to see the animal and was given a fixed penalty notice.
The force could not confirm the amount the woman was fined.
You can read more on this story here .
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 16:53

Winning a vote - but is the PM winning the argument?

Iain Watson - Political correspondent
The government won’t lose the vote today but, at times, it has felt that ministers were losing the argument.
The majority of MPs are reluctantly resigned to lockdown but critics, on both sides of the House, have dominated the debate.
The seniority of the sceptics highlighted the disquiet - especially among Boris Johnson’s backbenchers.
Two former party leaders weighed in.
Theresa May expressed concerns but Iain Duncan Smith went for full-throated opposition - describing a "circuit-breaker" lockdown as a "business breaker".
Some Labour MPs broke ranks with their own leader’s instruction to back the measures.
Two MPs from what were tier-three areas - Manchester’s Graham Stringer and Derek Twigg, from the Liverpool City Region, declared their opposition.
MPs will get a subsequent vote on whatever measures will replace lockdown before 2 December.
Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani said she would support the government for now, but was putting ministers "on 28 days notice".
Many more apparently loyal MPs have their own red lines - so today’s rebellion will represent only the tip of an iceberg of unease.

Your Questions Answered: Can I drive somewhere for exercise?

While we're waiting to hear the results of the MPs' vote, we have done our best to answer some of your questions about the new lockdown in England:

  • Can I drive or use public transport to go somewhere to exercise? Up to a point. The government says you should avoid travelling in or out of your local area, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make. But it says you may “travel to exercise, if you need to make a short journey to do so”.
  • Can grandparents continue to look after their grandchild once a week? Yes, informal childcare bubbles can carry on during the lockdown period. People over 70 are considered vulnerable but grandparents can still look after their grandchildren aged 13 or under.
  • I live alone - can I walk with one friend one day and another friend on a different day? Neither friend is in my bubble. Yes. Any one person can meet any other one person in a public outdoor space for the purpose of exercise and recreation. There is no limit to how many different people you can meet on successive days - or even on the same day.

For more questions answered click here .

MPs approve second lockdown for England

MPs have voted to approve the government's four-week lockdown across England by 516 votes to 38 - meaning it will come into force tomorrow.
A number of MPs said during the debate that they would be voting against the move - and a full breakdown of the those who voted against will be published later.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 17:02

Breaking News 

492 more Covid deaths in the UK

The deaths of another 492 people with coronavirus have been reported in the UK in the last 24 hours, according to the government's daily coronavirus update .
It takes the total number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test to 47,742.
A further 25,177 people have tested positive for the virus, according to government figures.
It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 1,099,059.

England's coronavirus hotspots in maps

England is braced for its second national coronavirus lockdown from tomorrow.
The tougher restrictions were brought in as data showed Covid-infection rates continued to rise across the country.
In the week to 31 October, England had 227 cases of coronavirus for every 100,000 people.
The rate of infection varies from area to area. Here are some charts showing the data in some of England's hotspots:
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 17:11

France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin has come under fire for allegedly breaking government lockdown rules that people can only go out to take exercise within a kilometre of their homes.
French daily La Voix du Nord and several other media outlets reported that Darmanin went for a jog with his bodyguards on Sunday along the Roubaix canal well over a kilometre away from his home in Tourcoing in northern France.
People can be fined 135 euros for breaking the rule.
“Double standards?” La Voix du Nord wrote.
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said that if Darmanin had “adapted” the rule, it had been for security reasons.




Denmark will cull its entire herd of mink due to the risk of coronavirus mutations, the country’s prime minister has said.
The country’s authorities have registered a mutation of the new coronavirus in mink, which has spread to humans, Mette Frederiksen told a press conference on Wednesday.
“The mutated virus in mink may pose a risk to the effectiveness of a future vaccine,” she said.
Outbreaks at mink farms have persisted in the Nordic country, the world’s largest producer of mink skins, despite repeated efforts from authorities to cull infected herds since June.




Italy registers 30,550 new cases and 352 deaths on eve of new restrictions

Angela Giuffrida - The Guardian
Italy registered 30,550 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday and 352 fatalities.
The government has approved new restrictions, due to come into force on Thursday, that includes a national 10pm-5am curfew, the closure of shopping centres at weekends and closure of museums.
In terms of regional restrictions, there will be a three-tier system that divides Italy’s 20 regions up according to level of risk, but it is still unclear which regions will fall into which categories. Prime minister Giuseppe Conte is expected to hold a press conference on Wednesday night, although a time is yet to be confirmed.
Other national measures include distance learning for high school pupils.
Cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools across the country have already been closed, while bars and restaurants must close at 6pm, as per the last decree on 26 October.
The new measures will be in place until 3 December.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 17:14

Care home guidance 'will kill people'

The Alzheimer’s Society has said it is "devastated" by the new care home visitor guidance issued by the government.
"It completely misses the point, this attempt to protect people will kill them," said its chief executive officer Kate Lee.
The guidance, issued today, has suggested a number of ways care homes could allow visitors.
This includes having designated visitor pods with floor-to-ceiling screens and separate entrances, as well as window-side visits.
"The prison style screens the government proposes - with people speaking through phones - are frankly ridiculous when you consider someone with advanced dementia can often be bed-bound and struggling to speak," Ms Lee said.
"They won't understand and will be distressed by what's going on around them."
She said the guidelines "completely ignore" the vital role of family carers in providing the care for their loved ones with dementia that no one else can.

NHS in England moves to highest alert level

The NHS in England has been placed on its highest alert level, bosses have announced.
The move means staff can be moved around the country, while patients may be sent to other regions for treatment if Covid threatens to overwhelm local services.
Health bosses said they were "seriously concerned", adding the NHS was facing a "very difficult winter".
But they said they hoped the four-week lockdown, starting tomorrow, would help avoid major disruption.
There's more on this story here .
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Nov 04 2020, 18:59

Wednesday's coronavirus headlines

That's all from our live coverage today. If you're just catching up, here are the latest coronavirus headlines:


Thanks for joining us

We're wrapping up our live coverage for today. We'll be back again in the morning.

Our live page today was put together by: Doug Faulkner, Martha Buckley, Sarah Collerton, Cherry Wilson, Kate Whannel and Paul Seddon.

    Current date/time is Wed Jan 20 2021, 03:43