Tag Archives: Boris Johnson

COVID-19: Britain to enforce quarantine on arrivals from Jamaica, Switzerland

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Britain said on Thursday it will reimpose quarantine for travellers from the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland, but ease restrictions on arrivals from Cuba in a bid to keep coronavirus infection rates down.

The decision, which will come into effect from 0300 GMT on Saturday, will require travellers from those three countries to self-isolate for 14 days following spikes in cases.

“Data shows we need to remove the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland from our list of #Coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates DOWN,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter.

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“Data also shows we can now add Cuba to those countries INCLUDED in Travel Corridors,” he added, warning that people thinking of travelling abroad should be prepared for the advice to change at short notice.

Quarantine was imposed last week on Croatia, Austria, and Trinidad and Tobago, following France, the Netherlands and several other countries on the list as governments across Europe grapple with fears of a second wave of virus infections.

Britain, which has been the hardest-hit European country by COVID-19, registering more than 41,000 deaths to date, has itself seen its number of confirmed cases creeping up in recent weeks.

Officials announced more than 1,500 new cases on Thursday, its highest total since mid-June, although hospital admissions and death rates remain low.

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The UK had no quarantine measures in the early stages of the pandemic but in June imposed a blanket self-isolation requirement on all arrivals.

Weeks later it carved out “travel corridors” which exempted travellers from certain countries from quarantine.

However, the measures were reintroduced for arrivals from Spain in late July, catching airlines by surprise — as well as thousands of Britons leaving for their holidays.

The country’s struggling tourism sector has criticised the quarantine policy as overbearing and called for more targeted testing at ports of entry.


#Newsworthy…

As school resumes: Britain reverse face mask policy.

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The government has reversed policy on wearing facemasks in schools in England, sparking fresh criticism about its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ministers had insisted face coverings were not necessary when children go back to school from next week after nearly six months out of the classroom amid concern about a rise in infections.

But in new guidance late Tuesday, the British government advised that secondary school students and staff should wear face coverings in corridors and communal areas.

The change is being seen as another U-turn, just weeks after ministers were forced to scrap the use of an algorithm which gave 17- and 18-year-olds lower-than-expected exam grades.

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Teaching unions have been calling for English schools to follow guidance in Scotland, which has a separate education system, that requires pupils to cover their nose and mouth between lessons.

But while welcoming the change, critics including the main opposition Labour party said ministers had shirked their responsibility by leaving enforcement to individual schools.

Labour’s education spokeswoman Kate Green slammed a “half-baked U-turn”. “The government should have given clear guidance and a plan to deliver it,” she said.

Under-fire Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had insisted masks were not required in schools and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said there was no plan to review the policy.

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But Williamson, widely blamed for the furore over exam results, on Wednesday said the government would now follow World Health Organization advice for children aged 12 and over to wear masks.

“Outside of local lockdown areas face coverings won’t be required in schools, though schools will have the flexibility to introduce measures if they believe it is right in their specific circumstances,” he said on Wednesday.

In this file photo taken on April 12, 2020. A handout image released by 10 Downing Street, shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he delivers a television address after returning to 10 Downing Street after being discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital, in central London on April 12, 2020. Pippa FOWLES / 10 Downing Street / AFP.

“I hope these steps will provide parents, pupils and teachers with further reassurance.”

Some 41,500 people have died in the coronavirus outbreak in Britain — the worst death toll in Europe — and the government response to the pandemic has been criticised.

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Ministers were accused of not reacting quickly enough, failing to ensure enough protective equipment for frontline health and social care workers, and over the testing regime.

London reversed policy on the wearing of facemasks in shops in England after initially saying they were not necessary, and was forced to backtrack on a planned reopening of primary schools in July.

Education is a devolved issue for regional governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Older students in Northern Ireland will be asked to wear face coverings outside classrooms from next week. The Welsh Assembly in Cardiff is due to make its decision on Wednesday.


#Newsworthy…

Top Story: Britain’s govt debt surpasses £2tr

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British government debt has exceeded £2.0 trillion for the first time following large state borrowing as the coronavirus pandemic pushed the UK economy deep into recession, official data showed Friday.

At the end of July, total accumulated debt hit £2.004 trillion ($2.61 trillion, 2.2 trillion euros), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

The debt increased by £227.6 billion compared with July 2019.

“This crisis has put the public finances under significant strain as we have seen a hit to our economy and taken action to support millions of jobs, businesses and livelihoods,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said in a separate statement.

“Without that support things would have been far worse.”

UK borrowing last month alone was estimated at £26.7 billion, the ONS said.

#Newsworthy…

Britain ‘highly committed’ to EU trade – Irish PM, Michael Martin.

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Ireland’s prime minister Michael Martin said Thursday that his British counterpart Boris Johnson was “very committed” to reaching a trade agreement with the European Union, after they met in Belfast.

It was the pair’s first face-to-face meeting since Martin was elected Taoiseach in June.

“We both agreed on the absolute necessity for a free trade agreement that would be tariff-free, quota-free,” Martin told reporters after the “wide-ranging” meeting.

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“That’s the best possible outcome for the European Union, for the United Kingdom, for businesses in the island of Ireland in terms of jobs and certainty.”

Martin added that Johnson was “very committed to reaching a comprehensive agreement with Europe”.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) greets Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheal Martin (L) with an elbow touch as a safety measure because of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the steps of Hillsborough Castle in Belfast on August 13, 2020. Brian Lawless / POOL / AFP.

The British prime minster’s office later said Johnson had told Martin that Britain would “continue to take pride in high environmental, animal welfare and labour standards outside the European Union”.

“Our priority remains protecting Northern Ireland’s place in our United Kingdom and preserving the huge gains from the peace process,” added his Downing Street office.

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Johnson was also scheduled to meet Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’ Neill during the visit.

Ahead of his trip, Johnson said Britain would “stand side-by-side” with Northern Ireland.

Britain formally left the European Union on January 31 — after voting to leave in a 2016 referendum — but is currently in a standstill transition period until the end of 2020 as it tries to negotiate a new trade deal with the European Union.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) greets Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheal Martin (L) on the steps of Hillsborough Castle in Belfast on August 13, 2020. (Photo by Brian Lawless / POOL / AFP)

Talks are ongoing between London and Brussels to try and find a mutually acceptable deal.

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The stalled talks are set to continue until October but fears are growing that almost half a century of economic integration with Europe and increasingly frictionless travel will end abruptly, without a deal, on December 31.

Also on Thursday, Britain’s senior Brexit negotiator, David Frost, tweeted that round seven of negotiations would begin in Brussels next week.

“Our assessment is that agreement can be reached in September and we will work to achieve this if we can,” wrote Frost.

However, he added: “The UK’s sovereignty, over our laws, our courts, or our fishing waters, is of course not up for discussion and we will not accept anything which compromises it.”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Britain stops further reopening

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Britain on Friday “put the brakes on” easing lockdown measures and imposed new rules on millions of households in northern England, following concerns over a spike in coronavirus infections.

The reopening of high-risk activities such as casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks, which was meant to begin on Saturday, will be delayed until at least August 15, as will the reintroduction of indoor performances and pilot schemes of larger crowds at sporting events, Boris Johnson announced.

“I have said our plan to reopen society and the economy is conditional.. that we would not hesitate to put the brakes on if required. Our assessment is that we should now squeeze that brake pedal,” the Prime Minister said in a Downing Street briefing.

Johnson, who earlier this week warned of a “second wave” of cases in Europe, added that Britain “cannot be complacent” about increasing infection numbers.

Increase in new infections
His announcement came hours after the government increased regional lockdown measures — under which people from different households are banned from meeting indoors — for some four million people across Greater Manchester and parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the restrictions were being brought in because people were “meeting and not abiding to social distancing”.

Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock/ AFP

“We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of COVID across Europe and are determined to do whatever is necessary to keep people safe,” Hancock said on Twitter.

Government data released Friday showed there was “some evidence that the incidence of new infections has increased in recent weeks” in England.

However, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said “I don’t think it is helpful” to talk yet of a second wave sweeping across Europe.

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The local measures came into effect at midnight (2300 GMT Thursday), just hours after being announced.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, backed the measures due to an increase in infections.

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament’s Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain’s main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer speaking during Prime Minister’s Question time (PMQs) in the House of Commons in London on July 22, 2020.
JESSICA TAYLOR / PRU / AFP

“The picture in Greater Manchester has changed over the last seven days,” he told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

“We have a rise in nine out of the 10 boroughs, the reality on the ground is changing.”

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Scots should avoid Manchester
But the new measures have come under criticism from the opposition Labour party for being announced late at night.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said on Twitter: “Announcing measures affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter is a new low for the government’s communications during this crisis.”

They also come into force just as celebrations of the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha begin. Areas affected by the latest lockdown have significant Muslim populations.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned her citizens against travelling to the affected areas.

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“To… minimise risks of onward transmission here, @scotgov is STRONGLY advising against non-essential travel between Scotland and these parts of the north of England,” she wrote on Twitter.

A handout image released by 10 Downing Street, shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson attending a remote press conference to update the nation on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic inside 10 Downing Street in central London on July 31, 2020. Andrew PARSONS / POOL / 10 Downing Street / AFP

It is not the first local lockdown to be put in place — England has lifted most of its restrictions nationally but imposed store closures around the central city of Leicester at the end of June.

Hancock said Leicester would now follow the same ban on meetings between different households being applied to Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire and East Lancashire.

Britain’s official virus death toll stands at 45,999 but is believed to be as high as 65,000 if excess deaths are used as a guide.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Boris Johnson pronounces ‘Boris Bikes’ all over Britain.

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The British government promised Monday to build thousands of miles of new bike lanes to get people moving and healthy after months of coronavirus lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge comes on the heels of a plan to force restaurants to display calories on menus as part of a broader effort to win the battle of the bulge.

Government data show two-thirds of UK adults are above a healthy weight. Some studies suggests that the virus is especially deadly to people who are obese.

“To build a healthier, more active nation, we need the right infrastructure, training and support in place to give people the confidence to travel on two wheels,” Johnson said.

Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s plan envisions more Briton’s biking and walking to work in the long term. (Photo by Rui Vieira / POOL / AFP)

“That’s why now is the time to shift gears and press ahead with our biggest and boldest plans yet to boost active travel — so that everyone can feel the transformative benefits of cycling.”

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Johnson introduced a bike sharing programme in London during his spell as the British capital’s mayor from 2008 to 2016.

But the so-called “Boris bikes” stood largely untouched during a months-long lockdown that still sees swathes of central London stand empty during working hours.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, talks to the owner of the Cycle Lounge, Rodney Rouse, a bicycle repair shop in Beeston, central England, on July 28, 2020, during an event to launch the government’s new cycling intuitive to help get people, fitter. – (Photo by Rui Vieira / POOL / AFP)

The government’s efforts to tease people out of lockdown and into their old spending habits that can give shops and restaurants a boost are complicated by Britain’s inability to safely reopen its schools.

Polls show people are also worried about using public transport. Many trains and buses are running half-empty during morning and evening commutes.

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Johnson’s plan envisions more Briton’s biking and walking to work in the long term.

It promises to build “thousands of miles of protected cycle routes in towns and cities” as part of a £2 billion ($2.6 billion, 2.2 billion euro) “cycling and walking revolution”.

The government has also promised to start releasing the first batch of £50 “bike repair vouchers” to help people get old cycles fixed.

The British government promised Monday to build thousands of miles of new bike lanes to get people moving and healthy after months of coronavirus lockdown. (Photo by Rui Vieira / POOL / AFP)

Britain’s official virus death toll of 45,759 is the highest in Europe.


#Newsworthy…

Boris Johnson shun call for fresh scottish independence vote

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday rejected calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence, despite an apparent surge in support for a breakaway.

Scots voted to maintain the status quo by 55 percent to 45 percent in 2014, in what even the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) agreed was a “once-in-a-generation” vote.

But spurred by tensions between London and Edinburgh over Britain’s departure from the European Union, and political and personal differences, the issue refuses to go away.

Polling now suggests a majority of Scots are in favour of going it alone, and breaking up the more than three-centuries-old union with England.

Conservative party leader Johnson, however, reaffirmed that the UK parliament would not approve powers for the Scottish Parliament to hold a new vote.

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“The union is a fantastically strong institution. It has helped us through thick and thin,” he said on a visit to Orkney, off Scotland’s far northeast coast.

“We had a referendum on breaking up the union… only six years ago. That is not a generation by any computation.

“What people really want to do is to see our whole country coming back stronger, together, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

The coronavirus outbreak, which has led to more than 45,000 deaths across the country, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s more cautious approach have fuelled the debate.

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Majority for independence
Earlier this month, polling group Panelbase said a record 54 percent of Scots were in favour of independence. An average of polls in the last six months put support on 51 percent.

Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Johnson’s decision was ‘outrageous’ Photo: Getty Images

SNP leader Sturgeon’s approval ratings soared to 60 percent — well above that for Johnson, who has been accused of not acting fast enough to curb the spread of the virus.

Sturgeon and Johnson were not scheduled to meet but she said his visit, which included a stop to talk to crab fishermen, underscored the need for independence.

“One of the key arguments for independence is the ability of Scotland to take our own decisions, rather than having our future decided by politicians we didn’t vote for, taking us down a path that we haven’t chosen,” she tweeted.

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The main thrust of Sturgeon’s push for a new vote is that a majority of Scots did not vote for Brexit, which changed the fundamental nature of the relationship with England.

But Johnson said the strength of the union, which dates from 1707, had been shown to be effective in the coronavirus response.

The issue is unlikely to go away, with warnings of dire economic consequences both from the coronavirus shutdown and Brexit if no trade deal can be agreed with the EU.

The SNP strengthened its position in Scotland in last December’s general election, and is expected to cement its majority in the Scottish Parliament at elections in May.


#Newsworthy…

[United Kingdom] Boris Johnson in trouble over confused lockdown strategy speech.

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Work from home if you can, unless you can’t, in which case definitely try to go back to work, but do not – if at all possible – take the train.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s much-anticipated statement about the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown was roundly criticised on Monday, with the head of the largest police officers’ union, the Police Federation, arguing that officers needed “crystal clear guidance” rather than “loose rules”.

Meanwhile, the replacement of the government’s “Stay at Home” message with “Stay Alert” has led to concerns that citizens will consider the crisis over.

‘Mixed messages’
Police Federation in England and Wales (PFEW) Chief John Apter argued that the latest advice from the government will make it difficult for police officers to enforce the new rules.

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“Policing this crisis has been tough, a lack of clarity and mixed messages has made that even harder,” Apter said.

“If we fail to get clear and unambiguous guidance policing this crisis will become almost impossible.”

His advice to workers on construction and manufacturing, who are unable to work from home, was chief among concerns. Trade unions, in particular, are concerned that the guidance may put undue pressure on workers to try to return to work even at the risk of their health.

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This is especially true for those workers with children, given that there was no firm decision from the government on when children would go back to school.

But it wasn’t just Johnson’s advice on working from home that has led to confusion.

He also told Britons that the one-hour restriction on exercising outdoors was being lifted, and people could now spend “unlimited amounts” of time outdoors.

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They would also be allowed to drive to public beauty spots, including beaches, and play golf and tennis, and meet a friend – but not more than one – in a park as long as they sit two metres apart.

At the same time, fines for breaking social distancing rules were to be increased.

‘Vague and imprecise’
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she didn’t know what the new advice meant and has asked the UK government not to promote a “vague and imprecise” message in Scotland.

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Johnson is due to answer questions in parliament on the government’s lockdown strategy on Monday.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Keir Starmer said that the prime minister had failed to provide either clarity of consensus to the British people.


#Newsworthy…

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[United Kingdom] Boris Johnson to lead first press conference since COVID-19 recovery.

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Boris Johnson will front his first daily press conference since recovering from coronavirus (Covid-19) on 30 April.

The UK’s coronavirus death toll is now the third highest in the world after the US and Italy, so Downing Street is playing down any expectations of an easing of restrictions.

Number 10 said a cabinet meeting earlier in the day would look at the “response in general” but not make any decisions on lockdown measures.

That response was facing further criticism as health secretary Matt Hancock’s deadline arrived for carrying out 100,000 Covid-19 tests a day.

With just over 52,000 tests carried out on 28 April, the deadline looks set to be missed although that will not become clear until 1 May.

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The target has been condemned by the NHS Providers group as a “red herring” which distracts from shortcomings in the long-term coronavirus strategy.

It released a report on 30 April which highlights how the English health and care system “started from a poor position” as Covid-19 tightened its grip on Europe, and consistently “struggled” to demonstrate a “clear, effective and well communicated strategy”, with a lack of clarity on who would be tested, when, how, and with what frequency.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospitals and NHS trusts in England, said: “Testing is one area where, despite all the work delivered by trusts and the NHS, the health and care system as a whole has struggled to develop an effective, co-ordinated approach.”

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The testing deadline was reached as:

– An international clinical trial, co-led by University College London and the UK’s Medical Research Council, found the Ebola drug remdesivir speeds up recovery from coronavirus by almost a third

– The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca joined forces for the large-scale manufacture and distribution of Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine if it is proven to work during clinical trials

– Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s and banking group Lloyds warned of hits to profits from the coronavirus crisis

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– Captain Tom Moore celebrated his 100th birthday at home with his family after he raised almost £30m for the NHS

The cabinet meeting and a gathering of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) come as Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that easing lockdown would not be a “flick of the switch moment”.

Sage is looking at a selection of options for easing restrictions while keeping the reproduction rate of the coronavirus – the number of new cases linked to a single individual – below one to stop it spreading exponentially.

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Germany saw a rise in that rate after easing its own lockdown.

With some Tory backbenchers pressing for an easing of measures for the sake of the economy, business secretary Alok Sharma is set to put forward plans for an eventual “workplace by workplace” approach.

A Business Department spokesman said: “The government has already set out five clear tests to consider before making any adjustment to its approach.

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“It is only right the we work together with industry and unions to ensure workplaces are safe for both those in work now and for those going back to work as government measures develop.”

But Sturgeon said on 29 April that she was “far from convinced” measures could be eased on the next review date of May 7.

“People talk about lifting the lockdown, that is not going to be a flick of the switch moment – we’re going to have to be very careful, very slow, very gradual.

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“I’m far from convinced at this stage that when we get to the next review point on the 7th of May we’ll be in a position to lift any of these measures right now, because the margins of manoeuvre that we’re operating in right now are very, very, very tight and narrow.”

Her comments came after it was announced that a total of 26,097 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community in the UK after contracting coronavirus.

It is the first time data on the number of deaths in care homes and the wider community has been included in the government’s daily updates.

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The total is around 17% higher than previous data showed and includes an additional 3,811 deaths recorded since the start of the outbreak.

Of these, around 70% were outside hospital settings.

The change in measurement means the UK death toll is the third highest in the world, behind the US and Italy, based on data from Johns Hopkins University.

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The US had reported 58,355 deaths and Italy 27,359.

The government pointed out other countries may report figures differently and any lag is unclear, although France and Italy also include deaths in care homes.


#Newsworthy…

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UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson leaves hospital, thank NHS.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson has left hospital after being treated for coronavirus, but will not immediately return to work, Downing Street says.

Mr Johnson, 55, was taken to St Thomas’ hospital, in London, on Sunday – 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

He had three nights in intensive care before returning to a ward on Thursday.

Downing Street said the PM would continue his recovery at his country residence, Chequers.

“On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work. He wishes to thank everybody at St Thomas’ for the brilliant care he has received.

“All of his thoughts are with those affected by this illness,” the statement added.


Boris Johnson Thank NHS as UK suffer more COVID-19 cases


Boris Johnson has said he owes his life to the NHS staff treating him for coronavirus.

The prime minister, 55, thanked medics at St Thomas’ hospital in London, where he continues to recover after spending three nights in intensive care.

It comes as UK deaths from the virus are expected to pass 10,000 on Sunday.

On Saturday, the UK recorded 917 new coronavirus deaths, taking total hospital deaths to 9,875.

Ministers are continuing to urge people to stay at home over the Easter weekend to curb the spread of the virus, despite warm and sunny weather across parts of the UK.

In his first public statement since being moved out of intensive care on Thursday, Mr Johnson paid tribute to the medics treating him, saying: “I can’t thank them enough. I owe them my life.”

Speaking as she led the government’s daily coronavirus briefing on Saturday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the PM needed “time and space to rest, recuperate and recover”.

“No 10 does not want to speculate about when the PM might leave hospital or be back at his desk, but a return to work does not look imminent.” NobleReporters sense

“The prime minister is expected to rest and recover in the coming weeks and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will continue to deputise – and will be in charge when ministers carry out a review of the lockdown measures.”

It comes as 917 hospital deaths were recorded in the 24 hours up to 17:00 BST on Friday – the second day in a row that the figure has been over 900.

The death toll released on Saturday was slightly down on the previous day’s 980 deaths.

However, spikes or dips may in part reflect bottlenecks in the reporting system, rather than real changes in the trend and these figures do not include those who have died in care homes or the community.


#Newsworthy…

British PM Out Of Intensive Care After COVID-19 Treatment.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday left intensive care after three days of treatment for COVID-19, his office said.

“The Prime Minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery,” a statement said.

“He is in extremely good spirits,” it added.

The 55-year-old Conservative leader had received “standard oxygen treatment” after he was transferred to the intensive care unit at London’s St Thomas’s hospital on Monday, his spokesman said earlier.

While much of the focus in Britain has been on Johnson’s health, there is also concern over the numbers of people infected with the virus, with the government set to extend a lockdown implemented on March 23.

The government announced another 881 deaths on Thursday, taking the UK total to 7,978.


– ‘We’re not done yet’ –


Senior ministers discussed the strict social distancing measures, initially planned for three weeks, during a daily coronavirus response meeting.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is standing in for Johnson, warned that the lockdown, which was to end on Monday, was not likely to be lifted imminently, saying “we’re not done yet, we must keep going.

“Deaths are still rising and we haven’t yet reached the peak of the virus, so it’s too early to lift the measures,” he said.

“We don’t expect to be able to say more on this until the end of next week,” he added.

Greater Manchester Police said Thursday it had to break up 660 parties last weekend.

Asked if the British government might give police extra powers during the lockdown, the Downing Street spokesman said: “For now our focus is on ensuring that the steps that we already have in place are properly enforced”.


– ‘Protect the NHS’ –


Meanwhile, ministers warned the public to follow social distancing rules ahead of the Easter weekend when high temperatures are forecast.

“We’ll have to stay at home and the reason why we’re having to stay at home is in order to protect the NHS and save lives,” added Dowden.

Johnson was hospitalised Sunday over concerns he still had a cough and high temperature 10 days after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

He had spent the previous nine days in self-isolation in a flat above his Downing Street office.

He has received messages of support from around the world, with US President Donald Trump sending best wishes to his “very good friend”.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin said Johnson’s “energy, optimism, and sense of humour” would see him through.

The British government has been criticised for a slow response to the pandemic, initially refusing to follow other European countries in requiring people to stay home as the virus spread rapidly across the globe.

Johnson himself said in early March that he was still shaking hands with people — only for COVID-19 to sweep through the British establishment weeks later.

The government has insisted its coronavirus response has been led by medical and scientific evidence throughout.

Elsewhere in the UK, Southampton became the first top-level club to defer players’ wages amid a growing row about whether Premier League footballers — with an average salary of three million pounds ($3.7 million) — should give up some of their pay to help the nation.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: UK PM, Boris Johnson spent night in intensive care as case worsen.


Mr Johnson, 55, is “in very good hands”, said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is standing in for the PM and chaired the government’s daily meeting.

World leaders have sent messages to Mr Johnson wishing him well.


It comes as Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove became the latest politician to go into quarantine.

Mr Gove said he was self-isolating at home, after a family member showed mild symptoms. He is not suffering any symptoms and will work from home.


He was moved as a precaution so he could be close to a ventilator – which takes over the body’s breathing process, NobleReporters learnt

Mr Gove said: “The prime minister’s not on a ventilator. He has received oxygen support.”


If there is any change in his condition “No 10 will ensure the country is updated”, Mr Gove added.

As the first secretary of state, Mr Raab is the minister designated to stand in for Mr Johnson if he is unwell and unable to work.


Mr Raab said earlier there was an “incredibly strong team spirit” behind the prime minister and that he and his colleagues were making sure they implemented plans Mr Johnson had instructed them to deliver “as soon as possible”.

Mr Johnson is the first major world leader to have announced he had the virus
Some politicians have called for greater clarity on what Mr Raab’s role as deputy entails, including Tory MP Tobias Ellwood who asked for details “as to where responsibility for UK national security decisions now lies”.


Lord Heseltine, who served as deputy prime minister under John Major, said it will be a “very difficult personal position” for Mr Raab, who “will be tested by the loneliness of the job”.

“He will be surrounded by lots of people who know what Boris Johnson said, believe Boris will be quickly back and have their own personal agendas anyway,” he said.


Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the government will “continue to work” as decisions are made collectively by the cabinet.

He also sounded a warning to people who have broken social distancing guidelines, saying: “I hope people who may have wandered out the other day and decided they can sit around having barbecues will really think about this carefully and recognise this is serious.


“If the most powerful man in Britain can come down with this, so can you”.

Mr Johnson was initially taken to hospital for tests after announcing 11 days ago that he had the coronavirus. His symptoms included a high temperature and a cough.


Earlier on Monday, he tweeted he was in “good spirits”.

Mr Gove is the latest cabinet minister to self-isolate, after Mr Johnson, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Scottish secretary Alister Jack.


The government’s chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty and the PM’s adviser Dominic Cummings also spent time self-isolating after showing symptoms.

The Queen has been kept informed about Mr Johnson’s health, Buckingham Palace said. She also issued a message thanking healthcare workers for their “selfless commitment and diligence” to mark World Health Day.


It comes as the number of coronavirus hospital deaths in the UK reached 5,373 – an increase of 439 in a day.

The Department of Health and Social Care said there were now 51,608 confirmed coronavirus cases.


Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics have been released, showing the majority of coronavirus deaths are happening in hospitals but some are in hospices and care homes.

Among those who have sent messages to Mr Johnson was Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who described it as “terribly sad news”.


“All the country’s thoughts are with the prime minister and his family during this incredibly difficult time,” he added.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Vladimir Putin wished Mr Johnson a speedy recovery, saying he was “convinced that your energy, optimism and sense of humour will help you overcome the disease”.


US President Donald Trump said Americans “are all praying for his recovery”, describing Mr Johnson as “a very good friend of mine and a friend to our nation” who is “strong” and “doesn’t give up”.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said his thoughts were with the prime minister and his pregnant partner, Carrie Symonds, and that Mr Johnson would “come out of this even stronger”.

On Saturday, Ms Symonds said she had spent a week in bed with the main symptoms. She said she had not been tested for the virus.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “sending [Mr Johnson] every good wish”, while Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster added she was “praying for a full and speedy recovery”.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: British PM, Boris Johnson test positive.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that he is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.

“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” he said on Twitter, posting a video message.


“I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus,” he wrote.

“Be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus,” he added in the video message.


A Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement that Johnson, whose partner Carrie Symonds is pregnant, experienced mild symptoms on Thursday and was tested for COVID-19 on the personal advice of England’s chief medical officer.

The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff, the spokesperson added.


In his video message, Johnson thanked workers in Britain’s state-run National Health Service (NHS) for their efforts in battling the spread of the virus.

A total of 11,658 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Britain, and 578 deaths.

Earlier this week Prince Charles, the eldest son and heir to Queen Elizabeth II, also tested positive for the virus.

The government confirmed this week that if Johnson was incapacitated, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would temporarily assume the role of prime minister.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: London residents may be restricted from leaving their homes.


Authorities are considering putting London on coronavirus lockdown with extra travel restrictions for Brits as the deadly disease has continued to spread rapidly in the capital.

Sources close to City Hall disclosed to The Sun that the Government is preparing fresh legislation to give them the power to stop gatherings and keep Londoners inside.


The insiders also claimed that the measures would stop Londoners from leaving their homes but will only permit them to go to the supermarket or pharmacy.

Downing Street said today that ministers could use existing laws to keep individuals “in isolation for their own safety” and the emergency powers could come as early as Friday, though sources stressed the plans were not imminent.


Earlier this week, it was revealed that the virus was spreading faster in London than other parts of the country

A spokesperson said: “We have set out the steps necessary at this point in time. But we will be guided by the scientific and medical advice to make sure we take the right steps at the right time.

“We will do whatever it is required to keep the public safe.”

London is the worst affected area in the UK with 621 cases and 25 deaths. In total, there are 2,626 cases in the country.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: United kingdom close down schools as case worsens.


Britain announced Wednesday it would be closing schools in the coming days to stem the spread of coronavirus, as the death toll topped 100 and Londoners braced for tougher measures to tackle the outbreak.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had held off following the lead of other European countries in shutting schools, because of the impact it would have on the workforce.

But as the outbreak spreads and the death toll reached 104, up from 71 in a day, he said schools would be closed indefinitely later this week.

“After schools shut their gates from Friday afternoon, they will remain closed,” he told his daily news conference, without giving a date for their re-opening.

Exceptions will be made for key workers — including healthcare staff, police and delivery drivers — and for the most vulnerable children.

Johnson earlier this week advised people to work from home and avoid unnecessary social contact and travel, warning the infection rate was starting to spike.

On Wednesday he said this was having an effect but repeated advice for people with symptoms to self-isolate for between one and two weeks, depending on circumstances.

“Everyone must follow the advice to protect themselves and their families, but also, more importantly to protect the wider public,” he said.

Johnson added that “we will not hesitate to bring forward further and faster measures.”

Speculation is rife that London in particular could soon be subject to more draconian measures, as the capital records the most number of cases.

“We know London is ahead of the rest of us so we may see more stringent measures than even those that we have announced so far being taken,” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in Edinburgh earlier.

The government will on Thursday introduce legislation giving it emergency powers to deal with the outbreak, including to close premises and restrict gatherings.

– Parliamentary hotspot –

Lawmakers were earlier told to stay away from Johnson’s weekly question time in parliament amid warnings that Westminster is a particularly infectious area.

Some 25 MPs, including a cabinet minister, are already thought to have isolated themselves.

“There’s a lot of COVID-19 in Westminster,” tweeted epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson, a government adviser, as he announced that he had also developed symptoms.

MPs will gather on Thursday however to debate new emergency legislation to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, which ministers hope to push through within days.

The government says its powers will only be used when “absolutely necessary” and the bill has support from opposition parties.

But some MPs voiced concern at the sweeping nature and duration of the proposals, and the effect on civil liberties.

– Rent support –

Johnson’s government has come under pressure to do more to tackle the outbreak of COVID-19, given the tough lockdowns imposed in other European countries.

But he insisted all action was driven by the science, adding: “We’re going to do the right measures at the right time.”

So far Britain has around 2,600 cases, but chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance this week warned that 55,000 Britons could have the virus at a “reasonable” estimate.

The new social distancing advice sparked warnings that many businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry, could go bust.

The FTSE 100 slumped again Wednesday, dropping as much as 5.0 percent in morning trade, while the pound hit its lowest level since 1985 against the dollar, touching $1.1828.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday announced a package of support for businesses, including government-backed loans of at least £330 billion ($395 billion, 360 billion euros).

On Wednesday, Johnson also promised legislation to protect individuals unable to pay their rent because of job losses caused by the crisis to avoid evictions.

In other developments:

– the government said it was working to increase the number of people in hospital being tested for COVID-19 to 25,000 a day and ensure frontline health workers get the protective kit they need.

– Johnson said there was a “massive effort” to build enough ventilators to treat the worst-hit patients, after concern about a shortage.

– Supermarkets, whose supplies have been hit by panic-buying, said they would safeguard supplies for the elderly and most vulnerable, including dedicated opening times only for older customers.

– the 50th Glastonbury music festival became the latest casualty of the outbreak, with this year’s event pushed back to next year.


#Newsworthy…

Budget 2020: Cafes, Shops’ rates scrapped.


Tens of thousands of England’s retail, leisure and hospitality firms will not pay any business rates in the coming year, the chancellor has announced.

Companies with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the tax holiday, Rishi Sunak said.

The measure applies to firms including shops, cinemas, restaurants and hotels.

It is part of a package of “extraordinary” measures to support the UK economy in the face of disruption from the coronavirus outbreak.

“That is a tax cut worth over £1bn, saving each business up to £25,000,” Mr Sunak said.

Business rates are a tax on properties that are used for commercial purposes, and are charged based on an estimate of what it would cost to rent the property on the open market: the “rateable value”.

Mr Sunak described the business rates holiday as an “exceptional step” that would benefit museums, art galleries, theatres, caravan parks, gyms, small hotels, sports clubs and night clubs, all of whom will be hard hit if customers stay away to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Businesses have been calling for a review of business rates for several years, arguing they make it hard for bricks and mortar retailers to compete with online rivals.

The chancellor said business rates as a whole would be reviewed later in the year.

The head of retail and consumer at Pinsent Masons, Tom Leman, said the announcement would be “extremely welcome news” for small businesses.

“On the basis the coronavirus is not a long-term issue for these businesses, it is crucial that they have the liquidity to see them through the worst.

“This will definitely help the cause and hopefully see many of them come out the other side ready to benefit from the increased spending power prompted by the money people are currently saving on their discretionary spend.”


#Newsworthy…