UK Government creates 3-tier lockdown plan this weekend as Covid-19 cases rise rapidly in Northern England due to poor leadership

This weekend, central Government is creating a three-tier lockdown plan to simplify the Covid-19 endemic management across the country. This follows spiralling cases in Northern England and advice from the UK’s medical doctors union, the British Medical Association for clearer guidelines with consistent trigger points.

As the UK Government creates its three-tier lockdown approach, the BMA has put forward a series of recommendations which, it says, if implemented without delay could reduce the level of infection as well as supporting businesses and those who are in vulnerable groups.

Chair of the BMA Council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, says:

Simple effective rules and tighter restrictions are urgently needed to avoid communities suffering the paralysing impact of full local lockdowns and the impact that uncontrolled infections will have on our NHS. With admissions to hospitals for Covid climbing rapidly in parts of England, there is an opportunity for the Westminster Government to bring in simple, stronger restrictions alongside the introduction of its much trailed three-tiered approach.

BMA Chair of Council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul in BMA press release of 10 October 2020

The BMA’s recommendations are:

• Modify the current ‘Rule of 6’ with the rule that only two (exclusive) households can meet (and those should not exceed 6 people) – ideally outdoors, rather than indoors.

• Making the wearing of face masks mandatory in all offices and working environments, unless you are working alone.

• Wear masks in all outdoor settings where two metre distancing isn’t possible

• Provide financial support to businesses, retail and hospitality settings to enable them to make premises Covid secure and provide clear rules on what ‘Covid secure’ means.

 Provide medical grade masks, free of charge, to those who are over 60 or in a vulnerable group, as recommended by the WHO

• Provide masks free of charge to those who are exempt from prescription charges and also at the entrance of all public settings if a person has not brought one (nominal charge)

• Add more functionality to the NHS Test and Trace app to give people more detailed information on infection rates in their area including actual figures of rates of infection and trends

The BMA believes these additional measures pose a very low risk to the economy in the immediate term and could be crucial to providing people with the confidence they need to go out safely and boost the economy.

The BMA is also hugely concerned that, without new stringent measures, rapidly introduced, the NHS and its workforce, will very quickly be overwhelmed and the consequences for staff and patients alike will be disastrous.

Putting the right safeguards in place now will minimise the risk of further lockdowns and significant disruption to business and economic activity down the line.

These measures are all the more important given that the Test and Trace programme is still not yet fully functional and is not able to identify all those with the infection and their contacts.

At the same time, regional leaders such as Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham are agitating the public with their politicking:

Derby residents advised to avoid Nottingham as it becomes England’s Covid-19 hotspot

On Friday 9 October 2020, Derby has 203 active Covid-19 cases reaching across 26 areas which is an increase of 6% from yesterday and 195% from last Friday. Chellsaton now has 19 active cases behind Littleover and Chaddesden each with 21 cases and Mickleover with 22.

However, neighbouring Nottingham is making national headlines as it becomes England’s most infected city with 2,352 new cases reported in the week ending 6 October 2020, prompting Derby’s Health Director, Dr. Robyn Dewis to take the Derby Telegraph’s front page today – where she announced that Derby residents should keep apart from Nottingham’s this weekend.

As Nottingham has the most cases in England, city leaders have expessed their frustration that central Government is dragging its heels to wait until next week to formally introduce stricter measures to curtail the viral spread.

Consequently, Nottingham City Council Leader, David Mellen distributed his own YouTube video today, by email, in which he pleads to Nottingham residents that they must not to go out partying this weekend but wrap-up warm and stay at home instead because patient numbers in hospital are beginning to rise:

This is a horrible virus – two of my brothers have had Covid and one of them has had to give up his job because the symptoms were so severe – we can’t take this lightly

Nottingham City Council Leader, David Mellen weekend message: Youtube video on 09 October 2020

Nottingham University Park & Jubilee Campus have experienced a 975% increase in live Covid cases during the last seven days.

Nottingham leaders have urged central Government to act faster to introduce stricter protective measures which are expected to be introduced in the middle of next week.

£60 million Government funding will be divided equally between police and local councils, with both receiving a £30 million share to enforce Covid-19 restrictions

Derbyshire Police force will receive £424,000 as part of the government’s plans to tackle the rise in coronavirus infections. In England And Wales, police forces and local councils will receive an additional £60 million to step up their enforcement of coronavirus rules.

The surge funding, recently announced by the Prime Minister, will enable police to increase patrols in town centres and ensure that people are complying with the new restrictions, particularly in high-risk areas. Police will also provide more support to local authorities and NHS Test & Trace to enforce self-isolation requirements.

Local councils will use the funding to increase their compliance work and enforcement checks on businesses employing marshalls, stewards and ambassadors.

Local councils play a central role in ensuring compliance with COVID-19 guidance in their local communities. Enforcement officers such as Environmental Health Officers are responsible for explaining and encouraging businesses and communities to follow the latest guidelines, carrying out inspections, issuing fines and closing premises in the case of non-compliance.

This new funding is on top of an unprecedented package of over £4.8 billion for councils. They also have access to a government scheme that will compensate them for irrecoverable income losses from sales, fees and charges.

The Home Office is also launching an income loss recovery scheme for police forces to recover a proportion of income they have been losing due to the pandemic.

The scheme will apply to sales, fees and charges where forces would usually generate income, such as policing of sporting fixtures or providing security at airports. The scheme will enable forces to recover 75p in every £1 of budgeted income lost due to COVID-19 restrictions this financial year once forces have absorbed 5% of those losses themselves.

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group Welcomes MP Inquiry into the UK Government’s Handling of the Pandemic

On 8 October 2020, the House of Commons Health & Social Care Committee and the Technology and Science Committee will launch an inquiry into the Government’s response to the pandemic. The joint select committee will be working to find the lessons to be learnt from the Government’s handling of the public health crisis.

Co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, Jo Goodman said:

It’s great that backbenchers from all the main parties are insisting upon their right to scrutinise Government … but that MPs have had to begin their own investigation highlights how this Government is avoiding scrutiny by refusing to launch its own judge-led public inquiry which could compel witnesses to give evidence

Co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, Jo Goodman

The 1,900 strong group of people who have been bereaved by this pandemic has been campaigning, since May 2020, for an immediate public inquiry into the government’s preparedness and handling of the situation.

On 02 September 2020, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions refused to meet with the campaigning group upon false grounds that they were in litigation against him.

The Covid-19 Families for Justice group subsequently wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to correct the House of Commons record according to the Ministry of Justice rules on Civil Procedure.

The British Medical Journal reported on 15 September, that doctors said the UK government’s handling of the covid-19 Pandemic, including its testing strategy, must be subject to a public inquiry.

Delegates attending the virtual BMA annual representative meeting on 15 September voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion that called for an inquiry to allow the UK to be better prepared for future pandemics.

It said that the inquiry should cover, as a minimum, the mismanagement of care homes; the purchase, delivery, quality control, and guidelines for personal protective equipment; the UK testing strategy; the wellbeing of health and care staff; the timing of interventions; and the timing of the easing of restrictions.

Proposing the motion, Stephen Millar, a retired consultant anaesthetist, said, “I call for an inquiry so that the nation can learn from this experience. We owe it to the nation to ensure that lessons are learnt, not to do so would be a betrayal.”

BMA chair Chand Nagpaul said the motion was important. “We will have future pandemics, so we have to have a proper, full review of all elements of what it means to prepare.” He said that the BMA had already called for a rapid review of the UK’s preparedness for a second wave1 alongside other health organisations.

“The BMA has called for a rapid inquiry so that we can plan properly, learning from all the things that didn’t go right the first time around,” he said. “I hope that is reported on in the next month or so, so that the government is given the right information for the coming months.”

Because Government Speak is different to language use in the rest of the world, one must understand that ‘launch’ is not an event as in all other worlds but an ‘announcement’ in the form of a website page. On 8 October, the only reference to Covid-19 in Parliament is a backbench discussion about post-Covid-19 Industrial Strategy Live in Parliament at 11.15am!

The de facto joint committee MP Inquiry into the Government’s response to the pandemic will commence with a virtual Evidence Session on 13 October 2020 at 9.30am which may be viewed via Parliament TV.

Please sign this petition for a Public Enquiry which now has more than 200,000 signatures.

Children visiting Children First in Derby face unnecessary obstacles to child welfare through irrational policy-making

Children First child contact centre in Derby refuses to allow carers and parents to give direct gifts to children they visit on their premises because they say gifts should be brought 72 hours in advance to ‘quarantine’ which makes it unnecessarily difficult, if not impossible, for some parents to give gifts to children who they may not have seen since lockdown, six months ago.

Additionally, the receptionist is administering temperature tests to visitors’ foreheads without wearing a mask and some staff are violating social distancing measures by not wearing masks and opening doors for visitors. The onus is certainly upon visitors to take control at this Children First centre which is quite erratic. Violations of coronavirus regulations by Children First staff have duly been reported to Derbyshire Constabulary and the Centre Manager.

The National Association for Child Contact Centres says:

NACCC are unaware of any policies relating to quarantine of shop bought items or a government policy that recommends this for children’s centres which prevents taking gifts being given to children.

National Association of Children Contact Centres in an email dated 2 October 2020

I believe that quarantining items has not been government policy for several months as people buy item from shops every day and ‘things’ have not proved to be a source of spreading Covid-19 infection which is transmitted more via aerosol. Also, a person can have Covid-19 without having a temperature so temperature is not an accurate test for the virus.

Children First Derby appears to be making life unnecessarily difficult for separated children and families. Their Manager responded:

We work in partnership with Derby City Council Unitary Authority which is not allowing gifts to be passed in any of their children’s services but Children’s First didn’t want children to miss out on receiving presents, especially at birthdays and Christmas and particularly during this stressful time so we agreed to a compromise of allowing present-giving on the basis that they were quarantined, to which the council agreed

Children First Derby spokesperson on 2 October 2020

Joanna Barker and Judith Russ are two of the six-million sterling pound council management team who made this scientifically unfounded and emotionally harmful policy. Certain in their comfort that they will not be short of gifts for themselves – they were not available to comment on their child cruelty.

When will UK residents start following the scientists’ stricter public health measures rather politicians who think they know better than the experts?

The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) has long-argued against the UK Government’s lax attitude to the scientifically-predicted public health crisis which is now developing and escalating in universities; it continues to argue that students who have safe homes should return to them, be educated remotely, for public health reasons.

Covid-19 is predictably impossible to manage in buildings not adapted to prevent spreading the disease, with rooms that are too small and which lack sufficient ventilation. Union Leader, Jo Grady has always argued that the government should fund the universities so that they may refund those students who prefer not to remain on campus.

It is characteristic of this government to ignore scientific thresholds such as reasonable worse case scenarios to optimistically make laws and guidance based upon a less severe and less scientific picture which is yet again proving to be a recipe for disaster!

When will the British public learn that Government rules and regulations will never be good enough to save lives because these politicians want to remain popular above all, and they will let people die to satisfy those who put a price on a life, which is why the more politically-savvy French residents are forcing their Prime Minister to face legal prosecution for involuntary manslaughter.

British residents need to listen carefully to lead scientists, such as Professor Chris Witty, who are however bound by law to hand-over the decision making to the Prime Minister!

Reading between the lines, is essential to behave on the side of caution in issues of public health because a good government should be aiming for zero unnecessary deaths but unfortunately, this never been this government’s target and young people who don’t show symptoms could suffer from early onset cardiovascular disease, as a consequence.

University and school buildings should close for all except those who don’t have safe homes of their own, and remote-learning should become the norm until a safe vaccine in widely available.

Instead of complaining that the Government is trying to appear to be acting hard on Covid-19, head-teachers should be acting harder to make the necessary decision to shut schools to all with safer homes.

Home-owners in receipt of benefits are excluded from Green Homes Grant scheme which requires £200 planning permission fee in advance to local authority

UK Business Secretary, Alok Sharma sent a flurry ofpress releases and social media alerts today – 30 September 2020 – to inform the nation of his Green Homes Grants scheme which is designed to help the Government meet its Zero Carbon targets enforced by the Climate Change Act 2008.

Although many wealthy landlords may benefit from this scheme, its purported beneficiaries will not be able to access it because there is an obstacle for people in receipt of benefits in the form of a planning permission fees of more than £200 which needs to be paid in advance to local authorities for applicants wanting to externally insulate their solid-wall homes.

It is common that Conservative policies include insurmountable gaps for applicants on their programmes which are designed to make them look more equitable than they actually are.

The question remains is this wealth gap caused by incompetency or intentionality that only the rich will benefit from a scheme whose propoganda message is that conservatives party is wrapping its arms around the poorest?

Worldwide Covid-19 deaths reach one million today 29 September 2020 the day after World Health Organisation issued its first quality antigen-based rapid diagnostic test

World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced yesterday – 28 September 2020 – that the WHO had issued its first quality antigen-based rapid diagnostic test and had an agreement with its partners that a substantial portion – 120 million – of these rapid tests to low and middle income countries where community transmission is high.

These tests provide reliable results in approximately 15 to 30 minutes rather than hours or days, at a lower price with less sophisiticated equipment. This will enable the expansion of testing particularly in hard-to-reach areas that do not have testing facilities or enough trained workers to carry out PCR tests…if we act together, we can win together.

World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announcement on 28 September 2020

Unitaid and Africa CDC will combine resources to initiate the roll-out of these tests in up to 20 countries in Africa, starting during October 2020.

Today, the UK recorded 7,143 positive coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours which is a new high since mass testing began and recorded deaths within 28 days of a positive test also rose to 71, the highest total since 1 July 2020.

Sadly, one million people worldwide have died from Covid 19 this year and 42,000 belong to the UK.

UK PM Boris Johnson increases UK financial contribution to equitable Covax Covid-19 vaccine programme and lifesaving support for refugees in camps

The UK will become the largest donor to the World Health Organisation’s Covax vaccination programme as Boris Johnson pledges to increase UK funding by 30% to contribute £340 million over the next fours, in an attempt to ensure that poor and rich people have equal access to Covid-19 vaccines – based upon need rather than want.

On 26 September 2020, the UK Prime Minister addressed the UN General Assembly remotely:

Here in the UK, the birthplace of Edward Jenner who pioneered the world’s first vaccine, we are determined to do everything in our power to work with our friends across the UN to heal those divisions and to heal the world.”

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson addressing the UN General Assembly (remotely) on 26 September 2020

Johnson warned about the risk of immorality occuring due to vaccine nationalism in reference to the 100 potential Covid-19 vaccines developing in a “steeple-chase” and urged that safety should not be sacrificed to speed.

The Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine is in stage three clinical trials and AstraZenica has already begun producing millions of doses in preparation for quick distribution, if it is successful. An agreement has also been reached with the Serum Institute of India to distribute one billion doses to low and middle-income countries if it is successful “because we know that no-one is safe until everyone is safe.”

Advocating a global approach to pandemics, the PM provided an example of the UK’s epidemiological discovery of a cheap treatment for Covid-19 in the dexamethasome drug which reduces the risk of death by over a third, for patients on ventilators, and the UK immediately shared this discovery with the world.

Against a background of vaccine nationalism, the WHO has struggled to gain funds from some of the world’s wealthiest countries like the USA who will stop contributing if Donald Trump is re-elected. Other wealthier countries like Portugal and the Czech Republic have pledged support but their warm words proved hollow as they have also dropped out of the scheme in favour of vaccine nationalism.

Doctors Without Borders EU representative on medicines and vaccines, Dimitri Eynikel warned:

The risk is that access to COVID-19 vaccines will be defined by purchasing power and the ability to sign advance purchase deals rather than the medical needs or the shifting epidemiological situations,

Dimitri Eynikel, EU representative on medicines and vaccines for Doctors Without Borders

According to Reuters News Agency, one senior European government official explained the dilemma facing wealthy nations is how to support a vaccine for developing countries when there may not be enough for their own population. Diverting resources abroad “is difficult to sell at home”, he said.

Last week, the UK Government announced that it is also doubling its support to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Coronavirus Appeal.

International Development Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said this match-funding money came as a result of a huge response fro the British public which resulted in the fund increasing by a further £10 million, after UK resident’s donations of £9.8 million during nine days.

The DEC Coronavirus Appeal is helping to provide lifesaving aid to refugees, who are living in overcrowded camps where social distancing is impossible and therefore face a higher risk of catching coronavirus. £25, when matched by the UK Government, could provide two families with essential hygiene kits.

UK Ministry of Defence apologises and investigates its communications department’s refusal to provide comment to media outlet

UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace has apologised to media outlet Declassified – that investigates British foreign policy – for a Ministry of Defence spokesperson’s refusal to provide one of its journalists, Phil Miller, with a comment about the UK’s involvement in the Yemen War. Wallace who is taking the matter most seriously, announced in Parliament that he has asked former Director General of the Ministry, Tom Kelly, to lead an independent enquiry into the matter because officials must comply with journalists acting in the public interest.

all government media communications professionals must abide by the Government’s Communications Service’s propriety guidance and the Civil Service Code… I have been deeply concerned that those standards are alleged not always to have been met in the department.

Secretary of State for Defence, Mike Wallace commenting at the House of Commons on 21 September 2020

Following the Council of Europe issuing a level 2 media freedom alert, Mike Baker sent a statement to law firm, Leigh Day:

the Directorate of Defence Communications was wrong not to provide a comment to Mr Miller of Declassified Media Limited about the story he was enquiring. We apologise for this.

Ministry of Defence Chief Operating Officer, Mike Baker in a letter to Leigh Day Solicitors
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