BORIS JOHNSON announced a raft of changes in a 'back-to-work' speech at Downing Street this morning.
Among others, the Prime Minister has introduced a 'lightning lockdowns' concept, which will give councils extra powers to impose restrictions quicker to prevent an outbreak of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has also revealed that the NHS are to receive an extra £3billion in funding to help prepare them for future waves.
It is set to help provide extra hospital capacity to battle against Covid-19 while allowing routine treatments and procedures to continue.
Also, from August 1 public transport rules will be relaxed and Brits will be advised to return to work in a Covid secure way.
Nightclubs and soft play areas will remain closed and be kept under review whilst casinos and bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen.
It comes as the coronavirus death toll in the UK reached 45,233 on Friday as 114 more deaths were recorded.
Follow the latest news and updates surrounding coronavirus below…
BACK TO WORK ADVICE CAUSES 'ALARM BELLS' FOR DISABLED PEOPLE
A leading charity says new advice for England to return to work if your workplace is “Covid secure” rings “alarm bells” for disabled people.
“Millions of disabled people at greater risk of coronavirus feel their fears are not being taken into account,” said James Taylor, from disability charity Scope.
The government said it had been “doing everything we can to support” disabled people during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, two-thirds of those who have died from coronavirus were disabled.
MEXICAN PRESIDENT TO GIVE A QUARTER OF SALARY TO HELP FIGHT COVID
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said that he will return a fourth of his salary to help Mexico deal with the coronavirus pandemic that has harmed its economy, encouraging public servants also to donate from their earnings.
Reuters reports Lopez Obrador’s salary is about 108,000 pesos ($4,806), the contribution amounts to some 27,000 pesos ($1,201), which Lopez Obrador said will go to health services.
He did not say if it would be a one-time or recurring deduction.
“There can’t be a rich government with a poor populace,” Lopez Obrador said in his regular morning news conference, urging others to follow his lead.
GOOGLE BANS ADS ON COVID CONSPIRACY WEBSITES
Google has said it would prohibit websites and apps that use its advertising technology from running ads on “dangerous content” that goes against scientific consensus during the coronavirus pandemic.
Digital advertising giants like Google and Facebook have faced calls to do more to clamp down on the spread of misinformation.
Online content is not allowed to make money from ads if it includes debunked conspiracy theories about coronavirus – such as the theory that the virus was created in a Chinese lab as a bioweapon.
CANADA'S CORONAVIRUS SPIKE 'LINKED TO YOUNG PEOPLE GATHERING'
A recent spike in coronavirus cases in Canada is worrying and can be linked to groups of young people gathering in bars and elsewhere, a top medical official said on Friday.
“When we examine recent trends in case reporting, there is some cause for concern.
“After a period of steady decine, daily case counts have started to rise,” deputy chief public health officer Howard Njoo told a briefing.
UK COVID-19 CHARITY APPEAL RAISES £10M IN FOUR DAYS
An appeal to raise funds to fight coronavirus in refugee camps and poor communities in the world's most vulnerable countries has raised more than £10 million.
The Disasters Emergency Committee Coronavirus Appeal has raised the staggering amount in just four days, since it launched on Tuesday.
The charity involves 14 of Britain's largest aid charities, aiming to help provide food, water and medical care to people in countries such as Syria, Yemen and South Sudan.
INDIA SURPASSES 1 MILLION COVID CASES
India has added a record number of coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, breaching the one million mark.
It has the world's third-largest case load, after the US and Brazil.
In the last day it has recorded 35,000 new cases, and has a standing death rate of 25,602 – which is the eighth-highest in the world.
BRAZIL'S COVID INFECTIONS 'NO LONGER EXPONENTIAL'
Coronavirus infections in Brazil no longer appear to be rising exponentially – but have reached a plateau, according to World Health Organisation emergencies programme head Mike Ryan.
This means there may be an opportunity to get the outbreak under control in the country.
Ryan told a news briefing that the “R” number, the number of people each infected person goes on to infect, now appeared to be between 0.5 and 1.5 across states in Brazil, and the number of new cases was plateauing at 40,000-45,000 per day.
He said: “The virus is not doubling itself in the community as it was before, so the rise is not exponential.”
Ryan added there was “absolutely no guarantee that it will go down by itself.”
PM'S PLAN TO SCRAP SOCIAL DISTANCING BY XMAS IS 'PREMATURE'
A public health professor has said scrapping social-distancing measures in time for Christmas is an “enthusiastic approach that is premature” as the infection rate is still too high.
The Prime Minister said on Friday he hoped to ease the one-metre social distancing rule by November at the earliest.
However Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, said the infection rate in the community is currently too high for this to happen.
She said: “The only way it would be possible to get rid of the one-metre rule is if, over several months, we don’t have any Covid cases around the country.
“It does seem strange to suggest we can remove all social distancing if the virus is still in the community even in small levels, and when people are flying in and out of the country.
“This is an enthusiastic approach that’s premature.”
IMPERIAL COLLEGE VACCINE TO BE TRIALLED ON 100 PEOPLE
More than 100 people will take part in the next phase of clinical trials to test a new coronavirus vaccine developed at Imperial College London.
Work began earlier this week to vaccinate a larger number of participants to assess the optimal dosage of Imperial's Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
It follows a “successful” initial phase of the trial which involved 15 volunteers, Imperial said.
The next phase will see 105 people, aged 18 to 75, randomised to receive their first shot of one of three doses of the vaccine at a west London facility, followed by a booster shot four weeks later.
Neither the participants nor clinical staff will know which dose they have received, Imperial said.
OVER 2,000 GHANAIAN HEALTH WORKERS CONTRACT CORONAVIRUS
Over 2,000 health workers in Ghana have contracted coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic in the West African nation, the authorities have said.
“The total number of health workers infected is 2,065,” Patrick Kumah-Aboagye, the director general of the country's health service, said.
“Out of that number, 1,870 have recovered and 183 are in isolation centres or undergoing treatment at home.”
So far only six health workers are reported to have died from the virus, he said.
Ghana – which boasts one of the region's best testing rates – has reported more than 26,000 infections, of which 139 have been fatal.
FEMALE PRISONERS ARE STRUGGLING WITH LOCKDOWN
Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are affecting the mental health of female prisoners and should be eased urgently, inspectors warned.
Inmates at the closed category women's jails HMP Send and HMP Downview, both in Surrey, said they had “deteriorating” physical and mental health, according to a report.
The inspection carried out at the end of June found steps had been taken to effectively contain the spread of Covid-19.
But chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke said: “The suspension of visits has had a particularly acute impact in the women's estate; many prisoners in Send and Downview had not seen their children for over three months.”
'REAL SURPRISE' IF VACCINE IS FOUND IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS
Prof Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said he would be “very surprised” if a coronavirus vaccine was found in the next six months.
Asked how the UK's strategy to tackle the pandemic might evolve in the coming months, he told the Lords Science and Technology Committee: “Obviously the one that we would all love to see is if in the next six months we got an effective, or fairly effective vaccine or highly effective drugs.
“I think Patrick (Vallance, chief scientific adviser) and I certainly would be very surprised if that was the case, but very pleasantly surprised and we're working as fast as we can to achieve that.”
FEARS THAT SUPERMARKETS WOULD RUN OUT OF FOOD WERE 'VERY REAL'
The First Minister of Wales has said there were “very real fears” that supermarkets would run out of food, the NHS would be overwhelmed and there would be a lack of space to bury the dead at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.
Mark Drakeford told a press conference in Cardiff that there had been concerns that vulnerable people would not have access to basic supplies or a “safety net” of services.
But he said those “worst fears” had been averted due to people in Wales following the rules, including the Stay at Home and the Stay Local regulations.
Image: Mercury Press
RASHES, FATIGUE AND CONFUSION 'ARE ALL SYMPTOMS'
We blogged this afternoon about the six different 'types' of Covid, a conclusion based on data gathered from King's College London's Covid Symptom Study app.
It could have important implications for medics' understanding of key symptoms.
Continuous cough, fever and loss of smell are recognised as the three main tells of the disease.
But the scientists said data from their app showed a wide range of symptoms associated with Covid-19 such as headaches, muscle pains, fatigue, diarrhoea, confusion, loss of appetite and shortness of breath.
The researchers said they recently identified skin rash as another key symptom.
DEATH TOLL REACHES 45,233
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said 45,233 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Thursday – up by 114 from 45,119 the previous day.
Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been 55,700 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
'AN ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT DAY'
Captain Tom Moore became a 'sir' this afternoon after he was knighted by the Queen.
Following the ceremony, he said: “I am absolutely overawed.
“This is such a high award and to get it from Her Majesty as well – what more can anyone wish for?
“This has been an absolutely magnificent day for me.”
Asked what was better, raising more than £30million or having the Queen “break her lockdown” to award him the honour, Sir Tom replied: “The money is very useful but you've only one Queen, and when you get a message from the Queen there's no value that can be placed on that.”
SORE THROAT AND MUSCLE PAIN ARE COVID SYMPTOMS
Scientists say they've identified six 'types' of Covid, as detailed in that last blog post.
These types are:
- Flu-like with no fever: Headache, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain, no fever
- Flu-like with fever: Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, loss of appetite
- Gastrointestinal: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, sore throat, chest pain, no cough
- Severe level 1, fatigue: Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, fatigue
- Severe level 2, confusion: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain
- Severe level 3, abdominal and respiratory: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, abdominal pain
SIX 'TYPES' OF COVID IDENTIFIED, SAY SCIENTISTS
Scientists say they have identified six different “types” of Covid-19, each based on a “particular cluster of symptoms”.
Their findings are based on data gathered from King's College London's Covid Symptom Study app.
According to the researchers, most people who require breathing support come to hospital around 13 days after their first symptoms, so knowing those who are at higher risk of severe infection, as early as day five, could help save lives.
HOL HOTSPOTS ARE QUIET AS BRITS STAY AWAY
Spain's holiday hotspots remain deserted as tourists stay away – despite Brits being welcomed back.
The country was one of the first to welcome British tourists back last month, after opening the borders and stopping all quarantine restrictions.
But many key destinations remain deserted.
Here's the story.
BORIS EASES WORK-FROM-HOME ADVICE
Boris Johnson today eased the work-from-home guidance and paved the way for theatres and sports stadiums to reopen as he set out plans for a “significant return to normality” in England from as early as November.
The Prime Minister said it will be up to employers to discuss with workers whether it is safe to return from August 1.
Here's what you need to know.
VIRUS DOMINATES VIEWING FIGURES
Coronavirus has dominated the most-watched TV programmes of the year so far, with speeches by the Prime Minister and the Queen attracting some of the biggest audiences in broadcasting history, new analysis shows.
Boris Johnson's announcement on March 23 that the UK was going into lockdown was simultaneously broadcast across six television channels: BBC One, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky News and BBC News.
Combined with the ratings across all six channels, the speech had a total TV audience averaging 28.2million – large enough to rank as one of the most-watched broadcasts in UK television history.
The Queen's short televised address to the nation on April 5 had a combined TV audience across seven channels of 24.3million.
'WE NEED PEOPLE TO BUY INTO WEARING MASKS'
Public health guidance needs people “buying into it” so they understand what actions to take during the coronavirus pandemic, the chief medical officer for England has said.
Speaking to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, Prof Chris Whitty acknowledged there were “technical” variations in terms of surgical face masks or face coverings available to the public.
But he added: “The variation in those is much less important than getting people to do the basics.
“And the basics are, if you're going to wear one in a high risk area it must cover your nose and mouth.”
R-RATE IS STEADY ACROSS UK – DESPITE RISING IN LONDON
The crucial coronavirus R-rate has remained stable across the UK – despite creeping above 1 in London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson this morning announced that the R-rate is currently between 0.7 and 0.9 across England.
Despite the positive outlook for most of England, the rate currently sits between 0.8 and 1.1 in London.
The figure gives an indication of whether or not the Covid-19 outbreak is growing.
WARNING AS SCAMMERS POSE AS AMAZON STAFF
Lots of us have been buying online since the crisis began this year.
And now those of us using Amazon have been warned of a new scam where fraudsters pose as customer service staff to steal personal information.
Victims arecontacted with emails and phone calls claiming they have opened an Amazon Prime account.
The scammers then inform the recipient that the account was opened fraudulently through a security flaw on their computer and, posing as Amazon customer service representatives, ask to be given remote access to a user's computer to fix the breach – enabling them to then steal personal information including passwords and bank details.
ARISE, CAPTAIN SIR TOM MOORE!
This lovely photo of Captain Sir Tom Moore and his family chatting to the Queen was taken just after he was knighted today.
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