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Covid cases soar as over 50,000 new infections recorded in biggest spike since mid-January

Covid cases soar as over 50,000 new infections recorded in biggest spike since mid-January

Across Britain another 49 people died within 28 days of receiving a positive coronavirus test.

On January 15, during the UK’s second COVID-19 wave, 55,761 cases were reported in just one day.

The number of coronavirus cases across the country has been surging, as the more infectious Delta variant continues to gain ground.

However, deaths remain far lower than in January, when they peaked at more than 1,300 per day.

The Government attributes this to the UK’s highly successful vaccination programme, which has at least partially broken the link between cases and deaths.

The 51,870 COVID-19 cases is a significant increase on last Friday’s figure, when 32,152 new infections were reported.

Deaths were also lower last Friday, July 9, when just 29 were confirmed.

Britain’s vaccination programme has been continuing, with another 201,893 doses given in the past 24 hours.

In addition 61,681 people received their first coronavirus jab.

In England the final legal coronavirus restrictions will be lifted on Monday.

However a number of mayors, including London’s Sadiq Khan, say customers must continue wearing facemasks on public transport.

On Monday Boris Johnson confirmed England’s “freedom day” will go ahead on July 1.

All remaining Coronavirus restrictions on socialising will be ended, allowing nightclubs to reopen for the fist time in over a year.

Theatres and sports stadiums can expect bigger crowds, as their capacity limits are removed.

Social distancing rules will end, allowing handshakes between strangers to return.

However Mr Johnson has urged “caution”, warning “this pandemic is not over”.

The Prime Minister added: “We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday, July 19 to life as it was before Covid.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned the UK’s infection rate could hit 100,000 later this summer, as unlocking allows infections to surge.

He argued this won’t place “unsustainable pressure on the NHS” due to the “protective wall” provided by vaccines.

When restrictions are lifted Mr Javid urged people to show “personal responsibility” and “try to meet people outside where possible”.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals one in every 95 people in England currently has coronavirus.

This is a significant rise on the week before, when the figure was just 160.

The situation is even worse in Scotland, where one in every 90 people is infection.

In Wales and Northern Ireland, the figures are one in 360 and 290 respectively.

More to follow…

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: UK Feed

‘Staggering loss’: Overdose deaths spike in US during pandemic

Overdose deaths soared to a record 93,000 last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States government reported on Wednesday.

That estimate far eclipses the high of about 72,000 drug overdose deaths reached the previous year and amounts to a 29 percent increase.

“This is a staggering loss of human life,” Brandon Marshall, a Brown University public health researcher who tracks overdose trends, told the Associated Press.

The nation was already struggling with its worst overdose epidemic but clearly “COVID has greatly exacerbated the crisis,” he added.

Lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions isolated those with drug addictions and made treatment harder to get, experts have said.

“Just like all the other behavioural healthcare companies, we had to heed what the governor was saying and shut live treatment down and go to Zoom,” Kate Judd, programme director at the Shoreline Recovery Center in San Diego, California, told the Reuters news agency.

“We did the best that we could. We tried to make lemonade out of lemons, but it’s not as effective as in-person, face to face, human to human connection is.”

Jordan McGlashen died of a drug overdose in his Ypsilanti, Michigan, apartment last year. He was pronounced dead on May 6, the day before his 39th birthday.

“It was really difficult for me to think about the way in which Jordan died. He was alone, and suffering emotionally and felt like he had to use again,” said his younger brother, Collin McGlashen, who wrote openly about his brother’s addiction in an obituary.

Jordan McGlashen’s death was attributed to heroin and fentanyl.

‘Poisoned drug supply’

While prescription painkillers once drove the nation’s overdose epidemic, they were supplanted first by heroin and then by fentanyl, a dangerously powerful opioid, in recent years. Fentanyl was developed to treat intense pain from ailments like cancer but has increasing been sold illicitly and mixed with other drugs.

“What’s really driving the surge in overdoses is this increasingly poisoned drug supply,” said Shannon Monnat, an associate professor of sociology at Syracuse University who researches geographic patterns in overdoses.

“Nearly all of this increase is fentanyl contamination in some way. Heroin is contaminated. Cocaine is contaminated. Methamphetamine is contaminated.”

There is no current evidence that more Americans started using drugs last year, Monnat said. Rather, the increased deaths most likely were people who had already been struggling with addiction. Some have told her research team that suspensions of evictions and extended unemployment benefits left them with more money than usual. And they said “when I have money, I stock up on my (drug) supply,” she said.

Part of US’s deadliest year

Overdose deaths are just one facet of what was overall the deadliest year in US history. With about 378,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, the nation saw more than 3.3 million deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed death certificates to come up with the estimate for 2020 drug overdose deaths. The estimate of more than 93,000 translates to an average of more than 250 deaths each day, or roughly 11 every hour.

The 21,000 increase is the biggest year-to-year jump since the count rose by 11,000 in 2016.

More historical context: According to the CDC, there were fewer than 7,200 total US overdose deaths reported in 1970, when a heroin epidemic was raging in US cities. There were about 9,000 in 1988, around the height of the crack epidemic.

The proliferation of fentanyl is one reason some experts do not expect any substantial decline in drug overdose deaths this year. Though national figures are not yet available, data is emerging from some states that seems to support their pessimism. Rhode Island, for example, reported 34 overdose deaths in January and 37 in February – the most for those months in at least five years.

For Collin McGlashen, last year was “an incredibly dark time” that began in January with the cancer death of the family’s beloved patriarch.

Their father’s death sent his musician brother Jordan into a tailspin, McGlashen said.

“Someone can be doing really well for so long and then, in a flash, deteriorate,” he said.

Then came the pandemic. Jordan lost his job. “It was kind of a final descent.”

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This post originally posted here Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera

Green list warning: Hotspots see infections SPIKE – will Majorca and Ibiza move to amber?

Green list warning: Hotspots see infections SPIKE - will Majorca and Ibiza move to amber?

As coronavirus restrictions ease around the world, international travel remains uncertain – with the UK Government implementing a traffic light system which can be altered at a moment’s notice should cases spike. Under the system, only green list countries can be travelled to freely, however, there aren’t many on the list – disappointing those hoping for a week in the sun.

In the latest travel update, 16 areas were added to the green list, including the popular Spanish Balearic Islands.

This meant holiday hotspots like Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera are now open for travel to Brits, without having to isolate on return to the UK.

However, mainland Spain remains on the amber list, and there are fears the archipelago could be upgraded to amber at a moment’s notice.

And new guidelines in Spain mean unvaccinated British visitors will have to provide proof of a negative test before travel.

Read More: Turkey holidays could return in July predicts expert

Cases aren’t looking too good in the Balearic’s either, as on Sunday, health officials said there had been 303 cases in the past 24 hours, 70 more than the 233 notified the previous day.

The positivity rate is also up, from 6.76 percent on Saturday to nearly 8.5 percent on Sunday.

In the Balearics, the Covid incidence rate has grown to almost 130 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

This is more than triple what it was at the end of May.

The Balearic Islands are currently on the Government’s green watchlist, which means they could face being upgraded to amber at a moment’s notice.

For those with holidays booked, the Islands changing to amber could see a mad scramble to book flights home before the changes come into effect.

If holidaymakers instead opt to stay past the deadline, they will have to be prepared to quarantine for 10 days on return to the UK.

The same is true for all of the countries on the green watchlist.

Green watchlist countries

  • Anguilla
  • Antarctica/British Antarctic Territory
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Balearic islands (Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca)
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Israel and Jerusalem
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Montserrat
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

Author: Georgina Laud
Read more here >>> Daily Express

As Olympic athletes begin to arrive in Tokyo, fear of virus spike grows

As Olympic athletes begin to arrive in Tokyo, fear of virus spike grows

At least three Olympic athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving in Japan as a drive to vaccinate citizens has hit a supply issue.

TOKYO, Japan — The pressure of hosting an Olympics during a still-active pandemic is beginning to show in Japan.

The games begin July 23, with organizers determined they will go on, even with a reduced number of spectators or possibly none at all. While Japan has made remarkable progress to vaccinate its population against COVID-19, the drive is losing steam because of supply shortages.

With tens of thousands of visitors coming to a country that is only 13.8% fully vaccinated, gaps in border controls have emerged, highlighted by the discovery of infections among the newly arrived team from Uganda, with positive tests for the highly contagious delta variant.

As cases grow in Tokyo, so have fears that the games will spread the virus.

“We must stay on high alert,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters on July 1. Noting the rising caseloads, he said “having no spectators is a possibility.”

Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo organizing committee, agreed.

“It’s not that we are determined to have spectators regardless of the situation,” Hashimoto said Friday.

Organizers, the International Olympic Committee and others are expected to meet this week to announce new restrictions because of the fast-changing coronavirus situation.

Amid the criticism, Suga went to Tokyo’s Haneda international airport June 28 to inspect virus testing for arrivals. He vowed to ensure appropriate border controls as a growing number of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, officials and media begin entering Japan for the games.

On Monday, Tokyo confirmed 342 new cases, the 16th straight day of an increase. On Saturday, the capital reported 716 cases, highest in five weeks.

At a meeting of government advisers, experts warned of the possibility of infections exploding during the games, projecting daily caseloads exceeding 1,000. They said that would severely strain health care systems. In a worst-case scenario, there could be thousands of infections a day, causing hospitals to overflow, they said.

Ryuji Wakita, director-general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and the head of a government COVID-19 advisory board, urged tighter border controls to detect and isolate infected arrivals at airports to prevent infections from spreading from Tokyo to the suburbs.

In a case that has shocked many in Japan, a member of the Ugandan team tested positive upon arrival June 19 at Narita International Airport and was quarantined there. The rest of the nine-member team was allowed to travel more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) on a chartered bus to their pre-Olympics camp in the western prefecture of Osaka.

Days later, a second member of the team from East Africa tested positive for the virus, forcing seven town officials and drivers who had close contact with them to self-isolate. The team itself is isolating at a hotel. Health officials said both infected Ugandans had the delta variant.

On Saturday, an athlete from Serbia also tested positive, causing the cancelation of his team’s training in the central city of Nanto. The government also has acknowledged that four other people arriving for the Olympics tested positive after entering the country earlier this year.

Experts say the cases show that Japan’s border health controls can be easily breached.

“There will be more people coming in. … We should use this as a lesson so that similar problems won’t be repeated elsewhere in Japan,” Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura told a recent regional governors’ meeting where leaders adopted an urgent request for tighter border controls.

Under revised guidelines on health measures sent to 530 municipalities hosting Olympic training, airport officials will isolate an entire group if any member tests positive, and they will stay at designated facilities until the athletes’ village opens July 12. Hosting towns can request guests to stop training and isolate themselves until they clear contact tracing and virus tests.

Dozens of municipalities in Japan have canceled their hosting arrangements because of virus worries, and many of them decided to use those facilities as vaccination sites.

In Tokyo, infections are spreading among the young and middle-aged who are largely unvaccinated. The more serious cases requiring hospitalization are gradually replacing the elderly, 26% of whom are now fully vaccinated, according to experts.

Japan’s fully vaccinated rate of 13.8% is slightly above the world average of 11.3% but low compared with 47.4% in the United States and 49.5% in the U.K., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Our World in Data.

Adding to the worries is uncertainty about Japan’s vaccination campaign.

Workplace inoculations began in mid-June, with thousands of companies applying to vaccinate employees. But the government then indefinitely halted taking new applications for workplace and large-scale vaccination sites due to tight vaccine supplies.

“The progress exceeded our expectations,” said vaccinations minister Taro Kono, noting that daily shots have likely reached 1.2 million or more. He said Japan will receive only one-third of the Pfizer-BioNTechPfizer vaccine supply it had hoped to receive by late July.

“Confusion is spreading across Japan,” because of this slowdown, said Kamon Iizumi, the Tokushima governor who also heads the National Governors’ Association.

A vaccination center in Kagawa had to suspend shots for 30,000 people, and plans were put on hold for 6,500 companies in Gifu, in central Japan. Other areas including Osaka, Kobe and parts of Tokyo also were forced to suspend planned vaccinations from this week.

“What a disappintment,” said Yukio Takano, head of Tokyo’s Toshima district. “We have worked so hard to accelerate the rollouts and now we have to put on the brakes. … What was the rush for?”

Japan began vaccinating medical workers in mid-February and the elderly in mid-April. Despite initial delays due to bungled reservations and shortages, the pace picked up in mid-May when vaccine imports stabilized and staff was secured to meet a primary target of fully vaccinating all 36 million elderly by the end of July.

Suga set up military-run mass vaccination centers in late May and added workplace and college campus venues to accelerate the progress.

On June 21, Japan eased its third state of emergency to less-stringent measures that focused on shorter operating hours at bars and restaurants in Tokyo and other metro areas until July 11.

Experts suggest, however, that a resurgence might require another emergency declaration during the Olympics. If so, organizers may have to reconsider their current limit of 10,000 people or 50% capacity at venues to perhaps barring all spectators.

Kengo Sakurada, president of Sompo Holdings and the head of an influential business lobby, said on June 30 that the current vaccination rate is not enough to hold a safe Olympics.

He said he supports having no spectators for events because the damage from a worse outbreak would be far greater.

“I would take the safer option,” he said.

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Author: MARI YAMAGUCHI Associated Press
Read more here >>> CBS8 – Sports

British tourists slammed for ‘ravaging’ Spain as Covid cases spike by 12,000

British tourists slammed for 'ravaging' Spain as Covid cases spike by 12,000

Spain has this week seen its highest COVID-19 levels since mid-April, which experts believe is, in part, related to the more contagious Delta variant. The Balearics, which recently made it onto the UK green list, reported a mass COVID-19 outbreak linked to school trips to the Spanish archipelago.

Spain’s ministry of health reported 12,345 new coronavirus infections and eight deaths on Thursday.

In the Canary Islands, officials are planning to toughen up covid security measures, especially in Tenerife, as a result of a “worrying” increase in cases over the last few weeks.

“The situation is worrying,” said Canary Islands president, Ángel Víctor Torres, who urged responsibility and caution.

“We cannot minimise the impact of Covid due to age. There were 47 people hospitalised, five in the ICU and three more deceased, under 39 years of age, in the Canaries between April 1 and June 29. It’s not a joke.”

READ MORE: Brits banned from travelling to these 58 countries

He pointed to data coming from the UK which shows infection rates “well above 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants based on the prior 14 days.”

Despite this, some experts and locals in Spain have begun to question whether or not the rise is directly linked to British tourism.

Posting to Twitter, Professor Christina Pagel, Professor of operational research at University College London questioned whether “too many Brits” were the cause of the new surge in Spain.

She wrote: “Once again Spain is an early indicator of a European summer surge.

“Portugal too this time (too many Brits?!)”

Portugal and its archipelago Madeira were among the first destinations to be added to the initial green list seeing a surge in Britons travelling there.

Though they were later axed from the list due to concerns over a rise in cases, Madeira has since been placed back onto the green watch list.

This means Britons can travel there without the need for quarantine on their way home.

The recent addition of the Balearics and Madeira were welcome news to tourism officials in the nations, yet it was not welcome news to everyone.

A Spanish radiologist named Maria lamented on Twitter over her belief the rise in infection across both Spain and Portugal was down to British tourists visiting the nations.

Upon sharing a map indicating Covid hotspots across Europe, the radiologist wrote: “This map reveals the consequences of British tourism to Spain and Portugal. Portugal was almost zero Covid some weeks ago.”

She added: “But ‘thanks’ to tourism, UK is taking Spain and Portugal with you.”

Meanwhile, another Twitter user wrote: “Looks like the Balearics have been ravaged by UK tourists too. These are vaccinated and tested people aren’t they?”

A third slammed British tourists adding: “Meanwhile they are all upset cause they had to leave – their vacations ruined.”

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

Author: Aimee Robinson
This post originally appeared on Daily Express

Attacks on workers spike with more foster care children sleeping in Texas CPS offices

Attacks on workers spike with more foster care children sleeping in Texas CPS offices

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Inside a state office building one day in late May, a child threatened to get a gun and hold it to a worker’s head, according to state incident records.

Another report obtained by KXAN investigators reveals a few weeks before that, a young person at a Child Protective Services office in Austin “grabbed a worker’s bottom.” Just a few weeks ago, at a CPS office in Bastrop, a child “repeatedly punched a worker in the face, head and stomach and pulled the worker’s hair.”

One incident report details what happened when caseworkers took a child in their care to a park outside of Dallas: the child tried walking toward a busy highway, before hitting a worker with a tree limb and slapping them in the face.

These are just some of the dozens of physical altercations or sexual advances made on Department of Family and Protective Services workers by children living in state offices, hotels and other temporary locations.

DFPS has acknowledged the increase in children living in these types of locations — a result of what’s become known as Texas’ foster care “capacity crisis.” On Thursday, a spokesperson for the agency said the situation had “worsened dramatically” this year, with the loss of more than 1,000 available beds for children.

“Because there are so many more children and youth without placements, these locations are becoming more crowded. None of these facilities – especially of course CPS offices – are designed as sleeping quarters for young people, most of whom need treatment of various types,” the spokesperson said. “Obviously, our workers are in harm’s way and we are very focused on making these locations safer.”

The incident records obtained by KXAN detail just one incident in 2018 across the whole state. Then, there were eight incidents recorded in 2019 and nine in 2020. So far in 2021, DFPS has already recorded 59 incidents between workers and these children.

Six of those incidents involved kids staying in Central Texas CPS offices.

Carrie Ward, a child welfare attorney, reached out to KXAN after connecting with five different workers who said they were distraught and concerned about the number of these Children Without Placement (also known as CWOP).

“Having to respond to a crisis here and there is one thing, but having to do a four-hour shift on a Saturday night?” she said. “It’s a huge toll on these caseworkers. If we are not losing them already, we will.”

However, DFPS data revealed a 17% percent turnover rate for their workforce — lower than last year when the turnover rate was more than 20%.

The spokesperson for the agency said, “What’s most important is the safety of these children and young people in the State’s care, and that they get the treatment they need. We are also extremely focused on our staff, who selflessly provide care for these children 24 hours a day.”

Seanna Crosbie, Chief Strategy and Program Officer at Austin Child Guidance Center, emphasized the importance of personal mental-health support and specialized training for these workers.

“Child welfare workers are human beings, too,” she said.

Experts at the Center offer mental health services, particularly for young people. Some of their staff work with children in the foster care system who have experienced abuse, neglect, or the trauma of being removed from their home.

Crosbie said it’s important for any adult to approach these children with “curiosity,” and not from a place of “compliance.” She also explained the importance of maintaining consistency and building relationships of trust for these children.

“At the core of a child is their sense of safety. Having a sense of routine, knowing where they are going to be living and who they are going to be living with is really, really, really important,” she said. “The brain is functioning from a place of fear and protection. Sometimes kids will be acting out from a place of genuinely trying to protect themselves.”

In 2013, leaders at the Austin Child Guidance Center established the Trauma Informed Care Consortium of Central Texas, bringing together more than 100 professional organizations and agencies. The consortium of mental health clinicians and medical personnel to school personnel, law enforcement, and juvenile justice professionals meets several times a year. They also offer trauma-informed care training.

“That being said, this work is ever evolving,” Crosbie said.

Kate Murphy, Senior Policy Associate with Texans Care for Children, told KXAN the state legislature passed several measures to help ease the capacity crisis. One piece of legislation signed by Governor Greg Abbott actually prohibits kids from sleeping in CPS offices, but Murphy said they will be watching closely to see how that’s implemented.

Her group was concerned about two proposed amendments: one to increase punishments for assaulting CPS caseworkers and another to penalize kids for refusing a placement. Both of those efforts ultimately failed.

“It really makes children bear the brunt of the systems’ failures,” she said. “The focus should be on, how do we change the system to support these kids rather than, how do we punish these kids for what may very well have been a trauma response.”

In a meeting last month, the Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner, Jamie Masters, told members of the DFPS council they recognized the effect these physical altercations had on other kids in CWOP.

“It’s a heavy thing to try to figure out the right answer and the right approach,” Masters said.

A spokesperson for DFPS echoed the sentiment, when KXAN asked about the physical altercations and incidents.

“There is no one-size fits all approach, and DFPS is just one part of a large and complex child welfare system. We must work closely with our private providers to innovate and find new, creative solutions to this problem. We are quickly working with our partner providers and other child welfare stakeholders to meet this very difficult challenge.  We have already identified alternatives, and work will not stop until we have real solutions.”

Author: Avery Travis
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Sydney Lockdown: Covid restrictions to be applied after spike at Bondi beach

Sydney Lockdown: Covid restrictions to be applied after spike at Bondi beach

The restrictions will begin at midnight on Friday after health officials struggle to contain a recent spike in Delta variant cases. On Friday, Gladys Berejiklian, New South Wales state Premier, told reporters that people would not be allowed out except for urgent reasons.

Ms Berejiklian said: “We don’t want to see this situation linger for weeks, we would like to see this situation end sooner rather than later.”

The lockdown will only cover the downtown and eastern suburb areas of the city, which includes Bondi Beach.

Australians will be allowed to leave their homes only for essential work, education, grocery shopping or outdoor exercise.

Ms Berejiklian urged those who live or work in four local government council areas in Sydney to stay at home except for urgent reasons.

On the same day the lockdown was announced, 22 local cases were reported.

It is the largest rise in infections since the first case was detected in Bondi last Wednesday.

The case last week was discovered in a limousine driver who transported an overseas airline crew.

Australia’s most populous city is home to a population of 25 million.

READ MORE: Belgium ban on UK travellers to take effect from Saturday

In addition, the country has recorded less than a thousand deaths.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

UK Covid deaths spike to highest level since April as new variant erupts – lockdown fears

Sir Patrick Vallance: COVID-19 will be with us forever

On Monday the UK reported 10,633 cases and five deaths. Today’s number of infections is the highest figure on record since mid-February and comes as fears of the Delta variant of Covid rise. The variant first detected in India has become the dominant strain in England. The rise in infections and fatalities comes ahead of next week’s review of travel rules.

Ministers are expected to take a cautious approach but the green list could be expanded to include a handful of European countries, according to analysts.

The UK’s vaccine programme continues to make strong progress, with a further 21,080 people receiving their first dose yesterday. 

More than 43 million people across the country have now received one dose of the Covid vaccine, which equates to 81.9 percent of the overall population. 

And those who are fully inoculated, having received both jabs, have reached over 31.4 million. 

UK Covid deaths spike to highest level since April as new variant erupts – lockdown fears

UK Covid deaths spike to highest level since April as new variant erupts – lockdown fears (Image: GETTY)

boris johnson

The PM will analyse data before making a decision on whether to bring Freedom Day forward (Image: GETTY)

This means 59.8 percent of the UK population is fully protected against the coronavirus. 

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to confirm a delay in the lifting of restrictions in Scotland, bringing the nation in line with Boris Johnson’s plan to roll back measures on July 19.

Yesterday had originally been earmarked as “Freedom Day” in England, but the Prime Minister chose to push the date back by four weeks due to rising cases of the Delta variant. 

Scotland’s First Minister last week signalled he move to level zero – the lowest in the five-tier system – was likely to be pushed back by three weeks.

READ MORE: Four men develop deadly condition after receiving AstraZeneca jab

boris johnson

The PM could bring Freedom Day forward to July 5 (Image: GETTY)

She has also pledged to publish a much-anticipated review of social distancing rules.

Matt Hancock, the health minister, said the Covid data looks encouraging and suggests England’s lockdown can fully end on July 19 as planned because a recent rise in cases is not resulting in deaths.

Earlier today he told BBC radio: “We’re on track for the opening on the 19th of July, and we will watch vigilantly and we’ll look at the data in particular at the start of next week.

“But I would say that the data, over the last week or so, has been encouraging, and especially looking at the number of people who are dying, that is staying very, very low, and it shows that the vaccine is working.”

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boris johnson

Boris Johnson will announce a review of travel rules on Monday (Image: GETTY)

nicola sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon is set to announce a delay to the lifting of restrictions (Image: GETTY)

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said he will hold talks with Ms Sturgeon tomorrow to discuss the ban on all non-essential travel from Scotland to Manchester and Salford.

His comments came after Ms Sturgeon on Friday announced that non-essential travel between Scotland and Manchester and Salford would be banned from yesterday. 

A spokesman for the Scottish government said Covid rates in Manchester and Salford were “particularly high at the moment and these restrictions are intended to minimise the risk of either exacerbating the situation there or indeed allowing more virus to come back here to Scotland”.

Mr Burnham accused the SNP-led government of “hypocrisy”. 

UK coronavirus map

UK coronavirus map (Image: EXPRESS)

He held a press conference earlier today where he told reporters he was seeking a “political route” out of the dispute.

He explained: “I anticipate having the opportunity to discuss it with the First Minister tomorrow and obviously we will want clarity on elements of the policy that are currently unclear to us in terms of the criteria that are being used here, the exit strategy, the process for lifting the restrictions on the boroughs affected.

“We just want to seek resolution and a better way of doing things going forward.

“The political route is the route to pursue. That’s obviously what we would seek to do. To put in place better dialogue, better lines of communication which clearly aren’t there at the moment.”

andy burnham

Andy Burnham has hit out at Nicola Sturgeon’s travel ban (Image: GETTY)

Some scientists have suggested lockdown restrictions in England could be lifted on July 5.

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson said Mr Johnson would announce on Monday if “Freedom Day” is being brought forward.

They said he will pore over data including cases, hospitalisations and deaths, ahead of the press conference to see if he can bring that date forward.

The spokesperson said: “Monday will be the day when we were deciding on the decision on that and we are closely monitoring the data, ahead of providing a full update. We will set out very clearly to the public, the rationale for the decision we’ve made.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

UK Covid cases spike by 11,000 in biggest daily surge for months – Freedom Day on brink

UK Covid cases spike by 11,000 in biggest daily surge for months – Freedom Day on brink

Covid-19 infections have been surging with the highly transmissible Delta variant becoming dominant.

As a result the Government has pushed back the end of coronavirus restrictions in England by four weeks.

Thursday’s figure is the highest since February 19, when 12,027 cases were detected.

Professor Chris Whitty, the UK Government’s chief medical advisor, said the worse of the new outbreaks are taking place in deprived areas.

He commented: “The geographical areas where Covid has hit have been extremely defined, where the biggest problems have been repeated.

“So, you see in situations in Bradford, in Leicester, in bits of London for example, in bits of the north west, you see repeated areas where places have been hit over and over again in areas of deprivation.

“Indeed in many of them, if you had a map of Covid’s biggest effects now and a map of child deaths in 1850, they look remarkably similar.

“These are areas where deprivation has been prolonged and deeply entrenched.”

Addressing the NHS Confed Conference Professor Whitty warned of a “further surge” in coronavirus cases.

He said: “I think the height of that surge is still uncertain and we’ll have to see how this goes over the next several weeks.

“But that will definitely translate into further hospitalisations and, unfortunately, it will undoubtedly translate into further deaths.”

On Thursday the UK recorded another 19 coronavirus related deaths, which took place within 28-days of a positive Covid test.

Another 222 patients were admitted to hospital with the disease whilst over 1.1 million virus tests were administered.

The UK has one of the world’s most advanced Covid vaccine programmes, with more than 42 million Britons having received at least one jab.

Just over 30 million have been vaccinated twice, giving them the highest possible protection against coronavirus.

On Thursday Britain recorded another 195,565 first vaccines and 234,834 second jabs.

During his address Professor Whitty claimed the UK is likely to have a resurgence in flu cases this winter, unless “the Covid situation is so bad that everybody has started to go back to essentially minimising their social contacts again”.

He added: “So, either we will have a very significant Covid surge, people will minimise their contacts and we will have less respiratory viruses, or people will be back to a more normal life, there will be some Covid but on top of that we will go back to having a flu surge, an RSV [respiratory syncytial virus] surge in children, and so on.

“I think we need to be aware of and brace for the fact that the coming winter may well be quite a difficult one.”

However he claimed the situation is unlikely to be as bad as it was during the winter of 2020-21.

On Monday the Government announced the end of coronavirus restrictions for England is being pushed back four weeks until July 19.

However the 30 person cap for weddings will be lifted on June 21, though attendees will still have to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Currently it is illegal to have a gathering of more than six people, or two households, in your home.

Britain has recorded more than 128,000 coronavirus related deaths since the pandemic began.

More to follow… 

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Biden Signs Bill to Counter Spike in Anti-Asian Hate Crime

Biden Signs Bill to Counter Spike in Anti-Asian Hate Crime

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday signed legislation to curtail a dramatic rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and expressed pride that lawmakers who seem to agree on little else came together against hate and racism.

Biden lavished praise on Democrats and Republicans for approving the bill by lopsided margins and sending it to the White House for his signature. Several dozen lawmakers attended the bill signing ceremony, one of the largest groups to visit the Biden White House during the pandemic.

The House approved the bill 364-62 this week, following the Senate’s 94-1 vote in April.

Biden, who stressed his wish to help unite the country as he campaigned for office, said during the East Room event that fighting hate and racism should bring people together.

“I’m proud today of the United States,” he said.

The new law will expedite Justice Department reviews of hate crimes by putting an official in charge of the effort. Federal grants will be available to help local law enforcement agencies improve their investigation, identification and reporting of bias-driven incidents, which often go underreported.

Some activists opposed the legislation’s reliance on law enforcement.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who is Black and Indian, discussed reports of stabbings, shootings and other attacks against Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals and their businesses since the start of the pandemic a little over a year ago.

Harris said such incidents had increased six-fold during that time.

She said that while the new law brings the U.S. closer to stopping hate, “the work to address injustice, wherever it exists, remains the work ahead.”

The AAPI Victory Alliance, a policy and advocacy organization for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, complimented Biden for quickly signing the bill. But executive director Varun Nikore said the law is “only one piece in the long fight” for equity and opportunity for communities of color.

Nikore said Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will use the “electoral prowess” they demonstrated last year to elect leaders who will advocate for their community.

“Ending Asian hate should never be a partisan issue,” he said.

The bill-signing scene at the White House was reminiscent of pre-pandemic times, and the bill itself marked a fleeting moment of bipartisanship in a Congress that has struggled all year to overcome partisan gridlock over issues ranging from COVID-19 aid to the definition of “infrastructure.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and more than 60 guests from Congress, the Justice Department, and advocacy groups, along with White House aides, mingled freely and barefaced due to new public health guidance that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can stop wearing face masks while indoors with other fully vaccinated people.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the only Republican lawmaker seen in the audience.

At the end of the program, Harris and lawmakers who led the effort to get the bill passed surrounded Biden as he sat at a desk and signed it into law.

Author: AP News The Associated Press
This post originally appeared on Snopes.com