The fate of local lockdowns in England is due to be discussed today as the Government confirmed it will compensate those who have to self isolate with payments of up to £182.
The next announcement on restrictions in parts of Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and west Yorkshire is due to take place after a meeting on Thursday of the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), chaired by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.
It comes as Mr Hancock confirmed that people on either Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit, who are required to self-isolate and are unable to work from home, in areas with high incidences of Covid-19, will benefit from a new payment scheme. Those who test positive for the virus will receive £130 for their 10-day period of self-isolation, while other members of their household will be entitled to claim up to £182.
Meanwhile, there are fears that thousands of holidaymakers could face having to self-isolate on their return from Czech Republic and Switzerland. Both countries are above the threshold of a seven-day rate of 20 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people.
Seven more deaths in England
A further seven people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,531, NHS England said on Thursday.
The patients were aged between 77 and 90, and all had known underlying health conditions.
Another six deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
One more death in Wales
Public Health Wales said another person has died having tested positive for coronavirus, bringing its total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic to 1,595.
The number of cases of Covid-19 in Wales increased by 35, bringing the revised confirmed total to 17,843.
Delta Air Lines puts about 240 people on ‘no fly list’
Delta Air Lines has placed about 240 people on a “no fly list’ for failing to comply with the airline’s face mask policy, Chief Executive Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees on Thursday.
“Although rare, we continue to put passengers who refuse to follow the required face-covering rules on our no-fly list,” Bastian said in the memo, which was reviewed by Reuters.
Police have issued a total of 46 fines to people violating face mask laws in England and Wales, new data has revealed.
Figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) show the majority of these fines were handed out on public transport, with just eight given to people refusing to wear a face covering in a shop. On June 15 face coverings became mandatory on public transport, and on July 24 it became a legal requirement to wear a face covering in shops and other enclosed indoor spaces.
Cases on the rise in South Korea again…
South Korea has reported 441 new cases of coronavirus, marking its highest single-day total since March and raising the spectre of an imminent roll out of lockdown-like restrictions. The country has added nearly 4,000 infections while reporting triple-digit daily jumps on each of the past 14 days, prompting health experts to warn hospitals may soon reach capacity.
Poland to shorten quarantine period to 10 days
Poland will shorten its quarantine period for those suspected of being infected with coronavirus to 10 days from 14 days, the health minister said on Thursday, amid a spike in new daily cases.
“We will change the rules for quarantine and isolation… We would like to propose the shortening of quarantine to 10 days,” health minister Adam Niedzielski told a press conference.
Poland has recorded 64,689 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,010 deaths.
Test and Trace system ‘not quit there’
Three-quarters of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 were reached through the NHS Test and Trace system, once again falling short of the Government’s target, the latest figures show.
Some 75.5% of close contacts in England were reached in the week ending August 19.
While this is up from 71.6% in the previous week, it is the ninth week in a row where the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) target of isolating 80% of contacts of coronavirus cases within 48-72 hours has been missed.
Ahead of this week’s figures being published, Health Secretary Matt Hancock acknowledged the system was “not quite there”.
Bradford has the lowest rate of close contacts reached by test and trace
Just 43% of contacts have been reached for Test and Trace cases in Bradford handled online or by call centres.
This is the lowest proportion for any local authority area in England.
For cases in Middlesbrough and Peterborough 47% of contacts have been reached, for Blackburn with Darwen and the City of London & Hackney the figure is 48%, and for Nottingham and Oldham it is 49%.
These figures are just for “non-complex cases” – cases handled online or by call centres – and cover the 12 weeks of Test and Trace from May 28 to August 19.
Jedward nominate themselves for vacant commissioner role
Pop duo Jedward have nominated themselves for Ireland’s EU commissioner job after incumbent Phil Hogan resigned in the wake of a row over a golf dinner.
The twins, whose real names are John and Edward Grimes, tweeted “official announcement coming soon” alongside a picture of them behind a podium with an EU flag.
The former X Factor contestants said: “We did get an A in our C.S.P.E. (Civic, Social & Political Education).”
Alongside a picture of them meeting Barack Obama, they said they have “experience meeting world leaders” and “promoted the use of hand sanitiser before it was a thing”.
“We don’t play golf. Never have never will,” the pair added.
Scotland and Wales buy 12 minute testing machines
Evening StandardThe Scottish and Welsh governments have agreed to buy hundreds of high-speed coronavirus testing machines which can produce results in 12 minutes. If approved for use in Scotland, a minimum of 500,000 coronavirus tests will be available for use with the 300 machines, after the Government’s £6.76 million deal with UK-based firm LumiraDx. Scotland’s Trade Minister Ivan McKee said the machines have the potential to “revolutionise the fight against the virus”.
Nearly 20% of close contacts identified but not reached
Since the launch of Test and Trace, 246,262 close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 have now been reached through the tracing system and asked to self-isolate.
This is 80.6% out of a total of 305,725 people identified as close contacts.
The remaining 59,463 people (19.4%) were identified as close contacts, but were not reached.
Test and trace system reaches 75% of close contacts
Some 75.5% of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England were reached through the Test and Trace system in the week ending August 19, according to new figures from the Department of Health and Social Care.
This is up from 71.6% in the previous week.
For cases handled by local health protection teams, 95.6% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate in the week to August 19.
By contrast, for those cases handled either online or by call centres, 61.6% of close contacts have been reached and asked to self-isolate.
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Read more about the rise in cases in Liverpool here:
Evening StandardLiverpool has called on young adults to abide by social distancing guidance following a rise in coronavirus cases across the city. The City Council appealed to adults under 40 to abide by the measures after a spike in cases within the age group. The authority said there had been a steady increase in the rolling weekly total over the last fortnight and those aged 40 and under account for half of the cases.
Liverpool appeals to young people after cases rise
Liverpool City Council has appealed to adults under 40 to follow social distancing guidelines following a rise in cases across the city.
The authority said there had been a steady increase in the rolling weekly total over the last fortnight, with those aged 40 and under accounting for half of the cases.
Director of public health Matt Ashton said: “It is really important that as schools start to reopen and more workplaces are getting back to normal, we all take responsibility and follow the guidance to limit the spread of cases as far as possible.”
He urged people to stick to the two-metre social distancing rule, wear masks in confined spaces, wash their hands regularly and get tested if they had symptoms.
Hancock has ‘no idea’ how many people in his department are currently working from home
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he has “absolutely no idea” how many people in his department are currently working from home.
It came after CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn urged the Government to lead firms in getting staff back to the workplace.
Ms Fairbairn warned that commercial centres risk becoming permanent “ghost towns” and said that returning employees to offices is as important as getting pupils back to schools.
In an interview on Times Radio, Mr Hancock was asked if he knew what percentage of staff in the Department for Health were working at home.
“I have absolutely no idea,” he responded.
Mr Hancock praised the Cornish sun
Evening StandardMatt Hancock has credited his staycation in Cornwall for giving him a tanned complexion. The Health Secretary hailed his trip to the county – which has seen a boom in tourists this summer as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – as “glorious”. Asked on LBC radio this morning where he got his tan, Mr Hancock replied: “Cornwall.” He added: “You can’t beat a holiday in Cornwall. I went surfing in Cornwall.
President von der Leyen ‘respects resignation of trade commissioner’
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said she respects the resignation of Phil Hogan on Wednesday night.
In a televised statement, Ms von der Leyen said she is “very grateful” to Mr Hogan for his “tireless and successful work” as a commissioner and as a member of the College.
“I thank him warmly for his valuable contribution to the work of the Commission, not only in this mandate, but also in the previous mandate where he was the commissioner in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development,” she added.
“Over the past days, I discussed with Phil Hogan about his movements in Ireland in light of information that emerged regarding respect of public health guidelines in Ireland.
“In the current circumstances, as Europe fights to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and Europeans make sacrifices and accept painful restrictions, I expect the members of the College to be particularly vigilant about compliance with applicable national or regional rules or recommendations.”
Some passengers were offered overnight stays across border
Evening StandardA group of easyJet passengers returning from Gibraltar are having to quarantine for 14 days after being put in a hotel in Spain following an overnight delay to their flight. The passengers were due to travel from the British Overseas Territory to Gatwick Airport on Monday night, but their flight could not depart until Tuesday due to “low visibility weather conditions”.
Oldham council leader wants more support for those self-isolating
Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding said: “I am pleased that the Government have agreed to at least provide some financial help for those being asked to self-isolate in Oldham.
“Sadly this offer is nowhere near enough to provide real support, and it shows how out of touch with ordinary people this Government is.
“I stand with the Time Out To Help Out campaign in asking Government to support people across the country to self-isolate on full pay. People should not have to worry about loss of income whilst being asked to self-isolate.
“Oldham residents have pulled together to face this crisis; we now need Government do to their bit.
“We need a real and meaningful offer of support for Oldham residents, who deserve better.”
Hancock denies existence of hidden waiting list
Matt Hancock has rubbished a report claiming that the NHS has a “hidden waiting list” of 15.3 million patients who need follow-up appointments for health problems following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Health Secretary told LBC radio: “I’ve looked into this research since it arrived in the Times overnight, and it is total rubbish.
“It is actually a count of the total number of appointments that there are … what they’ve done is counted all the appointments that there are in the NHS.
“If you have an appointment, that is not because you’re on a waiting list, it is because you are going to go and see someone in the NHS.
“We measure waiting lists very rigorously and obviously a really important part of the recovery of the country post-coronavirus is getting those treatments that had to be delayed, getting them dealt with.
“But let’s deal with the facts rather than a spurious survey.”