Boris Johnson warns of stricter Covid restrictions in England

As the possibility for tougher coronavirus lockdown restrictions grows with rising infection rates across the UK, Boris Johnson is facing backlash after he was spotted cycling in a park seven miles form Downing Street over the weekend.

It comes after two women were handed £200 fines for driving five miles to a beauty spot near their homes in Derbyshire to go for a walk. Government guidance for England states that people may leave their homes to exercise once a day, but discourages them from travelling “outside your local area” to do so.

Meanwhile, supermarkets are cracking down on customers who refuse to wear a face mask and ignoring social distancing rules while shopping for essentials amid “deep” concerns from food retail workers over their own safety.

Morrisons said on Monday that customers who refuse to comply with mask-wearing guidance without a medical exemption will be asked to leave the store, and Sainsbury’s confirmed it will post trained security guards at entrances to “challenge” customers not wearing a mask or shopping in groups.

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1610448357David Attenborough receives Covid vaccine

Sir David Attenborough has received the coronavirus vaccine at age 94, days after the Queen.

A representative for Attenborough confirmed to The Independent that he has been vaccinated as he falls into the second priority group for the jab.

Kate Ng12 January 2021 10:45

1610447383Lockdown in Germany expected to last till April – report

Germany’s Angela Merkel has told lawmakers in her party that she expects the tough national lockdown in the country to last until the start of April, it has been reported.

According to Bild newspaper, the Chancellor was quoted as saying: “If we don’t manage to stop this British virus, then we will have 10 times the number of cases by Easter. We need eight to 10 more weeks of tough measures.”

Kate Ng12 January 2021 10:29

1610446557Gut bacteria may influence disease severity – study

The gut bacteria of a coronavirus patient may influence the length and severity of their infection and their immune response to it, a new study suggests.

Researchers at The Chinese University of Hong Kong found that patients with Covid-19 were depleted in gut bacteria known to modify a person’s immune response, and that this depletion appeared to persist 30 days after the virus had gone.

My colleague Matt Mathers reports:

Kate Ng12 January 2021 10:15

1610445357Hospitals dealing with ‘consequences’ of ineffective coronavirus measures before Christmas, says NHS boss

The surge in coronavirus patients in hospitals now are the effects of many weeks of cases, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Confederation, has said.

He told BBC Breakfast the current situation has evolved from “the fact that actually the steps that were taken in the autumn and before Christmas weren’t effective”.

“Our following of the rules in November time was much, much weaker than it was in March,” said Mr Mortimer.

“Christmas may well only have exacerbated that position. We’re dealing with the consequences now of many, many weeks of the spread of the virus.”

He said that current advice to the NHS “is that it will be another week or two until we feel the full benefit” of current restrictions.

“There are obviously other things we need the Government to look at. We need them to look at the test, trace and isolate system so it works effectively and sustainably, and we’re not there yet.

“We need the government to make sure that the rules that are put in place make it as easy as possible for people to follow them.

Is the economic support food enough for people that are having to isolate – particularly people in the lowest-paid jobs and the most deprived households?

“Is there sufficient support for business to enable businesses to scale back – to allow some of the people to be furloughed or to stay at home?” he questioned.

Kate Ng12 January 2021 09:55

1610444425Hospital secretaries drafted in to help on wards

Hospitals are calling for “immediate additional staff” to help with the surge of coronavirus patients, with plans to bring in students, social care workers and even secretaries.

Health chiefs have warned that the NHS is facing its most dangerous moment ever, as statistics showed there were more than 32,000 Covid patients in hospitals.

Documents seen by The Independent show that NHS bosses have set out a plan for mass redeployment of manpower as wards are overwhelmed. Our Health Correspondent Shaun Lintern has the exclusive story:

Kate Ng12 January 2021 09:40

1610443531Covid rule-breakers increasingly likely to be fined, says Met police chief

Dame Cressida Dick has said it was “preposterous” that anyone could be unaware of the need to follow coronavirus regulations and rule-breakers are “increasingly likely” to face fines.

My colleague Chiara Giordano reports:

Kate Ng12 January 2021 09:25

1610442731‘Scotch egg moment’

The policing minister told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that people need to use their “common sense” when following lockdown rules.

Kit Malthouse said: “If you’re getting coffee on your way to do exercise, or as part of your acquiring food, or one of those reasons you’re allowed to be out of the house, then that is legitimate.

“This is one of those Scotch egg moments, where it’s very hard for us legislators to legislate for every single nuance of human behaviour.

“What we are relying on is people having a common sense of themselves of what they think is appropriate.”

Kate Ng12 January 2021 09:12

1610442057Police will ‘move more quickly’ to enforce Covid regulations

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has told the BBC that police will be quicker to enforce coronavirus rules and fine people who break them.

She said: “We have said last week, and again today, that we are moving more quickly to enforcement.

“We will move more quickly to enforcement, and particularly where somebody is breaking the law, breaking the regulations, and if it is absolutely clear that they must have known, or do know that they are, then we will move very swiftly to enforcement and fining people.”

Kate Ng12 January 2021 09:00

1610441728New Zealand to require travellers to show negative Covid test

New Zealand is set to impose a rule that will require travellers from most countries to show a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of departure – which is already required in a number of countries.

Chris Hipkins, New Zealand’s Covid-19 response minister, said the country is in  fortunate position to have stamped out community spread of the virus but is taking nothing for granted.

The rules will apply to US and UK travellers from Friday, and most other countries soon after, except Australia and some Pacific nations.

Kate Ng12 January 2021 08:55

1610440857Watch: Policing minister says seven-mile bike ride is ‘local’

Policing minister says seven-mile bike ride is ‘local’

Kate Ng12 January 2021 08:40

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