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Entertainment USA

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson lists sprawling Georgia horse farm for $7.5MIL

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has listed his sprawling Georgia estate.

The 48-year-old superstar is asking $7.5 million, according to Barron’s – a $2 million markdown from the price he paid for the horse farm a little over a year ago.

Records show that a company connected to his business managers paid $9.5 million in October 2019 to scoop up the stunning home on the edge of Atlanta, Mansion Global reported.

Lightening the overhead: Movie star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has listed his sprawling Georgia estate

Superstar: The 48-year-old actor is asking $7.5 million, according to Barron's - a $2 million markdown from the price he bought the horse farm for a little over a year ago

Superstar: The 48-year-old actor is asking $7.5 million, according to Barron’s – a $2 million markdown from the price he bought the horse farm for a little over a year ago

The overall estate is spread across 46 acres and includes a massive manor in the French Provincial style, with eight bedrooms as well as a library and wine cellar.

Dwayne’s main house is 14,000 square feet and features a saltwater swimming pool in the backyard, fully equipped with a cabana for him and his family to relax.

The Jumanji star, who is married to Lauren Hashian and has three children, has four deck chairs arranged in the backyard under an umbrella.

Nearby there is a pool pavilion with attractive country chic pillars and a shingled roof, as well as stone accents that emphasize the feeling of the French countryside.

Breathtaking: Records show that a company connected to his business managers paid $9.5 million in October 2019 to scoop up the stunning home on the edge of Atlanta, Mansion Global reported

Breathtaking: Records show that a company connected to his business managers paid $9.5 million in October 2019 to scoop up the stunning home on the edge of Atlanta, Mansion Global reported

Fab: The overall estate is spread across 46 acres and includes a massive manor in the French Provincial style, with eight bedrooms as well as a library and wine cellar

Fab: The overall estate is spread across 46 acres and includes a massive manor in the French Provincial style, with eight bedrooms as well as a library and wine cellar

Summery: Dwayne's main house is 14,000 square feet and features a saltwater swimming pool out back, fully equipped with a cabana for him and his family to relax

Summery: Dwayne’s main house is 14,000 square feet and features a saltwater swimming pool out back, fully equipped with a cabana for him and his family to relax

Terrific: The Jumanji star, who is married to one Lauren Hashian and has three children, has four deck chairs arranged in the backyard under an umbrella

Terrific: The Jumanji star, who is married to one Lauren Hashian and has three children, has four deck chairs arranged in the backyard under an umbrella

Wonderful: Nearby there is a pool pavilion with attractive country chic pillars and a shingled roof, as well as stone accents that emphasize the feeling of the French countryside

Wonderful: Nearby there is a pool pavilion with attractive country chic pillars and a shingled roof, as well as stone accents that emphasize the feeling of the French countryside

The pavilion comes with luxurious patio furniture and even a chandelier and fireplace. Meanwhile next to the swimming pool there is an elevated hot tub that is surrounded by stone embellishments. 

Dwayne’s pool however is not the only potential place to go swimming on the property as his home also includes a massive lake located amid the vast grassland. 

Naturally for an equestrian farm the home is chockablock with opportunities for outdoor entertainment – residents and guests can pop over to the viewing deck overlooking the riding arena.

The horses are also able to wander amid a large fenced-off area of the estate, right next to a tree-lined road that leads visitors up to the main house. 

Lap of luxury: The pavilion comes with luxurious patio furniture and even a chandelier and fireplace

Lap of luxury: The pavilion comes with luxurious patio furniture and even a chandelier and fireplace

Meanwhile: Next to the swimming pool there is an elevated hot tub that is surrounded by stone embellishments

Meanwhile: Next to the swimming pool there is an elevated hot tub that is surrounded by stone embellishments

Gorgeous: Dwayne's pool however is not the only potential place to go swimming on the property as his home also includes a massive lake located amid the vast grassland

Gorgeous: Dwayne’s pool however is not the only potential place to go swimming on the property as his home also includes a massive lake located amid the vast grassland

Spot it: Naturally for an equestrian farm the home is chockablock with opportunities for outdoor entertainment - residents and guests can pop over to the viewing deck overlooking the riding arena

Spot it: Naturally for an equestrian farm the home is chockablock with opportunities for outdoor entertainment – residents and guests can pop over to the viewing deck overlooking the riding arena

Pastoral: The horses are also able to wander amid a large fenced-off area of the estate, right next to a tree-lined road that leads visitors up to the main house

Pastoral: The horses are also able to wander amid a large fenced-off area of the estate, right next to a tree-lined road that leads visitors up to the main house

The interior of the mansion is fully committed to the French Provincial style, with exposed wood and stone touches helping to form a color scheme of browns, grays and whites.

There is even an old-fashioned coat of arms on the range hood in the kitchen, which additionally features a small chandelier with rose pink lampshades.

The stone-topped counters are set above light wood cabinets with boiserie, matching a curved kitchen island that is lined with chairs and contains the sink.

A good deal of the main building, which is less than an hour’s drive from the Atlanta Airport, has wide plank old growth walnut flooring.

Bucolic: The interior of the mansion is fully committed to the French Provincial style, with exposed wood and stone touches helping to form a color scheme of browns, greys and whites

Bucolic: The interior of the mansion is fully committed to the French Provincial style, with exposed wood and stone touches helping to form a color scheme of browns, greys and whites

Throwback: In fact there is even an old-fashioned coat of arms on the range hood in the kitchen, which additionally features a small chandelier with rose pink lampshades

Throwback: In fact there is even an old-fashioned coat of arms on the range hood in the kitchen, which additionally features a small chandelier with rose pink lampshades

Exquisite: The stone-topped counters are set above light wood cabinets with boiserie, matching a curved kitchen island that is lined with chairs and contains the sink

Exquisite: The stone-topped counters are set above light wood cabinets with boiserie, matching a curved kitchen island that is lined with chairs and contains the sink

The last detail: A good deal of the main building, which is less than an hour's drive from the Atlanta Airport, has wide plank old growth walnut flooring

The last detail: A good deal of the main building, which is less than an hour’s drive from the Atlanta Airport, has wide plank old growth walnut flooring

However some of the property also has attractive dark brick floors, including a narrow curved hallway that leads to one of the mansion’s staircases.

One of the charming Old World flourishes of the house is an antique-style clock hanging on one of the walls, right in sight of a Dutch door that has a doggy-door cut into it.

The library similarly evokes an old-fashioned feel, with the walls and shelving done entirely in exposed wood and a fireplace set in between the two doors.

When the furniture was put into the library some of the accents included a television set that managed to fit into one of the shelves, as well as a landscape painting over the fireplace. 

However: Some of the property also has attractive dark brick floors, including a narrow curved hallway that leads to one of the mansion's staircases

However: Some of the property also has attractive dark brick floors, including a narrow curved hallway that leads to one of the mansion’s staircases

So cute: One of the charming Old World flourishes of the house is an antique-style clock hanging on one of the walls, right in sight of a Dutch door that has a doggy-door cut into it

So cute: One of the charming Old World flourishes of the house is an antique-style clock hanging on one of the walls, right in sight of a Dutch door that has a doggy-door cut into it

Lovely: The library similarly evokes an old-fashioned feel, with the walls and shelving done entirely in exposed wood and a fireplace set in between the two doors

Lovely: The library similarly evokes an old-fashioned feel, with the walls and shelving done entirely in exposed wood and a fireplace set in between the two doors

Complete with the trappings: When the furniture was put into the library some of the accents included a television set that managed to fit into one of the shelves, as well as a landscape painting over the fireplace

Complete with the trappings: When the furniture was put into the library some of the accents included a television set that managed to fit into one of the shelves, as well as a landscape painting over the fireplace

Dwayne’s rambling country home in Georgia also has a few sitting rooms – one of which is furnished with a baby grand piano behind the sofas.

On the other side of the room from the piano there is a small fireplace with a pale blue mantelpiece that has been carved with intricate floral patterning. 

Another sitting room is arranged around a large stone fireplace and boasts not only an extravagant chandelier but also a massive bookcase as a homey touch.

In that room what appears to be an old round shield is hung over the mantelpiece, just above two comfortable-looking leather armchairs with matching ottomans.

Artistic: Dwayne's rambling country home in Georgia also has a few sitting rooms - one of which is furnished with a baby grand piano behind the sofas

Artistic: Dwayne’s rambling country home in Georgia also has a few sitting rooms – one of which is furnished with a baby grand piano behind the sofas

Swank: On the other side of the room from the piano there is a small fireplace with a pale blue mantelpiece that has been carved with intricate floral patterning

Swank: On the other side of the room from the piano there is a small fireplace with a pale blue mantelpiece that has been carved with intricate floral patterning

A perfect place for teatime: Another sitting room is arranged around a large stone fireplace and boasts not only an extravagant chandelier but also a massive bookcase as a homey touch

A perfect place for teatime: Another sitting room is arranged around a large stone fireplace and boasts not only an extravagant chandelier but also a massive bookcase as a homey touch

How the other half live: In that room what appears to be an old round shield is hung over the mantelpiece, just above two comfortable-looking leather armchairs with matching ottomans

How the other half live: In that room what appears to be an old round shield is hung over the mantelpiece, just above two comfortable-looking leather armchairs with matching ottomans

There are also multiple dining rooms in the house, including one with a row of vaulted casement windows allowing light to stream in from the grounds.

Another dining room has one long casement window spanning the entirety of one of the walls, so that diners can look out at the expansive estate outside.

Dwayne’s property features two apartments as well as an owner’s suite that comes with its own private backyard, enabling each resident to have plenty of privacy.

One spacious room has white shelving constructed into one of the walls, with room for a television set and a ceiling fan for the warmer months.

So many options: There are also multiple dining rooms in the house, including one with a row of vaulted casement windows allowing light to stream in from the grounds

So many options: There are also multiple dining rooms in the house, including one with a row of vaulted casement windows allowing light to stream in from the grounds

Time to chow down: Another dining room has one long casement window spanning the entirety of one of the walls, so that diners can look out at the expansive estate outside

Time to chow down: Another dining room has one long casement window spanning the entirety of one of the walls, so that diners can look out at the expansive estate outside

Huge expanse: Dwayne's property features two apartments as well as an owner's suite that comes with its own private backyard, enabling each resident to have plenty of privacy

Huge expanse: Dwayne’s property features two apartments as well as an owner’s suite that comes with its own private backyard, enabling each resident to have plenty of privacy

Great: One spacious room has white shelving constructed into one of the walls, with room for a television set and a ceiling fan for the warmer months

Great: One spacious room has white shelving constructed into one of the walls, with room for a television set and a ceiling fan for the warmer months

There is a small kitchen on the estate with a wood-paned glass door leading directly outside, as well as a small chandelier and plenty of room for a dining table nearby.

Another kitchen includes stone accents similar to the exterior of the main house, including around the vaulted entryway and on one of the pillars under the counter.

Dwayne’s several bathrooms include an en-suite attached to a cozy little bedroom that has been painted in a gentle olive green shade.

The ensuite’s wallpaper has a pale leafy green motif to match the bedroom, as well as green, brown and white tiling in the room that contains the large ceramic tub.

In touch with nature: There is a small kitchen on the estate with a wood-paned glass door leading directly outside, as well as a small chandelier and plenty of room for a dining table nearby

In touch with nature: There is a small kitchen on the estate with a wood-paned glass door leading directly outside, as well as a small chandelier and plenty of room for a dining table nearby

Looking amazing: Another kitchen includes stone accents similar to the exterior of the main house, including around the vaulted entryway and on one of the pillars under the counter

Looking amazing: Another kitchen includes stone accents similar to the exterior of the main house, including around the vaulted entryway and on one of the pillars under the counter

Sleek and chic: Dwayne's several bathrooms include an en-suite attached to a cozy little bedroom that has been painted in a gentle olive green shade

Sleek and chic: Dwayne’s several bathrooms include an en-suite attached to a cozy little bedroom that has been painted in a gentle olive green shade

Coordinated: The ensuite's wallpaper has a pale leafy green motif to match the bedroom, as well as green, browna nd white tiling in the room that contains the large ceramic tub

Coordinated: The ensuite’s wallpaper has a pale leafy green motif to match the bedroom, as well as green, browna nd white tiling in the room that contains the large ceramic tub

A similar tub – old-fashioned and detached with metallic legs designed to look like actual feet – sits in another narrow bathroom this time reminiscent of the colonial era.

One bathroom that has been done all in white features two separate showers directly next to one another, so that if a couple is staying there no one has to argue over who gets to bathe first.

In fact one of the larger bathrooms includes two fully separate counters with their own mirrors, placed opposite a bathtub that comes with not just a curtained window but also a fireplace.

A smaller bathroom is still handsomely appointed with log-cabin-chic wood paneling around the mirror to match the cabinets underneath the sink.

Perfect place to relax: A similar tub - old-fashioned and detached with metallic legs designed to look like actual feet - sits in another narrow bathroom this time reminiscent of the colonial era

Perfect place to relax: A similar tub – old-fashioned and detached with metallic legs designed to look like actual feet – sits in another narrow bathroom this time reminiscent of the colonial era

Making it work: One bathroom that has been done all in white features two separate showers directly next to one another, so that if a couple is staying there no one has to argue over who gets to bathe first

Making it work: One bathroom that has been done all in white features two separate showers directly next to one another, so that if a couple is staying there no one has to argue over who gets to bathe first

Beautiful: In fact one of the larger bathrooms includes two fully separate counters with their own mirrors, placed opposite a bathtub that comes with not just a curtained window but also a fireplace

Beautiful: In fact one of the larger bathrooms includes two fully separate counters with their own mirrors, placed opposite a bathtub that comes with not just a curtained window but also a fireplace

Luxe to the hilt: A smaller bathroom is still handsomely appointed with log-cabin-chic wood paneling around the mirror to match the cabinets underneath the sinks

Luxe to the hilt: A smaller bathroom is still handsomely appointed with log-cabin-chic wood paneling around the mirror to match the cabinets underneath the sinks

One vanity room has a mirror spanning the entire length of one wall, with small vaulted windows along the opposite wall giving a glimpse of the trees outside.

Given that the estate is a horse ranch naturally there is a large stable that strikes a balance between a design that is simple and economical and yet in keeping with the look of the main house.

Inside the stable there are 12 stalls and a vaulted ceiling with exposed rafters and plenty of lights.

Meanwhile just outside the stable there is room to park a couple of cars, and nearby a dark picket fence. 

Setup: One vanity room has a mirror spanning the entire length of one wall, with small vaulted windows along the opposite wall giving a glimpse of the trees outside

Setup: One vanity room has a mirror spanning the entire length of one wall, with small vaulted windows along the opposite wall giving a glimpse of the trees outside

All of a theme: Given that the estate is a horse ranch naturally there is a large stable that strikes a balance between a design that is simple and economical and yet in keeping with the look of the main house

All of a theme: Given that the estate is a horse ranch naturally there is a large stable that strikes a balance between a design that is simple and economical and yet in keeping with the look of the main house

Utility: Inside the stable there are 12 stalls and a vaulted ceiling with exposed rafters and plenty of lights

Utility: Inside the stable there are 12 stalls and a vaulted ceiling with exposed rafters and plenty of lights

Meanwhile: Just outside the stable there is room to park a couple of cars, and nearby a dark picket fence

Meanwhile: Just outside the stable there is room to park a couple of cars, and nearby a dark picket fence

The property is certainly fit for entertaining guests as there is a five-car garage situated along one side of the house adjacent to a vast driveway.

Trees line the stone path leading up to the house and there is also a small porte-cochere with lanterns hanging from the wall and ceiling. 

Although the main building went up only in 2002 the grounds also include a farmhouse that has been standing since 1867, according to Beacham & Company Realtors who have the listing, and is now used as a residence for the caretaker.

Holy cow: The property is certainly fit for entertaining guests as there is a five-car garage situated along one side of the house adjacent to a vast driveway

Holy cow: The property is certainly fit for entertaining guests as there is a five-car garage situated along one side of the house adjacent to a vast driveway

Legging it: Trees line the stone path leading up to the house

Legging it: Trees line the stone path leading up to the house

Grandeur: There is also a small porte-cochere with lanterns hanging from the wall and ceiling

Grandeur: There is also a small porte-cochere with lanterns hanging from the wall and ceiling

Bird's eye: Although the main building went up only in 2002 the grounds also include a farmhouse that has been standing since 1867 and is now used as a residence for the caretaker

Bird’s eye: Although the main building went up only in 2002 the grounds also include a farmhouse that has been standing since 1867 and is now used as a residence for the caretaker

There is a lot of space around this mega mansion: Aerial shots of the property give a sense of its incredible scope

There is a lot of space around this mega mansion: Aerial shots of the property give a sense of its incredible scope

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Entertainment USA

Shawn Johnson Pregnant: Olympic Gymnast Expecting 2nd Child With Husband Andrew East

Congratulations to Shawn Johnson and Andrew East! The happy couple just announced that they’re expecting their second child together, one year after welcoming daughter Drew.

The Johnson-East family is about to get a little bigger! Olympian Shawn Johnson announced on January 15 that she and husband Andrew East are expecting their second child together. Shawn, 28, broke the news with a series of gorgeous photos on Instagram showing herself looking radiant in a clingy black dress, her growing baby bump on full display. “Here we go again @thefamilyeast #babyeast,” she captioned the post, which you can see HERE.

In the first shot, Shawn’s pro football player husband of four years is leaning down to give the ultra-tiny gymnast a kiss. The second photo shows their adorable daughter, Drew Hazel East, looking too cute for words in a pink dress, pink headband, and matching sparkly sneakers. The little cutie, who just turned one in November, is carrying the tiniest pair of Converse hi-tops, meant for her soon-to-be sibling.

Shawn Johnson poses with husband Andrew East on the red carpet at the 2015 Espys (AP)

The final shot of the photoset is the sweetest, a family photo of a beaming Andrew holding their daughter as an overjoyed Shawn cradles her baby bump. They’re going to be a family of four so soon! Shawn’s Instagram comments were full of congratulations from famous friends and fans, including fellow Olympian Lindsey Vonn, who sent her prayer hand and heart emojis.

Country singer Jana Kramer confessed that she already knew about the pregnancy before the Instagram announcement. She commented, “So excited we can talk about it now!!!!! Ahhhhh. I was so afraid to slip. Haha.” The View co-host Sara Haines commented, “Congratulations!!!!! So so happy for all of you” with heart and praise hand emojis. The Bachelorette alum Ali Fedotowsky pledged to go the extra mile for her pregnant neighbor: “If you need anything like fried pickles with ice cream at 10 PM, you know who to call.”

The road to parenthood hasn’t been easy for Shawn and Andrew. Prior to welcoming their beautiful daughter into the world, Shawn suffered a devastating miscarriage. Shawn shared the news in 2017, breaking down in tears as she filmed a doctor telling her the pregnancy was no longer viable. Now, they’re about to be the parents of two gorgeous kiddos.

 

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Birmingham Headlines UK Liverpool London

Boris Johnson begs families to stay home and Chris Whitty appears in TV ad as part of new campaign

Boris Johnson last night begged families to stay at home as the Covid-19 death toll hit a grim new record – with the Government launching a new campaign blitz to scare people into obeying lockdown rules.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has appeared in adverts urging us to stay at home as the new variant of the virus rips across the country.

Two terrifying new posters also show a patient dying in hospital and a healthcare worker wearing full PPE, warning Britons: ‘If you go out, you can spread it. People will die.’

Mr Johnson said that infections were rising at an alarming rate, despite the new national lockdown imposed at the start of the week.

And he warned the only way to prevent thousands more deaths was to follow the rules. The Prime Minister said: ‘I know the last year has taken its toll.

‘But your compliance is now more vital than ever. Once again, I must urge everyone to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.’

Another 1,325 Covid deaths were reported on Friday – nearly one a minute – and more than the peak of 1,224 in the first wave last April.

The grisly death toll – which has doubled in a week – takes the UK to the brink of almost 80,000 victims. 

Experts fear the daily death counts will continue to spiral because of rocketing cases and hospitalisations, piling further pressure on Boris Johnson to speed up the sluggish vaccination programme designed to start getting  Britain out of lockdown by mid-February.

Department of Health figures show the UK has recorded more than 50,000 cases for 11 days in a row, with the five worst days of the pandemic all occurring since the start of 2021. Cases have risen by almost 30 per cent week-on-week.

But a senior SAGE official today warned the actual number of Britons currently getting infected every day is closer to 150,000, claiming that the size of the second wave is now way worse than the first. 

The source also fears England’s third national lockdown will not ‘slam the R rate down as it did in March’ because the country was dealing with a more infectious mutated strain and because adherence to the rules has dwindled. 

 No10’s advisory panel revealed that the R rate could be as high as 1.4 across the seven regions of England.

Amid calls for even tougher restrictions, ministers are considering making face masks mandatory in busy outdoor locations, such as supermarket queues.

As London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a major incident, saying the virus was ‘out of control’ and threatening to overwhelm hospitals in the capital:

  • Confirmed coronavirus infections hit a record high of 68,053;
  • One in every 15 people in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham may have the virus, according to an official survey;
  • A new highly infectious variant now makes up 81 per cent of cases in the capital;
  • Senior officials warned its virulence meant the current lockdown was likely to be less effective at curbing the virus than the first;
  • More hospitals cancelled other treatments, even cancer operations;
  • Police were put on standby to drive ambulances in London;
  • Constabularies launched a crackdown on lockdown-breakers;
  • A study suggested the Pfizer vaccine works against the new strain;
  • UK regulators approved a third vaccine but it will not be available until spring;
  • Vaccine tsar Kate Bingham vowed the target to inoculate the 13million most vulnerable by February 15 would be met.

Everyone in England is being urged to stay at home and ‘act like you’ve got it’ as part of a major advertising campaign. including posters (pictured) encouraging the public to control the spread of the virus and protect the NHS and save lives

A commuter wears a facemask as he sits in a bus shelter with signage promoting "Stay Home, Save Lives" in central London

A commuter wears a facemask as he sits in a bus shelter with signage promoting ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ in central London

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a plea to families and begged them to stay home to save lives as the UK recorded its highest death toll since the pandemic began today and the NHS launches a new ad campaign fronted by Chris Whitty

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a plea to families and begged them to stay home to save lives as the UK recorded its highest death toll since the pandemic began today and the NHS launches a new ad campaign fronted by Chris Whitty

Health chief warns London faces ‘biggest threat’ of pandemic so far 

London is facing the biggest threat of the pandemic so far as the NHS buckles under the strain of coronavirus cases, experts warned today as a major incident was declared in the capital. The city is one of the main hotspots of the latest wave of the virus which saw deaths reach a record high today, with its spread now ‘out of control’ in the metropolitan area.

Mayor Sadiq Khan warned that more than 1 per cent of the city’s nine million residents tested positive for Covid last week, with one in 30 residents currently estimated to be infected. In the worst-hit boroughs, it is feared the rate is as high as one in 20 and startling figures also show that hospital admissions rose by a quarter in the first week of January.

More than 7,000 NHS beds across the capital are currently occupied by Covid patients – 35 per cent higher than the busiest day of the pandemic in the spring.

The hard-hitting ad campaign was launched on TV last night, fronted by Chief Medical Officer Professor Whitty. He said that while vaccines provided ‘clear hope for the future… for now we must all stay at home’.

Professor Whitty, who is the most trusted government figure on Covid, said the rapid spread of the virus was putting ‘many people at risk of serious disease and is placing a lot of pressure on our NHS’.

Dramatic images will carry the stark message: ‘Coronavirus. If you go out, you can spread it. People will die.’

Prof Whitty says: ‘Covid-19, especially the new variant, is spreading quickly across the country. This puts many people at risk of serious disease and is placing a lot of pressure on our NHS.

‘Once more, we must all stay home. If it’s essential to go out, remember: wash your hands, cover your face indoors and keep your distance from others.

‘Vaccines give clear hope for the future, but for now we must all stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.’ The campaign also urges people to ‘act like you’ve got it’ adding that ‘anyone can spread it’.

England is now in its toughest and longest lockdown since last spring and may not emerge from it until all the most vulnerable groups have been vaccinated against Covid-19. 

The Prime Minister has called in the Army to ramp up Britain’s vaccination roll out, which offers the only glimmer of hope for ending lockdowns. The sluggish programme has been dogged by staffing and supply issues and bureaucratic barriers that have strangled it in the early stages.

It comes as police were accused of cracking the lockdown whip too hard after a force threatened to fine people £200 for playing in the snow – while elsewhere officers swooped on two friends for driving just seven miles to go for a walk at a beauty spot. 

And No 10 fears that Mr Johnson’s stay-at-home order is being flouted – a suspicion backed up by figures from Transport for London.

Passenger levels on the Underground were running at 18 per cent yesterday, compared with just 5 per cent last April. Bus use is at 30 per cent of capacity, compared with around 18 per cent in the first lockdown.

And traffic levels on main roads in the capital were at 76 per cent of normal compared with 30-40 per cent nine months ago.

Apple Mobility Trends shows driving down by 44 per cent, walking down by 62 per cent and transit down by 68 per cent in London

Apple Mobility Trends shows driving down by 44 per cent, walking down by 62 per cent and transit down by 68 per cent in London 

Tom Tom figures also has commuters driving into work at rush hour as remaining steady at just 25 per cent

Tom Tom figures also has commuters driving into work at rush hour as remaining steady at just 25 per cent

Most seats were taken up at Canada Water on the Jubilee Line heading into the city centre and some people had to stand

Most seats were taken up at Canada Water on the Jubilee Line heading into the city centre and some people had to stand

Pictured is driving, walking and transit data from Apple Mobility for the capital over the course of the last year

Pictured is driving, walking and transit data from Apple Mobility for the capital over the course of the last year

Pupils swab themselves while a nurse watches on

Pupils have been swabbing themselves as school nurses watch on despite proof rapid tests only work if they are administered properly. Students at Oasis Academy in Coulsdon, Surrey, were sent the kits on Monday and given instructions by nurses on how to carry out the tests themselves.

Only vulnerable children or those whose parents are key workers are allowed to attend lessons in person during the latest national lockdown. It comes as figures suggest schools could still be attended by up to 20 per cent of pupils. But children are now being supervised by nurses, similar to how some walk-in testing centres are run, rather than having a nurse carry out the tests themselves.

The idea is that fewer medical experts or volunteers are needed allowing a larger number of people to be test more quickly. But multiple studies show lateral flow tests – when self-administered – could miss cases, due to the force and depth needed to collect a sample. It comes as calls to limit the number of children in school is growing, with attendance levels surging to more than 50 per cent in some areas.

The major incident declared by Mr Khan yesterday is a procedure previously invoked following the Grenfell Tower disaster and major terrorist attacks.

The mayor called for the closure of places of worship and for face masks to be worn routinely outside the home. Downing Street sources said there were ‘no more new lockdown measures on the way’.

But the Mail understands that Health Secretary Matt Hancock and other ministers have been examining the case to extend the use of masks.

Mr Khan said the situation in the capital was dire, with an estimated one in every 50 Londoners infected. ‘It’s like being in a theatre of war,’ he said. ‘Unless we reduce the spread, the NHS will run out of beds.’

City Hall said Covid cases in the capital had exceeded 1,000 per 100,000 and there were 35 per cent more hospital admissions with the virus than last April.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s regional director for London, said: ‘This is the biggest threat our city has faced in this pandemic to date.

‘The emergence of the new variant means we are setting record case rates at almost double the national average, with at least one in 30 people (in London) now thought to be carrying the virus.

‘Our NHS services are under immense pressure and currently another 800 people are being admitted to our hospitals every day.’

The London Ambulance Service is taking up to 8,000 emergency calls a day and at one east London hospital patients were apparently waiting 24 hours for a bed after arriving at A&E.

NHS London said a record 977 patients were admitted to hospitals over 24 hours.

Cases per day in London

Cases per day in London

People being hospitalised in London

People being hospitalised in London 

Coronavirus deaths in London

Coronavirus deaths in London

He said that over the last three days alone the NHS has announced 477 deaths in London hospitals following a positive test for Covid-19 (Piccadilly Circus pictured today)

He said that over the last three days alone the NHS has announced 477 deaths in London hospitals following a positive test for Covid-19 (Piccadilly Circus pictured today)

Nurse catches Covid three weeks AFTER getting vaccine as expert warns it takes time for immunity to build up

A nurse in Wales caught coronavirus three weeks after getting the vaccine, prompting experts to warn that it takes time for immunity to the virus to build up.

The nurse, who has been working for the Hywel Dda University Health Board area, said that she contracted Covid-19 while waiting for the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech developed vaccine.

While the vaccine ‘reduces your chance of suffering,’ the health board said, ‘no vaccine is 100 percent effective.’

Experts have warned that vaccines can take weeks to build immunity, and that people must still be careful to follow coronavirus rules after having the jab.

Speaking to the BBC, the nurse – who chose not to be identified – said she was ‘angry and heartbroken’ to have caught Covid at this stage.

She said that she was initially relieved to be offered the chance to be given the vaccine, and while she struggled to get an appointment, she was given her first dose of the Pzizer-BioNtech vaccine in December last year.

‘It gave me peace of mind. It made me feel safer and that I was doing the right thing for my family… but it gives a false sense of security,’ she told the broadcaster.

The nurse said that it was explained to her that it would take 10 days for the vaccine to offer some protection against Covic-19, and reduce the risk of transmission.

But three weeks after being given the jab, she said she began to feel unwell, suffering from ‘quite severe symptoms’ of a bad cough, high temperature and breathlessness, and was ‘shocked’ when she tested positive for the coronavirus – followed by her partner and one of her children.

Vaccinations have been shown to prevent severe infection, so even if people do become infected, they would be protected from becoming seriously unwell. 

The virus is also spreading rapidly outside the capital. Six out of ten hospitals in England are now reporting more Covid patients than in the first wave – a situation doctors say is ‘cataclysmic’.

Fewer than 500 were in hospital at the start of September but yesterday the figure stood at 28,246. That is an increase of more than 11,000 in a fortnight.

A doctor from Merseyside said her hospital is ‘almost at the limit’ with patients having to wait in corridors or ambulances.

Scientists advising the Government believe the current lockdown may lead to a plateau of cases across the UK rather than the dramatic cut seen in the March and April lockdown.

They estimate there are currently more than 100,000 new infections per day and possibly higher than 150,000.

They believe this estimate puts the current number of daily cases at a higher level than during the first wave of the pandemic. Hospitals are now seeing far more younger people than during the first wave.

There are also mounting fears about the knock-on effects on wider public health.

Experts expect there to be thousands of deaths as a result of disruption to cancer surgery in this wave, with some patients having vital operations cancelled even while they were heading to hospital.

Campaign group Catch up with Cancer: ‘If you have got Covid you can have a bed, but if you’ve got cancer you can’t have an operation. These cancer patients are dying at home and will be for the next five years.’

But there was an extra glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as a third vaccine in the fight against coronavirus was approved for use in the UK on Friday.

The jab, from US biotech firm Moderna, has been given the green light by the MHRA – joining the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca.

The approval of the Moderna vaccine means the UK should have three vaccines to use when it comes on stream in spring.

The Government has increased its order of the vaccine to 17 million doses – enough to vaccinate 8.5 million people – with batches expected to be released in phases.

It has been shown to be 94 per cent effective against Covid-19 in clinical trials. Mr Johnson tweeted: ‘Excellent news the @MHRAgovuk has approved the use of the @moderna-tx vaccine.

‘Our national vaccine effort is accelerating to vaccinate priority groups with our existing two vaccines, and the Moderna doses will add to that when they become available in spring.’

The Office for National Statistics found in its mass testing programme that almost two thirds (61 per cent) of the positive tests it found in England appeared to be linked to the new variant of the virus. The figure was higher for some regions - particularly in London and the South - but lower in others

The Office for National Statistics found in its mass testing programme that almost two thirds (61 per cent) of the positive tests it found in England appeared to be linked to the new variant of the virus. The figure was higher for some regions – particularly in London and the South – but lower in others

 

Positive cases appeared to be starting to fall or level off in London, the East and South East of England in this week's ONS data, which Professor Christ Whitty picked up on in a press briefing earlier this week

Positive cases appeared to be starting to fall or level off in London, the East and South East of England in this week’s ONS data, which Professor Christ Whitty picked up on in a press briefing earlier this week

The new variant of coronavirus (blue line) has become the dominant strain in England but is not yet more common than other types of the virus in the UK's other countries, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, ONS testing shows

The new variant of coronavirus (blue line) has become the dominant strain in England but is not yet more common than other types of the virus in the UK’s other countries, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, ONS testing shows

The Kent variant of the virus (blue line) has become dominant in London, the East of England and the South East, but not yet in other parts of the country, although it is narrowing the gap in most places

The Kent variant of the virus (blue line) has become dominant in London, the East of England and the South East, but not yet in other parts of the country, although it is narrowing the gap in most places

A graph presented by Professor Chris Whitty this week showed that the number of people testing positive for the new variant of coronavirus (blue line) appeared to start coming down in London and the South East towards the end of December, although it has risen in other regions

A graph presented by Professor Chris Whitty this week showed that the number of people testing positive for the new variant of coronavirus (blue line) appeared to start coming down in London and the South East towards the end of December, although it has risen in other regions

The Covid Symptom Study, which uses reports from around one million people who have the app on their phones, showed that cases have been surging non-stop since the effects of England's second lockdown wore off in early December

The Covid Symptom Study, which uses reports from around one million people who have the app on their phones, showed that cases have been surging non-stop since the effects of England’s second lockdown wore off in early December

Prince William thanks frontline NHS workers during a video call with staff at Homerton University Hospital

Prince William has paid tribute to NHS staff working on the Covid frontline and thanked them for their continued efforts during a particularly challenging time.

The Duke of Cambridge, 38, spoke to staff from Homerton University Hospital via video call on January 7 to hear more about their experiences responding to the pandemic in recent weeks.

In the past week, Homerton University Hospital has seen their highest number of admissions since the pandemic began, with over 200 Covid patients currently being cared for and staff being moved to new roles within the hospital to cope with the ongoing pressure on frontline staff.

During the call, William heard from staff about the significant challenges that they are currently facing, and how this time compares to their experiences during previous spikes in transmission rates.

He told staff: ‘You’re all in my thoughts and Catherine and I, and all of the children, talk about all of you guys every day.

‘We’re making sure the children understand the sacrifices that all of you are making.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: ‘This is fantastic news and another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease.’

Nearly 1.5 million people in the UK have already been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines, with the Government aiming to jab 15 million of those most at risk by mid-February.

With the current lockdown and vaccine rollout, deaths from coronavirus are expected to start dropping in February, while hospital admissions should drop.

Coronavirus cases are expected to drop in the spring due to vaccination plus the fact people spend more time outdoors, making it harder for the virus to spread.

Elsewhere, research published on Friday suggests the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech appears to protect against a mutation in two coronavirus variants.

The pharmaceutical giant and researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch carried out lab tests on the strains -from the UK and South Africa.

Both variants contain mutations including N501Y, an alteration in the spike protein of the virus, which is a target for vaccines.

In the study, not yet peer-reviewed, people given the Pfzier jab had neutralising levels of antibodies which appeared to work against N501Y in the new strains.

But one of the mutations in the South Africa variant, named E484K, has not yet been studied and is still causing concern for experts.

While scientists at the top of Government increasingly believe the UK variant can be tacked with existing vaccines, there is concern that the South African variant has the potential to make them less effective, though studies are ongoing.

In future years, it is thought that Covid-19 vaccines will need to be tweaked annually much in the same way the winter flu jab is.

Meanwhile, papers released by the Government from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), which advises ministers, suggests communication campaigns will be needed to ensure those who are vaccinated continue to adhere to lockdown rules.

It said there was some evidence that, ‘in the absence of any mitigation policies, some of those who have been vaccinated will show a reduction in personal protective behaviours’ such as mask-wearing and social distancing.

It is not yet known whether vaccination can prevent people passing the virus onto other people.

Problems by the armful… but at last we’re saving lives with Pfizer’s ‘pizza boxes from heaven’: Thousands of phone calls and up to a fifth of patients refusing jabs – one medic reveals the reality behind all the rhetoric

It is the logistical challenge of a lifetime: the roll-out of essential Covid-19 vaccines at a rate that, hopefully, will help free the country from the endless cycles of lockdowns. 

With 1.5 million doses dispensed so far — and the promise of two million a week to come — Louise Kyle, a nursing leader in a large inner-city practice, gives an insight into the gargantuan effort required for just one vaccine ‘hub’ to play its part.   

Mon, December 7

The usual business of a Monday morning is compounded by news that our proposed vaccine ‘hub’ has been given the OK to ‘go live’ in eight days.

We’d volunteered to be an active ‘wave one’ site for the Pfizer jab from the moment we were able. Now, here we were, at the coal face of this history-making exercise.

Louise Kyle, (pictured) a nursing leader in a large inner-city practice, gives an insight into the gargantuan effort required for just one vaccine ‘hub’ to play its part

Louise Kyle, (pictured) a nursing leader in a large inner-city practice, gives an insight into the gargantuan effort required for just one vaccine ‘hub’ to play its part

It’s exciting, but daunting given the huge challenge that lies ahead, the scale of which becomes apparent almost immediately when, within a day of receiving our news, NHS England changes its guidelines to say that all vaccinated patients will have to stay behind for 15 minutes after receiving their jab, in case of an allergic reaction — something that simply isn’t possible in the site we’d prepared, given the need for social distancing.

It means a hasty pivot to a new arrangement, in our case asking our district nurses to vacate their clinical rooms — the best we can do at a week’s notice. Still, it gives us some practice thinking on our feet, which I’m sure, given what lies ahead, will prove useful.

Wed, December 9

With our vaccine site confirmed the focus is on logistics. Given the vaccine’s strict ‘shelf life’ once it comes out of its deep-freeze storage, we have a 90-hour window to vaccinate 1,000 people. That means reaching some 2,000 registered patients in our area who are aged over 80 to get those who wish to take up the offer booked in.

Time constraints mean there’s no time to reach them by post and, given that we can’t rely on the mass-texting system we use to reach younger patients, we have a team of 12 staff across our practices phoning patients solidly from dawn until dusk. I even recruit my 19-year-old son, now at home from university, to help man the lines.

It’s a complex business, not least because English is not the first language for some of our patients, while others are lonely and want to chat for hours.

It’s one reason we give our team a script to stick to. Happily, most patients are only too eager to accept their proffered appointment, but it’s dismaying that one in five of them either decline to have the jab at all, or say they want to wait a bit longer before making their decision.

It is the logistical challenge of a lifetime: the roll-out of essential Covid-19 vaccines. Pictured: Taking delivery of the first batch in its takeaway-style box

It is the logistical challenge of a lifetime: the roll-out of essential Covid-19 vaccines. Pictured: Taking delivery of the first batch in its takeaway-style box

Is Britain’s great Covid vaccine roll-out finally picking up pace? 

Britain’s sluggish coronavirus vaccine roll out may finally be starting to gather steam as pictures emerged today of dozens of elderly residents queuing in the freezing cold to get their jabs, after Boris Johnson brought in the Army to ramp up delivery to 200,000 doses a day by the end of next week.

The pensioners were snapped standing in line outside a vaccination centre in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, today as they patiently waited to get their first dose.

But many are still yet to be called for an appointment, with 99-year-old RAF veteran Arthur Clark who is classed as extremely vulnerable to Covid because of his age, saying he is still yet to be offered a jab by the NHS despite trying to get a slot since Christmas.

The widower and great-grandfather-of-four told MailOnline from his home in Beckenham, south east London: ‘It’s very annoying, I thought I’d been lost in the system.’ He added: ‘I appreciate it takes a while to get round to everyone, but I would have thought they’d have tried to give people of my age priority.’

And in yet more chaos to the lackluster scheme, a housebound 89-year-old widow was asked to travel 16 miles to a vaccination centre despite being unable to drive. Her daughter claimed the 80-minute journey from her home in rural Harleston, South Norfolk, was out of the question. 

One elderly Briton in her nineties also claims she hasn’t yet been able to get vaccinated because health bosses are going down the list in alphabetical order, instead of age priority. 

It comes as a patients’ rights group warned that some elderly Britons may be missing their Covid jabs because of AWOL reminder letters and text alerts amid reports of people not turning up to get either the Pfizer/BioNTech jab because they were waiting ‘for the English one’.

Fri, December 11

Two days of our first three-day vaccine schedule are now fully booked, with more than 600 patients scheduled to receive a jab on the coming Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving only Thursday to be sorted.

There’s a palpable sense of excitement among the team.

As I go home for a well-earned glass of wine I hope this is the moment that we turn the corner to combat Covid in our area, where it has been running rife.

Along with many of my colleagues, I caught the virus back in March — before the first national lockdown — and though I pulled through fine, it was still a wretched experience. For others, of course, it can be a matter of life or death.

I’ve lost several much-loved patients to this cruel disease over the past months.

Sun, December 13

I spoke too soon! My peaceful Sunday morning is overturned by an email informing us there’s been a 24-hour delay to the vaccine’s arrival. Cue a hasty scramble to get colleagues in to work to contact all of Tuesday’s patients and tell them to come in on Friday instead.

Since many of them had relatives or friends who had taken time off work to bring them in, it’s a major inconvenience, but mercifully most understand it’s not our fault.

Mon, December 14

Our ‘telephone terriers’ hit the phones again to book Thursday’s remaining slots, while I visit a local hospital to see how the vaccine vials arrive and are mixed to ensure the correct dosage.

The answer to the former, I discover, is that they come in what looks strangely like a small pizza box — rather different to the sci-fi cube emitting clouds of dry-ice that I’d half been expecting.

We’re similarly underwhelmed back at base by the arrival of the storage fridge, which we’d all pictured as some futuristic number but, in reality, is like a small under-the-counter affair you might keep your drinks in at home: ‘A G&T or a dose of Pfizer, darling?’ With the delivery of all the aprons, syringes and wipes we’re going to need, things are gearing up, although I’m anxious that with just hours to go until ‘V-Day’ we’re still awaiting the national protocol which allows our healthcare assistants and other junior staff or ‘lay vaccinators’ to help us administer it quickly and safely.

Ralph Evans, 88, receives the vaccine in Merthyr Tydfil. He is among the 1.5million to have been given the NHS jab

Ralph Evans, 88, receives the vaccine in Merthyr Tydfil. He is among the 1.5million to have been given the NHS jab

Scientists warn of rise in infections over government allowing arrivals to choose ‘less accurate’ lateral flow tests to prove they are infection-free

Coronavirus cases could be missed at Britain’s border following the government’s decision to let travellers choose ‘less accurate’ lateral flow tests to prove they’re Covid-free, scientists have warned.  

Those arriving in the UK will be able to present negative PCR or lateral flow Covid tests as proof that they do not have coronavirus. 

Grant Shapps has said nobody will be able to depart for Britain by plane, train or ferry unless they present a ‘recognised’ test result at check-in along with a valid passport and visa if required. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also adopt the measure.  

PCR tests can take longer because they are sent off to a lab to check for Covid, with some critics saying 72 hours could be too tight. Rapid ‘lateral flow’ tests can be turned around in minutes, but missed cases and false positives are more common.

The difference has sparked concerns that Covid-positive travellers could present a negative test at the border to gain entry to Britain.  

Professor Jon Deeks, a testing expert at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘The lateral flow test, we know, is not very sensitive so it will miss cases and it isn’t suitable.’

He added: ‘Other countries are using PCR and I would be concerned if we didn’t. There are alternatives, but we need something with similar accuracy to PCR.’

Dr Alex Edwards, a pharmacy researcher at the University of Reading, told MailOnline: ‘Given that this is a screening programme particularly for asymptomatic people, you want the most sensitive tests available, and PCR tests are the most sensitive available.

‘But even different manufacturers have varying levels of accuracy and not everyone is positive if they’re infected, which can cause enormous problems.

‘I think the problem is that, in general, the lateral flow tests are almost always less sensitive. If you have a really good PCR tests you might catch 80 per cent of people so you can reduce the number cases coming in five-fold.

‘We’ve seen huge variations in accuracy [of lateral flow]. Accuracy is always compared to PCR and when they were used in the real world, for example the study in Liverpool, it showed it was only capable of picking up half of the PCR cases, and that’s half of 80 per cent, so you can’t even reduce the number of people coming in by two-fold.’

Dr Edwards added that using lateral flow tests would prevent scientists from being able to detect or monitor new strains being brought into the country from abroad.

The negative Covid test for all travellers to the UK will be imposed ‘next Wednesday or Thursday’ as stars including Amanda Holden slammed the Government’s plan as too little too late as mutant strains from countries like South Africa entered the country.

Tue, December 15

It’s here! The vaccine arrives mid-morning, and given all the fuss, I’d been braced for an elite squad of specialists, bearing it forth with all the awe of a holy relic. Instead, it’s a man-in-a-van: more Amazon delivery than Indiana Jones. Nonetheless we’re all excited to have what one colleague quips is the ‘Pizza Box from Heaven’.

Inside are 195 precious vials, each containing five doses, meaning 975 separate vaccines.

We’re all keenly aware that every second now is vital, as the countdown to beat the strict five-day expiry date has already begun, starting from the moment they leave the laboratory freezer.

Unlike the vintage pots of hummus in my fridge back home, there’s no wriggle room on ‘best before’ dates here.

Our schedule is based on three vaccinators working 9am to 7pm, giving a jab every five minutes. On paper, that looks do-able, until you think about the reality of dealing with elderly, sometimes frail, patients who need time to move around, remove their layers of winter clothing and so forth.

Throw in the strict social distancing requirements and it becomes trickier still, especially when you consider the additional personnel in the building required by the guidelines: as well as our three vaccinators, there has to be a GP on site, two healthcare professionals and a team of five marshals to shepherd the patients around.

Wed, December 16, V-Day One

The big day arrives. My job is to take the vials and convert them into syringe-dosages, following a labyrinthine series of procedures which require such delicate handling we have taken to calling them our little ‘V-babies’.

First the vials are removed from the fridge into a light-proof bag — they are light-sensitive as well as heat-sensitive.

I then take out the first six vials, mark them with a special time label, and leave them for ten minutes to get them to room temperature, before inverting each vial ten times and adding 1.8 millilitres of sterile saline and withdrawing the same amount of air.

They then have to be inverted another ten times before another date and time label is added.

With over 20 years’ experience, I’m used to this kind of painstaking procedure, but I can’t help thinking that for many of the groups proposing to join the ‘vaccine army’ it would be somewhat daunting and time-consuming. Unlike the flu jab, which comes ‘arm-ready’ as it were, this is more complicated. If the Government’s going to hit its targets, there will need to be some swift training factored in.

I’m intrigued by the instruction to only take five 0.3 millilitre doses out of each vial and throw away what’s left.

Out of interest I drew the last dose out of one vial and discovered it was 0.5 millilitres, which strikes me as a dose wasted. But rules are rules.

The day passes quickly, and it’s heartening to learn from my vaccinating colleagues that every single one of their patients was so grateful to receive it, although some of them expressed guilt at being at the front of the queue and said they felt key workers and teachers should have been vaccinated first.

The day ends on a happy note when we learn that the traffic warden we’d spotted hovering outside wasn’t handing out tickets, but helping our elderly patients out of their cars and taxis.

It’s a Christmas miracle!

Thu, December 17

Another change from NHS England: overnight they decide we can now take six doses from each vial. That means we suddenly have 65 extra doses spare, and can vaccinate more patients. Our team hit the phones again. Every dose used is another life protected.

One step forward . . . two little hiccups back. Our IT system goes on the blink for an hour and a half, while we learn one of our marshals has called in sick with Covid.

Fri, December 18

Another busy day, and by 4pm, as we count the number of patients left waiting, with a handful of no-shows through the day, we realise we’ll have a few vaccine shots left over.

But as the clock runs down, we’re nearing the use-by deadline. Quick! We hit the phones to rally local healthcare professionals within a one-mile radius who, unlike more elderly patients, can get here pronto. We want to ensure not a precious drop is wasted.

We finish at 9pm, following an exhausting 12-hour shift: everyone had fitted the equivalent of a standard full NHS working week into three days.

Rishi Sunak examining plans for a £3billion scheme to help a MILLION small business owners

Rishi Sunak is examining plans for a £3billion scheme to help a million small business owners who have fallen between the cracks of other coronavirus help programmes.

The Chancellor is looking at proposals for a Directors Income Support Scheme that would pay sole directors up to 80 per cent of lost profits for three months, up to a ceiling of £7,500.

The scheme, targeting those earning less than £50,000 a year, would help entrepreneurs as well as plumbers, engineers and musicians.

Known as the #forgottenltd they pay themselves through dividends rather than a salary – a tax move that is legally allowed.

But it has left them unable to claim furlough or business loans.  

A source told the Sun that the Treasury was examining a plan put forward by the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forgotten Ltd campaign, former Office for Tax Simplification adviser Rebecca Seeley-Harris and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). 

‘It’s under active consideration,’ they said.

Lib Dem MP Tim Farron said it was ‘encouraging news’, but added: ‘After 10 months of broken promises it’s vital the Chancellor now delivers. ‘The small business owners that make up the #ForgottenLtd and all of the three million #excluded are crucial to our economic recovery. We won’t stop fighting until they are ALL supported.’ 

We’ve administered 1,031 doses, we’re all knackered, and my knees hurt, but there’s a real buzz.

I spend much of Saturday morning trying to catch up on the Christmas shopping I’ve had no time to do, only to discover that afternoon that my area is to be plunged into Tier 4 rules, meaning non-essential shops will have to close. Sorry, kids, Santa’s been a bit busy.

Mon, December 21

It’s a return to normal business, as I try to catch up with all the patients I’ve had to cancel from my usual clinics to work on the vaccine roll-out.

That means everything from smear tests to ‘frailty reviews’ — managing elderly patients’ end of life plans, and whether or not they would like to be resuscitated in the event of cardiac failure. There’s a slightly grim irony in undertaking the latter with a patient who, just a few days earlier, had been given a life-saving jab.

It feels like saying: ‘We’ve helped save your life, now how would you like to die?’

Wed, December 23

I thought I was off for Christmas, a time to recharge the batteries, but lo and behold the holiday’s interrupted with another goalpost-moving missive from NHS England, this time informing us they are going to extend the period between the two vaccine doses from three weeks to 12 weeks.

This means that any area which started administering their vaccines on or after Wednesday 16th needs to cancel those patients due their second jab, and book a thousand new patients in for their first instead.

Oh, and we can’t even tell the first thousand when they should come back, as the vaccine supply is so patchy at the moment we can’t make plans that far ahead.

How on earth can we make those 2,000 phone calls in time? On a good day, one ‘telephone terrier’ working flat out can reach about 120-150 patients a day.

Frantic conversations between health chiefs ensue, until a pragmatic solution is reached. Huge relief!

Nonetheless, given all the coverage in the media, we still have to call all 1,000 patients to reassure them their appointments are going ahead.

Tue, January 5, 2021

Hallelujah! The second lot of vaccines arrive at our hub on schedule. This time I’m at least expecting a man-in-a-van, not the Messiah.

Wed, January 6

Round two gets under way. It feels calmer this time as we’ve established a good working rhythm. With a fair wind, we’ll pick up speed, but the fiddly nature of the Pfizer jab means it’s surely going to be a huge challenge to scale-up on a national level.

The Government are making promises to have administered 12 million doses by mid-Feb.

As my eye-rolling teenager would say: good luck with that.

Fri, January 8

Another day of mixed news. Our final tranche of Pfizer jabs is marred by the IT system used to register all vaccinations — called Pinnacle — going down for most of the morning.

Now all 480 patients due in will have to be logged by hand and inputted onto the database at a later date.

I worry the system is struggling to cope as more and more hubs join the national roll-out.

On the plus side, we get the first arrival of 400 doses of the alternative ‘Oxford’ or AstraZeneca vaccine, which are to go to local care homes as they’re more transportable and require less gentle care than our Pfizer V-babies.

On paper, this is good news — if only we weren’t all so hampered by NHS England’s obsession with running all vaccinations through specific designated ‘hubs’ like ours.

The reality of this is that the maximum number of front-line vaccinators we can have working from the hub at any one time is four, whereas if we were allowed to give it out at our usual local GP surgeries too, I could have two vaccinators working at each of our ten sites — taking that number up to 20.

That’s a huge potential to upscale, if only NHS England would listen. Overnight, we got another missive from them saying the Oxford vaccine can at least be delivered to different sites, but still no clarity on whether it can be administered there, too.

If it can’t, then I’m afraid Boris’s pledge of delivering two million doses a week doesn’t stand a chance, especially given the baffling reality that by the time you read this, our hub will stand empty and unused.

At the time of writing, we have no further vaccine deliveries scheduled. And so we wait . . .

After all our efforts, it’s disheartening. And very worrying.

Now police ban SNOWBALLS! Officers threaten to fine people £200 for playing in the snow – after swooping on friends for driving just SEVEN miles to go for a walk in the park – and claiming their cups of tea counted as a picnic

Police today faced criticism they were taking the lockdown crackdown too far after a force threatened to fine people £200 for playing in the snow – while elsewhere officers swooped on two friends for driving just seven miles to go for a walk at a beauty spot.

The Broseley and Much Wenlock division of West Mercia Police tweeted last night: ‘There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 11.30pm.

‘This is obviously not a justifiable reason to be out of your house, this behaviour is likely to result in a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice for breaking the lockdown rules.’

Meanwhile, Derbyshire Police fined beautician Jessica Allen and her British Airways flight attendant friend Eliza Moore £200 each for driving for a socially distanced stroll at Foremark Reservoir, which despite not being her nearest park is only 10 minutes from her house. 

Ms Allen, 27, said she assumed ‘someone had been murdered’ when she saw a police van, a police car and several officers at the entrance of the open space. 

Neighbourhood officers for the Broseley and Much Wenlock tweeted on Thursday night: 'There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 11.30pm'

Neighbourhood officers for the Broseley and Much Wenlock tweeted on Thursday night: ‘There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 11.30pm’

Jessica Allen (left) and Eliza Moore were stopped by officers from Derbyshire Police while they were enjoying a socially distanced walk at a Derbyshire beauty spot

Jessica Allen (left) and Eliza Moore were stopped by officers from Derbyshire Police while they were enjoying a socially distanced walk at a Derbyshire beauty spot 

Jessica Allen

Eliza Moore

Ms Allen (left) and Ms Moore (right) were taking a stroll at Foremark Reservoir when they were surrounded by Derbyshire Police, read their rights and hit with £200 fines each

Ms Allen, a beautician from nearby Ashby-de-la-Zouch, said she assumed ‘someone had been murdered’ when she saw a police van, a police car and several officers at the entrance of the open space. This map shows the proximity between her house and the reservoir 

‘It was a short journey and only took about ten minutes,’ she said. I genuinely thought someone had been murdered or a child had gone missing; the place is normally so quiet. 

‘The next thing, my car is surrounded. I got out of my car thinking ”There’s no way they’re coming to speak to us”. Straight away they start questioning us. One of them started reading my rights and I was looking at my friend thinking ”This must be a joke”. 

‘I said we had come in separate cars, even parked two spaces away and even brought our own drinks with us. He said ”You can’t do that as it’s classed as a picnic”.

‘Crossing into a different county seems to have caused the issue but the border into Derbyshire is only a minute away from my house.’

Ms Moore, who is 27 and alongside her work for BA runs a make-up business, said she was ‘stunned at the time’ so did not challenge police and gave her details so they could send a fixed penalty notice.

‘Just seeing a police officer anyway is quite scary for some people and we were really not expecting to be approached and to be told we were doing something wrong,’ she said.

‘We don’t want to get away with it if we have broken the rule, but it seems a bit unfair that you can be fined on something that’s so vague.’

The pair were also told their cups of Starbucks peppermint tea, which they bought at a drive-thru, were not allowed because they were ‘classed as a picnic’. 

All car parks in Snowdonia National Park have now been closed to visitors. Pictured is a police car patrolling the beauty spot last night

All car parks in Snowdonia National Park have now been closed to visitors. Pictured is a police car patrolling the beauty spot last night  

A police officer stopped a group of three walkers as they headed through Birmingham City Centre amid lockdown

A police officer stopped a group of three walkers as they headed through Birmingham City Centre amid lockdown

Police officer took a picture of one man

Officers crowded around a person out walking in Birmingham City Centre

A police officer took a picture of one man, as others crowded around another person while they were out walking in Birmingham City Centre despite coronavirus lockdown

The Met has vowed not to warn people any longer and punish them with fixed penalty notices of at £200 for first offences, and these officers were also stopping cars

The Met has vowed not to warn people any longer and punish them with fixed penalty notices of at £200 for first offences, and these officers were also stopping cars

Guidance for the current lockdown says people can travel for exercise ‘as long as it is in their local area’, but does not specify how far people can travel. 

Derbyshire Police insisted the distance was ‘at the discretion’ of individual officers and the trip was ‘not in the spirit of the rules’.

It later said all fixed penalty notices issued during the new national lockdown will be reviewed after it received clarification about the coronavirus regulations.

The force has previously been criticised for its heavy-handed approach to enforcing the restrictions, and in March released drone footage of dog walkers in the Peak District in an attempt to ‘shame’ them. 

And in March, the force dumped black dye into a famous blue lagoon in Harpur Hill near Buxton to prevent Instagrammers from posing for snaps during the lockdown. 

It comes as police forces nationwide upped up their enforcement of Covid regulations.     

In Aberdeen, two policeman knocked on a family’s front door after complaints from a neighbour and stormed inside as a woman shouted ‘this is my house, get out of my house’ and children screamed in the background. 

Two women, aged 18 and 48, and a 43-year-old man were charged in connection with assaulting police officers and threatening and abusive behaviour.

The footage immediately sparked controversy, with critics accusing the police of ‘oppressive’ behaviour for storming into a private house – while others argued they were just trying to enforce the Covid rules.  

At Euston, officers were seen stopping passengers this morning to ask where they were going. Barrister Alex Wright tweeted: ‘Good to see lockdown being taken seriously, but a sad sight that I’d have dreamed of seeing in London.’ 

Snowdonia National Park has now closed all its car parks to visitors to ‘protect our communities and the NHS’, as officials slammed the public for ‘disregarding’ the law. 

In an attempt to clarify the guidance, Leicester City Council’s public health director Professor Ivan Browne today urged residents to visit ‘your nearest park, not your nicest park’, Leicester Live reported. 

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How Matt Hancock, Michael Gove and Chris Whitty convinced Boris Johnson to close schools

How Matt Hancock, Michael Gove and Chris Whitty convinced Boris to close schools: ‘Bullish’ PM was ‘the last man standing’ until caving to pressure over third national lockdown

  • The Prime Minister faced a stark situation in a ‘dashboard’ meeting on Monday 
  • Boris Johnson went on to describe the data as a ‘bit unclear’ during an interview 
  • But the PM was less bullish when he returned to Downing Street, where Chris Whitty said he and other CMOs thought the threat meter should be raised 
  • No10 insider said the PM was ‘the last man standing when it came to schools’

Matt Hancock, Michael Gove and Chris Whitty convinced Boris Johnson to lock down the country for a third time, reports say. 

The Prime Minister faced a stark situation in a ‘dashboard’ meeting at 9am on Monday, with infection and hospitalisation figures painting a bleak picture of the country’s situation. 

Mr Johnson went on to describe the data as a ‘bit unclear’ during an interview at north London’s Chase Farm Hospital, insisting that reopening schools was the right thing to do. 

But the PM was less bullish when he returned to Downing Street, where England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said he and other CMOs in the four nations thought the threat meter should be raised to the highest possible level, The Times reports. 

A Downing Street insider said Mr Johnson was ‘the last man standing when it came to schools’.

The source added: ‘Gove was absolutely crystal clear. He said, ”Schools need to close — there’s no question about that.” ‘ 

Health Secretary Mr Hancock agreed with Mr Gove, reports say. 

The Prime Minister faced a stark situation in a ‘dashboard’ meeting at 9am on Monday, with infection and hospitalisation figures painting a bleak picture of the country’s situation

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was said to have not been in the room when Mr Johnson gave in.

The inability to criticise the Johnson administration means Mr Williamson has been lined up as a scapegoat, it has been claimed. 

A source said: 'Gove was absolutely crystal clear. He said, ''Schools need to close — there's no question about that'' '

A source said: ‘Gove was absolutely crystal clear. He said, ”Schools need to close — there’s no question about that” ‘

Mr Hancock is reported to have said ‘What have they been doing for the last six months?’ during a meeting where the provision of laptops to pupils was being discussed. 

A No10 source said: ‘It’s fair to say that there is pretty widespread irritation at the department for education in this building.’  

Earlier this week Boris Johnson failed to guarantee that all pupils in England will be back in school classrooms before the summer holidays.

The Prime Minister said he is ‘optimistic’ that ‘things really will be very different by the spring’, but was unable to give parents, pupils and teachers a firm assurance that face-to-face teaching will be able to resume during the current academic year. 

The closure of schools is due to last until the middle of February at the earliest when the lockdown is due to be reviewed.

Britain's Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (L) and Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock (R)

Britain’s Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (L) and Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock (R)

Boris Johnson attends a virtual press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, inside 10 Downing Street in central London on January 7

Boris Johnson attends a virtual press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, inside 10 Downing Street in central London on January 7

The massive disruption to learning has forced ministers to tear up plans for A-level and GCSE exams to go ahead broadly as normal in May and June.

Other high-up figures in the Johnson regime are also reportedly facing the firing line. 

The role of Nadhim Zahawi, who was appointed minister for vaccine deployment after much of the planning was done, has been dismissed by some as a redundant position to assuage backbench calls for a ‘minister for vaccines’. 

One person involved in the rollout said: ‘I don’t think the success of the vaccine programme will depend on Nadhim Zahawi.’ 

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Covid lockdown OFFICIAL: Boris Johnson sees off small Tory rebellion

Boris Johnson saw off his Tory critics tonight as MPs voted the latest strict lockdown measures into law.

The Prime Minister saw off a small rebellion by backbenchers who accused him of launching an ‘assault on liberty and livelihoods’ as they warned lockdown will inevitably cause some people to ‘break’. 

But with Labour vowing to back the Government, the result was always a foregone conclusion and the new regulations were passed by 524 votes to 16, a majority of 508. 

Twelve Tories voted against the Government, including Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, and former ministers Esther McVey and Desmond Swayne.

 Mr Johnson had earlier warned there will not be a ‘big bang’ release from the latest national lockdown next month.

The Prime Minister’s national shutdown, which includes a strict stay at home message and the closure of schools, is due to be reviewed in the middle of February but the laws underpinning it are not due to expire until the end of March.

Mr Johnson said he hopes the rules can start to be lifted in the spring but he has failed to give a firm commitment, fuelling Tory fears that the restrictions could be in place far longer than the initial seven weeks.

Mr Johnson stressed that when rules are eased there will be a ‘gradual unwrapping’ of lockdown rather than an immediate end as he dashed hopes of a swift return to normal life.

Police today got tough on Covid lawbreakers, with 28 protesters arrested for flouting restrictions, four men fined £800 for travelling in the same car on their way to McDonald’s and officers even stopping motorists to ask ‘why are you here?’

There was fury also aimed at Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today as he confirmed that GCSE and A-level exams in the summer will be replaced by teacher-assessed grades.

MPs, unions and parents hit out after he made the announcement but failed to explain how the system would work and ensure that results given to pupils were fair – after with teaching time badly hit by closures. 

Britain today breached 1,000 daily coronavirus deaths for the first time since April and declared another record-high number of cases with 62,322 more positive tests.

Department of Health data shows today’s grim figure of 1,041 laboratory-confirmed deaths — only the 10th time the UK has topped the grisly milestone — is UK’s highest daily count since April 21. And experts fear the death toll will continue to spiral in line with soaring cases over the past three weeks because fatalities lag behind infections by several weeks because of how long it takes for patients to become severely ill.

Statistics also show it is the third day in a row that Britain has posted a record-high number of cases, following on from the 60,916 announced yesterday and the 58,784 the day before. The figure is also 24.6 per cent up on last Wednesday’s count of 50,023.

The shocking figures underline the seriousness of the situation Britain finds itself in and come after Boris Johnson desperately tried to win over furious Tory MPs as he defended his new national coronavirus lockdown and insisted he had ‘no choice’ but to impose tough new draconian curbs.

In another day of coronavirus anger and despair:  

  • Britain’s COVID crackdown began as pictures showed masked cops handcuffing pensioners and protesters ‘breaking lockdown rules’, with police officers stopping cars to quiz drivers;
  • Former prime minister Tony Blair said the UK needs to dramatically accelerate its Covid vaccination scheme in order to lift lockdown rules in the spring, saying it was ‘not complicated’ to ramp-up the programme;
  • Matt Hancock said teachers have a ‘very strong case’ to be next in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine, as the Health Secretary told MPs ministers are currently considering the rest of the priority order;  
  • A GP on the frontline of Britain’s coronavirus vaccine push revealed doctors have still not received doses that were supposed to arrive last month, amid fears Boris Johnson has over-promised with his pledge;
  • Europe’s drug regulator approved Moderna’s Covid vaccine and will get supplies from next week thanks to a deal it struck in summer last year — but Britain will miss out and won’t get any until the spring; 
  • The World Health Organization refused to give its blessing to Britain’s controversial plan to space the two doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine by more than a month;
  • Boris Johnson was accused of leaving a ‘substantial gap in the nation’s defences’ against coronavirus by delaying rules on people needing a negative test before entering the UK;
  • Gavin Williamson was under pressure to explain how teachers will be able to accurately grade GCSEs and A-levels for pupils after the 2021 exams were cancelled due to Covid;
  • Politicians and experts blasted China for refusing entry to members of a World Health Organization(WHO) team being sent to the country to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic;
  • Doctors may have to decide which severely ill patients to treat based on a ‘lottery’ if the NHS is overwhelmed this winter under draft Covid rationing plans;
  • The organiser of Clap for Carers is calling for a return to the weekly round of applause during England’s third national lockdown – starting from 8pm tomorrow.

Mr Johnson had earlier warned there will not be a ‘big bang’ release from the latest national lockdown next month

Above are the locations of the seven mass vaccination centres that will begin operating from next week. They were revealed today by the Prime Minister

Above are the locations of the seven mass vaccination centres that will begin operating from next week. They were revealed today by the Prime Minister

The doughty dozen 

Twelve Tory MPs voted against Boris Johnson’s lockdown tonight. They were:

Graham Brady 

Philip Davies 

Richard Drax 

Karl McCartney 

Stephen McPartland 

Esther McVey  

Anne Marie Morris 

Andrew Rosindell 

Desmond Swayne 

Robert Syms 

Charles Walker 

David Warburton 

The Prime Minister earlier told a recalled House of Commons that his hand had been forced after a new variant of the disease was found to be spreading with ‘frightening ease’.

Mr Johnson said No10’s mass inoculation programme meant nearly one quarter of over-80s had already received jabs and England had vaccinated more people ‘than in the rest of Europe combined’. He said data suggested one in 50 people are infected showed it is ‘inescapable that the facts are changing’ and the Government’s response had to follow suit. 

The PM resisted calls from Tory MPs to guarantee the rules will start to be eased after the first review on February 15, fuelling fears the shutdown may last far longer than the initial seven-week period. Tory backbenchers slammed the PM’s ‘malicious’ lockdown and accused him of an ‘assault on liberty and livelihoods’ as they demanded an exit strategy.

The PM said he hoped measures will be able to be lifted in the spring but warned there will not be a ‘big bang’ out of lockdown, rather a ‘gradual unwrapping’.

A furious Sir Desmond Swayne blasted the restrictions, telling Mr Johnson: ‘Pubs can’t compete with supermarkets for off sales, even within a household you can’t play tennis or golf. 

‘Notwithstanding the assault on liberty and livelihoods, why are these regulations pervaded by a pettifogging malice?’ 

Mr Johnson replied: ‘Pettifogging, yes, malicious, no. I am going to have to take the hit here, the intention is to stop the virus, protect the NHS and to save lives.

Boris Johnson under fire over delayed border testing plan

Boris Johnson was under pressure today to sort out plans to demand people have a negative Covid test result before they enter Britain. 

Ministers have indicated that such a requirement is coming in a bid to block any influx of new variants of coronavirus after a South African strain was found in the UK.

But no firm details have yet been released and the Prime Minister came under fire in the Commons today over when they will be brought in and how much notice will be given. 

It came as new figures from Labour showed that just three in every 100 people arriving in the UK are being checked to see if they are complying with quarantine requirements.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has written to Priti Patel to demand ‘an urgent review and improvement plan of quarantine arrangements’. 

He claimed the current system of checking up on only a fraction of people is leaving the UK ‘defenceless and completely exposed’ to importing coronavirus variants. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer took aim at the PM in the Commons today as politicians returned to vote on the new lockdown rules.

‘The Prime Minister knows there is real concern about the rapid transmission of this disease. There are new strains being detected in South Africa, Denmark and elsewhere. The quarantine system isn’t working,’ Sir Keir said.

‘The Prime Minister said yesterday that we will be bringing in extra measures at the border. I have to ask, why are those measures not introduced already? They have been briefed to the media for days but nothing has happened.’

Mr Johnson gave no details and only offered a bland statement, saying: ‘I think it is vital we protect our borders and protect this country from the readmission of the virus from overseas and that is why we took tough action in respect of South Africa when the new variant became apparent there and we will continue to take whatever action is necessary to protect this country from the readmission of the virus.’  

‘To do that we have to engage in restricting transmission between human beings.’ 

Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, said ‘many’ MPs are concerned at being asked to approve a lockdown which could last until the end of March.

Speaking in the Commons he said: ‘I welcome the Prime Minister’s assurance that this House will be consulted on the lifting of restrictions, should it be possible before the end of March, but can I say to him that many of us are concerned at being asked to approve a lockdown which could continue until March 31.

‘Can I ask (Mr Johnson) to reconsider and to offer the House a vote at the end of January and at the end of February as well, not on whether to lift restrictions, but on whether to continue them or not?’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock ducked demands to give a firm end point for lockdown as he suggested that even if the vaccine rollout happens by mid-February, curbs might have to stay if deaths do not fall.

The Health Secretary came under fire from his own side as he kicked off the debate on the regulations underpinning the brutal squeeze – which has already come into effect.

Mr Hancock faced repeated calls to give guarantees about the length of the restrictions, after it emerged they will not expire until March 31 despite Mr Johnson vowing to get more than 13million vulnerable Britons vaccinated by the middle of next month.

As Mr Hancock opened the debate on the lockdown, Sir Graham intervened to say: ‘Approving these regulations today would allow for lockdown for three months until the end of March.’

Sir Graham said the PM had assured him he did not expect MPs to have to ‘wait that long’ for an opportunity to decide whether or not to end the regulations.

Sir Graham added: ‘Will he go further and give a commitment to a further vote at the end of January and end of February, so this House will have control over what is happening?’ 

But while he insisted the Government does not ‘expect’ the blanket restrictions to last for three months, the Cabinet minister refused to say they will definitely be lifted at that stage.

He also hedged when he was challenged by Mark Harper, head of the CRG group of lockdown-sceptic Conservatives, that there could be no ‘possible reason’ for maintaining lockdown after the four most vulnerable categories of people are vaccinated.

‘We have to see the impact of that vaccination on the reduction in the number of deaths, which I very much hope that we will see at that point, and so that is why we will take this – an evidence-led move down through the tiers, when we’ve broken the link, I hope, between cases and hospitalisations and deaths,’ Mr Hancock said.

‘We will need to see those numbers of – we will need to see the protection in reality, in lived reality on the ground, but we will watch this like a hawk and my aim is to keep these restrictions in place not a moment longer than they’re necessary.’   

Conservative chairman of the Education Committee Robert Halfon (above)  demanded assurance that the standard of grades would be maintained. He said it was vital there was a 'level playing field for disadvantaged children' and a fair appeals process.

Conservative chairman of the Education Committee Robert Halfon (above)  demanded assurance that the standard of grades would be maintained. He said it was vital there was a ‘level playing field for disadvantaged children’ and a fair appeals process.

Charlotte Rose assists one of her children, who is being home schooled in Milton Keynes today

Charlotte Rose assists one of her children, who is being home schooled in Milton Keynes today

The 25 per cent of deaths caused by Covid-19 (shown graph right) is the highest proportion so far during the second wave, and it means that the total number of people to have died in that week is significantly higher than at the same time in previous years (graph left)

The 25 per cent of deaths caused by Covid-19 (shown graph right) is the highest proportion so far during the second wave, and it means that the total number of people to have died in that week is significantly higher than at the same time in previous years (graph left)

GP dishing out Covid jab says they have had NO doses despite being ‘raring to go’

A GP on the frontline of Britain’s great coronavirus vaccine push has revealed doctors have still not received doses that were supposed to arrive last month, amid fears Boris Johnson has over-promised with his pledge to jab 13million Brits and end lockdown by March.

Dr Rosemary Leonard, an NHS family doctor who works in South London, said her practices were ‘raring to go’ and had been waiting on their first batch of vaccinations since December 28.

But she claimed the delivery date has been pushed back three times already, with the first doses now not due to arrive until January 15, more than a fortnight late.

Dr Leonard, who also writes a column for the Daily Express newspaper, warned the vaccine roll out was becoming a ‘postcode lottery for patients’, and believes the delay is the result of ‘central supply issues’.

Despite being just days into the rollout of the Oxford vaccine, there has already been finger-pointing between the Government, regulators and the jab’s manufacturer AstraZeneca over who is to blame for the delays.

Matt Hancock and NHS bosses have suggested manufacturing has been too slow, while the Prime Minister has blamed the UK’s stringent batch testing rules which mean every deliver of vaccine needs to be quality checked.

It comes as independent pharmacists begged the Government to let small chains dish out vaccinations to help Number 10 fulfill its ambitious vaccine promises, which will require jabbing a mammoth 3million Brits a week.

MailOnline has spoken to at least half a dozen membership bodies which claim there are 11,000 pharmacies ‘ready, willing and able’ to assist in the rollout of the programme. They say they are being held back by more Government red tape.

The Met Police detained 21 protesters at an anti-lockdown rally in Parliament Square this afternoon, while a further seven people were hauled away from a demonstration outside Julian Assange’s bail hearing and now face fines of up to £6,400. 

In Northampton, a group of friends were pulled over at 5am and slapped with a £800 penalty notice for being in the same car despite being from different households – breaching lockdown rules that came into force at midnight. 

Meanwhile, Thames Valley Police has apologised for the behaviour of an officer who they said was ‘a bit keen’ in handing out leaflets asking drivers to explain why they were out and about as part of a crackdown on travel during lockdown in wealthy Maidenhead. 

The Met Police rolled out some of the toughest anti-Covid measures today, announcing that anyone caught not wearing a face mask in a shop or on public transport would be fined £200. However, the penalties will not be given on the spot and people will be allowed a short time frame with which to produce a doctor’s letter.  

Mr Williamson was under pressure tonight to explain how teachers will be able to accurately grade GCSEs and A-levels for pupils after the 2021 exams were cancelled due to Covid.  

Pupils have not been able to sit mock exams because of the lockdown and last year’s closures mean they have had only a single term of in-person teaching in classrooms in the current academic year. 

Last month, Mr Williamson gave an ‘absolutely’ cast-iron guarantee that exams in England would not be cancelled this academic year, after the shambled that surrounded grades last summer.

Conservative chairman of the Education Committee Robert Halfon demanded  assurance that the standard of grades would be maintained.

He said it was vital there was a ‘level playing field for disadvantaged children’ and a fair appeals process.

He added: ‘Will he make sure that there are independent assessors, perhaps retired teachers or Ofsted inspectors, to provide a check and balance for each assessed grade awarded? 

‘Will he do everything possible to ensure teachers and support staff are given priority for vaccinations alongside NHS workers so we can get our schools open again sooner rather than later?’    

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said there could be no ‘ repeat of the shambles of last summer’.

‘The Education Secretary’s vague statement does not take us a great deal further forward other than to set out the broad parameters for the exam regulator Ofqual to work out a detailed plan,’ he said.

‘It is frustrating that there is not an off-the-shelf Plan B ready to go. We have repeatedly called on the Government and the regulator to prepare such a plan in the event of exams being cancelled, and have repeatedly offered to work with them in doing so.

‘However, ministers have been so busy insisting that exams will take place that they have failed to ensure that there is a contingency system which can be immediately rolled out. This is, frankly, a dereliction of duty.’ 

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Boris Johnson reveals seven Covid vaccination centres will open across England next week

Boris Johnson has revealed seven mass coronavirus vaccination centres will open next week to turbocharge efforts to get jabs to millions of people and pull the UK out of a relentless cycle of lockdowns.

The hubs will be based in sports venues, conference centres and a science park in Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Stevenage, Bristol, Surrey and Newham in central London. They will be operated by NHS staff and volunteers. 

Number 10 has not yet revealed how many vaccinations will take place at the huge venues but they are expected to build up to each doing tens of thousands per week, MailOnline understands. It is a minimum requirement for any public immunisation centre to manage 1,000 weekly doses, and these will be some of the largest in the UK.

In its biggest ever vaccination drive, Britain is hoping to get around 13million people immunised against Covid-19, focusing on elderly people, health and care workers and people with serious illnesses, by the middle of February. If this is achieved the current national lockdown – the toughest and longest one since March 2020 – may able to be eased.  But experts have warned they will need to ramp up the roll-out in order to hit the ambitious target.

Pharmacists have today called for their shops to be used to dish out the Covid-19 vaccine, and called on the NHS to use its ‘invisible army’ of volunteers to get the jabs into people’s arms.

Former prime minister Tony Blair published a ‘blueprint’ and called for the Government to throw all its weight behind the vaccine programme, using pop-up vaccination centres and putting volunteers in offices, polling stations and closed pubs.

Politicians have been trying to shift blame for disruptions to the initial supply of Oxford and Pfizer vaccines, with Boris Johnson first blaming quality checks done by the MHRA and Matt Hancock later trying to pin difficulties on limited manufacturing capacity.

The Health Secretary today said in Parliament: ‘The rate-limiting factor is the amount of the actual juice available, the actual vaccine, which is not manufactured like a chemical it is effectively… a biological product.’ He described the vaccine manufacturing process as ‘complicated and difficult’. 

And Britain felt a pang of envy today as Europe approved the Moderna vaccine and will start to get deliveries of the 95 per cent effective jab from next week, while Brits must wait until March because officials didn’t pre-order it. 

It comes as daily deaths from the virus in the UK went above 1,000 for the first time since April – to a total of 1,041 – and health chiefs reported another record-high 62,322 new infections. 

Above are the locations of the seven mass vaccination centres that will begin operating from next week. They were revealed today by the Prime Minister

London's Excel Centre, now a Nightingale Hospital

Epsom Racecourse, Surrey

London’s Excel Centre, left, and Epsom racecourse in Surrey, right, will both be used as mass vaccination centres, the Prime Minister has said

Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol

Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol

WHERE WILL THE MASS VACCINATION CENTRES BE? 

  • The Excel Centre, London 
  • Etihad Tennis Centre, Manchester
  • Epsom Racecourse, Surrey
  • Robertson House, Stevenage
  • Centre for Life, Newcastle
  • Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol
  • The Millenium Point, Birmingham

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman announced the mass vaccination centres had been set up in the country.

The Etihad Tennis Centre, Manchester, and Epsom Racecourse, Surrey, are both to be used for giving out vaccines, alongside Robertson House, Stevenage, the Centre for Life, Newcastle, the Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol, and Birmingham’s Millenium Point.

The Press Association news agency reported five other locations are also being considered as vaccine hubs.

These were the Derby Arena, Black Country Living Museum, Dudley, Malvern’s Three Counties Showground, Worcestershire, Villa Park the home of Aston Villa FC, and Leicester Racecourse.

It comes after supermarket chain Morrisons confirmed that car parks at three stores in Yeovil, Wakefiled and Winsford would host drive-through vaccinations from Monday, with a further 47 offered to the Government.

Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur have also offered the use of their stadium to the NHS as a venue to roll out the coronavirus vaccine.

High street pharmacies including Superdrug and Boots will start to dish out vaccines from next week and other businesses have come out of the woodwork to offer their premises for jab locations. 

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society said today there were thousands of high street pharmacies ‘ready, willing and able’ to assist in the rollout of the programme, which will require jabbing a mammoth three million Brits a week if Boris Johnson is to hit his target of loosening lockdown rules by mid-February.

So far only 1.3 million people in the UK have been vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech jabs since the programme launched a month ago. 

There is growing clamour for the process to be ramped up dramatically – with concerns that local chemists and other facilities are not being used enough.  

The Royal College of GPs warned Number 10 must ditch its ‘bureaucratic barriers’ and start recruiting pharmacists if it wants the roll out to be a success, while the National Pharmacy Association claimed it was a ‘no-brainer’ that local chemists are brought on board because the nation was ‘crying out for convenient access to the vaccine’.

Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS, said small high street pharmacies could help administer an extra 1million doses a week and bolster the lagging rollout. She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘We are already used to delivering the flu vaccine. You have got an army of trained vaccinators who are ready, willing and able to play and part.

‘With the AstraZeneca vaccine there is no reason why that could not be delivered through community pharmacies. There are over 11,000 pharmacies. If each of those does 20-a-day that is 1.3 million-a-week extra vaccines that can be provided, very often to those who are hardest to reach. Why would any government not want to do that?’ 

Former prime minister Tony Blair today said the UK needs to dramatically accelerate its coronavirus vaccination programme in order to lift lockdown rules in the spring.

Claiming ‘it’s not complicated’ on live TV this morning as he launched a ‘blueprint’ for improving the country’s vaccine roll-out, Mr Blair suggested restrictions could ease ‘significantly’ in February if the NHS scales up to millions of jabs every week.

As supplies flow into the country in the coming weeks, Mr Blair said, officials should strain every sinew to make sure every dose is used as soon as possible. He said there should be pop-up vaccine centres and mobile ones, that pharmacies should be used, and volunteers recruited en masse.

Polling stations, pubs and offices should be used as hubs and supplies could provide as many as three million doses per week by the end of February, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change said in a report.

By the end of February, the institute claims that half the population could have had the first dose of a vaccine to protect them from Covid-19. Britain has only pledged to vaccinate 13million of the most vulnerable residents by the middle of next month.

Mr Blair has become involved in the vaccine policy after he was the first to publicly suggest restricting jabs to one dose to begin with and stretching them further, avoiding holding back supplies to ensure people get a second one. This has since become the official policy of the Government’s roll-out. 

In other big vaccine news today, Europe’s drug regulator approved Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine and will get supplies from next week thanks to a deal it struck in summer last year.

But Britain will miss out on early access to the vaccine because it officially left the EU last week and did not place its own order early enough to get an exclusive supply.

UK regulators didn’t rush to approve the vaccine when phase three trials finished at the end of last year because it couldn’t get any delivered until the spring.

They will now have to do their own assessment of the jab because the automatic carry-over for licences granted by the EU ended with Brexit. 

Moderna’s jab, which appears to be just as good as Pfizer/BioNTech’s and works in the same way, is already being used on members of the public in the US.

The US got first dibs on supplies of the jab in exchange for funding its research and development, and other countries were offered deliveries early in 2021.

Experts on the European Medicines Agency gave the vaccine their seal of approval today and the European Commission finalised a deal for 180million doses.

Europe pencilled in a deal in August and deliveries of the first batches will begin next week, Moderna confirmed today. The company ‘continues to be in discussion’ with the UK.

Scientists in the UK said not ordering Moderna’s vaccine earlier was not an error because it would have been a gamble to order another vaccine the same as Pfizer’s, both of which use the same technology that had never been tried before Covid-19.

But as Britain is now scrambling to vaccinate millions of people every week and fears being hamstrung by supply shortages, an extra jab could have been a blessing. 

As the Government comes under fire for slowing down the vaccine programme, private businesses across the country have offered up their premises to be used for free as vaccination centres, including Bensons Beds.

London gay clubs The Royal Vauxhall Tavern and G-A-Y have offered their venues to be used for the potentially lockdown-ending plans.

Jeremy Joseph, owner of G-A-Y, has offered up all of his venues for the vaccinations and said its 24-hour licence meant it could offer round-the-clock vaccinations.

James Lindsay, CEO of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, told the Press Association he wanted to play his part in the fight against the virus. 

Above are pictures from inside the Excel Centre last month. They show tables and chairs laid out, possibly in preparation for the roll out of the vaccine

Above are pictures from inside the Excel Centre last month. They show tables and chairs laid out, possibly in preparation for the roll out of the vaccine

The announcement that London’s Nightingale Hospital could now be used for vaccinations comes after it emerged it would open to patients again and start admitting recovering Covid patients who have tested negative for coronavirus. But it will not have all of its now 300 beds – cut from an original 4,000 – available until next month. 

A spokesman for NHS England did not deny they had significantly cut the number of beds, and said the number would be determined ‘by the demand and availability of staff’.

The seven Nightingales were left largely unused during the first wave despite £220million of taxpayers’ money being pumped into them, as hospitals struggled to spare the needed doctors and nurses to man their wards. Just 57 Covid-19 patients were admitted to London’s Nightingale, Department of Health figures show.

The NHS also admitted the emergency facility would be used for non-Covid patients, despite millions being poured into equipping it with ventilators during the first wave for those suffering the worst effects of the virus. 

‘It will provide rehabilitation for people who are recovering after an emergency hospital stay and who are not Covid positive, freeing up other beds in hospital for Covid-19 patients,’ they said.

The Nightingale in the capital was built to much fan-fare during the first wave of the pandemic, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock heralding it a ‘remarkable feat in these challenging times’.

But it was left idling for months after barely a month in use, before the order to start stripping the hospital was given – as clearly shown by shocking photos from inside it last month revealing empty wards.

Frantic efforts were then launched to re-construct a ‘scaled-down’ version of the mothballed hospital, sources said, at further expense to the public purse. 

LONDON’S NIGHTINGALE HOSPITAL WILL HAVE JUST 300 OF ITS 4,000 BEDS WHEN IT REOPENS

The hospitals corridors were also eerily silent, as pictured on December 29

The hospitals corridors were also eerily silent, as pictured on December 29

London’s NHS Nightingale hospital will have just 300 beds for treating patients, a fraction of the 4,000 available in March, when it re-opens next week, MailOnline can reveal.

The flagship hospital at the Excel centre will start admitting recovering emergency care patients who have tested negative for coronavirus in the coming days, but it will not have all its beds available for patients until next month.

A spokesman for NHS England did not deny they had significantly cut the number of beds, and said the number would be determined ‘by the demand and availability of staff’.

The seven Nightingales were left largely unused during the first wave despite £220million of taxpayers’ money being pumped into them, as hospitals struggled to spare the needed doctors and nurses to man their wards. Just 57 Covid-19 patients were admitted to London’s Nightingale, Department of Health figures show.

NHS London Nightingale was hurriedly put up in less than two weeks in March, amid fears the capital’s hospitals could be overwhelmed by spiralling Covid-19 admissions.

It was opened to patients on April 3 by Prince Charles, and welcomed its first patient four days later.

Professor Richard Schilling, a consultant cardiologist, tweeted a photo to mark the event as the first team came on duty.

But within six weeks the hospital had been moved to ‘standby’ and ordered to close its doors.

Department of Health figures reveal only 57 patients were admitted to the emergency hospital, with the final patients being received on April 27.

By May 6, shortly before it was due to close, the Government dashboard shows only five patients remained at the facility.

The emergency facility has been left dormant for months, before hospital chiefs decided the extra capacity would again be needed in the new year.

Shocking photos showed that in this time the Nightingale – put up at huge expense to taxpayers – had been stripped of its beds and wards while it was officially mothballed.

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Canada

England have no choice but to reconfine, says Boris Johnson

Engaged in a “sprint” to deploy the vaccine against the new coronavirus, England has no choice but to reconfigure itself in the face of the outbreak of contaminations attributed to a more contagious variant, British Prime Minister Boris assured Wednesday. Johnson.

• Read also: The curfew, an obstacle to freedom?

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

The gravity of the situation has been confirmed by the daily report of the health authorities: with more than 1,000 deaths recorded in one day for the first time since April, the United Kingdom now has 77,436 deaths, the heaviest death toll in Europe.

The number of new cases recorded (more than 62,000) suggests a worsening in the coming weeks, especially as hospitals are already very busy with more than 30,000 patients with COVID-19 disease.

“We have no choice but to return to national confinement in England,” the third since last March, Boris Johnson told MPs, who will vote on these new restrictions in the evening.

These are scheduled to remain legally in force until March 31, “not because we expect full national containment to continue until then,” but to allow for a gradual exit and a return to a system of regional restrictions. , he detailed, after a review of the situation in mid-February.

“After last year’s marathon, we are now in a sprint, a race to vaccinate vulnerable people faster than the virus can reach them,” said the leader.

With the lockdown officially started Wednesday morning, the 56 million inhabitants of England can no longer leave their homes for essential reasons and schools have closed. Boris Johnson could not guarantee they would reopen after the February recess.

The main exams (the equivalent of the bac and the certificate) have been canceled, as in 2020. Students will be assessed by their teachers, said Education Minister Gavin Williamson, rather than by an algorithm, much criticized, which had led last summer to a vast downgrading of evaluations, before the executive gave up using it.

“Massive acceleration”

Despite the hostility of several deputies from its own conservative camp, the government is guaranteed to win the House of Commons vote on containment, benefiting in particular from the support of the Labor opposition, which is also very critical of its management of the pandemic .

Labor leader Keir Starmer criticized the executive for its slow reaction throughout the crisis and its inconstancy. “It’s not just bad luck, it’s not inevitable,” he said of the “very serious” situation the country finds itself in.

Scotland has also entered a lockdown of the same type for at least the entire month of January. Already confined, Wales and Northern Ireland have closed schools.

The British government has set a goal of vaccinating by mid-February all over 70s and caregivers, or nearly 14 million people.

More than 1.3 million vulnerable people and caregivers have already been vaccinated since the launch of the campaign in early December. It is now being carried out with two vaccines, Pfizer / BioNTech and AstraZeneca / Oxford.

The Secretary of State in charge of this campaign, Nadhim Zahawi, has promised a “massive acceleration” of vaccination with the deployment of more than 1000 dedicated centers, more than two million vaccinations per week being necessary.

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Coronavirus COVID-19 The Buzz

UK PM Johnson cancels India visit, citing need to oversee virus response


London, January 5

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday cancelled a planned trip to India later this month, citing the need to oversee the pandemic response at home.

“The prime minister spoke to Prime Minister Modi this morning, to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

“In light of the national lockdown announced last night, and the speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading, the prime minister said that it was important for him to remain in the UK so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus.”  Reuters





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Delhi Politics The Buzz

Second pandemic wave forces UK PM Johnson to cancel India visit


Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 5

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled his India visit that included being the Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade in order to oversee the pandemic response at home, said an announcement from Downing Street.

Johnson also called up PM Narendra Modi to regret his inability to attend in view of complete lockdown in his country and reiterated his keenness to visit India in the near future, according to an official news release here.

PM Modi expressed his understanding of the exceptional situation in the UK, and conveyed his best wishes for quick control of the pandemic. He looked forward to receiving Johnson in India at the earliest opportunity after normalisation of the situation, added the news release.

US President Donald Trump had declined PM Modi’s invite to be the Chief Guest at the 2019 Republic Day celebrations but made up for it by attending the ‘Namaste Trump’ rally in Ahmedabad. But, Trump had conveyed his regrets nearly three months in advance, giving South Block enough time to invite South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

India had suffered a last-minute pull out in 2013 when the Sultan of a West Asian monarchy declined the invitation with just a month to go for the Republic Day. But the King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who was the Chief Guest barely eight years back, graciously stepped in.

PM Modi had converted the guest list at Republic Day parades from a statement of intent regarding the foreign policy into an event that appeared to suggest India’s coming out party. The first two parades during his tenure continued with the tradition of inviting India’s close allies. But in 2017 there were seven chief guests and 10 in 2018. Last year, plans to continue with the multi-person format did not work out, and South Block invited the Brazilian President.

Johnson announced the pull out on a day his Foreign Office announced the filling up of the vacant High Commissioner’s slot here with Deputy National Security Adviser Alex Ellis.

The previous incumbent Philip Barton is now the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign Office. Ellis takes over at a time when Britain is eyeing a major defence deal; its previous mega order of advanced jet trainers to the Indian Air Force having run its course. He has served as the British Ambassador to Brazil and Portugal.





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Headlines UK

Boris Johnson orders vulnerable people to stay indoors as shielding guidance returns

Millions of clinically vulnerable people were ordered on Monday night to stay indoors until they are vaccinated.

The Prime Minister has brought back ‘shielding’ guidance for people with severe underlying health conditions.

He said: ‘If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, we are advising you to begin shielding again and you will shortly receive a letter about what this means for you.’

More than 2.2million people in England – almost four per cent of the population – are on the NHS Digital shielded patients list.

They have been told to stay at home and only leave for medical appointments and exercise, and not to go to work even if they cannot work from home.

However, Mr Johnson pledged that everyone who is on the shielding list will be offered the vaccine by the middle of February.

He added: ‘If we succeed in vaccinating all those groups we will have removed huge numbers of people from the path of the virus. That will eventually enable us to lift many of the restrictions.’ 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced tough new restrictions on Monday night aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus

Shielding was put in place in March and then paused at the end of July. It aimed to protect those at greatest risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people include those who have had an organ transplant and people with cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

The return of the shielding guidance comes despite warnings that it had a catastrophic impact on mental and physical health during the first lockdown.

Officials admitted the programme had been a ‘blunt tool’ and while it may have protected people, it had a major impact on their mental health.

The Prime Minister also made the controversial decision to bring back the ‘Protect the NHS’ slogan from the first lockdown.

Experts have warned that this slogan meant people with non-Covid conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes, stayed away from hospitals.

This meant attendance at A&E plummeted by up to 50 per cent, and contributed to a surge in ‘excess’ deaths from other illnesses during the first wave.

Vulnerable people will once more be required to 'shield' by remaining indoors until they are vaccinated Johnson said. Pictured: A family in Cheshire watches Johnson's announcement on Monday night

Vulnerable people will once more be required to ‘shield’ by remaining indoors until they are vaccinated Johnson said. Pictured: A family in Cheshire watches Johnson’s announcement on Monday night

James Taylor, executive director of strategy at disability equality charity Scope, said: ‘The Prime Minister has once again asked millions of disabled people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to shield.

‘This will fill many disabled people with anxiety as they face uncertain months ahead locked away from loved ones with little clarity about what support the Government will provide.

‘It’s vital those shielding aren’t left feeling forgotten again like many did last year.

‘2020 was a gruelling year, as many disabled people faced isolation, and struggled to access vital healthcare as well as food and essentials.

‘The Government must urgently take steps to prevent the failings of previous lockdowns and make sure disabled people are properly supported this time.’

What you can and cannot do during the national lockdown: The government guidelines in full

You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

You should follow this guidance immediately. The law will be updated to reflect these new rules.

Leaving home

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work

Meeting others

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).

You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.

You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

Detailed guidance on the national lockdown

Who this guidance is for

This guidance is for people who are fit and well. There is additional advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should not attend work, school, college or university, and limit the time you spend outside the home. You should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.

Hands. Face. Space.

Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it.

Remember – ‘Hands. Face. Space.’

  • hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
  • face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

In all circumstances, you should follow the guidance on meeting others safely.

When you can leave home

You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This will be put in law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ includes:

  • Work – you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home, including but not limited to people who work within critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing that require in-person attendance
  • Volunteering – you can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services.
  • Essential activities – you can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services. You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating.
  • Education and childcare – You can only leave home for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children where they are eligible to attend. Access to education and children’s activities for school-aged pupils is restricted. See further information on education and childcare. People can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart. This includes childcare bubbles.
  • Meeting others and care – You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one), to provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a childcare bubble (for example, to enable parents to work, and not to enable social contact between adults), to provide care for disabled or vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, to attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked-after child.
  • Exercise – You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.You should maintain social distancing. See exercising and meeting other people.
  • Medical reasons – You can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies.
  • Harm and compassionate visits – you can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse). You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.
  • Animal welfare reasons – you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.
  • Communal worship and life events – You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony. You should follow the guidance on the safe use of places of worship and must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble when attending a place of worship.Weddings, funerals and religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to someone’s death are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend, and weddings and civil ceremonies may only take place in exceptional circumstances.

There are further reasonable excuses. For example, you may leave home to fulfil legal obligations or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum.

Exercising and meeting other people

You should minimise time spent outside your home.

It is against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting). This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with
  • with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
  • or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household
  • Public outdoor places include:
  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • the grounds of a heritage site
  • playgrounds

Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.

When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household – meaning the people you live with – or your support bubble. Where this is not possible, stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions (e.g. wearing a face covering).

You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops or places of worship where these remain open, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law. Read guidance on face coverings.

Support and childcare bubbles

You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support or childcare bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form a bubble.

A support bubble is a support network which links two households. You can form a support bubble with another household of any size only if you meet the eligibility rules.

It is against the law to form a support bubble if you do not follow these rules.

You are permitted to leave your home to visit your support bubble (and to stay overnight with them). However, if you form a support bubble, it is best if this is with a household who live locally. This will help prevent the virus spreading from an area where more people are infected.

If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can form a childcare bubble. This allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare.

You must not meet socially with your childcare bubble, and must avoid seeing members of your childcare and support bubbles at the same time.

There is separate guidance for support bubbles and childcare bubbles.

Where and when you can meet in larger groups

There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others from outside your household, childcare or support bubble in larger groups, but this should not be for socialising and only for permitted purposes. A full list of these circumstances will be included in the regulations, and includes:

  • for work, or providing voluntary or charitable services, where it is unreasonable to do so from home. This can include work in other people’s homes where necessary – for example, for nannies, cleaners, social care workers providing support to children and families, or tradespeople. See guidance on working safely in other people’s homes). Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not – for example, although you can meet a personal trainer, you should do so in a public outdoor place.
  • in a childcare bubble (for the purposes of childcare only)
  • Where eligible to use these services, for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children. Access to education and childcare facilities is restricted. See further information on education and childcare.
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • to place or facilitate the placing of a child or children in the care of another by social services
  • for birth partners
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • for gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention centres
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer
  • for a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional circumstances and only for up to 6 people
  • for funerals – up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6 people.
  • to visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment
  • for elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) – or those on an official elite sports pathway – to compete and train
  • to facilitate a house move

Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support – but they must take place at a premises other than a private home.

Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.

If you break the rules

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus

If you are clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. There is additional advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should not attend work, school, college or university, and limit the time you spend outside the home. You should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.

Travel

You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes). If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall. The list of reasons you can leave your home and area include, but are not limited to:

  • work, where you cannot reasonably work from home
  • accessing education and for caring responsibilities
  • visiting those in your support bubble – or your childcare bubble for childcare
  • visiting hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • buying goods or services that you need, but this should be within your local area wherever possible
  • outdoor exercise. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)
  • attending the care and exercise of an animal, or veterinary services

If you need to travel, walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practice social distancing while you travel.

Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your support bubble. See the guidance on car sharing.

If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance.

International travel

You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.

If you do need to travel overseas (and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice.

UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.

Foreign nationals are subject to the ‘Stay at Home’ regulations. You should not travel abroad unless it is permitted. This means you must not go on holiday.

If you are visiting the UK, you may return home. You should check whether there are any restrictions in place at your destination.

Staying away from home overnight

You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.

This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence. This also includes staying with anyone who you don’t live with unless they’re in your support bubble.

You are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you:

  • are visiting your support bubble
  • are unable to return to your main residence
  • need accommodation while moving house
  • need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
  • require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services
  • are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
  • are homeless, seeking asylum, a vulnerable person seeking refuge, or if escaping harm (including domestic abuse)
  • are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18 and it is necessary to be outside of the home for training or competition

If you are already on holiday, you should return to your home as soon as practical.

Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing. A full list of reasons can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.

Accommodation providers are also encouraged to work cooperatively with local authorities to provide accommodation to vulnerable groups, including the homeless.

Going to work

You may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home.

Where people cannot work from home – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare or education, should continue to go into work.

Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so. Otherwise, you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or garden, where COVID-19 Secure measures may not be in place.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

Going to school, college and university

Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term.

In the circumstances, we do not think it is possible for all exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. We will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.

Public exams and vocational assessments scheduled to take place in January will go ahead as planned.

Universities

Those students who are undertaking training and study for the following courses should return to face to face learning as planned and be tested twice, upon arrival or self-isolate for ten days:

  • Medicine & dentistry
  • Subjects allied to medicine/health
  • Veterinary science
  • Education (initial teacher training)
  • Social work
  • Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity which is scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled (your university will notify you if this applies to you).

Students who do not study these courses should remain where they are wherever possible, and start their term online, as facilitated by their university until at least Mid-February. This includes students on other practical courses not on the list above.

We have previously published guidance to universities and students on how students can return safely to higher education in the spring term. This guidance sets out how we will support higher education providers to enable students that need to return to do so as safely as possible following the winter break.

If you live at university, you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time.

For those students who are eligible for face to face teaching, you can meet in groups of more than your household as part of your formal education or training, where necessary. Students should expect to follow the guidance and restrictions. You should socially distance from anyone you do not live with wherever possible.

Childcare

There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare:

  • Early Years settings (including nurseries and childminders) remain open
  • Vulnerable children and children of critical workers can continue to use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare activities (including wraparound care)
  • parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is under 14. This is mainly to enable parents to work, and must not be used to enable social contact between adults
  • some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble
  • nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home

Care home visits

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.

You should check the guidance on visiting care homes during COVID-19 to find out how visits should be conducted. Residents cannot meet people indoors on a visit out (for example, to visit their relatives in the family home). There is separate guidance for those in supported living.

Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals are allowed with strict limits on attendance, and must only take place in COVID-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events, such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance. Anyone working is not counted in these limits. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to 6 people. Anyone working is not included. These should only take place in exceptional circumstances, for example, an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

Places of worship

You can attend places of worship for a service. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. You should maintain strict social distancing at all times.

You should follow the national guidance on the safe use of places of worship.

Sports and physical activity

Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed. Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas must also close. Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.

Moving home

You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering.

Financial support

Wherever you live, you may be able to get financial help  

Businesses and venues

Businesses and venues which must close

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The full list of businesses required to close can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts,fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
  • animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves)
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services

Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities. A full list of exemptions can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for those children eligible to attend
  • hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • to provide medical treatment
  • for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • for the purposes of film and TV filming

Businesses and venues which can remain open

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

Public services

The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include:

  • the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists. We are supporting the NHS to carry out urgent and non-urgent services safely, and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help
  • Jobcentre Plus sites
  • courts and probation services
  • civil registrations offices
  • passport and visa services
  • services provided to victims
  • waste or recycling centres
  • getting an MOT, if you need to drive when lawfully leaving home