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London to open 24/7 vaccination centers

Government promises to vaccinate all citizens over 18 by September

Starting January 18, the UK will start vaccinating citizens over 70 years old, Sky News reports, citing Vaccination Minister Nadim Zahavi. According to him, the number of doses of drugs against COVID-19 is limited, so it is important to first distribute them among the most vulnerable segments of the population – the elderly and chronic patients.

The very first people to receive the vaccine were residents of nursing homes and people over 80 years old. Many parts of the UK have already vaccinated most of this age group. The City of Darlington reported that all nursing home residents received their first dose.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has promised that every Briton over 18 will receive the vaccine by September 2021. NHS England Medical Director Stephen Powys has confirmed that this is a doable task. By the end of January, London promises to open 24-hour vaccination centers to meet government deadlines.

Since January 18, the UK has closed all air corridors with other countries. Those arriving in the country will have to present a negative test for COVID-19 and self-isolate for 10 days. New measures have been taken to prevent the import and spread of new strains of coronavirus.

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Snow hits East Anglia as Met office issues AMBER weather warning for the South East

Up to three inches of snow fell in parts of the UK today and left some rural villages ‘cut off’ after the Met Office warned of road closures and power cuts. 

Drivers described ‘horrendous’ conditions on Britain’s roads as the wintry weather hit the Home Counties in the early hours and forecasters are now predicting snow will be replaced with torrential rain across the UK next week, as temperatures rise. 

A Met Office forecaster said: ‘Atlantic low-pressure systems are expected to cross the south of the county at times, bringing rainfall and periods of slightly milder temperatures, and there will be a risk of snowfall on the boundary between the mild and cold airmasses.’

An amber alert was in place for road closures and power cuts in Eastern England between 5am and 2pm covering Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk. Snow was expected this morning in London, Kent, Sussex and further north across East Anglia and the East Midlands. 

The South East of England and East Anglia saw snowfall between 0.8ins and 1.6ins with up to 3.2ins in parts of East Anglia. The lowest temperature was -5.4C at Redesdale Camp, Newcastle upon Tyne, with highs of 52.5F (11.4C) in Gosport Fleetlands, Hampshire. 

But Londoners were left disappointed when only a smattering of snow settled before melting away by 9am, and those in west London saw no snow at all.  

Londoners were left disappointed when only a smattering of snow settled before melting away by 9am, and those in west London saw no snow at all. Pictured: Runner in London 

Forecasters are now predicting snow will be replaced with torrential rain across the UK next week, as temperatures rise. Pictured: People in London

Forecasters are now predicting snow will be replaced with torrential rain across the UK next week, as temperatures rise. Pictured: People in London 

Heavy snow hit Hertfordshire early this morning. Radlett, Bushey, Watford, Borehamwood and Elstree all suffered

Heavy snow hit Hertfordshire early this morning. Radlett, Bushey, Watford, Borehamwood and Elstree all suffered

Heavy Snow at Hampstead, north London, as some parts of the UK were blanketed in snow and freezing conditions today

Heavy Snow at Hampstead, north London, as some parts of the UK were blanketed in snow and freezing conditions today

An amber weather warning was issued in Eastern England between 5am and 2pm covering Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk. Pictured, snow in London

An amber weather warning was issued in Eastern England between 5am and 2pm covering Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk. Pictured, snow in London

Drivers on the roads in the early hours warned of treacherous conditions on the M40 towards London. One Twitter user wrote: 'Horrendous journey into London. Crashed car across carriageway north of Cherwell Services on M40. (Called police). Further south, carriageway surface dangerous with falling snow.' Pictured, a snow-covered London street

Drivers on the roads in the early hours warned of treacherous conditions on the M40 towards London. One Twitter user wrote: ‘Horrendous journey into London. Crashed car across carriageway north of Cherwell Services on M40. (Called police). Further south, carriageway surface dangerous with falling snow.’ Pictured, a snow-covered London street

Heavy snow at Hampstead, north London, as large parts of the UK were blanketed amid an amber weather warning and freezing conditions

Heavy snow at Hampstead, north London, as large parts of the UK were blanketed amid an amber weather warning and freezing conditions

Parts of Kent woke up to the white stuff this morning. Yesterday the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice and warned motorists to take extra care on roads

Parts of Kent woke up to the white stuff this morning. Yesterday the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice and warned motorists to take extra care on roads

A car had an accident and skidded off the road in the snow in Snetterton, Norfolk, as the weather caused treacherous driving conditions on Saturday morning

A car had an accident and skidded off the road in the snow in Snetterton, Norfolk, as the weather caused treacherous driving conditions on Saturday morning

People walk in the rain over Millennium Bridge in London. Parts of eastern England saw up to three inches of snow

People walk in the rain over Millennium Bridge in London. Parts of eastern England saw up to three inches of snow

Drivers on the roads early this morning warned of treacherous conditions on the M40 towards London. One Twitter user wrote: ‘Horrendous journey into London. Crashed car across carriageway north of Cherwell Services on M40. (Called police). Further south, carriageway surface dangerous with falling snow.’

Highs of 7C (44.6F) are expected across London today after freezing temperatures overnight, with the mercury only dropping three degrees to stay around 4C (39.2F) tonight. The temperature could be about 0C in areas of eastern England and parts of Scotland for much of Saturday.

The Met Office said: ‘A band of rain, preceded by some snow, will clear quickly eastwards this morning, leaving a covering of snow across East Anglia. Brighter weather following, with showers affecting northwestern parts. Windy for many, with temperatures closer to average than recently.’  

Temperatures plummeted as low as -11.8C (10.8F) at Ravensworth, North Yorkshire, as the mercury took a dip in northern areas with lying snow yesterday. It was the coldest temperature recorded in England since January 31, 2019, when -13.2C (8.2F) was recorded in County Durham. 

The Met Office warns some rural communities – even in the South – ‘could become cut off’ and that there could be further treacherous travelling conditions today.   

Weather warning today

Weather warning tomorrow

The Met Office issued warnings for ice today (left) and another three including an amber alert for snow tomorrow (right)

An early morning runner in the snow in Sevenoaks, Kent, looks flushed as she exercises in freezing conditions

An early morning runner in the snow in Sevenoaks, Kent, looks flushed as she exercises in freezing conditions

People walk in the rain over Millennium Bridge in London as heavy rain struck the capital on Saturday afternoon

People walk in the rain over Millennium Bridge in London as heavy rain struck the capital on Saturday afternoon

Snow covered streets in Enfield, London, early this morning, as an amber weather warning was put out by the Met Office

Snow covered streets in Enfield, London, early this morning, as an amber weather warning was put out by the Met Office

Heavy snow followed by freezing conditions left motorists facing treacherous driving conditions on the A1 in Northumberland today, with cars skidding off the A1 northbound at Stannington and crashing into a farmers field

Heavy snow followed by freezing conditions left motorists facing treacherous driving conditions on the A1 in Northumberland today, with cars skidding off the A1 northbound at Stannington and crashing into a farmers field

A patio and garden was completely covered in the white stuff in Enfield, London, early Saturday morning

A patio and garden was completely covered in the white stuff in Enfield, London, early Saturday morning

A snow covered street in Catterick, North Yorkshire. Parts of eastern England could see up to four inches of snow on Saturday as forecasters warned of the potential for 'significant disruption'

A snow covered street in Catterick, North Yorkshire. Parts of eastern England could see up to four inches of snow on Saturday as forecasters warned of the potential for ‘significant disruption’

Horse riders head through a waterlogged Wimbledon Common on a cold morning due to heavy rain this morning

Horse riders head through a waterlogged Wimbledon Common on a cold morning due to heavy rain this morning

The weather warning, which lasts until the evening, extends as far as Kent and the North Downs, and also includes Oxfordshire and the Chilterns.

Grahame Madge, Met Office spokesman, said: ‘We have a weather front moving across through the day, which will fall as heavy rain further west, where there is mild air, and turning to snow when it hits cold air in the East.’ 

But Londoners were left disappointed this morning when they woke up to ‘sneeze in the flour’ levels of the white stuff, after forecasters suggested there could be up to four inches.

One took to Twitter to write: ‘I am very jealous of all the snow in Leeds. We’ve had about 10 snowflakes on North London.’

Another said: ‘I genuinely woke up early so I could see some of the alleged “heavy snow” as I didn’t expect it to lie on the ground. Either it was over when I woke up or it never happened.’ 

One penned: ‘Very wet and but not so windy in London too – way before dawn today I was biking in fine snow drops, then it sleeted and finally turned to icy rain, which it’s still doing and sadly set in for the day.’

One added: ‘I was up at 7am in NE London and it was full on snow. Gone by 9am.’

‘This London snow looks an awful lot like your average day to day rain not gonna lie… my kids are furious, taking them hours to finish building this rain man,’ another said.   

Londoners were left disappointed this morning when they woke up to ‘sneeze in the flour’ levels of the white stuff

A postman braves the snow in his shorts as he made his deliveries in Maldon, Essex, this morning

A postman braves the snow in his shorts as he made his deliveries in Maldon, Essex, this morning

One took to Twitter to write: ‘I am very jealous of all the snow in Leeds. We’ve had about 10 snowflakes on North London’

A man jogs down a snow covered street in Catterick, North Yorkshire, as the north of England woke up to a blanket of snow

A man jogs down a snow covered street in Catterick, North Yorkshire, as the north of England woke up to a blanket of snow

Cars were coated in snow in Chesham

Houses are covered in a layer of snow in Chesham

Cars and houses were coated in a layer of snow in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, as cold weather continued south last night 

A Twitter-user in Enfield, London, took out a ruler to measure almost a centimetre of snow this morning. He wrote: 'It’s tried its best to settle on gritted roads but intensity is lowering now to 4/10 EN4 #uksnow ..embarrassingly this is probably the most snow here in almost 2 years (since early Feb 2019)'

A Twitter-user in Enfield, London, took out a ruler to measure almost a centimetre of snow this morning. He wrote: ‘It’s tried its best to settle on gritted roads but intensity is lowering now to 4/10 EN4 #uksnow ..embarrassingly this is probably the most snow here in almost 2 years (since early Feb 2019)’

Walkers shelter underneath the hoods of their coats and umbrellas as they head through heavy rain on Wimbledon Common

Walkers shelter underneath the hoods of their coats and umbrellas as they head through heavy rain on Wimbledon Common

Meanwhile, highway chiefs in Hampshire refused to stop salting icy roads in the New Forest despite a litany of tragedies including one in which four ponies were killed.

The ponies were eagerly licking freshly-laid salt on the B3078 Roger Penny Way, near Brook, when they were hit by a Land Rover Discovery. Three were killed instantly and the fourth died a few minutes later after being lured to their deaths by salt laid on the icy road. 

Horse and ponies love the tast of salt, and Hampshire county councillor David Harrison urged the authority to ‘look at the wisdom’ of treating New Forest roads, saying grit might be less likely to lead to tragedies.

But the council’s deputy leader, Coun Rob Humby, said salting would continue – to protect motorists. He said: ‘I fully recognise the uniqueness of the New Forest environment but the county council has a duty of care to take reasonable steps to keep the roads clear of snow and ice.’

The Met Office has warned drivers to accelerate their cars ‘gently’ and to leave a large gap between surrounding vehicles.

Parts of Wales and Northern Ireland will be mostly cloudy, with some bands of rain in the northern regions.

Greg Dewhurst, a Met Office forecaster said: ‘Areas in eastern England and around the M25 could see up to 8cm of snow, especially as Saturday progresses. Other areas in England and Scotland will see some snowfall here and there, with Saturday being the colder of the two days over the weekend.

‘Temperatures are unlikely to rise above 10C, with a lot of areas closer to freezing.’

There were also 25 flood warnings across England on Saturday, stretching from the South East to the North East, meaning ‘immediate action is required’, according to the Environment Agency.

This is expected to clear up in the evening, going into Sunday, when southern and eastern parts of the UK will see dry, sunny spells.

North-western regions are expected to see showers, with a ‘spell of more persistent rain’ later on in the day.

A garden was covered in a light coating of snow in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, early Saturday morning

A garden was covered in a light coating of snow in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, early Saturday morning

A dog walker braved the wet weather on Wimbledon common this morning. While snow coated parts of Hertfordshire and north London, other areas of the capital only saw rain

A dog walker braved the wet weather on Wimbledon common this morning. While snow coated parts of Hertfordshire and north London, other areas of the capital only saw rain

Snow in Enfield, London, as the sun started to rise early Saturday morning ahead of a day of wet and wintry weather

Snow in Enfield, London, as the sun started to rise early Saturday morning ahead of a day of wet and wintry weather

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

Hold your horses… lots more snow on the way 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The North has borne the brunt of heavy snowfall so far this week – but the wintry weather is set to hit the Home Counties today. Pictured: West Yorkshire yesterday

The North has borne the brunt of heavy snowfall so far this week – but the wintry weather is set to hit the Home Counties today. Pictured: West Yorkshire yesterday

The Met Office has issued a snow warning for South East England which will run from 3am to 8pm on Saturday

The Met Office has issued a snow warning for South East England which will run from 3am to 8pm on Saturday

After the latest weather front passes, Atlantic-dominated weather will become established, bringing moister and warmer air with rain dominating. This will confine snowfall to the highest elevations in the north.

Nick Silkstone, deputy chief meteorologist, said: ‘During Monday and Tuesday we will see large rainfall totals across the high ground of western Britain. This rainfall combined with snowmelt will lead to a high volume of water moving through river catchments in these regions.’

During Wednesday, an area of low-pressure anchored in the North Sea will establish a northerly air flow coming into the UK, heralding a return to colder conditions, with wintry showers over higher ground.

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

Group of residents in snow-bound Yorkshire build 10ft fall snowman near their homes

A group of residents in snow-bound Yorkshire have spread a bit of joy by building a 10ft tall snowman near their homes.

Gemma Younger, 34, and her neighbours spent three hours building the ‘tallest snowman’ she’d ever seen in their shared garden on Thursday. The snowman, which was the first she had ever built, made her feel like she was ‘reliving her youth’.

A team of five people, including her neighbours Dawn, Darren and Jack Roberts, as well as her son Alfie, ten, moulded the snowman limb by limb in a joint effort in Catterick, North Yorkshire.

Jack, who is 6ft 3in, was tasked with completing the snowman’s head and was hoisted up in the air by his mother who held a small step ladder by the base of the snowman.

Gemma Younger, 34, and her neighbours spent three hours building the 'tallest snowman' she'd ever seen, in Catterick, North Yorkshire

Gemma Younger, 34, and her neighbours spent three hours building the ‘tallest snowman’ she’d ever seen, in Catterick, North Yorkshire

The friendly neighbours wore masks and maintained a 6ft (2m) distance between them at all times to comply with social distancing measures. Ms Younger said Alfie played in the snow for the whole day, from 9am until 6pm.

Ms Younger, who is originally from Brighton, said: ‘We saw the snow once we woke up, my son was straight out the doors making snowmen. My neighbour was clearing the path and my son started launching snowballs, as you do.

‘He said he was going to make a snowman, if we could help we were more than welcome to. It was challenging but fun. It was a team effort. It was just reliving our youths. It’s the first snowman I’ve ever made.’

The hotel barmaid and married mother-of-two said: ‘There was so much snow, that’s all just from our back garden. Down south we never had snow like this, but moving up north I’ve seen more snow in three years than I’ve ever seen. 

‘It’s the most snow they’ve ever seen. My son didn’t come back in until 6pm, he was just playing with the snow all day. It was just a good laugh. We used a tape measure and he’s about 10ft tall. It’s the tallest snowman I’ve ever seen it.’  

 

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Headlines UK London

1.3 million foreign nationals left the UK in 2020

This is the largest population decline since World War II

1.3 million foreign nationals left the UK in 2020, according to The Independent, citing a study by the Economic Statistics Center of Excellence. The country is experiencing its largest population decline since World War II, analysts say.

More than 700 thousand people have left London alone – this is almost 8% of the total population of the British capital, study authors Michael O’Connor and Jonathan Portes say.

Analysts cite not Brexit as the main reason, but a sharp decline in the number of jobs in the hotel and restaurant business, which has been hit hardest by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The UK’s exit from the EU will affect after the epidemic, when foreign workers begin to return to the country. They will only be eligible to live and work in the UK if they achieve the required number of points on the criteria developed by the government.

But the National Statistical Office (ONS) provides very different data. According to their calculations, just over 500 thousand people left the country.

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Headlines UK Leeds London

Police dish out 66 times more fines in crackdown on Covid-19 rule flouters

Police dish out 66 times more fines to Covid-19 rule flouters than in first lockdown… as hundreds of students hold SNOWBALL FIGHT in park and more than 20 people ‘sledge’ on single sheet

  • Scotland Yard Deputy Commissioner Steve House revealed extent of crackdown 
  • Sir Steve said the officers were now ‘accelerating more quickly’ to enforcement
  • In the first lockdown, Met Police gave out 4.5 fines a day compared to 300 now

Britain’s biggest police force is handing out a record 300 penalties a day – with more Covid rule breakers fined in the past few weeks than in the first nine months of the pandemic.

Scotland Yard Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House yesterday revealed the extent of the crackdown as it emerged that officers are doling out 66 times more fines every day than during the first lockdown.

When the restrictions were first announced, the Metropolitan Police dished out 4.5 fines a day on average between March 27 and April 13.

In comparison, more than 300 people a day are now getting fixed penalty notices, with almost 4,000 penalties handed out so far in London. 

Scotland Yard Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House yesterday revealed the extent of the crackdown as it emerged that officers are doling out 66 times more fines every day than during the first lockdown. Pictured: Police in Clapham Common, London

Around 200 youngsters took part in a snowball fight in Hyde Park, Leeds, on Thursday afternoon

Sir Steve said officers were ‘accelerating more quickly’ to enforcement rather than listening to excuses from Covid rule breakers this time around.

‘We have seen a significant increase in the amount of fixed penalty notices that were issued,’ he said. ‘The number is increasing quite rapidly day on day. I wish it weren’t so. I wish everybody was abiding by the regulations.’

Between March 27 and December 20, the force handed out 1,761 penalties for breaking the rules, including for being outside home without a reasonable excuse, not wearing a mask or organising a mass gathering.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has told police they can question people if they find them sitting on park benches.

Witnesses said the scenes showed a ‘blatant disregard’ for the strain the NHS is under. Liam Ford shot a brief video of the scene on a walk with his girlfriend (pictured)

Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has ordered officers to take a more hardline approach during this lockdown, saying it is ‘preposterous’ to suggest that the public would be unaware of the need to follow the rules.

Yesterday her deputy said it was clear the public were not taking the rules as seriously this time around and the police had been asked by the Government to step up enforcement. 

Sir Steve described his frustration at anti-lockdown protests, citing a demonstration in Clapham, south London, last week where protesters were heckled by the public.

‘As they were walking down Clapham High Street members of the public who were legitimately out started shouting at them and telling them they were a bunch of idiots,’ he said. ‘I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that view.’

The furloughed retail worker said: ‘With what’s going on, I can’t condone mass gatherings like that.’ But Max Powell, a first year student at Leeds Beckett University, described it as ‘the most fun we’ve had sober’

Around 20 people on a makeshift sledge cram onto a tarpaulin at Roudhay Park, Leeds today

Around 20 people on a makeshift sledge cram onto a tarpaulin at Roudhay Park, Leeds today

Pictured: Leeds today

Pictured: Leeds today

Others were seen on skis and snowboards as snow settled in West Yorkshire on Thursday

He also told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee that his officers urgently needed vaccines and the force were happy to vaccinate their own officers and staff.

Around 1,700 Metropolitan Police staff are off sick or self-isolating. 

On Wednesday night, Met officers broke up a party at an industrial unit in Southwark, south London, where they found at least 20 revellers on top of the building. Local residents cheered when police arrived.

Two people were arrested, one on suspicion of carrying an offensive weapon, the other for suspected drug dealing. Five people were handed fines for breaching Covid restrictions.

An illegal house party attended by up to 100 people in South Mimms, Hertfordshire, was also broken up by police.

Police seized alcohol and music equipment from the organiser. One officer was hurt while trying to disperse the crowd and one person was arrested. At least 12 people were handed fines.

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Sadiq Khan says Londoners have not had enough Covid jabs after capital gets just a tenth of doses

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan today complained about the city’s Covid vaccine supply after NHS figures revealed it has given jabs to fewer people than any other region. 

Only two per cent of people in the capital were vaccinated against coronavirus by January 10, compared to five per cent in the North East & Yorkshire.

NHS England’s first regional breakdown of vaccines up to January 10 reveal that the Midlands has vaccinated the most people against the disease, managing to get first doses to 387,647 in the first month of the roll-out.

This was more than double the 186,291 in the East of England almost twice as many as London’s 199,986.

London has accounted for only 10 per cent of the country’s vaccinations so far despite being home to 16 per cent of the population with some nine million people. The capital and the East are the only regions where the share of vaccines has been smaller than the share of the population.

The North East & Yorkshire, and the South West, are punching above their weight and making up only 25 per cent of the population but using 31 per cent of the first-dose vaccines. 

Mr Khan said: ‘I am hugely concerned that Londoners have received only a tenth of the vaccines that have been given across the country.’ 

But NHS bosses hit back and insisted the city ‘is getting its fair share’ and dishing out the jabs rapidly at more than 100 sites including a giant hub at the Excel Centre Nightingale Hospital. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock today claimed that the UK has now dished out three million vaccinations since the roll-out started on December 8. The country is aiming to reach 13.9million people by mid-February so ministers can consider easing lockdown restrictions. 

Yesterday saw Britain’s death toll rise by 1,564 as statistics now suggest more than 100,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the past year and another 47,525 more positive tests were confirmed.

In other coronavirus news: 

  • Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed to crack down on Covid rule breakers after police were called to a roof-top rave in Soutwark last night;
  • A Public Health England study reveals a previous coronavirus infection gives people immunity for five months;
  • Education Secretary Gavin Williamson admitted children would stay at home until after the February half-term;
  • A new infectious Covid strain has been identified in Brazil strain and is sending cases soaring in the South American country, 
  • Ministers delayed rules forcing people to get a negative Covid-19 test before entering Britain until Monday;
  • Tennis star Andy Murray tests positive for Covid days before he was due to fly to Melbourne for the tennis season’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.

Sadiq Khan said only a tenth of Covid vaccines across the UK had been given to people living in the capital. Pictured: Vaccination Centre open today at Lords Cricket Ground

Sadiq Khan said only a tenth of Covid vaccines across the UK had been given to people living in the capital. Pictured: Vaccination Centre open today at Lords Cricket Ground

Superdrug nurse Mary Saunders speaks to Henry William Rice, 95, from Guildford as he waits to receive the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine at Superdrug in Guildford

Superdrug nurse Mary Saunders speaks to Henry William Rice, 95, from Guildford as he waits to receive the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine at Superdrug in Guildford

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

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

The Mayor said he is 'hugely concerned' to learn the amount of Londoners who have been given the Covid vaccine

The Mayor said he is ‘hugely concerned’ to learn the amount of Londoners who have been given the Covid vaccine

Queues of ambulances were seen outside the Royal London Hospital as Covid cases in the capital rise

Queues of ambulances were seen outside the Royal London Hospital as Covid cases in the capital rise 

Mr Khan said: ‘I am hugely concerned that Londoners have received only a tenth of the vaccines that have been given across the country. 

‘The situation in London is critical with rates of the virus extremely high, which is why it’s so important that vulnerable Londoners are given access to the vaccine as soon as possible. 

‘I have repeatedly called on the Government to scale up the vaccine supply, and will be meeting the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment today to ensure that we urgently receive an amount of the vaccine that reflects our size, density and the level of need in our city.’

It comes days after the Mayor declared a ‘major incident’ in the capital as Covid cases continue to rise, when he said the spread of the virus was ‘out of control.’

Today’s NHS figures, which revealed a regional breakdown of vaccination numbers for the first time, show the Midlands has vaccinated the most people.

Numbers up to January 10 reveal that five per cent of people in the North East and Yorkshire – one in every 20 people – have already been vaccinated against Covid.

It comes after Mayor Sadiq Khan (pictured) declared a 'major incident' in the capital as Covid cases continue to rise

It comes after Mayor Sadiq Khan (pictured) declared a ‘major incident’ in the capital as Covid cases continue to rise

HOW HAVE REGIONS FARED IN VACCINE ROLL-OUT SO FAR? 

NHS England data for vaccination first doses up to January 10:

% of local population vaccinated

% of England’s vaccinations

East

London

Midlands

North East 

North West

South East

South West

Other

186,291

199,986

387,647

370,694

266,585

348,863

235,108

2,130

In London, where coverage is lowest, two per cent had been vaccinated by last Sunday – one in 50.

And the Midlands and the North East & Yorkshire have together used 38 per cent of the vaccines dished out so far. They account for 35 per cent of the population.

But despite being home to 27 per cent of the country’s population, London and the East of England have only accounted for 19 per cent of people vaccinated so far. 

They are the regions whose shares of the vaccines are smaller than their shares of the people. 

The NHS does not give a breakdown of how ages vary across England but regions with more elderly people will get more vaccines in the early stages of the roll-out.

Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs: ‘There are parts of the country where they have done incredibly well in, for instance, vaccinating the over-80s.

‘We are well over 50 per cent now in the North East and Yorkshire; less good in some other parts of the country.’

It is not clear whether some regions are vaccinating fewer people because they can’t get enough supplies or because they aren’t rolling them out quick enough. 

Cities, for example, were able to start vaccinating sooner than rural areas because the first jabs to be used had to be kept in specialist freezers in hospitals.

Since the approval of the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine, however, it has been easier to send doses out to care homes, GP surgeries and pharmacies, meaning places where populations are more spread out should be able to speed up.

Despite this, London has the second lowest number of people vaccinated so far, at 199,986.

Around 16 per cent of the country’s population lives in the capital but its residents make up only 10 per cent of the people vaccinated by January 10. 

Mr Khan said he would hold talks with vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi ‘to ensure that we urgently receive an amount of the vaccine that reflects our size, density and the level of need in our city’.  

But the NHS hit back and said the city is getting its ‘fair share’.

A spokesman for the region’s health service said: ‘The NHS coronavirus vaccination programme, the biggest in the health service’s history, has got off to a strong start with a quarter of a million Londoners receiving their first vaccination against Covid, giving significant protection to those most at risk from the virus.

‘We have more than 100 vaccination sites up and running across London, including the NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre in the ExCeL London, and more are opening all the time.

‘London is getting its fair share of vaccine supply for the priority groups we have to vaccinate by mid-February.’

The East of England, which includes Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, is the only other region to have reached fewer than 200,000 people so far, at 186,291.

The largest number of people to have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine was in the Midlands, where 387,647 out of a population of 10.8million have been immunised.

London has again become the epicentre of the country’s Covid outbreak, with the Office for National Statistics estimating at the turn of the year that a staggering one in every 30 people in the capital was carrying the virus. 

In the worst-hit boroughs, it is feared the rate could be as high as one in 20 people people with the virus.  

A further 10,020 Covid cases were reported in London on Wednesday, bringing the total number of people who have tested positive for the virus in the capital to 538,132.

But there has been a drop in the number of hospital admissions, with 5,919 coronavirus patients admitted in a week.

As of Tuesday there were 7,606 Covid patients in London hospitals, with 1,085 of those patients being treated on ventilators.  

While official NHS figures show 2,371,407 people have already been given a vaccine in England, according to statistics released by the National Immunisation Management Service.   

The jabs are currently being distributed predominantly to people aged 80 and over who are deemed to be more vulnerable to the virus. 

Care home residents and their carers, frontline health and social care workers are also being given priority.  

The Government said a further 1,564 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday

The Government said a further 1,564 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday

It marked the highest number of UK deaths reported on a single day since the outbreak began. It brings the UK total death toll to 84,767

It marked the highest number of UK deaths reported on a single day since the outbreak began. It brings the UK total death toll to 84,767

In the worst-hit London boroughs, the rate could be as high as seven in every 1,000 people, prompting fears London hospitals will be pushed to capacity. Pictured: A medic unloads a patient from an ambulance at the Royal London hospital in east London this morning

In the worst-hit London boroughs, the rate could be as high as seven in every 1,000 people, prompting fears London hospitals will be pushed to capacity. Pictured: A medic unloads a patient from an ambulance at the Royal London hospital in east London this morning

A cyclist rides across London's deserted Westminster Bridge this morning on another day of the national lockdown

A cyclist rides across London’s deserted Westminster Bridge this morning on another day of the national lockdown

A further 10,020 Covid cases were reported in London on Wednesday, bringing the total number of people who have tested positive for the virus in the capital to 538,132. In the worst-hit boroughs, it is feared the rate could be as high as seven in every 1,000 people (pictured)

A further 10,020 Covid cases were reported in London on Wednesday, bringing the total number of people who have tested positive for the virus in the capital to 538,132. In the worst-hit boroughs, it is feared the rate could be as high as seven in every 1,000 people (pictured)

People wearing face masks were seen waiting at a bus stop in London this morning amidst news lockdown restrictions could be tightened further

People wearing face masks were seen waiting at a bus stop in London this morning amidst news lockdown restrictions could be tightened further

BOOTS AND SUPERDRUG JOIN VACCINE PROGRAMME

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

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

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

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

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

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

But independent chemists who’ve been begging for months to help chip in said they were ‘concerned’ the target would be missed unless more of England’s 11,500 pharmacies were drafted in. Just 2.6m Brits have been jabbed so far since the national programme launched in early December, a fifth of the 13.9m target by mid-February.

But in inner London, over-80s make up only 2.5% of the population, according to the Trust for London charity. 

London’s population is also comparatively young compared to the rest of the country with the average age in the capital reaching 35.6, compared to 40.3 in the UK overall.

Despite the shocking figures, rule breakers continued to flout the restrictions. 

Officers in the capital were said to be ‘astounded’ after being called to break up a party at an industrial unit in Southwark last night, where they found at least 20 revellers on top of the building.

Police were called out to reports of loud music coming from the roof by disgusted residents.

Many cheered the police on when they arrived to break up the illegal gathering on Pages Walk, Southwark.

Officers found more than 20 people drinking, eating and playing music, leaving one officer ‘astounded’ at the rule-breaking.

Two people were arrested, including one individual on suspicion of carrying an offensive weapon, while another was arrested for suspected drug dealing.

A further five people were handed fines for breaching Covid restrictions before the party was fully dispersed around 11.30pm. 

It led Home Secretary Priti Patel to hit out at those brazenly flouting the restrictions. 

She warned police will continue to issue fines and enforce against people who are ‘flagrantly breaching the rules.’

It came as the Home Secretary confirmed the government was not intending to make the lockdown tougher over the next few days.

But the Mayor of London has called for tougher restrictions in a big to halt the virus’ spread. 

Announcing the major incident in London last week, Mr Khan called for churches and other places of worship to be closed.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he also demanded face masks be worn routinely outside of the home, including in supermarket queues and other places outside that may be crowded.

He also wants more financial support for Londoners who need to self-isolate and are unable to work, and for daily vaccination data.

In a statement Mr Khan said: ‘The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control.’

Major incidents were declared in London after the Grenfell Tower disaster, the London Bridge and Westminster terror attacks, and the Croydon tram crash in November 2016. 

The Covid crush-hour: Moment scores of commuters cram onto Tube amid 540,000 cases in London – as construction workers call for closure of non-essential sites due to fears over journey to work

This is the moment scores of commuters crammed onto the Tube this morning – as construction workers called for a pause to non-essential work due to safety fears.

The footage was filmed at Canning Town station in east London, which is seen as a bottleneck due to the large number of builders and other key workers who live locally and depend on the Tube to travel to work in the city centre. TfL said there was also a service issue at the station this morning. 

Despite concerns over the current surge in the virus, work in the construction and manufacturing industries has continued during recent months in all four nations of the UK.

London has been the UK’s Covid hotpot with 540,000 cases since the start of March. However, within the last few days the number of hospital admissions has plateaued, while the latest daily cases suggest the infection rate is coming down. 

The footage was filmed at Canning Town station in east London, which is seen as a bottleneck due to the large number of builders and other key workers who live locally and depend on the Tube to travel to work in the city centre. TfL said there was also a service issue at the station this morning

The footage was filmed at Canning Town station in east London, which is seen as a bottleneck due to the large number of builders and other key workers who live locally and depend on the Tube to travel to work in the city centre. TfL said there was also a service issue at the station this morning

The UK Government, responsible for the rules in England, encourages staff to travel in to sites if they cannot work at home, saying on its website that ‘this is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers’.

However, Will, a supervisor for a number of sites across the south east of England, said many staff he works with do not feel safe, and called for a pause on non-essential construction while cases of the virus were rocketing.

‘A lot of the construction industry just feel so let down and forgotten during this second wave,’ he said. 

‘Like most construction workers, we are concerned about losing our jobs or even just looking bad to our companies by calling for sites to close to stop the spread.

‘A lot of guys here either don’t feel safe or, to be honest, don’t care, because if they do not come in they don’t get paid, and not paying bills and putting food on the table is a bigger issue to them.’ 

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Open Mouth Reading Aloud World Championship to be held in London

The first qualifying stage will take place on January 16

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

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

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

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

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

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Headlines UK London

Job applicant wins £7,500 in NHS sex and age discrimination case

A middle-aged father has won a £7,500 payout in an age and sex discrimination case after being rejected for an NHS job because he wouldn’t fit in with the ‘millennial’ women who already worked at the trust.

Despite being the best-performing candidate in an interview, Neil McClements, 50, was rejected for a project manager post after potential colleagues at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust in London were consulted on his application.

A hearing was told they thought the father-of-two was ‘nothing like’ the young woman he would be replacing and so a much younger female candidate in her 20s was selected instead, even though she had performed less well in interview. 

Members of the team were predominantly female and aged in their early 30s, with one doctor describing herself as a millennial on social media.

Neil McClements, 50, was rejected for the post after potential colleagues at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust in London were consulted on his application

Others were known to support social justice causes including feminism and gender equality 

The NHS trust was ordered to pay Mr McClements – who is now the Chief Executive at health charity Haemochromatosis UK – a total of £7,580.14 in compensation. 

When Mr McClements was rung to be informed he had not been successful, he was told it was because his would-be boss felt she would be uncomfortable giving instructions to someone old enough to have an 11-year-old daughter.

Now the panel, headed by Judge Tony Hyams Paris, has ruled he was the victim of both age and sex discrimination.

The hearing in Croydon, south London, was told Mr McClements – who attended business school at Cambridge University – was interviewed for the job as project manager at the NHS trust in July 2018.

The role – which paid around £40,000 a year – involved helping the health service adapt technology more quickly.

The tribunal heard that during his presentation Mr McClements, who was 47 at the time, used visual aids including a Minion backpack featuring the yellow characters from the Despicable Me film series.

‘He explained that Minions were playful, servile, cartoon film characters associated with a soundtrack of the song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams,’ the tribunal heard.

‘During their questioning…we find that the panel sought to establish willingness to work for others that were younger than him and perform more menial tasks.

‘To this end, (he) was asked during his presentation ‘Will you be a minion?’

When Mr McClements was rung to be informed he had not been successful, he was told it was because his would-be boss felt she would be uncomfortable giving instructions to someone old enough to have an 11-year-old daughter

When Mr McClements was rung to be informed he had not been successful, he was told it was because his would-be boss felt she would be uncomfortable giving instructions to someone old enough to have an 11-year-old daughter

Mr McClements – who has a lengthy background in technology – claimed he was being asked if he would be willing to ‘do mundane tasks’ or be ‘a servile follower or subordinate of a person in power’.

Compared to the other candidates, Mr McClements achieved the highest scores from the combined panel, which included Dr Charlotte Lee, who he would report to, and Jenny Thomas, programme director.

After the interview he and the other top ranked applicant – a woman in her 20s – were introduced to other members of the team, including a woman named Rose, the tribunal was told.

They were then asked what they thought of him as part of an exercise to see who would be the ‘best fit’.

As part of the evidence the tribunal were shown tweets from Rose’s twitter account.

‘(She) described her interests as including ‘social justice, inequality feminist’,’ the panel said. ‘Many retweets shown to us were of a feminist or gender equality theme.

‘One retweet read ”London is the most diverse city in the UK but women are still paid less than men and there are too few of them in leadership roles”.

‘We were also shown (Dr Lee’s) Twitter account where she described herself as a ‘millennial’.’

Comments made by the team included questioning whether Mr McClements was too experienced, whether he was too senior and how he was ‘very different’ to the woman he was replacing.

The following day, after deciding to appoint the other candidate, Dr Lee rang Mr McClements, from Spalding, Lincolnshire, to tell him his application had not been successful.

‘(She) told him…that a main factor in the decision was that (she) was ‘uncomfortable asking you to do things given you have an 11-year-old daughter’,’ the panel said.

‘We concluded that the point (she) was making was that she would find it difficult to manage someone who was much older than her; the reference to the daughter was to illustrate the maturity point.’

Supporting Mr McClements’ claims of age and sex discrimination, the panel concluded: ‘We were concerned that both conscious and unconscious bias were at play and that their focus on finding a person who was the ‘best fit’ led them to take into account factors which were discriminatory.

‘We did not think (they) fully appreciated that the danger in going down that path was that they would be more inclined to choose a candidate that was more like them.

‘We find that the decision was ultimately made by Dr Lee and Mrs Thomas having been influenced by team members. We find this grouping to be predominantly female and with an average age of 30-32.’

Regarding the decision on sex discrimination, the tribunal noted ‘the concentration on finding the ‘best fit’ when viewed against the gender make-up of the grouping of people who contributed to the decision.’

It also pointed to ‘the unconventional process adopted…the fact that (Mr McClements) achieved the highest score, and the views retweeted by Rose, which we reasonably concluded that she supported and had an affinity with.’ 

An additional claim of failing to make a reasonable adjustment due to a disability was dismissed.

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Headlines UK London

Florist who fell and smashed a vase at Yotam Ottolenghi restaurant is in line for £650,000 payout

A flower arranger could be awarded a £650,000 payout after he fell and smashed a vase while working for a florist at Yotam Ottolenghi restaurant.

Davy D’Agostino, 43, said the accident at the Belgravia restaurant left him with PTSD, OCD and social anxiety disorder. 

Mr D’Agostino was cut when he fell while carrying a goldfish bowl sized vase up stairs to replenish flowers at the celebrity chef’s restaurant in London’s West End in August 2014.

He had to hold his wrist together after glass shards sliced through tendons and flesh, leaving him pouring with blood and fearing he would ‘bleed out’ in the stairway.

In 2019, he won the right to a compensation payout after suing his former employer, florist Caroline Farthing, of Essex-based Farthing Flowers Ltd.

Davy D’Agostino (pictured), 43, said the accident at the Belgravia restaurant left him with PTSD, OCD and social anxiety disorder

The former barman initially sued a company owned by chef and food writer Mr Ottolenghi, who is known for his inventive dishes, characterised by unorthodox ingredients and flavour combinations.

He blamed defective stairs but later dropped the case.

But he could now be in line for up to £650,000 damages from his employer after suffering a devastating decline in his mental health as a result of his accident, his lawyers told Central London County Court this week.

An expert instructed ahead of a trial of his compensation claim next month said he had developed PTSD, depression, OCD and a social anxiety disorder – on top of continuing disability in his arm.

The case is set to go ahead at the London court in three weeks, when Judge Christopher Lethem will decide how much Mr D’Agostino is due from his former boss.

Today, the judge said the payout could reach as much as £650,000, although it is unclear how much Mrs Farthing will be able to pay, as she was not insured.

During the first trial of the case in 2019, the judge heard how Mr D’Agostino was carrying a heavy vase up stairs at Mr Ottolenghi’s Belgravia restaurant when he fell.

In 2019, he won the right to a compensation payout after suing his former employer, florist Caroline Farthing (pictured), of Essex-based Farthing Flowers Ltd

In 2019, he won the right to a compensation payout after suing his former employer, florist Caroline Farthing (pictured), of Essex-based Farthing Flowers Ltd

The restaurant-deli is one of six owned across London by Yotam Ottolenghi’s company, Ottolenghi Ltd.

The court heard Mr D’Agostino worked for Ms Farthing, of Loughton, Essex, accompanying her as she drove to her clients’ premises, including Ottolenghi, replenishing flower displays overnight.

Mr D’Agostino insisted he had only received about 45 minutes’ training and that he was instructed to take the vase to a large sink downstairs to be emptied, cleaned, refilled and returned upstairs.

On the way back up, he slipped on a step and fell forward onto the full vase, suffering ‘deep lacerations’ to his wrist.

The former barman initially sued a company owned by chef and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi (pictured), who is known for his inventive dishes, characterised by unorthodox ingredients and flavour combinations

The former barman initially sued a company owned by chef and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi (pictured), who is known for his inventive dishes, characterised by unorthodox ingredients and flavour combinations

Giving evidence, he said he had been left gripping his wrist to stem the bleeding in the fear he might ‘bleed out’.

Contesting his claim for damages, Ms Farthing said ‘not in a million years’ would she have told him to carry the heavy vase up and down the stairs.

He should instead have filled it in situ, using a watering can.

But finding against her at the end of the 2019 trial, the judge rejected Ms Farthing’s evidence, which he said was ‘chaotic and contradictory’.

‘Mr D’Agostino was instructed to carry the vase downstairs and empty it in the basement and expected to clean and refill it down there,’ he found.

‘The stairs were an obvious risk…and an accident waiting to happen. It was an unsafe system of working and inherently risky.’

The restaurant-deli (pictured) is one of six owned across by London by Yotam Ottolenghi's company, Ottolenghi Ltd

The restaurant-deli (pictured) is one of six owned across by London by Yotam Ottolenghi’s company, Ottolenghi Ltd

Lawyers estimated Mr D’AGostino’s claim to be worth about £100,000, but subsequent medical evidence resulted in the increased value, the court has now heard.

According to medical reports, Mr D’Agostino continues to suffer almost seven years later with pain, discomfort and twitching in his right forearm.

He is unable to write anything more than the most ‘basic things,’ his doctor said, while he is also more susceptible to the cold.

But Judge Lethem said allegations of psychiatric damage – including PTSD, OCD, depression and anxiety – would be contested at the trial next month.

Mrs Farthing’s barrister, Connor Kennedy, said it was unclear how much she would eventually be able to pay him.

The Covid-19 pandemic had robbed her of a year of earnings and she could not even afford to pay her lawyers after this week’s hearing, he said.

He urged the judge to adjourn the planned trial until later in the year, when the parties might be able to attend court in person, rather than via a video link.

Judge Lethem rejected the suggestion, saying the case needed to be resolved as soon as possible, as it is now more than six years after the accident.

‘This is a case crying out for the earliest determination of the quantum issue,’ he said. ‘In those circumstances, the trial will proceed.’

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Headlines UK London

London City Hall to Raise City Tax by Almost 10%

The funds will be used to provide free travel for children and the elderly

From April 2021, London Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to increase the part of the municipal tax that goes to the capital’s budget by 9.5%, according to The Evening Standard. The proceeds will be used to provide free travel for Londoners under 18 and over 60.

So, the council tax on category D will rise by £ 31.59 per year. £ 15 of this will be used to maintain the reduced fare, another £ 15 to support the police forces, and the remaining £ 1.59 to improve the work of the London fire department.

Taking into account the indexation from the local authorities, the total municipal tax increase in 2021 could be up to £ 100.

According to Sadik Khan, promotion is a forced measure. Now free travel for some categories of citizens in London is provided by the government, but from April it will shift responsibility to the metropolitan mayor’s office. “I understand that many families have faced serious financial difficulties due to the pandemic, but the government has left us no other choice. I promise all Londoners that every penny of this amount will be used effectively. “– said Khan.

In addition, the City Hall will not reduce the entry fee for central London until at least October 2021. Since June 22, 2020, it has risen in price from £ 11.5 to £ 15.

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Headlines UK London

Tearful nurse who zips up the body bags of dead Covid patients begs public to follow lockdown rules

An exhausted intensive care nurse has revealed the emotional toll of ‘zipping up body bags’ as she begs the British public to stop flouting coronavirus lockdown rules. 

Ameera Sheikh, 28, who zipped up the body bag on her fourth Covid-19 patient in just two days at a hard-hit London hospital, said she can’t sleep any more ‘because the nightmares are too much’.   

Her comments come after the UK’s Covid-19 death toll passed 80,000, after a further 1,035 deaths were recorded yesterday, increasing fears that the total will surpass 100,000 by the end of the month. 

Ameera Sheikh, 28, who zipped up the body bag on her fourth Covid-19 patient in just two days at a hard-hit London hospital, said she can’t sleep any more ‘because the nightmares are too much’

London's mayor Sadiq Khan declared a 'major incident' across the capital in the face of soaring Covid-19 cases. Pictured: Paramedics transfer a patient from an ambulance into the Royal London Hospital on January 8

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan declared a ‘major incident’ across the capital in the face of soaring Covid-19 cases. Pictured: Paramedics transfer a patient from an ambulance into the Royal London Hospital on January 8 

The ICU nurse revealed she and her colleagues are on their feet for up to 14 hours a day and some medics ‘are so burnt out that they can’t eat’. 

Ameera hit out at anti-lockdown protesters and said none of them will ‘ever zip up a body bag in their lives’ whilst she and her colleagues are risking their lives every day to treat patients.

She also said ‘our Government has failed us’ as London’s mayor Sadiq Khan declared a ‘major incident’ across the capital in the face of soaring Covid-19 cases.   

Ameera hit out at anti-lockdown protesters and said none of them will 'ever zip up a body bag in their lives' whilst she and her colleagues are risking their lives every day to treat patients. Pictured: Police officers arrest anti-lockdown protester outside Houses of Parliament in London on 6 January

Ameera hit out at anti-lockdown protesters and said none of them will ‘ever zip up a body bag in their lives’ whilst she and her colleagues are risking their lives every day to treat patients. Pictured: Police officers arrest anti-lockdown protester outside Houses of Parliament in London on 6 January

Ameera told The Sunday People: ‘Each day is as bad as the next. Some days it’s so intense. You feel so sick inside that you can’t even bring yourself to drink a glass of water.

‘We are on our feet for 13 or 14 hours a day, running around. I don’t sleep any more because the nightmares are too much.’ 

Ameera, who has worked for the NHS for 12 years, begged the British public to not break the coronavirus lockdown rules in order to help save lives. 

She said: ‘Please don’t break the rules. I have worked overseas in less developed countries where they don’t have the resources like we do and what is going on right now reminds me of those experiences.

‘Death was all around us then and death is all around us now.’ 

The ICU nurse revealed she and her colleagues are on their feet for up to 14 hours a day and some medics 'are so burnt out that they can't eat'. Pictured: A nurse works on a patient in the ICU in St George's Hospital in Tooting, London

The ICU nurse revealed she and her colleagues are on their feet for up to 14 hours a day and some medics ‘are so burnt out that they can’t eat’. Pictured: A nurse works on a patient in the ICU in St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London

In a scathing rebuke of the anti-lockdown groups who are flouting lockdown restrictions, she said: ‘They don’t have any medical qualifications yet feel it’s OK to make unfounded comments. 

‘When will they realise what’s going on? Will it be when they lose someone they love?

‘They need to realise the world doesn’t revolve around them. Other people are living in this world too and many have died because people chose not to wear a mask or wanted to hang out with their pals.’ 

She continued: ‘We can have a day where patients are dying all day long and you are having to quickly wash them and zip up a body bag.

‘None of the people from anti-lockdown groups will ever zip up a body bag in their lives.’  

Staff nurses work in the corridor of the Acute Dependency Unit at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south-west London

Staff nurses work in the corridor of the Acute Dependency Unit at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south-west London

The nurse has treated a number of patients who they know have broken lockdown rules. 

‘As healthcare workers we have to suspend judgement. Some people are very lucky not to have experienced Covid. 

Ameera, who is a Unite union representative, added: ‘[Some people] admit to flouting the laws and are apologetic, while others don’t care. They have maybe lost their jobs or feel isolated and therefore don’t trust anything the Government says.

‘Some are very sick but deny they have Covid at all.’ 

Speaking of the emotional toll of the virus and working in a hard-hit London hospital, Ameera added: ‘I’ve lost friends and colleagues to this virus and we have doctors working in red zones who have come back from retirement or are medically vulnerable.

‘Staff are falling sick and it’s no surprise when, in many areas of the hospital, they are only wearing aprons and simple surgical masks.

‘It’s only the staff on ICU who are wearing full PPE. Everyone is scared of catching the new variant because it’s so much more infectious and many of us are still waiting for our vaccinations.’

A consultant takes a moment to use his phone in the corridor of the Intensive Care Unit at St George's Hospital in Tooting

A consultant takes a moment to use his phone in the corridor of the Intensive Care Unit at St George’s Hospital in Tooting

Hospitals in London will run out of beds within weeks if the spread of coronavirus is not dramatically reduced, Mr Khan warned as he declared a ‘major incident’ across the city.

The capital’s mayor said Covid-19 cases were ‘out of control’ and implored Londoners to stay at home ‘unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave’ in order to save lives and protect the NHS.

Chris Whitty has also warned hospitals are facing ‘the worst crisis in living memory’ as Covid-19 cases continue to soar – with 46,000 medical workers now off sick.   

Britons who don’t take the coronavirus lockdown seriously will cause ‘avoidable deaths’ when critically ill patients are turned away at the hospital door, Professor Chris Whitty warned in a scathing article for the Sunday Times.

Britons not taking the coronavirus lockdown seriously could soon cause 'avoidable deaths' when critically ill patients are turned away at the hospital door, Professor Chris Whitty warned in a scathing article for the Sunday Times. Pictured, ambulances outside the Royal London Hospital on January 8

Britons not taking the coronavirus lockdown seriously could soon cause ‘avoidable deaths’ when critically ill patients are turned away at the hospital door, Professor Chris Whitty warned in a scathing article for the Sunday Times. Pictured, ambulances outside the Royal London Hospital on January 8

And almost 50,000 hospital workers are currently off sick with Covid-19, according to the chair of the British Medical Association, Chaand Nagpaul, meaning an already stretched workforce is under even more pressure, reported The Guardian. 

Prof Whitty blasted coronavirus rulebreakers for being the ‘link in a chain’ that will allow the deadly virus to infect a and kill the elderly and vulnerable. 

‘We must stay home except for work, exercise and necessary activities. Every unneccesary interaction you have could be the link in the chain of transmission which has a vulnerable person at the end,’ he wrote.

The country has two weeks before hospitals are likely to be completely overwhelmed, Prof Whitty added, as the nation is plunged into the ‘most dangerous situation’ in living history.

Prof Whitty (pictured) blasted coronavirus rulebreakers for being the 'link in a chain' that will allow the deadly virus to infect a and kill the elderly and vulnerable

Prof Whitty (pictured) blasted coronavirus rulebreakers for being the ‘link in a chain’ that will allow the deadly virus to infect a and kill the elderly and vulnerable

Speaking about the high-demand in UK hospitals, Ameera said: ‘During and after the first wave, a lot of staff had handed in their resignation, and that’s across many hospitals in the UK.

‘A lot of people were just about coping in the first wave. [But] because of the way that they were treated, because of what they saw, the trauma, and not being supported well enough by management – they left.

‘So now we’re seeing a massive surge, being in the second wave, and it’s worse than the first wave.

‘It’s so stressful, my colleagues aren’t coping very well. Some of them are so burnt out that they can’t eat, they can’t sleep, they can’t bring themselves to come into work. How has our Government failed us, and had all these months to prepare?’

Footage showed the inside of St George's Hospital as Covid cases soar in Britain. The country has two weeks before hospitals are likely to be completely overwhelmed, Prof Whitty added, as the nation is plunged into the 'most dangerous situation' in living history

Footage showed the inside of St George’s Hospital as Covid cases soar in Britain. The country has two weeks before hospitals are likely to be completely overwhelmed, Prof Whitty added, as the nation is plunged into the ‘most dangerous situation’ in living history

Ameera also revealed some hospitals in the capital are now so overwhelmed that staff have no option put to place a negative patient with positive cases because there isn’t enough space. 

She said: ‘In London we are playing musical beds, moving patients from one hospital to another nearby to create space.

‘We are opening new intensive care units and new Covid wards, but with what staff? A lot of staff handed in their resignations after the first wave. Nurses are looking after three or even four patients each in ICU.

‘There are some hospitals who have the odd negative patient amongst a bay of positive cases because they’ve run out of side rooms.’ 

In a letter to Boris Johnson he has demanded churches and other places of worship be closed and for face masks to be worn routinely outside of the home, including in supermarket queues and other places outside that may be crowded

Mr Khan warned that more than one 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. 

Police blasted a ‘small selfish minority’ ignoring the rules and promised to come down hard on transgressors who are refusing to stop partying despite the highly transmissible pathogen being rife. 

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: ‘I know Londoners will be shocked that officers are still dealing with a small selfish minority who think the rules don’t apply to them by holding house parties, large warehouse raves or other gatherings. These are creating breeding grounds for the much more transmissible variant.’ 

Police blasted a 'small selfish minority' ignoring the rules and promised to come down hard on transgressors who are refusing to stop partying despite the highly transmissible pathogen being rife. Pictured: A man is arrested by police during an anti-lockdown protest at Parliament Square in London on 6 January

Police blasted a ‘small selfish minority’ ignoring the rules and promised to come down hard on transgressors who are refusing to stop partying despite the highly transmissible pathogen being rife. Pictured: A man is arrested by police during an anti-lockdown protest at Parliament Square in London on 6 January

Police confronted protesters chanting ‘take your freedom back’ as they marched through Clapham on Saturday to call for opposition against national lockdown measures ordering people to stay at home.

The protest, organised by group StandupX, was attended by a few dozen people who marched from Clapham Common, in south London, and then down the high street, prompting car drivers to blare their horns. 

After reaching the Argos store in Clapham, a video which was broadcast online showed brief scuffles between protesters and the Metropolitan Police as they appeared to arrest one man. At least 10 officers could be seen surrounding the protesters. 

Police confronted protesters chanting 'take your freedom back' as they marched through Clapham on Saturday to call for opposition against national lockdown measures ordering people to stay at home

Police confronted protesters chanting ‘take your freedom back’ as they marched through Clapham on Saturday to call for opposition against national lockdown measures ordering people to stay at home

After reaching the Argos store in Clapham, a video which was broadcast online showed brief scuffles between protesters and police as officers appeared to arrest one man. At least 10 officers could be seen surrounding the protesters

After reaching the Argos store in Clapham, a video which was broadcast online showed brief scuffles between protesters and police as officers appeared to arrest one man. At least 10 officers could be seen surrounding the protesters

The protest, organised by group StandupX, was attended by a few dozen people who marched from Clapham Common, in south London, and then down the high street, prompting car drivers to blare their horns

The protest, organised by group StandupX, was attended by a few dozen people who marched from Clapham Common, in south London, and then down the high street, prompting car drivers to blare their horns

Further scuffles then broke out outside a nearby Sainsbury’s store as officers made another arrest. Police said in a statement posted on Twitter that they had detained 12 people. 

It comes after the Metropolitan Police warned its officers will take action against protesters and will fine them the first time they are caught flouting lockdown rules.

The number of people who tested positive for coronavirus across the country rose by 59,937 yesterday, 3.8 per cent higher than last Saturday’s figure but down 8,000 on the previous day.

Shattered staff at London’s largest hospital St George’s say they are working ‘to the limit’ of their ability, battling low morale, exhausting shift patterns, and the prospect that the worst is still to come. 

Medical Director at NHS London, Vin Diwakar, warned medics that even if coronavirus patients grew at the lowest likely rate and hospital capacity is increased – including opening the Nightingale  at the ExCel Centre – the NHS would still be short 2,000 general, acute and ICU beds by January 19, the HSJ reports.

Inside St George’s they are seeing seriously ill patients in their twenties because of the new Covid strain – and bosses fear that there will be an exodus of staff when the third lockdown ends at Easter. 

Intensive care consultant Mohamed Ahmed said he had seen staff in tears at the end of their shift, while some decided they could no longer come to work

Intensive care consultant Mohamed Ahmed said he had seen staff in tears at the end of their shift, while some decided they could no longer come to work

Staff at London’s University College Hospital told the BBC they are having to make choices about which patients to prioritise after a surge in young people left fighting for their life and needing ventilators.

St George’s emergency department consultant Dr Mark Haden said: ‘Everyone’s stress levels are higher than usual. Everyone is working to the limit, to the threshold of what they’re able to. The hospital bed occupancy is very, very high, it has lots of Covid patients as inpatients at the moment.’ 

The Press Association was given access to the ICU where Ms Cooper said: ‘There is very little joy in our work at the moment. It’s hard to find that joy when you come into work – you’re scared for your colleagues, your families and yourself.’

She said some staff have had to be sent home to take time off due to the unprecedented pressures on the job, while others have battled on despite not being able to see family abroad for nearly a year.