Great Britain

Coronavirus news UK – Train services slashed & pubs face ‘summer of closures’ as Covid pingdemic forces staff to isolate

MORE than 800,000 people in the UK are thought to have caught Covid in the space of just ONE week, a national survey has suggested.

Shock figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today, as part of it's ongoing Covid infection survey, say 1 person in 75 was estimated to have the virus - a steep rise from 1 in 95 recorded the previous week.

Meanwhile, UK charities are warning of a spike in youth violence this summer, fuelled by lockdowns, patchy education and compounded mental health issues.

Youth worker Kayeligh Wainwright told The Guardian: “In recent weeks some youth workers have said to me that lockdown, especially for young people already involved in gangs, has given them the opportunity to strategise and to think.

"Now lockdown has been lifted, we’re seeing this violence and conflict play out."

The director of collective action at UK Youth added: "We saw a real increase in the number of young people being exploited as a result of Covid, because they were vulnerable and isolated.”

Read our coronavirus live blog for the very latest updates...

  • GARETH SOUTHGATE URGES YOUNG PEOPLE TO GET COVID JAB

    England manager Gareth Southgate has urged young people to get their freedom back by supporting the coronavirus vaccination programme. In the UK, more than 46 million people have now had a first Covid-19 vaccine dose, and more than 36 million have had both doses.

    Southgate, 50, whose England side lost this month's Euro 2020 final on a penalty shoot-out to Italy at Wembley, said in a video message: "I just firstly wanted to say thank you for the support you gave the team this summer, but also to say we know the last 18 months have been incredibly difficult for everybody.

    "And there's no doubt that the vaccination programme is our best route out of this problem, not only for us as a country but across the world. So I just wanted to say how important it is, if you haven't had your vaccine yet, to go and get it done.

    "I know oldies like me have had both jabs so we can crack on with our lives, but for you younger ones especially it's the chance for everything to open up, to get your freedom back. So much of that is going to rest on you having the vaccine.

    "So, don't put it off any longer, go and get it done, we can open everything up, we can protect the people we need to protect and you guys will get your freedom back."

  • NEW COVID VARIANT EMERGES IN UK AS DELTA CASES RISE BY 33,716 IN A WEEK

    Experts at Public Health England (PHE) are currently carrying out analysis of B.1.621 and have confirmed 16 cases of the variant.

    There is no evidence to suggest that the strain causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines any less effective.

    Where cases of the new variant have been detected, health officials have followed up and tested contacts.

    If necessary PHE will deploy surge testing to limit the spread.

    PHE also highlighted today that cases of the Delta variant have risen by 33,716 since last week to a total of 286,765.

    The variant now accounts for 99 per cent of all cases in the UK and PHE have urged Brits to continue to get their jabs.

  • 'SUMMER OF CLOSURES' PREDICTED FOR PUBS AND RESTAURANTS DUE TO 'PINGDEMIC'

    A "summer of venue closures" will see pubs and restaurants shuttered after hospitality staff were left off the list of critical workers exempt from self-isolation, industry chiefs have warned, as coronavirus cases continued to rise.

    Hotels, clubs and leisure parks are also expected to face closures and shortened opening hours as staff in sectors such as food supply and emergency services were favoured under the measure to tackle the "pingdemic".

    The UKHospitality trade association warned the sector will have "one tied behind our back" as staff are forced into isolation over Covid-19 contacts during what should be the peak season.

    Ministers were facing sustained calls to bring forward the date when all fully vaccinated individuals can avoid isolation over close contacts from August 16.

    The mounting criticism came as data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed Covid-19 cases continued to rise, with around one in 75 people in England infected.

  • SAJID JAVID SAYS RESTRICTIONS WON’T LAST ‘A DAY LONGER THAN NECESSARY’

    Sajid Javid has vowed he doesn’t want the remaining Covid rules to last “a day longer than necessary”.

    But the isolating Health Secretary, who tested positive for the virus last week despite being double jabbed, admitted there will be no big bang ending to the pandemic as we learn to live with the virus.

    Mr Javid also said his experience dealing with the pandemic has been “rather more personal than I would have wanted.”

    In an article for The Spectator today he joked: “Testing positive for Covid-19 definitely wasn’t in the 100-day plan” and revealed he’s even had to isolate from his own wife on their wedding anniversary.

    But he stressed that “curtailing people’s precious liberties, as vital as it has been, is never something that’s come easily to me” as a Conservative.

  • NO MORE GROUPS WILL BE ADDED TO AUGUST 16 PINGDEMIC SELF-ISOLATION EXEMPTION LIST

    Staff in critical sectors – including food and water supply, medicines and public transport – can dodge 10 days quarantine if their bosses get permission from the Government.

    The news was welcomed by industries facing major staff shortages, with more than 618,903 Brits ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app in just one week.

    The Government has not published a list of essential workers – like it did in the first lockdown – but has identified vital industries.

    George Eustice said today that the exemption from self-isolation would not be extended to the hospitality industry.

    And he made clear that no other sectors are being considered to dodge self-isolation before August 16.

  • 'SUMMER OF CLOSURES' PREDICTED FOR PUBS AND RESTAURANTS DUE TO 'PINGDEMIC'

    A "summer of venue closures" will see pubs and restaurants shuttered after hospitality staff were left off the list of critical workers exempt from self-isolation, industry chiefs have warned, as coronavirus cases continued to rise.

    Hotels, clubs and leisure parks are also expected to face closures and shortened opening hours as staff in sectors such as food supply and emergency services were favoured under the measure to tackle the "pingdemic".

    The UKHospitality trade association warned the sector will have "one tied behind our back" as staff are forced into isolation over Covid-19 contacts during what should be the peak season.

    Ministers were facing sustained calls to bring forward the date when all fully vaccinated individuals can avoid isolation over close contacts from August 16.

    The mounting criticism came as data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed Covid-19 cases continued to rise, with around one in 75 people in England infected. The estimate of the number testing positive - 741,700 - in the week to July 17 is the highest number since the week to January 30.

  • NUMBER OF COVID PATIENTS IN ENGLISH HOSPITALS UP 30% IN A WEEK

    The number of people in hospital with coronavirus in England has risen to its highest level in four months, data shows.

    Latest figures from NHS England show that 4,401 hospital beds were occupied by confirmed Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest level since March 22.

    This is a week-on-week rise of 30.7% from the 3,367 people in hospital on July 16.

    But the numbers are still much lower than the peak of the second wave when patient levels in England reached 34,336 on January 18.

    The North East and Yorkshire had the highest number of beds occupied with Covid patients on Friday, at 1,026.

  • HOSPITALITY BOSSES RAGE THAT THEIR STAFF WILL BE KEPT IN PINGDEMIC ISOLATION UNTIL AUGUST 16

    Hospitality has not been named as a critical sector viable for exemption or earmarked for a “test and release” scheme like the food supply industry.

    Pubs and bars crippled by staffing shortages are urging ministers to broaden the exemption scheme so more venues don’t go to the wall.

    Alastair Kerr, from the Campaign for Pubs, said the industry is not “out of the woods yet” and the pingdemic would only worsen the situation.

    He told The Sun: “A lot of venues aren’t being able to open at full capacity – they’re having to enforce their own restrictions – or worse not open at all because of staffing shortages in the pingdemic.”

  • COVID-19 NEWS ROUND UP: THE LATEST

  • NO MORE GROUPS WILL BE ADDED TO AUGUST 16 PINGDEMIC SELF-ISOLATION EXEMPTION LIST

    Staff in critical sectors – including food and water supply, medicines and public transport – can dodge 10 days quarantine if their bosses get permission from the Government.

    The news was welcomed by industries facing major staff shortages, with more than 618,903 Brits ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app in just one week.

    The Government has not published a list of essential workers – like it did in the first lockdown – but has identified vital industries.

    George Eustice said today that the exemption from self-isolation would not be extended to the hospitality industry.

    And he made clear that no other sectors are being considered to dodge self-isolation before August 16.

  • CHELSEA SCRAP PRE-SEASON TRAINING CAMP IN IRELAND AND FLY HOME AFTER ‘POSSIBLE COVID CASE IN TRAVELLING PARTY’

    CHELSEA players are returning home early from a training camp in Dublin due to a possible case of coronavirus.

    A friendly against League of Ireland outfit Drogheda was cancelled on Thursday evening following the test result.

    And the club have confirmed that Thomas Tuchel and his squad are back in the capital to continue their preparations for the new season.

    A spokesperson said: "With the cancellation of last night's friendly game, the team's training camp has moved back to the club's training ground early to continue preparations for the game against Bournemouth."

    Chelsea travelled across the Irish Sea on Tuesday for a pre-season camp which was due to culminate in the behind-closed-doors friendly.

    Read more here.

  • NEW COVID VARIANT EMERGES IN UK AS DELTA CASES RISE BY 33,716 IN A WEEK

    Experts at Public Health England (PHE) are currently carrying out analysis of B.1.621 and have confirmed 16 cases of the variant.

    There is no evidence to suggest that the strain causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines any less effective.

    Where cases of the new variant have been detected, health officials have followed up and tested contacts.

    If necessary PHE will deploy surge testing to limit the spread.

    PHE also highlighted today that cases of the Delta variant have risen by 33,716 since last week to a total of 286,765.

    The variant now accounts for 99 per cent of all cases in the UK and PHE have urged Brits to continue to get their jabs.

  • UK COVID CASES DOWN 35% IN A WEEK WITH 36K NEW INFECTIONS AND 64 DEATHS

    UK Covid cases down 35% in a week with 36k new infections and 64 deaths
  • THREAT LEVELS

    The UK has 25 areas on the Covid watchlist due to their amount of active cases.

    The Delta variant is now the cause of around 99 per cent of infections and driving the third wave in the UK.

    North East Lincolnshire is number one on the watchlist created by the ZOE Covid Symptom Study, with the most active cases as of July 18 (3,324 in every 100,000 people).

    Prevalence is second highest in Stockton-on-Tees, with 2,691 cases in every 100,000, and third highest in Falkirk (2,434).

    The most hotspots are in London, making up eight of the 25 spots on the list.

    Read more here.

  • HOW RELIABLE ARE LATERAL FLOW TESTS?

    Lateral flow tests are not as reliable as the PCR tests used by the NHS.

    The Department of Health says because the tests have been rigorously assessed by scientists, it means they are “accurate, reliable and successfully identify those with Covid-19 who don’t show symptoms”.

    But the tests were not designed to look for Covid in people without symptoms, but for people who did have symptoms.

    It means the results are not 100 per cent correct.

    The Government website states that “when a person has low levels of virus in their system, lateral flow tests are less sensitive than some of the other tests we use, such as PCR tests”.

  • BUSINESSES MUST APPLY FOR STAFF TO BE EXEMPT FROM PINGDEMIC SELF-ISOLATION RULES

    The full list of crucial sectors where workers can skip pesky isolation rules if they are pinged by the NHS Track and Trace app has finally been revealed.

    Anyone working in critical sectors – including food and water supply, medicines and public transport – no longer have to spend days under house arrest if they come into contact with a Covid case – as long as their application for exemption is accepted.

    The government’s guidance states that employers who feel their workers should be exempt from self-isolation need to contact the relevant government department for their sector themselves.

    They are also asked to provide information on the number of people who they want to leave self-isolation, the jobs they do and the impact that self-isolation would have on their business.

    If a worker is deemed to meet the criteria then their employer will get a letter from the government telling them what measures they now need to follow.

  • GREGGS, TOBY CARVERY AND MANY OTHERS CLOSE VENUES DUE TO PINGDEMIC STAFF SHORTAGES

    Hundreds of thousands of workers are isolating after being pinged by the NHS COVID app, bringing businesses to their knees with staffing crises.

    Greggs has had to shut a small number of stores although the closures are not long term, the Sun understands.

    Harvester said on social media that its Clifton Moor, York branch temporarily closed this week while Toby Carvery wrote on Facebook that its Park Place branch in London had shut – although neither gave specific reasons as to why.

    Pub chain Wetherspoons also warned it had a couple of hundred staff off.

  • SUPERMARKET SHORTAGES

    In his Freedom Day speech, Boris Johnson name-checked a handful of industries in line for exemption, if the workers have been double-jabbed.

    They included food and water supply, power supply, medicines, public transport, border force and the armed forces.

    Fully vaccinated NHS workers have already been exempt to stop hospitals coming to a standstill.

    Shoppers have spotted shortages in supermarkets this week, including bottled water and fresh fruit and veg.

    Ice creams and beer are also among the items running low in some locations, as supermarkets warned customers not to panic buy.

  • COVID CASES WILL RISE ‘EXPONENTIALLY’ AGAIN WITHIN DAYS

    Yesterday the Government reported 39,906 new infections, which was almost 18 per cent lower than last Thursday’s figure and down for the first time since May.

    But Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said it was likely the unusual statistic was only “temporary”.

    He said: “It is still too early to see any impact of the relaxations of Monday 19th and some of the reduction in cases will be because of many children no longer being tested as regularly now schools are closed. 

    “I would caution that this may just be a temporary slowing in reports before we start to see a return to exponential growth towards the end of next week as a result of the ending of restrictions last week.”

  • FULL LIST OF WORKERS EXEMPT FROM PINGDEMIC SELF-ISOLATION RULES

    THE full list of workers exempt from 'pingdemic' self-isolation rules has been revealed after fears the country could grind to a halt.

    Staff in critical sectors - including food and water supply, medicines and public transport - can dodge 10 days quarantine if their bosses get permission from the Government.

    It will be welcome news to industries facing major staff shortages, with more than 618,903 Brits 'pinged' by the NHS Covid-19 app in just one week.

    The Government has not published a list of essential workers - like it did in the first lockdown - but has identified vital industries.

    The sectors included are:

  • NORTH LONDON HOSPITAL PLEADS FOR PEOPLE TO AVOID CHECKING INTO A&E

    A north London hospital has pleaded for people to avoid checking into A&E where possible as it struggles to cope.

    Barnet Hospital’s emergency department is struggling with a higher attendance level and the borough has seen a 35,000 Covid cases in four weeks.

    Dr Angshu Mukherjee, clinical director of the department, made an exceptional appeal to the public in a YouTube video released on July 21.

    Dressed in scrubs and speaking through a clinical face mask, Dr Mukherjee said: “Every day we are seeing more and more patients arrive and the demand for our services is growing exponentially. We are at a stage now where we are asking the general public in Barnet to consider using other services for their health requirements. If you think that you do need to see a clinical, doctor or nurse but your condition is not life threatening please call 111.”

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