Covid: Updates on cases, restrictions and testing today in UK


Europe COVID hospitalisations rise as workforce is stretched

There is still no need for tougher Covid restrictions in England based on hospital data up to the end of 2021, a health minister has insisted.

Edward Argar said the numbers on wards and in intensive care were dramatically down on one year ago, showing vaccines and better treatment had put the country in “a very, very different position”.

“I’m seeing nothing in the data right in front of me, in the immediate situation, that suggests a need for further restrictions,” he said, in the first interview granted by a minister since Christmas.

Meanwhile, secondary school pupils in England will have to wear face masks in class again after the Christmas holidays because of Covid-19, ministers have ruled.

Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary, wrote in The Sunday Telegraph: “There can be no excuse for our children not learning face to face in the classroom where they want and need to be.”


Contingency planning for 25% staff absence ‘sensible’, says minister

The government is “doing the responsible and sensible thing” by asking the public sector to prepare for a worst-case scenario of up to one-quarter of staff being off work, a minister has said.

Edward Argar added in an interview with Times Radio that “we model a range of scenarios up to things we think are highly unlikely”.

It comes as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) warned that cutting the Covid-19 isolation period to five days would be “counterproductive”, and could actually exacerbate staffing shortages, particularly in hospitals.

As it stands, people who receive negative lateral flow results on day six and day seven of their self-isolation period – with tests taken 24 hours apart – no longer have to stay indoors for a full 10 days.

Additional reporting by PA

Jon Sharman2 January 2022 14:35


Bulgaria detects first Omicron cases

Bulgaria has detected its first 12 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the Balkan country’s chief health inspector said on Sunday.

Angel Kunchev said the infected people, mainly from the capital Sofia, were experiencing mild symptoms and none had been taken to hospital.

Jon Sharman2 January 2022 14:13


Fresh Covid concerns hit England’s preparations for fourth Ashes Test

England’s preparations for the fourth Ashes Test fell victim to more Covid chaos on Sunday, with local net bowlers removed from their latest training session on the same day head coach Chris Silverwood joined the growing ranks of positive cases.

Silverwood has been isolating with his family in Melbourne ever since one of them tested positive after the Boxing Day Test and a further case in their group takes the total number among the wider England party to nine.

Jon Sharman2 January 2022 14:08


Another anti-lockdown protest in the Netherlands

Thousands of people in the Netherlands defied a ban on assembling and demonstrated Sunday against the Dutch government’s coronavirus lockdown measures, gathering on a central square before marching toward a park in Amsterdam.

A small group of demonstrators briefly clashed with riot police as officers worked to clear the crowd from Museum Square based on an order from Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema. Reporters at the scene saw at least one person being detained.

The local government had outlawed the protest, saying police had indications some demonstrators might be planning to attend “prepared for violence.”

One person walked through the crowd carrying a “Trump 2024” flag.

Coronavirus infection rates have been gradually decreasing for weeks in the Netherlands, which re-introduced lockdown measures in November and tightened them further during the holiday season.

Jon Sharman2 January 2022 13:49


Masks could harm mental health, senior Tory says

Wearing face masks in the classroom could damage young people’s mental health, a senior Tory MP has said as he called on ministers to “balance the risks of Covid”.

Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow and chair of the education select committee, said the measure could have a disproportionate impact on deaf children.

“The (National Deaf Children’s Society) has said that they’re worried… that deaf children’s education will suffer disproportionately under the mask advice,” he said.

He added: “My big worry is that, whilst you’ve got to balance the risks of Covid, which are minimal, thank goodness, to kids – and… we’ve got teachers and support staff vaccinated, many will have had the booster vaccination as well – so you’ve got to balance that on one side of the scale against the risks to children’s mental health, wellbeing.

“And there is a lot of evidence out there from Belgium, to Canada, to the United States, suggesting that masks on children have a damaging effect, or can have a negative effect on their mental health, their wellbeing, their ability to communicate, their emotional awareness.

“And that’s why I have worries about the mask policy.”

Matt Mathers2 January 2022 13:30


Labour: Mask mandate better than school closures

Labour has backed the government’s decision to reintroduce face masks for pupils in classrooms to slow the spread of Omicron.

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said the measure is better than schools having to close again.

“I think in terms of schools, if the choice is between having masks at schools or children missing schools in huge numbers, of course we want to keep pupils learning,” he told Sky News.

“That’s got to be the priority.” He also called on ministers to get testing “right”. More comments below:

Matt Mathers2 January 2022 13:12


Prioritise schools for testing, union urges government

The government is being urged to make sure enough Covid-19 tests are available for schoolchildren and staff.

Currently, the Department for Education recommends children and fully vaccinated adults who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus perform lateral flow tests twice a week.

But Health secretary Sajid Javid last week said ministers expect a need to “constrain” supply for a fortnight amid surging demand.

General concerns over supply issues have prompted calls from the Labour Party and a headteachers’ union for the government to make sure the tests are available for schools.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The difficulties the public have had in accessing lateral flow tests over the past few weeks has made many people nervous that they will not be available when needed for school staff and pupils.

“If lateral flow tests are to be critical to enabling pupils and staff to return to school quickly then there must be a ready supply available for schools as they go back in January and throughout the term.”

Matt Mathers2 January 2022 12:45


How accurate are lateral flow tests?

With Omicron spreading rapidly throughout the country, many people are using lateral flow tests at home to check if they have Covid.

Are the tests accurate? My colleague Laura Hampson reports:

Matt Mathers2 January 2022 12:15


Police probe intentional fire at Covid centre

Police are investigating an incident of wilful fire-raising at a coronavirus testing centre in Scotland.

A fire at the centre in Risk Street, Dumbarton, on New Year’s Day was described by Police Scotland as a “deliberate act”.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service put out the blaze.

No-one was hurt and the incident has not affected test services at the centre, the police added.

Officers are investigating, with police appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

Detective Constable Thomas O’Donnell said: “We are in the process of reviewing CCTV footage from the area and the surrounding area, and I’m confident it will provide useful information on the suspect and the incident.

“However, I would like to appeal to anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious to contact us.”

Jon Sharman2 January 2022 12:03


Full story: No need for tougher Covid restrictions based on latest hospital data, health minister insists

There is still no need for tougher Covid restrictions in England based on hospital data up to the end of 2021, a health minister has insisted.

Edward Argar said the numbers on wards and in intensive care was dramatically down on one year ago, showing vaccines and better treatment had put the country in “a very, very different position”, writes Rob Merrick.

Jon Sharman2 January 2022 11:44

Source link

Denial of responsibility! NewsConcerns is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment