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Technology UK

You might never lose your keys again thanks to handy new Samsung phone feature


Samsung has launched a new gadget that could stop you ever losing your keys again.

It has today confirmed rumours of its hotly-anticipated ‘Galaxy SmartTags’.

The GPS tags priced at £29 can be attached to your most valuable items – like your house keys or a pet with a habit of running away – and tracked using your phone’s bluetooth.

Samsung fans have been eagerly awaiting the tags, which are also designed to use other people’s smartphones nearby to trace lost items once activated.

So if you were to, say, lose your bag on a bus – SmartTags would use other people’s phones with the app SmartThings Find downloaded to track the tag as it speeds away out of your phone’s range.

The brand unveiled the bluetooth tags today by showing how it could be used to track a missing dog.

What would you use SmartTags to track? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Galaxy SmartTags can even be attached to your dog

Pet owners can clip the tag to their pet’s collar – and if little Fido goes missing, his location can be pinpointed using Samsung’s existing app SmartThings.

The brand is marketing the tags as a way to track your most treasured possessions, and syncing the items’ locations to Samsung phones.

The tags come in a range of colours to match the new Samsung S21, S21+ and Ultra smartphone line unveiled today.

The colour themes includes Phantom white, violet, grey and pink.

And the SmartTags also come in black too.

So far, Samsung UK is offering black and oatmeal SmartTags on its site only.

A smartphone user uses an app in their home to find a lost item attached to a Galaxy SmartTag devices
Samsung’s new Galaxy SmartTag tracker uses your phone’s bluetooth to find your lost keys

The brand is marketing the tags to track everyday items – like your laptop, bag, or keys.

But expect to see some light-hearted shenanigans once they are launched -and some questions around privacy too.

How long do you think it will take before users will test out track their spouses, or kids?

Samsung launched the new product on Thursday as it showed off its new Galaxy S21 phone and latest ear buds, the Galaxy Buds Pro, at its first Unpacked event of 2021.

It is the first major smartphone launch since rival Apple launched the iPhone 12 range late last year.

The SmartTags release sees Samsung pip Apple in the race to produce an everyday bluetooth-operated tracker.

Apple’s AirTags are said to have been in the works for years, but the product has not yet dropped.

GalaxyTags come hot on the heels of the success of Tiles – which some of you may already be familiar with.

Samsung presents a visual of four colours of its new Galaxy SmartTag tracking devices
The SmartTags come in a range of colours

Tile’s bluetooth accessories clip to other items so they can be tracked down if your phone is in range.

Users who have lost their device can search for the Tile using their smartphone, triggering the tag to play a loud tune.

If its out of range, it calls on an anonymised network of Tile users’ phones to help track the missing item.

So if someone with the Tile app goes past your missing item with the tracker attached, it will ping back their location to your phone so you can get hot on the trail.

The new Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra
The new Samsung range features Galaxy Ear Bud Pro too

The latest tech is very much in the vein of Apple’s now vintage Find my iPhone service, that allowed users to login and track lost and stolen devices.

But the tags, which Samsung will be hoping prove popular with the forgetful Average Joe smartphone user, expands on the idea by allowing tags to be attached to any item the owner holds dear.

So what would you attach yours to?

  • Read more and pre-order the new Samsung Galaxy SmartTag retailing at £29 here.





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UAE

Smart helmets come in handy for Ajman Police to fight against COVID-19

Ajman: Ajman Police are now using smart helmets to detect people for Coronavirus by screening their temperatures. The helmet has special features that enables it to detect symptoms of Coronavirus infection by remotely measuring people’s temperatures, recognising faces and reading the licence plates of vehicles.

Launched in coordination with the Ministry of Interior, the thermal imaging camera uses artificial intelligence (AI) to allow quick scanning of crowds. Lieutenant Colonel Saif Abdullah Al Falasi, Director of Traffic and Patrols Department at Ajman Police, said that the smart helmets can detect if someone has a high temperature enabling officers to take necessary action.

Lt Col Al Falasi said smart helmets were being used in order to enhance the quality of life by ensuring human health and safety, strengthening preventive measures, helping in early detection of cases of infection at public places thereby helping limit the spread of COVID-19.

Lt Col Al Falasi said the smart helmets were equipped with features and sensors that enable them to automatically measure the temperatures of pedestrians from a distance of up to five metres as soon as they pass in front of the helmet. These helmets can screen up to 200 people per minute and can identify people whose body temperatures exceed 37.3 degrees Celsius. If anyone is detected with high temperature then the person is handed over to the competent authorities at the nearest medical facility for necessary follow-up measures.

Lt Col Al Falasi indicated that the use of these smart helmets greatly contributed towards limiting the spread of the virus in public places, as Ajman Police managed to conduct a complete survey of tourist areas and public places in Ajman, including parks and beaches, in addition to conducting a comprehensive survey of 778 shops and a shopping centre in the emirate. Even groceries and shops in all areas of the emirate are being screened. The number of those examined with smart helmets reached 33,910. During the screening procedure, police personnel conducted awareness drives for more than 18,740 people, educating them about the importance of taking precautionary and preventive measures such as wearing a mask and gloves and maintaining social distancing.

A total of 2,031 instances of violations were registered for not wearing face masks in public places.

Categories
Technology US

Now you can determine your level of Fauci with this handy meme


Anthony Fauci is probably one of the most recognizable faces of the coronavirus pandemic in the US. So when a public health expert needed a way to measure how her students were coping with all of the stresses of 2020, she created a chart to gauge their “level of Fauci.”

“We all kind of need something that’s positive, that makes sense to us,” Karen Sautter Errichetti, an assistant professor in public health and community medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, said. She’d noticed that her community of public health and medical professionals was feeling pretty depressed. So to lighten the mood and get the students interested, she and her co-instructor Reece Lyerly start every class with a meme of some sort.

Nothing caught on quite like the Fauci meter, which she introduced to her students back in September. The hardest photo to find was one of Fauci full-on smiling, she notes.

The Fauci meter measures your mood based on the NIAID director’s facial expressions.
Image by Karen Errichetti

“As educators we need to understand if our students are doing well or if they’re struggling. And a lot of them are struggling,” she said. Asking questions like “are you depressed, do you have anxiety” doesn’t usually work, she added, so she tried to get a bit creative, using a face that her students identified with.

She presented it on a five-part Likert scale, which is widely used in research questionnaires. (Errichetti is quick to note the Fauci chart hasn’t been validated as it would be in serious research.) Students indicate which “Fauci” they are feeling that day with the number associated with each image — a “one” is Fauci in a full grin, a “five” shows him stroking his brow in frustration.

Errichetti later made another chart, with nine Fauci images, after some people on social media requested a more nuanced Fauci meter. But she says that one’s even less scientific than the five-photo chart.

The meme has made it beyond the classroom and social media; Errichetti said Lyerly showed it to some colleagues at the National Institutes of Health. “So then I get this cryptic text message from [Lyerly] saying ‘you’re never going to believe this,’” she said. “He told me ‘it’s made the rounds at NIH and Tony has seen it.’” It’s not the way she pictured being introduced to Fauci, Errichetti said. “Yeah that’s not the way my career was supposed to go,” she added with a chuckle.

Fauci’s fan base both inside and outside the medical community is pretty well-known; fans have created TikTok videos, games, prayer candles, and Twitter accounts to show their support. Of course, Fauci has been on the receiving end of some hateful vitriol as well, including death threats against him and his family that prompted a security detail. He’s also fallen out of favor with the White House recently for his blunt, honest assessment of how the pandemic is being handled. And over the weekend, the president responded to chants of “Fire Fauci” at a rally with “let me wait a little bit until after the election.”

But Errichetti said she and her students have tremendous respect for Fauci and the work he does. “Our job is to communicate with the public and to be honest, and to treat people with respect, and he does that well,” she said. “When we teach about how to deal with researched data, he’s the example everybody goes to.”

“If anyone is going to meme him, It should be somebody who’s an epidemiologist who has a sense of humor,” she said.

We reached out to the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to see if we could get Fauci’s take on the chart. We’ll update this story if we hear back. (Likely, they have a few other things on their plates at the moment.)

For her part, Errichetti said she would love to know how Fauci would rank himself on the Fauci meter and hopes the chart brings a little bit of levity to other health professionals who are struggling with — well, take a look around. “But this was fun for me, sitting here as an epidemiologist during a pandemic when everyone else is trying to be one,” she said. “And you know, creating your own memes, that’s a little bit of your own kind of medicine.”



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Birmingham Headlines UK Leeds Liverpool London Manchester Newcastle Sheffield

Government releases handy interactive tool showing COVID restrictions in YOUR area


Questions are swirling about which towns and cities will be next hit with tougher coronavirus restrictions after Boris Johnson unveiled his three-tier lockdown system last night.

So far only parts of Merseyside have been put into the harshest category, which means pubs and gyms need to close and residents aren’t allowed to leave their towns or cities unless they have good reason. 

Swathes of the North of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands have been placed in the second tier, with a ban on indoor mixing of households. The majority of the country remains within the lowest category.

But MPs and council leaders in Essex – which is currently a tier one county – have requested to be bumped up to the second class after being shown Covid-19 data for the county which warned of an exponential rise in cases for the weeks ahead, according to reports.

The number of infections in Essex has risen from just over 700 in the week ending October 2 to more than 1,000 the following seven days. Some places have seen infections treble in a week, with cases rising from 26 cases per 100,000 to 81 per 100,000 in Tendring, for example.

Lancashire is also said to be at risk of being bumped up to tier three ‘within days’ because 14 towns and cities within the county in the North West are recording more than 100 infections per 100,000 population.

Burnley is recording about 404 cases per 100,000, while Preston’s case rate is 307, according to Public Health England data up to October 4. Rounding out the top five, Pendle is reporting 300 cases per 100,000, Hyndburn 283 and West Lancashire 281. For comparison, the case rate in Merseyside is 685 per 100,000.

Blackburn Labour MP Kate Hollern told the Lancashire Telegraph today that the county’s huge case rate means it is ‘in tier two today but we could be in tier three tomorrow’. Rossendale and Darwen Conservative MP Jake Berry said: ‘It is good news that East Lancashire is in tier two but we were on the cusp of going into tier three. If people do not observe the rules of tier two then we will be going into the higher level. We are very close to the edge.’  

Britons confused by lockdown rules can find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and infection rates are in their area thanks to two new interactive tools. 

They were released on the Gov.uk website after Boris Johnson announced his new three-tier system last night.  Users enter their postcodes and are then told whether the alert level in their area is ‘medium, ‘high’, or ‘very high’.

People can then click a link to get more information on what restrictions come with each level. 

The Government has published a second interactive map that also allows Brits to find out the exact Covid-19 case rate where they live. 

The move is an attempt by the Government to make local lockdown rules clearer to residents living in hotspot areas. 

Ministers have been repeatedly criticised for its communication strategy throughout the crisis, with inconsistent restrictions and last-minute rule changes.

Even Boris himself confused his own lockdown rules in the North East of England last month and had to apologise for the slip-up.

Liverpool last night became the first city thrust into Tier 3, meaning pubs and bars will have to close from Wednesday. Manchester and Newcastle were among areas covering up to 20million people put into Tier 2.  

The interactive tool was released as Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick admitted that lockdown will ‘probably’ have to get tougher. 

His comments came after it was revealed Mr Johnson overruled SAGE demands for a national ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown three weeks ago.  

Click here to find out what the rules are in your area

Click here to find out the Covid-19 case rate in your area 

An interactive tool released by the Government shows Britons what Covid-19 restrictions are in their area

A separate map allows users to check the coronavirus case rate per 100,000 in their local authority

A separate map allows users to check the coronavirus case rate per 100,000 in their local authority

Almost all of England, except for some parts of the Midlands and the North that already had tougher local rules, will keep the same social distancing rules that are in place nationally now. Liverpool (in red) will be the only area that faces the highest level of restrictions

Mr Johnson told the Commons he does not believe a full lockdown would be the right course but action needed to be taken

Mr Johnson told the Commons he does not believe a full lockdown would be the right course but action needed to be taken

TIER ONE  – MEDIUM

Tier one restrictions are believed to mirror those already in place across England.

These include the rule of six, a 10pm curfew, group sport to be played outdoors only and a maximum of 15 guests at wedding ceremonies.  

TIER TWO – HIGH

Tier two restrictions are expected to be similar to rules currently in place in parts of the north east and north west, where indoor mixing of households is prohibited.

WHICH AREAS WILL BE IN WHICH TIERS? 

TIER THREE – VERY HIGH RISK

Liverpool City Region 

Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Halton 

TIER TWO – HIGH RISK 

Cheshire 

Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East 

Greater Manchester 

Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Salford, Rochdale, Oldham, 

Warrington

Derbyshire 

High Peak – the wards of Tintwistle, Padfield, Dinting, St John’s – Old Glossop, Whitfield, Simmondley, Gamesley, Howard Town, Hadfield South, Hadfield North 

Lancashire 

Lancashire, Blackpool, Preston, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley 

West Yorkshire

Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield South

Yorkshire

Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster, Sheffield 

North East 

Newcastle, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland, Durham, Northumberland

Tees Valley 

Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Hartlepool 

West Midlands

Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Wolverhampton, Walsall

Leicester

Leicester, Oadby and Wigston 

Nottingham

Nottinghamshire, Nottingham City

TIER ONE – MEDIUM RISK

Rest of England 

Two households may be allowed to meet in a private garden and public outdoor spaces, as long as the rule of six and social distancing are followed.

TIER THREE – VERY HIGH

Restaurants can open, but only until 10pm. 

Pubs and bars will be ordered to close unless they also operate as a restaurant.

This definition will extend to pubs which sell ‘substantial’ meals, which like restaurants will be allowed to stay open but only serve alcohol to people eating a meal.

Locals will be advised only to leave their areas for essential travel such as work, education or health, and must return before the end of the day.

Overnight stays by those from outside of these ‘high risk’ areas will also be banned.

Households will not be allowed to to mix either indoors or outdoors.    

Downing Street also revealed today that parts of the top Very High Risk will be ‘bespoke’. 

Alongside the blanket closure of pubs, restrictions on household mixing and guidance not to travel outside the local area, the Government will liaise with local politicians and health experts to tailor the lockdown.

This means two adjacent districts could have different lockdowns, with one having gyms open and the other seeing them closed. This could also affect institutions like bingo halls, bookies, casinos, beauty salons and hairdressers.

Mr Johnson told the Commons: ‘The very high alert level will apply where transmission rates are rising most rapidly and where the NHS could soon be under unbearable pressure without further restrictions. In these areas, the Government will set a base line of prohibiting social mixing indoors and in private gardens and I am sorry to say closing pubs and bars.

‘We want to create the maximum possible local consensus behind this more severe local action, so in each area we will work with local government leaders on the additional measures which should be taken. This could lead to further restrictions on the hospitality, leisure, entertainment or personal care sectors, but retail, schools and universities will remain open.’ 

If a business is closed due to third tier restrictions, the Government will pay two thirds of each employee’s salary, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month under plans set out by Rishi Sunak last Thursday. 

WHO IS GOING INTO TIER THREE LOCKDOWN?  

Liverpool is in Tier Three, subject to the most draconian restrictions. 

However, Manchester has been kept in Tier Two after frantic lobbying from mayor Andy Burnham and local MPs, meaning households can still socialise outdoors and bars can stay open. 

London is on the brink of Tier Two, which means stronger limits on households socialising.

Boris Johnson said: ‘Most areas which are already subject to local restrictions will automatically move into the high alert level. As a result of rising infection rates, Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak will also move into the high alert level.’  

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon confirmed that MPs in the Greater Manchester region had been told their area will be placed under Tier 2 restrictions.

The Labour MP tweeted: ‘Call with the Secretary of State (Matt Hancock) confirms Greater Manchester will be placed in Tier 2 with household restrictions on meeting indoors in any setting, but not outdoors.

‘Pubs serving food remain open.

‘Oldham will be removed from its enhanced lockdown measures and brought into line with Greater Manchester at last.’ 

The leader of Newcastle City Council said it was unlikely any further restrictions will be applied to the north-east of England ‘for now’.

Nick Forbes said on Twitter: ‘I’m pleased that, for now, it’s unlikely any further restrictions will apply in the North East.

‘We need a period of stability and consistent rules, so everyone is clear what we all need to do.’ 

Mr Forbes also called for urgent clarification on an economic support package for businesses affected by the current restrictions. 

The decision will be based on the rate of infection.

But Professor Van-Tam said the rise in coronavirus cases was now being seen ‘nationwide’ and was not solely a problem for northern England.

Addressing a slide shown earlier in the briefing about rates increasing in the South of England, he said: ‘You have worried me now that I might have presented a bi-polar picture that Covid-19 is a problem in the North and not a problem in the South.

‘On the contrary, the epidemic this time has clearly picked up pace in the North of England earlier than it did in the first wave and that almost certainly relates to the fact the disease levels in the North, and certainly in the North West, never dropped as far in the summer as they did in the South.

‘But pretty much all areas of the UK are now seeing growths in the infection rate and that extending brown map that I showed you, which is sourced from the Joint Biosecurity Centre, absolutely makes that point.

‘This is a nationwide phenomenon now that rates are changing upwards across the UK.’

Nottingham leads in England, with 2,763 new cases recorded in the seven days to October 8 – the equivalent of 830.0 cases per 100,000 people.

 

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam laid out the government's latest assessment of the COVID situation with charts at a briefing today

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam laid out the government’s latest assessment of the COVID situation with charts at a briefing today

This is a huge jump from 314.5 per 100,000 in the seven days to October 1.

Nottingham City Council expects a local lockdown to be imposed on Monday, with councils in the area asking residents to not mix with people outside of their households or bubbles.

Knowsley has the second highest rate, which has climbed from 485.9 to 669.5, with 1,010 new cases.

Neighbouring Liverpool is in third place, where the rate has increased from 504.4 to 598.5, with 2,981 new cases. 

Other areas recording big jumps in their seven-day rates which may lead to restrictions include West Lancashire (up from 217.8 to 398.1, with 455 new cases); Exeter (up from 229.8 to 380.5, with 500 new cases); Blackburn with Darwen (up from 208.4 to 355.4, with 532 new cases); and Broxtowe (up from 115.8 to 265.7, with 303 new cases).

WHY IS THIS BEING DONE NOW?

The UK was fourth in the world in terms of its number of Covid-19 cases last week.

The steep rise in cases across the nation means that Britain was only behind India, the US and Brazil in terms of its recent case numbers according to Dr Margaret Harris from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

She told  BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme the UK reported 110,827 new cases to the last week, adding: ‘We are seeing very, very large outbreaks around the world – only last week India led the number of new cases, 504,000, followed by the US with 327,000 and then Brazil.

‘But the United Kingdom is number four and what we are seeing is that, in Europe particularly, in more and more countries we’re seeing a bigger change in the number of cases.’

Mr Johnson told MPs the R value was already being suppressed to ‘well below’ its natural level, but said measures needed to go further as he outlined a simplification of the rules.

The Prime Minister told the Commons: ‘Left unchecked, each person with the virus will infect an average of between 2.7 and 3 others, but Sage assesses that the current R nationally is between 1.2 and 1.5.

‘So we are already suppressing that R to well below its natural level, which is why the virus is not spreading as quickly as it did in March. But we need to go further.

‘In recent months we have worked with local leaders to counter local spikes with targeted restrictions, but this local approach has inevitably produced different sets of rules in different parts of the country that are now complex to understand and to enforce.’

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam and NHS medical director Stephen Powis told a briefing in Downing Street this morning that the number of patients in hospital was now higher than before the blanket lockdown was imposed in March – and could be above the previous peak within four weeks.

Professor Van-Tam also delivered a stark message that the surge in cases was spreading from younger people to the more vulnerable old generation.

And Prof Powys said the hope that the elderly could be isolated from the increase in infections was proving to be ‘wishful thinking’. 

A further 12,872 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK as the country’s daily case total stays above the 10,000 mark for an entire week

Some 65 more people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 - nearly double the 33 deaths recorded last week

Some 65 more people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 – nearly double the 33 deaths recorded last week

WHAT HAS THE RESPONSE BEEN? 

Many of the local political leaders in the areas likely to face the harshest restrictions have warned about the extent of the lockdown and financial support available.  

They fear that Rishi Sunak’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) upgrade announced last week to cover 67 per cent of wages will not be enough and want something closer to the 80 per cent paid out by the soon-to-end furlough programme.

The hospitality sector will be hardest hit by new lockdown measures in the Liverpool City Region, metro mayor Steve Rotheram said.

He told BBC News that a lot of people in the sector were ‘low paid’ and needed further support to keep their jobs.

Speaking about the support package being offered by the Government, Mr Rotheram said: ‘I’m afraid 67 per cent of their (hospitality worker’s) wages doesn’t cut it. They can’t pay two-thirds of their gas or electricity, or when they go to a shop, they can’t say ‘can you cut that by a third’.

‘We need the Government to work with us so we can provide a package of support that, one, secures the likelihood that our businesses can come out of this at the other end.

‘Two, it ensures that people stay in jobs, and three, that our overall economy is not severely impacted post-pandemic by the measures taken by Government today.’

Sir Keir Starmer said he is ‘sceptical’ whether the Government has a plan to get control of the virus.

The Labour leader said: ‘Nobody should be under any illusion about where this is heading, or of the need for decisive action.

Sir Keir Starmer said areas with high coronavirus rates had been treated with 'contempt' by Boris Johnson's Government.

Sir Keir Starmer said areas with high coronavirus rates had been treated with ‘contempt’ by Boris Johnson’s Government.

Lockdown will have to get tougher, minister admits

A senior minister today admitted lockdown will ‘probably’ have to get tougher after it was revealed Boris Johnson overruled SAGE demands for a national ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown three weeks ago.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick conceded the government is poised to ‘go further’ after the PM unveiled his new ‘Three Tier’ system of local restrictions – but only put Merseyside in the harshest category that will see pubs and bars shut.

Mr Jenrick pointed to high rates of infection in areas such as Greater Manchester and Nottingham, appealing for local leaders to agree terms to move up from Tier Two.

But he dismissed claims that the government was not being ‘robust’ enough, after bombshell documents slipped out late last night showed its own scientific advisers wanted much more dramatic action. 

Mr Jenrick insisted the government was ‘certainly’ listening to scientists and had taken ‘robust’ action.

‘We listened to that advice as we always do and we did take action but these are balanced judgments,’ he told BBC Breakfast. 

He suggested Greater Manchester and Nottingham were other areas that could enter Tier 3 soon, although he said there were ‘no plans’ for it to happen this week. 

‘The question today is whether the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister can bring the country back from the brink, whether they can regain control of the virus and provide the support and confidence that local businesses and communities need. That is how high the stakes now are.

‘So we will consider the package, we will look at the small print of the Prime Minister’s statement, we will discuss them with local mayors, councillors and leaders in the areas most affected and we’ll scrutinise the economic package that sits alongside them.

‘But I have to say to the Prime Minister, I am now deeply sceptical that the Government has actually got a plan to get control of this virus, to protect jobs or retain public trust.’

Liverpool Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Cherpeau said businesses across the city are ‘bewildered, frustrated and angry’ at the new lockdown.

He said: ‘A week of speculation and rumour has badly damaged confidence. Businesses need to understand the clear evidence for the restrictions that are now being imposed – as many have worked so hard to become Covid safe.

‘Whilst our visitor economy will bear the brunt of these new restrictions, the percolating effect on supply chains is hugely concerning, in addition to the psychological impact upon our citizens, business owners and investors.

‘It is imperative that the commencement of these measures coincides with an adequately funded and swiftly distributed package of financial support alongside a clear exit strategy for when these new measures in our city region will be lifted.’ 

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has described the UK Government’s proposals for travel restrictions in areas of England with high levels of coronavirus as ‘inadequate’.

Mr Drakeford attended the Cobra meeting on Monday, chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to discuss the proposed introduction of a tiered system of local restrictions in England, the Welsh Government said.

‘The First Minister expressed deep disappointment at the inadequate proposals for travel restrictions in high-infection areas in England, and said these would be met with great dismay in many parts of Wales where infection rates are lower,’ a spokeswoman said.

‘He also requested greater clarity on the metrics for placing areas into each tier, and agreed with other devolved leaders that the Treasury’s proposals for financial support, while welcome, did not go far enough in protecting the lowest paid workers.’ 

Meanwhile, the night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, Sacha Lord, has started legal proceedings to challenge the lockdown of hospitality and entertainment venues.

Mr Dowden made clear the Government would resist any legal action, insisting ministers were supported by chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

‘We know there are challenges around hospitality – for example, the obvious point you can’t wear a mask when you are sat down and eating, that frequently you are in contact with people that you don’t normally meet, and we know that the virus thrives on that kind of social interaction,’ he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

He said the Government had to act now amid clear evidence the disease was on the rise again.

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford has described the UK Government's proposals for travel restrictions in areas of England with high levels of coronavirus as 'inadequate'

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has described the UK Government’s proposals for travel restrictions in areas of England with high levels of coronavirus as ‘inadequate’

WHAT ELSE IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING?

The temporary Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate  are being mobilised to help with the spike in Covid-19 cases ‘if necessary’.

NHS England’s Professor Stephen Powis told a Downing Street briefing there would also be increased testing of health staff in hotspot areas.

He said: ‘To protect our staff and our patients we will be introducing – with tests provided by the Test and Trace service – regular testing for staff in these high-risk areas, even when they don’t have symptoms.

‘This will help us keep staff and patients in those hospitals as safe as possible.

‘Secondly, we have asked the Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate to prepare for this next phase.

‘They are being asked to mobilise over the next few weeks to be ready to accept patients if necessary.’

It will be for local clinicians to decide whether they are used for Covid patients or to provide extra capacity to maintain services for people without coronavirus.



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