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Uber provides discounts on travel to vaccination centers

The company will cover up to £ 15 of the trip cost

From 18 January to 28 February 2021, the Uber taxi service will offer discounts on rides to seven of the largest vaccination centers in England. On the company’s website, you can find promotional codes with discounts up to £ 15.

One promo code can be activated by the client only once. Each promo code can be used by up to 4 thousand people, after which it becomes invalid.

Offer applies to all rides, including wheelchair-accessible Uber Access vehicles and Uber Assist vehicles for those who need assistance getting in and out of their car.

The starting or ending point of the trip should be the following centers:

– Robertson House, Stevenage;

– Excel Center (Nightingale), London;

– Center for Life, Newcastle;

– Etihad Tennis and Football Center, Manchester;

– Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey;

– Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol;

– Millennium Point, Birmingham.

“The sooner we get vaccinated, the faster we can return the country to normal life. It’s great that Uber has decided to do its part in the fight against the virus. “– said the British Minister of Health Matt Hancock.

The company is working with the charity Age UK to help the most vulnerable get to the vaccination center quickly and safely. “Uber will help older people get the vaccinations they need.”– added Age UK partner programs manager Hannara Lee.

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Covid UK: Travellers into the UK face Australia-style ‘hotel quarantine’

All travellers into the UK face being forced to stay in hotels under plans to further lock down Britain’s borders from today until February 15 amid calls for enforced quarantine.

Ministers have asked officials to prepare for the creation of quarantine hotels, where arrivals would self-isolate for 10 days before being allowed out to prevent new strains of Covid-19 ripping through the country.

The fresh crackdown would further reduce the risk of virus variants entering the UK and undermining the vaccination drive, amid fears they  could be resistant to the jabs.

It comes after variants emerged in South Africa and Brazil, with scientific advisers warning more are likely to develop and could be imported from around the world.

The Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies called for a change in quarantine rules in a report on Friday, saying the existing system of ‘in effect, voluntary self-isolation’ should be replaced as ‘a matter of urgency’.

Instead ‘a managed isolation system’ would ensure ‘the full period of isolation is completed’. The report said new strains highlighted ‘international travel as a gaping hole in the UK’s response to the pandemic’. The Independent SAGE group does not officially advise the Government and is separate from its advisers.

Travellers are allowed to use public transport or taxis after arriving into the UK. They are then supposed to quarantine for up to ten days, but the vast majority are not thought to have faced any checks.

The Sunday Times reported that a fresh quarantine crackdown, if introduced, could use GPS and facial-recognition technology to check people don’t leave self-isolation.

Arrivals could be seen hugging loved ones after landing at Heathrow Airport yesterday, hours before new Covid restrictions come into place making it harder to travel to the UK 

From today, all passengers flying in to the UK will have to provide a negative Covid-19 test

From today, all passengers flying in to the UK will have to provide a negative Covid-19 test

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said the quarantine system 'is costing people an awful lot of money' and is costing 'multiples of what it used to cost to fly in and out of Australia'

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said the quarantine system ‘is costing people an awful lot of money’ and is costing ‘multiples of what it used to cost to fly in and out of Australia’

Australia’s quarantine system and how a sex scandal prompted a second wave

Entry to Australia is closed except to citizens and those with an exemption – with all travellers required to quarantine for 14 days.

The quarantine takes place at a designated facility, such as a hotel. 

Accommodation is pre-arranged and not up to travellers to book.

In some parts of the country, travellers are expected to pay toward the cost of  their stay. 

Testing takes place on day two and 10 of the isolation period, with a negative test allowing people to leave on day 14.

While 14 days is the standard amount of time in isolation, people who refuse to comply can be held for up to 24 days. 

Last summer a second-wave of Covid in Melbourne was revealed to be caused by security guards at one of the designated facilities sleeping with quarantined guests and taking them to nearby shops.

Premier of the state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, told the Herald Sun in July that there had been a ‘handful’ of breaches by staff at hotels including Stamford Plaza and Rydges on Swanston hotel, also in Melbourne, where isolated travellers were staying.

The scandal plunged Melbourne back into lockdown after 31 cases of Covid were linked to the Stamford Plaza. 

Any new measures would follow the scrapping of ‘travel corridors’ announced by Boris Johnson on Friday. 

All arrivals will have to provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel or be banned entering the UK. Both measures came into force at four o’clock this morning. Those flouting the rules face fines of between £200 and £6,400.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘We keep all measures under review.’ 

It comes as a senior Tory MP today warned Australia-style quarantine will have a ‘real impact’ on millions of lives and said the system will ‘have a very severe impact on the travel industry around the world’.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said the quarantine system ‘is costing people an awful lot of money’ and is costing ‘multiples of what it used to cost to fly in and out of Australia’.

Speaking to Speaking to Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News, he said: ‘This is going to have a real impact on many people’s lives and anybody who’s got friends who have been to Australia or has family in Australia or New Zealand knows the impact this has had.

‘So this is something I’m glad the Government has taken with extreme caution.

‘That’s why I’m absolutely clear that many other aspects of the Government’s powder-keg needs to be used including aid spending to make sure we spread out quite a lot of these vaccines as soon as we can.;

Mr Tugendhat added: ‘This is costing people an awful lot of money. It means a stay in a hotel can be, in Australia it can be a few thousand dollars.

‘Now if you add that onto the cost of flight and onto the cost of tests and all the rest of it you’re talking multiples of what it used to cost to fly in and out of Australia and I suspect it’s going to have a very severe impact on the travel industry around the world.’

It comes as travellers flew into the UK to beat the 4am deadline today.  

Arrivals could be seen hugging loved ones as they landed at Heathrow following a busy morning in the departures lounge.  

Earlier today passengers were queuing in the departures lounge, as a travel consultant warned there were ‘bumpy days ahead,’ when new travel rules come into place. 

Departures were expected to be busier as business travellers fly-out on Sundays ahead of the working week. 

More arrivals are expected later this evening after thousands flew in to the UK yesterday ahead of Monday’s restrictions. Travellers could be seen waiting for their results after taking tests inside Terminal 5.

Queues at Heathrow today come amid concerns that most UK arrivals are going unchecked for Covid compliance by Border Force.

From today, passengers will need to provide a negative result from a PCR, LAMP or lateral-flow test in order to travel in to the UK

From today, passengers will need to provide a negative result from a PCR, LAMP or lateral-flow test in order to travel in to the UK

Passengers from Dubai arrived at Manchester Airport today

Arrivals from the UAE have been asked to self-isolate for 10 days

Arrivals from Dubai landed at Manchester Airport this afternoon ahead of new Covid-19 restrictions

From 4am today passengers will have to hand over a negative Covid-19 test certificate to check-in staff before flying to the UK.

Guidance on the Government website states it must meet standards on ‘specificity and sensitivity’ of 90 per cent and 87 per cent respectively. 

Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told MailOnline: ‘There’s likely to be some very bumpy days ahead where travellers coming in will face some confusion over their tests.

‘Airline staff are not medical experts and I expect there will be some confusion over whether the Covid test certificates meet the specifity and sensitivity requirements that the Government has set out.

‘I’d advise to anyone arriving in Britain is before they pack their bags, to check the Government website and make sure they get the right test before flying out.’

The Government has pointed out PCR, LAMP and lateral-flow tests are all acceptable methods. 

Border Force is stepping up checks on passengers arriving in the UK from next week, with arrivals expected to quarantine for up to 10 days

Border Force is stepping up checks on passengers arriving in the UK from next week, with arrivals expected to quarantine for up to 10 days 

Passengers travelling through Heathrow Airport could be seen waiting for the result of their Covid-19 test yesterday morning

Passengers travelling through Heathrow Airport could be seen waiting for the result of their Covid-19 test yesterday morning

Testing is in place for arrivals and departures at Heathrow, but there are concerns rules requiring passengers to provide a negative Covid result could cause confusion at check-in desks abroad

Testing is in place for arrivals and departures at Heathrow, but there are concerns rules requiring passengers to provide a negative Covid result could cause confusion at check-in desks abroad

Two students landed at Manchester Airport with full PPE as they landed from their Dubai flight and are heading to York University

Two students landed at Manchester Airport with full PPE as they landed from their Dubai flight and are heading to York University 

Officials have been told to prepare to use facial-recognition and GPS technology in order to ensure people stay in isolation when they arrive in the country. 

Passengers are being asked to complete online passenger locator forms to tell officials where they are staying after arriving in the UK.

But MPs have heard just one in 10 of the forms are checked by Border Force, while police officers told to visit addresses for potential breaches of quarantine simply walk away if no one answers – with no follow up investigation.  

Since the start of the pandemic, millions of people have flown in to the UK, but just 247 fines have been handed out to people flouting quarantine rules.

MP David Morris told The Sun: ‘We are past the stage of being able to trust people to isolate if the system is not being policed.

‘We should ramp up the fines or follow Australia’s lead and take travellers straight to secure hotels.’

The Department for Transport has said today’s measures will come alongside increased enforcement,  both at the border and across the country.

Border Force is expected to increase the number of spot checks carried out on passengers arriving in the country. 

Visitors will have to pay for the hotel stays themselves under the proposed plans. 

Testing facilities have been set up at Heathrow Airport, offering arrivals the chance to cut the number of quarantine days from 10 to five

Testing facilities have been set up at Heathrow Airport, offering arrivals the chance to cut the number of quarantine days from 10 to five 

Civil servants were told to study New Zealand’s policy of ‘directed isolation’, reported the Sunday Times.

Arrivals are charged with stay at an airport hotel and forced to remain in isolation for two weeks in the country.

In Australia, travellers are charged between £1,500 and £2,500 for isolation hotel stays of between 14 and 24 days.

Civil servants also discussed Poland’s ‘enhanced isolation’ system, in which people are contacted daily and told to send a picture of themselves where they are isolating.

The pictures are cross-referenced using GPS data and facial-recognition software and are visited by police within 20 minutes if they fail to comply.

Officials discussed the ideas at a meeting on Thursday and it is understood the technology would be confined to new arrivals, not anyone ordered to self-isolate in the UK. 

The current regime announced on Friday in the UK means people arriving will still have to isolate for 10 days even if they have had a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours – or five if they have another negative result during that period. 

The ban will be backed by tougher spot checks and will stay in place until at least February 15 as ministers and scientists work out how to manage the threat posed by mutations of the virus. 

Yesterday it was revealed that 11 Britons have had one of the variants that have sprung up in Brazil – although it is not yet clear how much of a threat it poses.

Travellers from South America, Portugal, some of central America and South Africa are already barred from coming to the country.

Earlier, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps defended the timing of the South America border ban amid complaints ministers have been ‘behind the curve’ responding to the threat of new Covid variants.

The ban also covers the Central American state of Panama and Portugal – due to its strong travel links with Brazil – and the former Portuguese colony of Cape Verde.

It applies to everyone who has been in the area over the past 10 days – although UK and Irish nationals are exempt – and came into force at 4am.

Scientists analysing the Brazilian variant believe the mutations it shares with the new South African strain are associated with a rapid increase in cases in locations where there have already been large outbreaks of the disease.

British and Irish nationals and others with residence rights are exempted from the measures that were backed by the Scottish and Welsh governments, though they must self-isolate for 10 days along with their households on their return.

Mr Shapps described the ban as a ‘precautionary’ measure to ensure the vaccination programme rolling out across the UK was not disrupted by new variants of the virus.

Asked if the Brazilian strain was currently in the country, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Not as far as we are aware, I think, at this stage.

‘There haven’t been any flights that I can see from the last week from Brazil, for example.’

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This Morning axes its on-screen psychologist after she posted tweets vowing to ignore Covid rules 

This Morning axes its on-screen psychologist after she posted tweets vowing to ignore Covid rules

  • Emma Kenny appeared on This Morning up to three times a week over past year
  • She provoked controversy with her public outbursts over Covid-19 tier system 
  • Chiefs are thought to have worried posts may have attracted Ofcom’s attention 

Emma Kenny has appeared up to three times a week over the past year, but provoked controversy with her public outbursts when the Government’s tier system was brought in last year to limit the pandemic’s spread

ITV’S This Morning has stopped using its regular on-screen psychologist after she posted a string of tweets vowing to ignore Covid-19 restrictions.

Emma Kenny has appeared up to three times a week over the past year, but provoked controversy with her public outbursts when the Government’s tier system was brought in last year to limit the pandemic’s spread.

TV chiefs are thought to have had concerns that their expert guest’s anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine social-media posts may have attracted the attention of broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

This Morning bosses have faced criticism for presenting Ms Kenny as a resident expert trusted by millions of viewers for her insight on emotional problems while failing to act over her off-screen comments.

One source said: ‘Those at the top put up with it for a few months but it got to the point where the backlash was too much.’

Ms Kenny has not appeared on her regular slot, in which she answers viewers’ calls about their problems, since November 28. Radio host Vanessa Feltz has instead taken part in an ‘agony aunt’ segment.

The Manchester-based broadcaster, who describes herself as ‘one of the UK’s leading TV psychological experts’ on her website, prompted a furious backlash when she insisted on Twitter that she would not be abiding by the Government’s tier system of restrictions when it was introduced last year.

She wrote: ‘Just want to check in with you @BorisJohnson and @Matt Hancock just to politely inform you that I’m declining your tiers because you have no evidence to base them on! The law of the land must be based on the interests of the population. I’m taking back my kids’ future.’

She wrote: ‘Just want to check in with you @BorisJohnson and @Matt Hancock just to politely inform you that I’m declining your tiers because you have no evidence to base them on! The law of the land must be based on the interests of the population. I’m taking back my kids’ future

She wrote: ‘Just want to check in with you @BorisJohnson and @Matt Hancock just to politely inform you that I’m declining your tiers because you have no evidence to base them on! The law of the land must be based on the interests of the population. I’m taking back my kids’ future

In another tweet, Ms Kenny insisted she would defy the rules by continuing to socialise, saying: ‘I’m going to have parties, see my friends, invite EVERYONE around! I’m going to visit elderly neighbours and take cake, I’m not wearing a mask and I’m going to do what as a human I was born to do… socialise.’

She also suggested that ‘vaccines will damage more children than they will help’ and alleged that ‘mandated vaccines mean child abuse’. Her outburst followed a report that Australian airline Qantas airline would require passengers to be vaccinated before being allowed to fly.

As recently as last Friday, Ms Kenny was continuing to voice her scepticism over the Government’s handling of the Covid crisis, saying: ‘I don’t want anyone to die, but the studies that are out state that lockdowns are doing more harm than good.

‘If you want to protect the NHS you will go down the path that does the most good. This would involve listening to the research. Why are we not listening?’

Absent: Emma has not appeared on her regular slot, in which she answers viewers' calls about their problems, since November 28 (pictured in October)

Absent: Emma has not appeared on her regular slot, in which she answers viewers’ calls about their problems, since November 28 (pictured in October)

Tweets: Emma has made her views on wearing masks and lockdown clear in several tweets

Tweets: Emma has made her views on wearing masks and lockdown clear in several tweets 

What's gone on? Emma said 'god I hope not' when asked if she had left This Morning

What’s gone on? Emma said ‘god I hope not’ when asked if she had left This Morning 

Last night, a spokesman for This Morning played down Ms Kenny’s absence from the popular daytime show, saying: ‘We aren’t using as many experts at the moment.’

Ms Kenny did not respond to requests for comment.

Dr Sara Kayat, a London-based GP who has appeared on This Morning, has already caused controversy for making inaccurate statements on the show.

More than 150 complaints were made to Ofcom after she told viewers on January 4 that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was ‘100 per cent effective against hospitalisation and death’ after the first dose.

Experts believe a single dose of the Oxford vaccine is actually about 70 per cent effective against Covid-19 across all ages.

Comment: Last night, a spokesman for This Morning played down Ms Kenny's absence from the popular daytime show, saying: 'We aren't using as many experts at the moment'

Comment: Last night, a spokesman for This Morning played down Ms Kenny’s absence from the popular daytime show, saying: ‘We aren’t using as many experts at the moment’

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Insurance firms MUST pay out to firms that lost cash to Covid

Tens of thousands of small businesses will now receive insurance payouts worth as much as £1.2billion to cover losses in the first national lockdown following a landmark Supreme Court ruling today.

Cafes, pubs, beauty parlours, holiday firms and wedding planners are among the 370,000 firms that had policies which should now pay out. 

Former footballer Gary Neville, who owns two luxury hotels in Manchester with his former teammate, Ryan Giggs, is one of the business owners in line to receive thousands. 

The news is a boon to small firms that have been crippled by the impact of the harsh restrictions, but it is unclear if any of the money will go to customers of travel or events companies who have had bookings cancelled.  

The case centered around whether firms who held business interruption policies were entitled to compensation after having to close during the first national lockdown. 

These policies usually only cover disruption to commercial activity caused by property damage, but they can also included losses from ‘infectious’ or notifiable diseases. 

Six insurers who had sold business interruption insurance products – Arch, Argenta, Hiscox, MS Amlin, QBE and RSA – unsuccessfully argued that their policies did not cover Covid because it was a global pandemic rather than a local event. 

The majority of businesses who will now receive payouts will be customers of these six insurers, but firms who hold similar policies with other insurance companies now stand a far greater chance of success. 

Ex-footballer Gary Neville, who owns two hotels in Manchester with his former teammate Ryan Giggs, was one of those previously denied compensation. Pictured is his Hotel Football by Old Trafford 

Neville tweeted in November: 'We have paid BI [business interruption] insurance for years and they won't pay out! Due to 'technicalities''

Neville tweeted in November: ‘We have paid BI [business interruption] insurance for years and they won’t pay out! Due to ‘technicalities”

Gary Neville owns Hotel Football and the Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester with his former teammate Ryan Giggs. 

He tweeted in November: ‘We have paid BI [business interruption] insurance for years and they won’t pay out! Due to ‘technicalities’. So many in the same boat. @RishiSunak made a speech in parliament stating insurers needed to pay. It’s not happening.’  

Both hotels should be able to successfully claim for money following today’s ruling. MailOnline has contacted the venues for comment. 

Another business that is set for a payout is The Drawing Room, a hair salon in London’s Spitalfields. 

Owners with business interruption cover should claim NOW, urge lawyers  

Graham Small, Partner at JMW Solicitors, said: ‘This is a good day for the thousands of businesses who hold business interruption insurance – those that have made a claim can be confident that they will be paid and any businesses that have had a claim rejected previous to today’s ruling should certainly be thinking about revisiting it. A lot of companies will be entitled to multiple claims for disruption incurred throughout the last 10 months.

‘The ruling will also increase the value of claims paid to businesses – instead of claims starting on the day legislation was introduced, they should be made from the day that initial direction or guidance was given by the government. The ruling also prevents insurers from arguing that turnover of a business should take into account any downturn before the formal lockdown resulting from the Covid scare.’

Its owner, James Ollerenshaw, paid £1,200 a year for business interruption insurance, including disease cover, so he was furious when his claim was denied. 

The Drawing Room’s policy was not provided by one of the six insurers named in today’s ruling, he told the BBC, but nonetheless it will help his own battle for compensation. 

The Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the ruling, saying many firms had been left in ‘financial limbo’ over the past year.

Chairman Mike Cherry said: ‘Today’s judgment is a big victory. It cements the High Court’s decision to grant businesses left on the brink the insurance payouts they are rightfully owed.

‘For many, it has been a long and difficult road to get to this stage so this will bring clarity and hope to the thousands of firms which have been left in financial limbo for almost a year.’

He also called for insurance providers to ‘pay out quickly’, saying businesses deserve to be better protected.

Kim Roe, managing director of Sussex-based events company Circa Group, told the PA news agency: ‘We’re very relieved. As a business that makes money from putting on events, we’ve lost a whole year of revenue during the pandemic.

‘This ruling is a life-saver for us and will make all the difference in the world. It will hopefully allow us to continue functioning through these difficult times.

‘I will never know why this wasn’t just settled in the first place, so many businesses that have gone bust could have been saved much earlier.’

Daniel Duckett, 40, who owns Lazy Claire Patisserie in Belfast, said: ‘This pandemic has very nearly put us out of business and without the support from insurers, me, my staff and our families have been through a lot of mental stress.

‘For months we were unable to open our doors, everything has been up and down and there were times where I thought I’d have to close for good.

‘I’m extremely excited and pleased by this ruling, it’s just the clarity we needed and may help us through the rest of the pandemic.’  

The Butt House Keld B&B in North Yorkshire was refused a payout under the Business Interruption scheme and could now be entitled to money

The Butt House Keld B&B in North Yorkshire was refused a payout under the Business Interruption scheme and could now be entitled to money 

The Drawing Room in London's Spitalfields is one of the thousands of businesses who could now be in line for cash

The Drawing Room in London’s Spitalfields is one of the thousands of businesses who could now be in line for cash

The Financial Conduct Authority previously said it was bringing the legal action following ‘widespread concern’ over ‘the lack of clarity and certainty’ for businesses seeking to cover substantial losses incurred by the pandemic and subsequent national lockdown.

In September, the High Court ruled on several ‘lead’ insurance policies issued by eight separate insurers largely in favour of the FCA, which welcomed the judgment as ‘a significant step in resolving the uncertainty being faced by policyholders’.

The regulator, however, argued the judgment ‘paved the way for many insurance policies to pay indemnities on Covid-19 business interruption claims’, but also ‘took something away with one hand after giving more substantially and in detail with the other’.

Six of the insurers – Arch, Argenta, Hiscox, MS Amlin, QBE and RSA – also appealed against aspects of the High Court’s ruling, as did the Hiscox Action Group, which represents around 400 businesses insured by Hiscox.

Q&A: What was today’s ruling and how will it affect my claim? 

The ruling by the Supreme Court is likely to force insurers to pay out to around 370,000 businesses who were impacted by the Covid-19 crisis last year.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) brought what experts believe could be a £1.2 billion case over when insurers have to pay out.

The Supreme Court found largely in favour of the FCA’s case.

Why were insurers taken to court?

In the run-up to, and during, the Covid-19 lockdown that started in March, many small businesses were asked, and later forced, to close by the Government.

Some did so thinking they would be able to claim on their insurance, under so-called business interruption clauses, but many insurers argued otherwise.

The FCA brought several test cases, designed to test 21 types of insurance policy from eight insurers. This aimed to allow a quick ruling which could act as guidance to other insurers and other policies on whether they should pay out.

What kind of policies did businesses have?

Before the pandemic, many businesses only had insurance covering direct damage to their property.

However some had policies designed to pay out if their business was interrupted by disease, and others had paid for policies that would activate if access to their business was prevented by a public authority, or if they were ordered to close.

There were many different policies, but the ones tested by the courts included some of the most common wording.

Why were insurers not paying out?

The insurance companies had several arguments why they should not have to pay. Some said their business interruption clauses were only activated if a local disease caused a business to suffer. Because the coronavirus lockdown was nationally mandated, insurers argued they did not have to pay out.

Other arguments hinged on a precedent set in a 2010 High Court case which found that an insurer did not have to pay out business interruption insurance to a New Orleans hotel after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The insurer only had to compensate the hotel for direct damage the hurricane caused, and argued that the hotel’s business would have been interrupted whether or not it was directly damaged, so only paid out part of the insurance.

What happens next?

The case was never meant to iron out all difficulties, just to get clarity on some common issues that many policyholders were running into when trying to get a payout.

‘Today’s judgment does not determine how much is payable under individual policies, but provides much of the basis for doing so,’ the FCA said.

Insurers decided to pay out claims on some policies after an earlier High Court ruling on the issue. They had also been asked by the FCA to progress some applications so they were ready to be settled rapidly when the Supreme Court ruled.

Policyholders who are affected can expect to hear from their insurer soon, the FCA said, and should approach their advisers or insurers with any questions.

The FCA has already published draft guidance on how a business can prove Covid-19 was present in their local area, which is required for some policies.

 

In November, the UK’s highest court heard ‘leapfrog’ appeals – which have bypassed the Court of Appeal – in a case which could have implications for hundreds of thousands of businesses affected by coronavirus.    

Announcing the Supreme Court’s ruling today, Lord Hamblen said: ‘The appeals of the Financial Conduct Authority and the Hiscox Action Group are substantially allowed and the insurers’ appeals are dismissed.’

Summarising the Supreme Court’s decision in relation to ‘prevention of access clauses’ – which are triggered by ‘public authority intervention preventing access to, or use of, the business premises’ – Lord Hamblen said the High Court’s interpretation was ‘too narrow’.

The judge said: ‘An instruction given by a public authority may amount to a ‘restriction imposed’ if it carries the imminent threat of legal compulsion or is in mandatory and clear terms and indicates that compliance is required without recourse to legal powers.’

In a written ruling, Lord Hamblen and Lord Leggatt – with whom Supreme Court president Lord Reed agreed – concluded: ‘Although we have accepted some of the insurers’ arguments on their appeals, in no case has that affected the outcome of the appeal. It follows that the insurers’ appeals are dismissed.’

In a separate concurring judgment, Lord Briggs – with whom Lord Hodge agreed – said: ‘On the insurers’ case, the cover apparently provided for business interruption caused by the effects of a national pandemic type of notifiable disease was in reality illusory, just when it might have been supposed to have been most needed by policyholders.

‘That outcome seemed to me to be clearly contrary to the spirit and intent of the relevant provisions of the policies in issue.’

In a statement after the ruling, Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumers and competition at the FCA, welcomed the decision, saying the judgment ‘decisively removes many of the roadblocks to claims by policyholders’.

He added: ‘We will be working with insurers to ensure that they now move quickly to pay claims that the judgment says should be paid, making interim payments wherever possible.

‘Insurers should also communicate directly and quickly with policyholders who have made claims affected by the judgment to explain next steps.

‘As we have recognised from the start of this case, tens of thousands of small firms and potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs are relying on this.’

Richard Leedham, a partner at law firm Mishcon de Reya who represented the Hiscox Action Group (HAG), said: ‘This is a landmark victory for a small group of businesses who took on a huge insurance player and have been fully vindicated.

‘What is important now is that Hiscox accepts the Supreme Court’s verdict and starts paying out to its policy holders, many of whom are in danger of going under.’

Mr Leedham – who acted for HAG, which represents around 400 businesses insured by Hiscox – added: ‘Today’s outcome is one of the most significant for business in modern times.

‘The result should leave Hiscox and the rest of the insurance industry in no doubt that they should immediately start doing the right thing and settle these claims.’

Recently appointed Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the Supreme Court’s decision ‘will be a lifeline for tens of thousands of hairdressers, bars, restaurants and other small businesses that did the right thing and closed their doors to protect the health of the nation’. 

Flora Hamilton, the financial services director at the Confederation of British Industry, said: ‘At such an uncertain time, this court case provides much-needed clarity to companies across the UK, and relief for smaller firms struggling with cashflow.

‘This is significant news for insurers, and regulators will need to work closely with the industry as policies, products and processes are updated to reflect this ruling.’

Shares in Hiscox tumbled after the ruling, dropping 6.3% between 9.45am and 10.20am. 

However once the markets had time to digest the results, shares quickly rebounded, and were trading up 0.9% at around 11.10am.

Among the other insurance companies on the FTSE 100, Aviva gained 0.2%, Admiral Group had already been in the red, trading down 1.6% after the verdict, 

Phoenix Group’s shares had dropped 1.5%, Prudential was down by 0.5%, while RSA Insurance dropped 0.1%.   

Britain's highest court has 'substantially allowed' an appeal by the Financial Conduct Authority over the wording of business interruption insurance policies

Britain’s highest court has ‘substantially allowed’ an appeal by the Financial Conduct Authority over the wording of business interruption insurance policies 

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UK weather: Travel chaos warning over icy roads and freezing fog

Snow will fall in London tomorrow with up to four inches across the South East as Britons endured another day of icy chaos and temperatures plunged to nearly -12C (10F) on England’s coldest morning of the winter so far.

The Met Office has issued a weather warning from 3am to 8pm tomorrow covering the capital, with 1in (3cm) expected to fall widely over the South East with up to 4in (10cm) possible in East Anglia and over higher ground.

Covered by the warning are London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Buckinghamshire, Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Rutland, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.  

Today, people travelling during the lockdown were told to expect more ‘tricky’ conditions as ice and freezing fog brought further hazards one day after heavy snowfall caused major disruption in northern England and Scotland.

The Met Office also put out an ice warning this morning for all of Scotland and most of England with the mercury plunging to -11.8C (10.8F) in the North Yorkshire village of Ravensworth by 9am today.

Forecasters said the rain, sleet and snow would be dying out, leaving icy surfaces and difficult travel conditions amid concerns of people falling over on slippery pavements and motorists skidding on untreated roads.

People across Britain awoke to a widespread frost and temperatures hovering around freezing this morning, with the mercury unlikely to get above 5C (41F) in London today before dropping back to 0C (32F) tonight.

A runner goes for a job in the snow in Leeds this morning as the country experiences further sub-zero conditions

A van stops in the snow in Leeds this morning as hazardous conditions continue to affect motorists in West Yorkshire

A van stops in the snow in Leeds this morning as hazardous conditions continue to affect motorists in West Yorkshire

Flooding at St Ives in Cambridgeshire this morning for the second time in a month after the River Great Ouse burst its banks

Flooding at St Ives in Cambridgeshire this morning for the second time in a month after the River Great Ouse burst its banks

The A1058 Coast Road between North Shields and Newcastle was closed after multiple crashes this morning amid black ice

The A1058 Coast Road between North Shields and Newcastle was closed after multiple crashes this morning amid black ice

Vehicles queue on the M61 southbound near Bolton in Greater Manchester this morning after a collision in the freezing fog

Vehicles queue on the M61 southbound near Bolton in Greater Manchester this morning after a collision in the freezing fog

Nearly 200 areas of the country remain on flood watch as well, with the Environment Agency issuing 144 flood alerts and 43 more serious warnings for England – while Natural Resources Wales has put out two alerts.

A further 18-hour weather warning for snow and ice has been issued for most of Scotland and northern England tomorrow, from 3am until 9pm, with the Met Office warning up to 8in (20cm) could fall on higher routes.

An area of rain pushing eastwards will turn to snow, with forecasters warning of travel delays of roads with some stranded vehicles and passengers, along with delayed or cancelled rail and air travel and a chance of power cuts.

The rain will turn to snow as it encounters colder air across Scotland and parts of northern and eastern England, and at first the main hazard may be rain falling onto frozen surfaces leading to ice.

Snow will become more likely during the early morning, with heavier snowfall most likely above 650ft (200m) in Scotland and northern England, where 2in (5cm) to 4in (10cm) may accumulate, possibly 8in (20cm) even higher.

At lower levels and further south, up to 2in (5cm) may accumulate in places, but the Met Office said situation was ‘finely balanced’, with the chance that most lower-lying areas, especially in the east, will see rain or sleet. 

Vehicles being towed away and cars on the side verges in the Wallsend area of North Tyneside this morning

Vehicles being towed away and cars on the side verges in the Wallsend area of North Tyneside this morning

A beautiful misty sunrise behind Winter Hill and over low lying fog near Chorley in Lancashire this morning

A beautiful misty sunrise behind Winter Hill and over low lying fog near Chorley in Lancashire this morning

A van on a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning as nearly 200 areas of the UK remain on flood watch

A van on a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning as nearly 200 areas of the UK remain on flood watch

A horse in a frosty field on a cold morning in the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

A horse in a frosty field on a cold morning in the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

A Land Rover Defender drives through a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning

A Land Rover Defender drives through a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning

The A1058 Coast Road between North Shields and Newcastle has been closed today following multiple crashes

The A1058 Coast Road between North Shields and Newcastle has been closed today following multiple crashes

A car on a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning as the country continues to experience severe weather

A car on a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning as the country continues to experience severe weather

Met Office meteorologist Becky Mitchell said: ‘Saturday is the next day we could potentially see some snow.

2020 was the second hottest year on record 

Most of us didn’t manage a foreign holiday last year, but at least there was one consolation – it was the second hottest 12 months on record.

Global temperatures in 2020 were on average around 1.28C above those in the second half of the 19th century.

It was just a fraction of a degree below the record hottest year of 2016, when average temperatures were 1.29C above pre-industrial levels.

Under the international Paris Agreement, countries have pledged to limit warming to 2C above 1800s levels.

The analysis was carried out by the Met Office, University of East Anglia and the UK National Centre for Atmospheric Science. 

Dr Colin Morice, from the Met Office, said: ‘It is a sign of the continued impact of human-induced climate change.’

‘We may even see some temporary snow across parts of the South East, towards East Anglia but at the moment we’re not expecting to see the same amount of snowfall as we have had.’ 

Ms Mitchell continued: ‘Into next week it’s quite uncertain but it looks like temperatures will be around average to start with – so not particularly cold.

‘But, towards the end of the week there are signs we could potentially see further snowfall across northern parts of the country.’

It comes after up to 6in (15cm) of snow fell in the North of England yesterday, leading to picture postcard scenes but also crashes, skids and prangs. 

A double decker bus slid across a road in Halifax, West Yorkshire, while a car ended up wrapped around a pole in nearby Outlane.

More than 600 schools had to close and the weather brought havoc to the Covid vaccination drive, with some centres forced to shut or postpone appointments.

But for some it was a chance for a little fun in the snow, with youngsters leaping on toboggans in Penicuik, Scotland. Flurries fell as far south as Suffolk.

South eastern areas too mild for snow were not spared, as heavy rain led to flooding. Rivers including the Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire burst their banks.

Severe weather closed more than 600 schools which had stayed open for key workers’ children, mostly in West and South Yorkshire. 

Staff at the Fenn Bell Inn in Hoo, Kent, battled to salvage furniture after it was flooded. 

Connor Gordon, one of those trying to save the pub’s possessions, said: ‘The building is ruined, nearly a foot of water inside, it’s even deeper outside. The ditches are full and bursting, the roads are flooded and getting worse.’

Weather warning today

Weather warning tomorrow

The Met Office has issued weather warnings for ice this morning (left) and another for snow and ice tomorrow (right)

Elderly patients due to receive Covid jabs at Newcastle’s Centre for Life mass vaccination hub were advised to rebook their appointments to avoid the bad weather.

Hold your horses… lots more snow on the way 

Heavy snow brought transport chaos yesterday but at least some had the horsepower to cope.

For Stephanie Anderson it was a chance for a gallop with Clydesdale horse Davie near their home at Westruther in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.

The Clydesdales are working horses and help plough the land for her family’s market gardening business, and they are also used for events such as weddings.

On the hoof: Stephanie Anderson out for a gallop with her horse Davie near their home at Westruther in Berwickshire

On the hoof: Stephanie Anderson out for a gallop with her horse Davie near their home at Westruther in Berwickshire

The Newcastle NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust tweeted: ‘It’s easy to do by calling 119. No need to risk travelling in the bad weather.’ 

And all vaccinations at the Priory Campus in Barnsley had to be postponed from 3pm, with patients advised not to travel. 

Snow caused problems for ambulance services in Yorkshire who struggled to keep up with the high demand.

Mark Millins, of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, urged people to ‘take extra care’ when out walking or driving. 

A Met Office spokesman said: ‘The highest accumulations of snow were in North East England, where 15cm (6in) was recorded at Copley, County Durham.’ He said snow was recorded as far south as Lakenheath and Marham, in Suffolk. 

Main roads in Scotland yesterday were brought to a standstill, particularly in areas with an amber ‘be prepared’ weather warning. In Dunblane, Perthshire, one resident said the only traffic was sledges.

In Renfrewshire, drivers abandoned their cars after a number of accidents blocked local roads. 

One motorist thanked locals on Church Road in Giffnock for bringing her tea following a dramatic three-car crash. She wrote on social media: ‘Don’t think I will see my car again.’

On the Stewarton Road, linking south Glasgow with Newton Mearns, cars were abandoned, while police used their vehicles to block off roads.

Train services between Glasgow and East Kilbride were suspended for a while after a vehicle crashed into a railway bridge in Busby.   

Heavy snowfall blocked the A9 southbound at Dunblane, with traffic being diverted through the town. Those aged over 80 had been invited to get their Covid vaccination in the town’s Victoria Hall but many thought it unsafe to leave the house.

Twenty Perthshire primary schools and nurseries closed and were unable to accommodate the children of key workers.

One Dunblane resident said: ‘We feel we have been cut off. There’s almost a foot of snow here. The only traffic moving on our street are the sledges.’ 

Traffic Scotland warned drivers of ‘difficult driving conditions’ on the A82 between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy. An accident on the M9 closed the Friarton Bridge, with traffic being diverted through Perth.

Snow and black ice on the roads in Leeds this morning is causing hazardous conditions for people in West Yorkshire

Snow and black ice on the roads in Leeds this morning is causing hazardous conditions for people in West Yorkshire

Icy conditions this morning on the M1 in West Yorkshire as motorists were warned to take extra care on the roads

Icy conditions this morning on the M1 in West Yorkshire as motorists were warned to take extra care on the roads

Much of yesterday's snow in Leeds had frozen over by this morning bringing black ice on the roads for motorists

Much of yesterday’s snow in Leeds had frozen over by this morning bringing black ice on the roads for motorists

Police Scotland’s road policing unit has warned against drivers travelling in the wintry weather.

Chief Superintendent Louise Blakelock said: ‘Government restrictions on travelling remain in place across Scotland because of the ongoing pandemic.

‘People should not leave their homes unless for essential purposes and work from home where possible. The best way to stay safe is to stay at home.

‘In the current wintry weather please consider if your journey is exempt under the regulations and also if it really is essential and whether you can delay it until the weather improves.’ 

Sunday should be mostly dry with isolated showers, but more snow could be on the way next week followed by a cold and unsettled remainder of the month.

However, those fearing a return of the Beast from the East – the Siberian weather system that brought heavy snow in February and March 2018 – can rest easy after the Met Office said it is unlikely to roar back in the coming weeks.

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Headlines UK Leeds London Manchester

Boots and Superdrug start dishing out Covid vaccines

Boots and Superdrug have started dishing out coronavirus vaccines this morning after No10 finally turned to the high street to deliver its lockdown-ending promise of immunising almost 14million people by mid-February.

MailOnline revealed this week that the Boots store in Halifax and Superdrug branch in Guildford, Surrey, would be included in the first wave of high street chemists to join the national effort. 

The chains are among six pharmacies across England to be converted into Covid hubs this morning and will be able to administer hundreds of jabs a day between 8am and 8pm.  

Vaccines are also being dispensed at Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cheshire, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, north London, Woodside Pharmacy in Telford, Shropshire, and Appleton Village pharmacy in Widnes, Cheshire.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the move was ‘fantastic’ and ‘will make a big difference’ in ramping up the national jab programme, while a Government source said ministers were on track to reach 3million weekly jabs by the start of February and hit the 13.9m target by next month.

The source told the Sun: ‘We’re in a good place and have enough to meet our pledge, with supply continuously improving. We are already vaccinating more than 200,000 a day and are nowhere near capacity. If things go smoothly we could well be doing 400,000 a day — three million a week — by the start of February.’

But Independent chemists who’ve been begging for months to help chip in said they were ‘concerned’ that the target would be missed unless more of England’s 11,500 pharmacies were drafted in. Just 2.5m Brits have been jabbed so far since the national programme launched in early December, a fifth of the 13.9m target by mid-February.

Leyla Hannbeck, CEO of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, told MailOnline: ‘We are relieved to see that six designated pharmacy sites have been given the opportunity this week to administer the Covid-19 vaccine and we’re 100 per cent committed to help NHS England work through any challenges in order to allow many more community pharmacies to play their part. 

‘However, as we are yet to see the current vaccination numbers, we are concerned that the target of 13.9m may not be met by mid-February if not many more of the nation’s accessible high street pharmacies, who are reliable healthcare providers are able to offer the vaccine. We want to continue working with the government to enable this vital vaccine to reach all communities, much sooner than they currently are.’ 

It comes after it emerged more than 21million Covid jabs are on British soil, meaning there are enough doses to hit the target of injecting all over-70s, care home residents and health staff by February 15. Not all the vaccine consignments have passed regulatory checks – and many are yet to be put into vials. But the fact so many logistical hurdles have been jumped is a major victory in the fight against coronavirus. 

Brenda Clegg, 92, receiving a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from pharmacist Rae Hynes at the Boots pharmacy in Halifax, West Yorkshire

Patricia Main, 75, receiving a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from pharmacist Bhavika Mistry at the Boots pharmacy in Halifax,

Patricia Main, 75, receiving a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from pharmacist Bhavika Mistry at the Boots pharmacy in Halifax,

The Covid-19 vaccination centre at the Boots pharmacy in Halifax, which was among the first wave of pharmacies to be recruited to help the national effort

The Covid-19 vaccination centre at the Boots pharmacy in Halifax, which was among the first wave of pharmacies to be recruited to help the national effort

Pharmacist Andrew Hudson administers a dose of the coronavirus vaccine to Robert Salt, 82, at Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cheshire.

Pharmacist Andrew Hudson administers a dose of the coronavirus vaccine to Robert Salt, 82, at Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cheshire.

Andrews Pharmacy was among six high street chemists to start dishing out doses of the jabs this morning

Andrews Pharmacy was among six high street chemists to start dishing out doses of the jabs this morning

But, amid reports of manufacturing and supply issues, small pharmacies claim to have still not been contacted about getting involved, even though they claim they have the expertise and local knowledge to be able to significantly bolster the programme.

Those who are eligible for a Covid vaccine will be contacted and invited to make an appointment through the normal NHS booking service. This gives them the option of having a vaccine at their local pharmacy or in a GP-led vaccination centre.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs that distribution ‘will be going to 24/7 as soon as we can’ but said supply of doses remained the main sticking point. At the moment the pharmacies will run a 12-hour day operation.

The six pharmacies have been picked because they can deliver large volumes of the vaccine and allow for social distancing, the Government says. Mr Hancock added: ‘Pharmacies sit at the heart of local communities and will make a big difference to our rollout programme by providing even more local, convenient places for those that are eligible to get their jab.’

UK has enough doses to vaccinate all over-70s, care home residents and NHS frontliners 

More than 21million Covid jabs are on British soil, the Daily Mail revealed today.

It means there are enough doses to hit the target of injecting all over-70s, care home residents and health staff by February 15.

Not all the vaccine consignments have passed regulatory checks – and many are yet to be put into vials. But the fact so many logistical hurdles have been jumped is a major victory in the fight against coronavirus.

Boris Johnson tonight pledged a ‘big, big stream of vaccines’ would arrive over the coming weeks. Three million have already been given out.

Around 2.6million people have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine across the UK so far, with just four and a half weeks remaining for the Government to hit its target of reaching the 15million most vulnerable.

Nearly 208,000 received their first dose on Tuesday, according to figures published last night – up from 145,000 the day before.

AstraZeneca, the firm which helped develop the Oxford University vaccine, yesterday revealed it is to double the number of vaccines released to the NHS by next week, with production to then be ramped up to two million doses a week.

The firm is understood to have enough vaccine for 19million doses already in the country, of which 1.1million have already been provided. At least another three million are in vials, awaiting batch approval by regulators. ‘In excess’ of one million of these are expected to be released next week.

Another 15million doses are at factories in Oxford, Staffordshire and Wrexham, waiting to be put in vials.

Pfizer is understood to have delivered at least five million doses.

It means enough doses for 24million vaccines have been provided so far – of which 3million have already been given out.

AstraZeneca is expected to provide a total of 40million by the end of March, by which time Moderna – a third firm with an approved vaccine and a deal with the UK – will start to provide the first of 17million doses.

Batch approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency remains a key hurdle – with only two consignments of the Oxford vaccine released for use so far. But officials are confident that issue will be resolved soon.

A Government spokesman said: ‘The UK has already vaccinated more people than any other country in Europe, and we are mobilising government, the NHS and our armed forces as part of a massive national effort. Our vaccine supply and scheduled deliveries will fully support the vaccination of the top four [priority] groups by February 15.’

Mr Johnson said: ‘We have a big, big stream of vaccines coming down the track but there is also a programme to accelerate the delivery of the Oxford vaccine, the remaining Pfizer vaccine is being brought forward, the Moderna vaccine as well.’

By the end of the month more than 200 community chemists with capacity for 1,000 doses a week will be able to give vaccines, according to NHS England. The pharmacies join the 200 hospitals, around 800 GP clinics and seven mass vaccination centres where jabs are already being handed out.   

Superdrug last week told MailOnline that it had five sites ready to dish out the vaccine, with a spokesperson saying stores in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Guildford and Basingstoke were just waiting on deliveries of the jab.  Boots also said it had several sites ready to go from last week. Supply is thought to be the main stumbling block in getting the branches up and running. 

The expanded vaccination service in England comes as the daily reported UK death toll reached a new high on Wednesday, with 1,564 fatalities recorded within 28 days of a positive test.

The latest figures meant the grim milestone of more than 100,000 deaths involving coronavirus has now been passed in the UK, according to official data.

The Prime Minister warned that hospital intensive care units (ICUs) face being overwhelmed unless coronavirus rates are brought under control, with the latest official figures showing more than 36,000 people are in hospital with coronavirus, including almost 3,500 on ventilation.

He told MPs: ‘If you ask me when do we think that the ICU capacity is likely to be overtopped, I can’t give you a prediction for that.

‘But all I can say is that the risk is very substantial and we have to keep the pressure off the NHS and the only way to do that is to follow the current lockdown.’

Mr Johnson told the Commons Liaison Committee that ‘the situation is very, very tough indeed in the NHS’ and ‘the strain is colossal’ on staff.

The Scottish Government published a 16-page document setting out how it intends to vaccinate 4.5 million people, including 400,000 a week from the end of February.

It set out the supply of vaccine from Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna from the start of April that it expects to receive each week.

This angered ministers in London, with a senior Government source warning: ‘Publication of numbers like these risks suppliers coming under pressure from other countries.

‘These vaccines are a finite resource and as we have said throughout – supply is the limiting step.’

Amid the warnings of struggling hospitals, the Government’s top scientist also warned the country is ‘in for a pretty grim period’ of deaths which will not ‘reduce quickly’.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance told ITV’s Peston programme: ‘The daily numbers jump around a bit but I think we are in a position now – when you look at the number of infections we’ve had over the past few weeks and how this is likely to continue, so I don’t think they’re going to drop very quickly – that I’m afraid we’re in a period of high death numbers that’s going to carry on for some weeks.

‘It’s not going to come down quickly even if the measures that are in place now start to reduce the infection numbers.

‘So we’re in for a pretty grim period, I’m afraid.’

In his two-hour questioning from a committee of MPs, the Prime Minister also acknowledged concerns about a new strain of coronavirus from Brazil, but stopped short of promising a travel ban on the South American country.

‘We already have tough measures … to protect this country from new infections coming in from abroad,’ he said.

‘We are taking steps to do that in respect of the Brazilian variant.’

Meanwhile, a new study has found that Covid infection provides some immunity for at least five months, but people may still carry and transmit the virus.

The first report from Public Health England’s Siren study found that antibodies from past infection provide 83% protection against reinfection for at least five months.

Categories
Headlines UK London Manchester

Instagram is back up and running after worldwide outage

Instagram is back up and running after worldwide outage that left thousands unable to access the desktop site or smartphone app

  • Instagram outage started around 5pm ET and lasted for several hours 
  •  Issues were plaguing users across the world – mainly the app and desktop site 
  • The desktop site was showing an ‘error’ message and the app would not refresh 

Instagram’s desktop site and app were down for roughly two hours across the globe.

The social media’s website showed an ‘error’ message and news feed was not refreshing in the smartphone app – some users were unable to log into their accounts.

The outage began around 5pm ET and any issues were fixed by 7pm ET – some users may still be facing problems.

Users flocked to Twitter to see if anyone else was experiencing issues, as some thought they had been banned from the social media site and others believed the ‘hate speech haven’ had been taken down. 

Instagram’s desktop site and app were down for roughly two hours across the globe. The social media’s website showed an ‘error’ message and news feed was not refreshing in the smartphone app – some users were unable to log into their accounts 

DownDetector, an site that monitors online outages, showed a majority of the issue reports cited trouble with the website, followed by news feed in the app and logging in to accounts. 

Major cities in the US were shown ‘red’ on the Instagram outage map including New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas.

While across the Atlantic in the UK, London, Manchester and Belfast were experiencing problems. 

And reports are also surfaced from Italy, Indonesia, Mexico and Australia.

DownDetector shows a majority of the issue reports cite problems with the website, followed by news feed in the app and logging in to accounts. Major cities in the US appear to be shown 'red' on the Instagram outage map including New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas

DownDetector shows a majority of the issue reports cite problems with the website, followed by news feed in the app and logging in to accounts. Major cities in the US appear to be shown ‘red’ on the Instagram outage map including New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas

Users flocked to Twitter to see if anyone else was experiencing issues, as some thought they had been banned from the social media site and others thought the 'hate speech haven' had been taken down

Users flocked to Twitter to see if anyone else was experiencing issues, as some thought they had been banned from the social media site and others thought the ‘hate speech haven’ had been taken down

Maggie Fitzerald joked that she was bored with #impeachmentday and is moving on to other news that Instagram is down. DownDetector show reports of problems began around 5:00pm ET, but the cause or when it will be restored are unknown

Maggie Fitzerald joked that she was bored with #impeachmentday and is moving on to other news that Instagram is down. DownDetector show reports of problems began around 5:00pm ET, but the cause or when it will be restored are unknown

Users seemed surprised to see the desktop site and app not working properly, as many flocked to Twitter to see if anyone else was experiencing issues – or if the may have been banned.

Maggie Fitzerald joked that she was bored with #impeachmentday and is moving on to other news that Instagram is down.

While TJ Scott seemed to be delighted at the sight of an error message where Instagram.com should be.

‘Looks like the hate speech have, Instagram has been taken down,’ Scott tweeted.

It also seems that users were surprised to see the desktop site and app are not working properly, as many flocked to Twitter to see if anyone else was experiencing issues

It also seems that users were surprised to see the desktop site and app are not working properly, as many flocked to Twitter to see if anyone else was experiencing issues

Many Instagram users were unsure if they were the only experiencing issues with the app, so they asked Twitter for help

Many Instagram users were unsure if they were the only experiencing issues with the app, so they asked Twitter for help

Instagram has been experiencing frequent outages over the past few months, with the most recent hitting in September that also impacted Facebook.

Issues surfaced around 1:30pm ET on September 17, which lasted for roughly three hours, and affected Instagram users in the US, Europe, South America and Canada.

Facebook’s issues were not as widespread, but plagued parts of California, mid-west states, southern Florida and the north east in the US.

In Europe, Facebook was glitching in parts of Portugal, the UK, Hungary, Sweden and The Netherlands.

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Birmingham Glasgow Headlines UK Liverpool London Manchester

Open Mouth Reading Aloud World Championship to be held in London

The first qualifying stage will take place on January 16

“Open your mouth” – this is the name of the championship in reading aloud in Russian, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2021. Amateurs of reading aloud from 200+ cities of Russia and 18 foreign countries take part in the championship. The winners of the qualifying rounds in cities advance to the conference finals. Conference champions – “East”, “Siberia”, “Ural”, “Povolzhye”, “Center”, “South”, “North”, “Moscow” and “Zagranitsa” go to the Superfinal of the Championship, which will be held on Red Square in Moscow …

The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t become a big handicap for reading enthusiasts and literature lovers. Last season, the Open Your Mouth reading aloud championship was brought online and hosted over 150 events on the Zoom platform. The Internet has made it possible for hundreds of Russian-speaking people around the world to take part in the project.

The first qualifying round of the conference ABROAD of the World Open Mouth Reading Championship will take place in London, 16 january at 15:30 BST (18:30 Moscow time) in online format. To participate, you need to register at otkroyrot.com/join Age limit – 18+. Participation in the championship is free.

Mikhail Faustov, the founder of the Open Your Mouth Reading Aloud Championship, says: “London is a special city for the championship. I happened to hold the first London Open Mouth in 2018, it was in the Pushkin House. Six months ago, when we were all tired of the pandemic and quarantine, the London match, thanks to the efforts of Rita Baskakova, took place online. Now, in the midst of quarantine, we really wanted to support our friends in the UK. We have long wanted to create something like a separate conference or league for Russian-speaking readers here, so that not only Londoners, but also residents of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow and other British cities take part in Open Roth. And I’m sure we can do it. So this season’s Open Mouth London is just the beginning. “

The organizer of the Open Your Mouth Championship is the Interregional Reading Federation Association, the official partners of the 2020-2021 season are the Russian online library MyBook and the online store Myshop.ru. Media partners: Gorky-Media and the Year of Literature. The GlobalSiberia project is also a partner of the championship.

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Headlines UK Manchester

Boy, 14, arrested after takeaway driver was left fighting for life when he was hit by his own car

Boy, 14, is arrested after takeaway driver was left fighting for his life when he was hit by his own car as it was ‘stolen during delivery’

  • Victim was delivering food on Hazel Avenue in Romiley, Stockport on January 8
  • Suspects are believed to have jumped into the car, which the victim tried to stop 
  • He is said to have suffered serious head injuries and investigation is still ongoing
  • Police have since arrested a 14-year-old boy in connection with the investigation 

A 14-year-old boy has been arrested following a violent carjacking which left a delivery driver fighting for his life in hospital.

The teen remains in custody on suspicion of robbery following the incident in Stockport on Friday.

Detectives believe there were other people involved and are urging eyewitnesses to come forward.

Police were called at 9pm to the junction of Lyme Grove and Hazel Avenue in Romiley following reports of a crash.

Officers believe a car was taken from a delivery driver and that the car crashed into the victim shortly afterwards.

Police are investigating after a man was left seriously injured during a robbery. It’s understood that as the victim was delivering food in Stockport, pictured, suspects jumped into his car 

The victim, a man in his 50s, remains in hospital in a critical condition.

Detectives are continuing to hunt for a silver Mercedes which they believe was stolen.

Eyewitnesses spoke of their shock following the incident.

David Speed, 42, says the victim was delivering an Indian meal to his home when he saw his vehicle being taken.

Mr Speed told the Manchester Evening News that he heard the doorbell ring at the home on Hazel Avenue in Romiley before he heard the victim shout ‘no, no, no’.

The victim ran to his car and tried to stop the thieves by clinging to the passenger window.

A witness said five or six police cars arrived at the street, pictured, and an investigation is ongoing. Greater Manchester Police have issued an urgent appeal for witnesses

A witness said five or six police cars arrived at the street, pictured, and an investigation is ongoing. Greater Manchester Police have issued an urgent appeal for witnesses

Mr Speed, a builder, said: ‘I saw him running to the passenger door. He must have had the window open.

‘He grabbed hold of the car and the car reversed a little. Then it pulled out and sped off with him holding onto it.

‘They then sped off, leaving the victim in the middle of the road.’

Mr Speed said he grabbed some clothes and ran downstairs to help.

Neighbours were out on the street helping the man who was seriously injured, with a woman holding him.

He said: ‘I phoned the takeaway company and got his registration. They phoned his son.

‘He was bleeding everywhere. It was just horrible. I was just disgusted someone would do that.’

Det Insp Charlotte Whalley, of GMP’s Stockport district, said: ‘This was a horrific ordeal that has rocked the community and has left the delivery driver fighting for his life in hospital.

‘At this stage, it is thought there were others involved in the incident and we’re currently carrying out a number of lines of enquiry to trace those believed to be responsible.

‘We’re continuing to ask the public to come forward with any information that may assist us – even the smallest bit of information can prove vital.

‘Anyone who may have seen a silver Mercedes in the area at the time or may have seen it in suspicious circumstances since is asked to get in touch – this vehicle could prove vital in our investigation.

‘We’re also keen for anyone with any CCTV or dash-cam footage to get in touch.’

Anyone with information is asked to call 0161 856 9821 or 0161 856 9790 quoting log number 2499 of 08/01/2021.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.  

Categories
Headlines UK London Manchester

‘Zoom classes invade our privacy’: The astonishing claim of some teachers

State school heads are blocking teachers from hosting live online lessons, claiming that streaming classes from their homes is an invasion of privacy.

As schools closed under new coronavirus restrictions, some teachers took to social media to complain it was ‘off-putting’ having parents observe them at work.

Last night, anxious parents demanded state schools ramp up live online classes as experts warned that a lack of real-time lessons threatened to widen the gulf in equality between state and private pupils.

A mother from Buckinghamshire told The Mail on Sunday: ‘They need live lessons otherwise they are going to fall behind and may never be able to catch up.’

Most independent schools and top-performing state schools have rolled out full days of live lessons via Zoom and other video platforms since the new national lockdown came into force

While state school headteachers voiced their concerns about staff ‘burnout’ under the new lockdown, the contrast with the private sector could not be more stark.

Most independent schools and top-performing state schools have rolled out full days of live lessons via Zoom and other video platforms since the new national lockdown came into force. But large numbers of secondaries and primaries, particularly in poorer areas, are relying on pre-recorded lessons, YouTube videos and online worksheets for their pupils.

In a poll of 800 parents last week, almost a third said their children were not receiving any live lessons, suggesting that as many as three million pupils may not be having interactive video contact with their teachers during the lockdown.

Leading educationalist Professor Alan Smithers warned that some children were missing out on their education completely and their life chances could suffer.

The National Education Union appeared to suggest that only pushy parents want live lessons, adding that the call for live teaching is ‘often related to minority, but insistent, parental pressure’. Pictured: Isla Stanton, 14, learning from home in Ashford, Kent

The National Education Union appeared to suggest that only pushy parents want live lessons, adding that the call for live teaching is ‘often related to minority, but insistent, parental pressure’. Pictured: Isla Stanton, 14, learning from home in Ashford, Kent

He said: ‘Children want to learn in real-time and thrive by interacting and learning with their friends. Pre-recorded lessons are no way near to being in school.

‘Not having children together in the classroom is increasing the unevenness of the educational experience and exacerbating inequality, and so is having this divide between schools that are offering live-streamed lessons and those that are not.’

Chris McGovern, chairman of The Campaign for Real Education, said it was ‘outrageous’ that disadvantaged children risked being ‘thrown on the scrap heap’.

He added: ‘It shows the price we are paying for closing schools. The gap between the better off and worse off is getting wider.’

Tory MP Robert Halfon, chairman of the Commons Education Select Committee, called for Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and regulators Ofsted to establish more detailed national guidelines for online teaching.

He said: ‘Some state schools are doing fantastic work rolling out live-streamed lessons and I can’t see why this cannot be replicated across the board. We cannot leave children behind. Children who are struggling and suffering at home need interaction with teachers, and live lessons make a world of difference.’

But militant teaching unions – which strongly urged teachers not to live-stream lessons last summer – said teachers must be able to choose whether to live-stream lessons or not and that it should only be used ‘when essential’.

The National Education Union appeared to suggest that only pushy parents want live lessons, adding that the call for live teaching is ‘often related to minority, but insistent, parental pressure’.

Guidance from the NASUWT teaching union even raises privacy concerns about pupils recording teachers’ live lessons on their phones and uploading them to pornography websites. The union ‘strongly advises members to not participate in live video lessons to pupils’ homes unless they are sure that measures are in place to prevent such inappropriate practices’.

After schools were closed on Tuesday, teachers flooded social media with complaints that they did not want to deliver lessons via video platforms.

Cassie Young, head of Brenzett CofE Primary School in Romney Marsh, Kent, said: ‘I can’t and won’t agree to my staff doing live lessons. The pressure, safeguarding and workload would result in burnout.

‘Pre-recorded works just as well, keeps people safe and allows pupils to work at a pace that suits them, freeing up staff to support.’

She claimed ‘professional distance’ was needed, adding: ‘Working at home and seeing inside people’s homes feels like a huge invasion of privacy.’

One primary teacher in Manchester said that she ‘felt sick’ with nerves over leading live lessons, adding: ‘The fact it’s my home does feel invasive.’

Jo Campbell, headteacher at Ore Village Primary Academy in Hastings, added: ‘I won’t put that pressure on my staff and I have too many safeguarding concerns. Pre-recorded sessions are enough.’

In a poll of 800 subscribers to the Parent Ping education app last week, only eight per cent of parents said their child had received more than five hours of live lessons that day. Some 13 per cent said their children were in live lessons for three to four hours and 11 per cent reported one to two hours. Nearly a third (31 per cent) said their children had no live lessons and 11 per cent had less than one hour.

Government guidance says primary school pupils should have an average of three hours work a day, and secondary school pupils should have at least four, with lessons delivered by teachers through ‘curriculum resources or video’

Parents told The Mail on Sunday that their children were not being set enough work. One mother from Kent said: ‘My 17-year-old daughter goes to a grammar school and has live lessons on Microsoft Teams all day. My 14-year-old son goes to a comprehensive and has no live lessons. He finishes his work in half an hour and would be on the PlayStation if I wasn’t telling him to read back through previous work.’

Another mother from Buckinghamshire said: ‘My children’s school is doing one live lesson a day private schools locally are doing a full diet of live lessons and after-school clubs with their boys.’

Paul Woods, principal of Westminster Academy in Central London, said his school was continuing with the full timetable, with all lessons live-streamed to all 1,100 pupils.

He said: ‘Every child has been given a Google Chromebook and we are sticking to our normal timetable. We like having the real-time interaction, not just for education reasons but we can monitor our students’ emotions at a time when things may be difficult for them.

‘Teachers are able to see in real time how a child is coping and whether they are adapting well in these challenging times.

‘It’s certainly not a substitute for being in the classroom but it’s the next best thing.’