UK coronavirus LIVE: Covid tiers ‘could change before Christmas’ as London R rate between 1 and 1.1

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  • November 27, 2020
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World update: Brazilian president insists, “I will not get vaccinated against coronavirus”

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has said he won’t take any working Covid-19 vaccine himself and called the use of masks “the last taboo to fall”.

Mr Bolsonaro’s comments, broadcast on his social media channels on Thursday night, alarmed health experts who said they could undermine efforts to halt the pandemic.

They warned that his comments might scare off vaccine makers negotiating with local authorities.

However, Mr Bolsonaro said that any vaccine that is certified by Brazil’s health agency will be available for free to the public.

The Brazilian president, who contracted the virus in July, has long resisted the advice of most scientists and health experts to restrict social and economic activity, arguing that damage from a lockdown would be worse than the pandemic.

He also repeatedly promoted an anti-malaria drug as the cure for the disease despite scientific studies finding it ineffective and possibly dangerous.

Mr Bolsonaro also criticised state governors testing a Chinese vaccine at home.

“I tell you – I will not take (any vaccine),” he said.

“It is my right and I am sure that congress will not create difficulties for whoever doesn’t want to take a vaccine.”

He added: “If it is effective, lasting, reliable, whoever doesn’t take it will be doing harm only to himself and whoever takes the vaccine will not be infected.

“There’s nothing to worry about.

A study published on July 15 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that social distancing measures can safely be halted if at least 75 per cent of the population gets a vaccine that is more than 70 per cent effective.

Tests have shown some vaccine candidates have a potential efficacy higher than that.

Miguel Lago, executive director of Brazil’s Institute for Health Policy Studies, said: “Bolsonaro’s statements are a horrible sign.

“If he were a less popular president, this might have little effect. But he is the hero of a lot of people.

“His hardcore supporters might not get a shot and that will generate more political dispute on the right not to get vaccinated.

“That will make it harder for Brazil to get above that minimum level of 70 – 75 per cent of the population vaccinated, which is key for life to go back to some kind of normal.”

( Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro takes office with promises to radically change the path taken by Latin America’s biggest country by trashing decades of centre-left policies. / AFP/Getty Images )

Christmas decoration advice to care homes branded ‘bah humbug’

Advice to care homes warning them to use only artificial trees, wipeable decorations and to have no festive ornaments if there is a coronavirus outbreak this Christmas has been branded “bah humbug”.

The National Care Forum (NCF) said homes had been advised about the “dangers” of Yuletide decorations.

The organisation, labelling it “baublegate”, said it comes at a time when the “hope and joy” of the festive season is needed more than ever.

The NCF said examples of local infection prevention and control (IPC) advice included that there should be no wood, straw or live trees, only laminated single-use decorations should be used, and that there should be no Christmas decorations during an outbreak, or near isolation areas.

It also said advice had been given that cards and decorations should be quarantined for three days before opening, and presents should be brought to homes unwrapped, to be wrapped by staff.

Liz Jones, policy director at the National Care Forum, said “the spectre of infection prevention control overkill lurks”.

She said: “Up and down the country, managers and care workers are digging out the Christmas decorations, untangling the tinsel and dusting off the baubles.

“While Covid has limited so many things in care homes, surely we can still ‘deck the halls’.

“This year, more than any other, the hope and joy of Christmas is needed… But it seems the spectre of infection prevention control overkill lurks.”

She added: “We have yet to find any evidence to underpin this latest flurry of bah humbug advice.

“Quite frankly, IPC advice on Christmas decs is the icing on the (Christmas) cake.

“Christmas decorations can be used safely and sensibly and are a key part of the festive cheer that we all need so badly.

“Baublegate must not happen.”

( Care home residents should still be allowed to enjoy some festive cheer / PA )

Here’s a look at the latest weekly Covid-19 rates for local authority areas in England:

Here are some of the key figures from today’s update on England’s seven-day rate of new cases.

The figures, for the seven days to November 23, are based on tests carried out in laboratories (pillar one of the Government’s testing programme) and in the wider community (pillar two).

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Data for the most recent four days (November 24-27) has been excluded as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.

A majority of areas in England (298 out of 315) have seen a fall in case rates.

Swale in Kent continues to have the highest rate in England, with 841 new cases recorded in the seven days to November 23 – the equivalent of 560.4 cases per 100,000 people.

This is down from 655.0 in the seven days to November 16.

Thanet has the second highest rate, down from 521.4 to 468.6, with 665 new cases.

Boston is in third place, where the rate has dropped from 468.8 to 453.2, with 318 new cases.

The areas with the biggest week-on-week jump in rates are Medway (up from 343.6 to 447.7, with 1,247 new cases); Harlow (up from 151.6 to 225.1, with 196 new cases); and Ipswich (up from 92.0 to 157.8, with 216 new cases).


BREAKING: The latest UK figures are in


Don’t travel to Tier 1 just for a pint, locals plea

A pub owner in Cornwall has asked that people thinking of travelling to the county for a pint “think of others” before doing so amid fears the Tier 1 county could become overwhelmed.

Cornwall is the only area of mainland England that has been placed into the lowest level of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“I’ve been very restrictive on who can come for a drink and ask that they email/message beforehand so I know who they are and where they have come from,” said Helen Nathan, 36, owner of The Kings Arms in Mevagissey.

“As someone who travels a lot for work outside the pub, I’ve been very responsible and not left Cornwall unless it’s been completely necessary since beginning March. I hoped that others may do the same but Mevagissey has never been so busy during September and October.

“Please think of others as well as your own safety before travelling anywhere outside your region.”

Asked if there was a fear too many people may travel to the county to go to the pub, Ms Nathan said: “Yeah. There was post first lockdown, and the fear seems even more so this time round.”


Tier 2 hospitality businesses say policing the households rule is a challenge

Hotel, restaurant and pub owners operating in Tier 2 say they are grateful to have avoided the highest level of restrictions but say policing the rules can cause problems.

Rebecca Hill, the owner of Galtres Lodge Hotel, in York, said she was relieved the city was in the second tier, which meant she can operate near to normal.

But Ms Hill said the city was on the edge of a huge swathe of Tier 3 territory across West and South Yorkshire which meant many people had cancelled their bookings because they can no longer travel.

She said: “Tier 3 would have been a disaster but Tier 2 means we can welcome guests into the hotel and open the restaurant.” 

Ms Hill said: “We can reopen and we can welcome guests but, obviously, guests from Tier 3 areas cannot travel to us. So that does have a negative affect on bookings and that’s a real shame.

“We’re a small independent, very personable business, so they’ve just called and they’ve just postponed and they’ll just come where they can.”

Mrs Hill said there are still complications dealing with the rules around non-mixing of households.

She said groups suspected of not being from the same household are subtly steered towards the heated outdoor areas.

“You can tell sometimes if people are, maybe, telling you something that’s not quite true,” she said.

“We do have outside seating as a fall back if someone comes and says, ‘oh yes we’re from one household’ and we, maybe, think they’re not.

“We can quite subtly usher them to an outside table so they’re not breaking any rules and we’re not breaking any rules.”

She said: “If anyone’s really adamant they’re from one household, we’re not here to police people.

“We just hope that people do the right thing like we’re trying to do.”

( Pub owners insist they cannot be expected to police customers / Fuller’s )

Boris Johnson discusses coronavirus vaccine effort with Indian PM

Boris Johnson and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi discussed joint work on a coronavirus vaccine, along with trade, security and climate change during a phone call on Friday, Downing Street said.

The Prime Minister told his South Asian counterpart that “2021 would be a year to deepen and strengthen the UK-India relationship”, according to Number 10, as global leaders look to kick-start the recovery after the pandemic.

India’s Covid-19 cases soared past 9.18 million this week, with more than 134,000 deaths.

In the UK, 57,000 people have died within 28 days of a positive test, according to Government data.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi discussed joint efforts to find treatments and vaccines for coronavirus, and welcomed the collaboration between our countries’ leading scientists.”


UK coronavirus R rate drops below one for first time in nearly three months

Scientists advising the Government on the Covid-19 infection rate estimate that the R number in the UK is currently between 0.9 and one.


Leader of Lancashire County Council Geoff Driver calls for local politicians to have more say in decisions on the tier system

He said he was “extremely disappointed” the area had been placed in Tier 3 despite local leaders asking for the county to be divided into two tiers to reflect different coronavirus rates.

He said: “We know there are still serious pressures on the hospitals and we really want to see that number come down.

“We also know rates have come down significantly since the time when we were placed in the original Tier 3, three weeks before this lockdown began, and in the west and north of the county this is particularly pronounced.

“I am naturally disappointed by the decision to put the whole county into the same tier, and we will be speaking to the Government about what the measures will be for coming out of Tier 3.

“I also think it is important that local leaders have more input on these decisions as we know our areas best.”


Twelve more people die of virus in Northern Ireland

Another 391 people have tested positive with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health said.

Twelve more deaths were recorded.