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Headlines UK

Britain records 830 Covid deaths as fatalities DOUBLE week-on-week

Britain records 830 Covid deaths as fatalities DOUBLE week-on-week as UK posts ANOTHER daily high of 60,916 cases

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Britain today recorded another 830 Covid deaths as official statistics show the number of daily deaths has more than doubled week-on-week. 

Department of Health bosses also posted another record-high number of daily cases, with 60,916 new infections added to the ever-growing toll. 

The figures were released just half-an-hour before Boris Johnson faces the nation, as he bets the house on a fast vaccine roll-out to end the endless cycle of lockdown.

The Prime Minister is to hold a press conference at 5pm alongside medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance — whose warnings about the threat of the NHS being overwhelmed sparked the extraordinary U-turn to plunge England into new restrictions.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director for Public Health England, warned the ‘highly concerning’ rise in cases — which is up 14.6 per cent on last Tuesday’s figure — ‘will mean yet more pressure on our health services in the depths of winter’. 

She added: ‘That is why if we can, we must stay at home, reduce contacts and do everything possible to break the spread of this virus. It is by no means easy, but now more than ever we must all do our part to protect the NHS and save lives.’ 

Today’s deaths mark a 107.7 per cent rise on the 414 victims announced last Tuesday, while daily infections have risen by 14.6 per cent from the 53,135 reported a week ago.

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Headlines UK Manchester Sheffield

Premier League records 40 positive tests for coronavirus – more than double the week before  

The Premier League has revealed 40 new Covid cases in the latest round of testing – more than double the previous week and the highest figure yet recorded.

The latest test results come amid an alarming rise in coronavirus cases in the UK, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposing a new lockdown to keep the mutant Covid strain at bay, which is knopwn to spread more easily.

Last week’s Premier League testing saw 18 positive results come back – which was the previous highest weekly figure since Project Restart.  

The Premier League have revealed their latest set of results following their Covid testing

PREMIER LEAGUE COVID-19 TEST RESULTS FOR 2020-21 SEASON 

Round 1: Aug 31-Sep 6 – 1,605 tested, with three testing positive.

Round 2: Sep 7-13 – 2,131 tested, with four testing positive.

Round 3: Sep 14-20- 1,574 tested, with three testing positive.

Round 4: Sep 21-27 – 1,595 tested, with 10 testing positive.

Round 5: Sep 28-Oct 4 – 1,587 tested, with nine testing positive.

Round 6: Oct 5-11 – 1,128 tested, with five testing positive.

Round 7: Oct 12-18 – 1,575 tested, with eight testing positive.

Round 8: Oct 19-25 – 1,609 tested, with two testing positive.

Round 9: Oct 26-Nov 1 – 1,446 tested, with four testing positive.

Round 10: Nov 2-8 – 1,646 tested, with four testing positive.

Round 11: Nov 9-15 – 1,207 tested, with 16 testing positive.

Round 12: Nov 16-22 – 1,530 tested, with eight testing positive.

Round 13: Nov 23-29 – 1,381 tested, with 10 testing positive.

Round 14: Nov 30-Dec 6 – 1,483 tested, with 14 testing positive.

Round 15: Dec 7-13 – 1,549 tested, with six testing positive.

Round 16: Dec 14-20 – 1,569 tested, with seven testing positive 

Round 17: Dec 21-27 – 1,479 tested, with 18 testing positive 

Round 18: Dec 28-Jan 3 – 2,295 tested, with 40 testing positive 

The Premier League has now moved to testing players twice per week. Between Monday December 28 and Thursday December 31, 1,311 players and club staff were tested for Covid. Of these, there were 28 new positive tests.

Between Friday January 1 and Sunday January 3, 984 people were tested and of these, there were 12 new cases.

The Premier League said in a statement: ‘With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the League continues to have confidence in its COVID-19 protocols, fully backed by the Government, to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled. Players or club staff who have tested positive will self-isolate for a period of 10 days.’

Fulham's match at Tottenham was postponed due to an outbreak of coronavirus

Fulham’s match at Tottenham was postponed due to an outbreak of coronavirus

During the most recent testing period, three fixtures were postponed following an increased number of positive tests at two clubs.

Fulham’s matches against Burnley and Tottenham were called off due to an outbreak in their camp, while Manchester City’s trip to Everton was also postponed as the virus spread among Pep Guardiola’s squad during the Christmas break.

There has also been widespread criticism and concern after Premier League players at five clubs flouted coronavirus restriction rules.

Burnley's match with Sheffield United went ahead, despite the Yorkshire side recording cases

Burnley’s match with Sheffield United went ahead, despite the Yorkshire side recording cases

Players at Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham, Manchester City and West Ham attended parties over the Christmas and New Year period. 

Tottenham trio Erik Lamela, Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon were pictured attending a Christmas party alongside West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini as Covid cases continue to soar. 

Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic was present at a New Year’s Eve gathering alongside Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Three Spurs stars and a West Ham player (identified above) broke rules to party despite Covid-19 restrictions being in place over the Christmas period

Three Spurs stars and a West Ham player (identified above) broke rules to party despite Covid-19 restrictions being in place over the Christmas period

Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic (left) was seen breaking Covid rules at a New Year’s Eve party with Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic (right)

Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic (left) was seen breaking Covid rules at a New Year’s Eve party with Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic (right)

And finally, Manchester City left back Benjamin Mendy was also caught breaking Government regulations by hosting a New Year’s Eve party.

Mendy broke Government restrictions by inviting two friends and a chef to his £5million mansion to see in 2021.   

Meanwhile despite the third national lockdown being announced on Monday night, professional sport will continue as planned in the UK. 

The new lockdown is in some ways more brutal than last March, as the Government is desperately bidding to keep the mutant coronavirus at bay while vaccines are rolled out. 

It will see primary and secondary schools shut until at least February half-term.

University students are being told to stay at home and study remotely, while exams will not go ahead as planned. Nurseries can stay open.

Non-essential retail, all hospitality, gyms and swimming pools are being ordered to close across the country.

Manchester City left back Benjamin Mendy hosted a New Year's Eve party at his mansion

Manchester City left back Benjamin Mendy hosted a New Year’s Eve party at his mansion

Cafes, bars and restaurants will be allowed to serve takeaway food – but in a tightening from the draconian measures last spring, they will not be allowed to serve any alcohol. Vulnerable people are being told to shield where possible. Communal worship can continue with social distancing in place.

The public will once again only be allowed to leave home for one of five reasons: to go to work if essential, shop for necessities, exercise – allowed with one other person from another household, care for someone, or to seek medical help.

The extraordinary third national squeeze will come into effect as soon as regulations are made on Tuesday, but Johnson urged the public to adopt the new rules now. 

The announcement was made after 58,784 new cases were recorded on Monday – a 42 per cent rise on last Monday. 

Department of Health chiefs also posted 407 more deaths, up 14 per cent on the figure recorded last week 

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Technology US

Some T-Mobile customers’ call records may have been accessed in a recent breach

T-Mobile suffered a security breach in December that may have exposed call-related information and phone numbers for some of its customers. First reported by Bleeping Computer, the information affected by the breach did not include names on customers’ accounts, physical or email addresses, financial data, credit card information, Social Security numbers, tax IDs, passwords, or PINs, the company said.

T-Mobile said in a statement emailed to The Verge that it had notified “less than 0.2 percent” of its customers— which works out to about 200,000 people— that some account information may have been illegally accessed. That information “may have included phone numbers, number of lines subscribed to and in a small number of cases some call-related information collected as part of normal operation and service.” T-Mobile says it “identified this attack in early December and quickly shut down the incident.” Affected customers were notified via text message.

In a notice on its website, T-Mobile said its security team “shut down malicious, unauthorized access,” and it began an investigation to determine what information was involved. The company reported the situation to federal law enforcement.

T-Mobile has been victim to several data breaches in recent years; in 2018, hackers accessed personal information for roughly 2 million customers that included names, addresses, and account numbers. In 2019, some of the company’s prepaid customers were affected by a breach that accessed names, addresses, and account numbers. And in March 2020, a breach exposed some T-Mobile customers’ financial information, Social Security numbers, and other account information.

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The Buzz

Light rains lash many parts of Punjab, Haryana; Hisar records 2 deg C


Chandigarh, January 2

The ongoing cold weather conditions continued to sweep Punjab and Haryana on Saturday, with Hisar in Haryana recording a low of 2 degrees Celsius.

Many parts of both states also witnessed overnight rains.

The areas that witnessed rainfall included Chandigarh (0.6 mm), Ambala (2 mm), Karnal (2.8 mm), Sirsa (0.6 mm), Ludhiana (0.4 mm), Patiala (2.2 mm) and Halwara (5 mm).

Hisar’s low of 2 degrees Celsius was five notches below normal, an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said here.

Ambala, Karnal and Narnaul recorded their respective minimum temperatures at 5.7, 5.8 and 8 degrees Celsius, respectively, while the minimum temperatures of Rohtak, Bhiwani and Sirsa were 7.8, 4.7 and 7.7 degrees Celsius, respectively.

In Punjab, Amritsar experienced cold weather conditions at 2.6 degrees Celsius, a notch below normal, while Ludhiana and Patiala recorded their respective lows at 3.9 and 6.4 degrees Celsius.

Pathankot, Adampur, Halwara, Bathinda, Faridkot and Gurdaspur recorded their respective lows at 3.7, 6.4, 6.1, 4.2, 5.2 and 3 degrees Celsius.

Chandigarh recorded a minimum temperature of 6.1 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal. PTI





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Headline USA

Camilo records Eva Luna bathing and causes controversy | The State

Evaluna Montaner.

Photo:
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

The way that Camilo expresses his love to Eva Luna does not stop provoking divided opinions among netizens, as there are those who point out that they are a bit “intense” and “exaggerated” when they reveal their coexistence with a partner through their social networks.

And this time they gave something to talk about again, as the singer published in his InstaStories the moment his wife was taking a shower, which caused controversy for network users, pointing out that this video was already too much.

In the recording of just a few seconds that the Colombian interpreter shared, it is possible to distinguish only the legs and part of the feet of the daughter of Ricardo Montaner. “She,” Camilo wrote in the controversial clip where the singer also appeared in the background and naked.

The couple does not seem to be bothered by the criticism they have received, since they undoubtedly form one of the show’s most beloved and solid relationships, despite what is said about them and proof of this has been that these types of moments continue to rise in your life to the web.

Keep reading: Belinda and Christian Nodal fight on live broadcast

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Headline USA Los Angeles New York

NYC records its first homicide of 2021 as one person is killed and two injured in Queens shooting

New York City has recorded its first homicide of 2021 as one person was killed and two others were injured in a shooting at a Queens hotel just one hour after the ball dropped in Time’s Square. 

The triple shooting took place outside the Umbrella Hotel on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens just after 1 a.m. Friday following a dispute with a group of people that left a 20-year-old man dead. 

Between midnight New Year’s Eve and mid-morning on New Year’s Day, at least seven people had already been shot across the city.  

The deadly start to the new year comes after 2020 marked the bloodiest year since 2011 with at least 447 murders across the Big Apple.  

New York City has recorded its first homicide of 2021 as one person was killed and two others were injured in a shooting at a Queens hotel just one hour after the ball dropped in Time’s Square. Pictured the crime scene

The triple shooting took place outside the Umbrella Hotel on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens just after 1 a.m. Friday following a dispute with a group of people that left a 20-year-old man dead

The triple shooting took place outside the Umbrella Hotel on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens just after 1 a.m. Friday following a dispute with a group of people that left a 20-year-old man dead

NYPD officers responded to reports of a shooting outside the Umbrella Hotel at around 1:10 a.m. and found three people with gunshot wounds. 

One victim, a 20-year-old male, had been shot in the body, and another 20-year-old male had been shot in the left leg, according to the NYPD. 

The third victim, a 40-year-old male, had been shot in the torso, arms and legs.

The victims were rushed to Queens General Hospital where the younger male with the gunshot wound to the body was pronounced dead.

The NYPD said Friday morning that the other two victims are still in hospital in ‘non-critical’ conditions.  

The victims have not been identified as authorities are working to notify the families of the victims first.

An NYPD spokesperson told DailyMail.com there had been a dispute between the victims and a group of people before the shooting.

It is not yet clear if the victims knew each other or whether they were staying at the hotel at the time, police said.  

No arrests have been made and a motive for the shooting is not yet known. The investigation is ongoing.

The Umbrella Hotel has been the backdrop for at least two other shootings in recent months.

The deadly start to the new year comes after 2020 marked the bloodiest year since 2011 with at least 447 murders across the Big Apple

The deadly start to the new year comes after 2020 marked the bloodiest year since 2011 with at least 447 murders across the Big Apple

On July 3, a 15-year-old boy allegedly shot an 18-year-old as they both walked out of the hotel.

Then on August 9, a drive-by shooting left bullet holes in the hotel’s doors. 

Friday’s three victims were among seven people shot in the city so far in 2021. 

Just after midnight, a 33-year-old woman was shot while lying in her bed in Ozone Park.

The woman was in bed inside her home on Lincoln Avenue in the City Line section of Brooklyn when a stray bullet flew through the window at around 12:07 a.m. and hit her in the leg.

She was taken to Brookdale University Hospital in a stable condition.  

Fears are mounting that the Big Apple could be in store for another crime-ridden year after murders and gun crime soared throughout 2020 as it grappled with the coronavirus pandemic. 

The year marked the bloodiest year in nearly a decade for New Yorkers, with a staggering 447 murders recorded in 2020.   

Investigators on the scene of the early morning shooting in Queens which marked the Big Apple's first murder of 2021

Investigators on the scene of the early morning shooting in Queens which marked the Big Apple’s first murder of 2021

NYPD officers responded to reports of a shooting outside the Umbrella Hotel at around 1:10 a.m. and found three people with gunshot wounds

NYPD officers responded to reports of a shooting outside the Umbrella Hotel at around 1:10 a.m. and found three people with gunshot wounds

One victim, a 20-year-old male, had been shot in the body, and another 20-year-old male had been shot in the left leg, according to the NYPD. The third victim, a 40-year-old male, had been shot in the torso, arms and legs. The victims were rushed to Queens General Hospital where the younger male with the gunshot wound to the body was pronounced dead

One victim, a 20-year-old male, had been shot in the body, and another 20-year-old male had been shot in the left leg, according to the NYPD. The third victim, a 40-year-old male, had been shot in the torso, arms and legs. The victims were rushed to Queens General Hospital where the younger male with the gunshot wound to the body was pronounced dead

The 447 currently tallied is the highest number since 2011 when 515 murders took place and a 41 per cent increase from 2019. 

It also marks the third consecutive year of rising homicides after New York City recorded a modern-era low of 292 killings in 2017. 

Shootings have also soared with 1,855 people shot in 2020 – more than double the 914 victims in 2019. 

Overall shooting incidents have also surged 97.4 percent in a single year, up from 769 in 2019 to 1,518 in 2020. 

The figures, from the NYPD’s Compstat, cover the period from January 1 up to December 27, meaning they could rise higher still. 

At least one incident not accounted for in the figures was the shooting death of a 26-year-old man in the Jamaica section of Queens Thursday night. 

Sean Vance was sitting in a blue BMW sedan on Linden Blvd. just before 7:30 p.m. when a gunman shot him several times in the chest and fled.  

Crime stats from the four weeks between November 30 - December 27 show violent crime is far higher than it was at the same time last year

Crime stats from the four weeks between November 30 – December 27 show violent crime is far higher than it was at the same time last year

One of the youngest victims of 2020’s wave of shootings was 1-year-old baby Davell Gardner who was killed when gunfire rung out at a family gathering in Brooklyn on July 14.  

Meanwhile, one of the last was a 24-year-old man who was shot just three minutes before the turn of the new year as he got into a car in Washington Heights.

The victim suffered a gunshot wound to his left arm and drove himself to Columbia University Irving Medical Center.  

Crime statistics from the four weeks between November 30 to December 27 also show violent crime is far higher than it was the same time last year, with 21 murders to 2019’s 13 and 109 shootings compared to 49 the year before. 

The spate of violence has sparked fears the Big Apple is headed back to the dark days of the 70s and 80s when crime and poverty was rife.

Tensions have been building between Bill de Blasio and the NYPD after the mayor cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s $6 billion budget in June.

The cuts came as calls to ‘defund’ the police grew from Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the Memorial Day ‘murder’ of black man George Floyd in Minneapolis, when shocking footage circulated on social media of NYPD cops attacking protesters gathered to demand an end to police brutality and racism.  

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in February. Tensions have been building between the pair after the mayor cut $1 billion from the NYPD's $6 billion budget in June. Shea described 2020 as a 'dark period' Tuesday

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in February. Tensions have been building between the pair after the mayor cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s $6 billion budget in June. Shea described 2020 as a ‘dark period’ Tuesday

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tuesday he was hopeful of a better 2021. 

‘We’re definitely coming out of that dark period,’ Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said at police headquarters Tuesday. 

‘The confluence of COVID into the protests into all of the debate about defunding the police – I can’t imagine a darker period.’  

New York remains far safer than in three decades ago in the early 1990s, when there were more than 2,000 killings each year.

It’s also statistically far safer than many of the other big cities. 

As the nation’s largest city, with about 8.3million residents, New York City has a homicide rate of about 5.2 per 100,000.

By contrast, Los Angeles, which has 4 million residents, has a rate of about 8 per 100,000. 

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UAE

KISS New Year’s Eve concert in Dubai breaks two Guinness World Records

Legendary band KISS broke two world records while performing at the Atlantis, The Palm on Thursday. 

Gene Simmons and his flamboyant hard rock quartet scaled frizzy new heights to KISS 2020 Goodbye, playing and streaming to a global audience of two million with more than 500,000 live streams. Welcoming in the New Year in their larger than life style against a stunning backdrop of the Dubai skyline and the resort’s Royal Pool, the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famers rounded off a resounding performance with all-time favourite, ‘Rock N Roll All Nite’, along with a huge fireworks display and record-breaking flame projections that were made possible by pyrotechnics specialists ffp-fx.

Enthralled guests at Atlantis, The Palm watched the performance vertically, in a socially distanced fashion from the comfort of their own balconies – witnessing history being made and records being smashed as they kicked off a brand new era.

The two Guinness World Records they broke were: The highest flame projection in a music concert – the minimum for this record title is 35 meters – and The most flame projections launched simultaneously in a music concert – the minimum for this record title is a total of 66 heads.

The highest flame projection in a music concert – the minimum for this record title is 35 meters

The most flame projections launched simultaneously in a music concert – the minimum for this record title is a total of 66 heads

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The Buzz

In pictures: Cold wave intensifies in Haryana, Punjab; Hisar records minus 1.2 deg C


Chandigarh, December 31 

The ongoing cold wave conditions in Haryana and Punjab intensified at many places on Thursday, with Hisar reeling at minus 1.2 degrees Celsius.

A thick blanket of fog again enveloped most places in the two states early in the morning, reducing visibility levels, Meteorological Department officials here said.

Dense fog surrounded Karnal on Thursday. Tribune photo/Sayeed Ahmed

The minimum temperatures hovered well below normal limits as a few places experienced the season’s coldest night so far.

Hisar in Haryana recorded the season’s coldest night so far and the mercury dropped eight notches below the normal.

Among other places in the state, severe chill gripped Narnaul, which also recorded the season’s coldest night so far at minus 0.5 degree Celsius, down six notches against normal limits.

Dense fog surrounded Karnal on Thursday. Tribune photo/Sayeed Ahmed

Sirsa, Ambala, Karnal, Rohtak and Bhiwani, too, experienced a cold night recording respective minimums of 1.5, 3.6, 4.1, 4.2 and 4.1 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, also recorded the season’s coldest night so far at 2.7 degrees Celsius, three notches below the normal limits.

Commuters brave dense fog on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at Dera Bassi. Tribune photo/Nitin Mittal

Cold wave conditions also persisted in many places in Punjab.

Bathinda reeled under severe chill recording a minimum temperature of 0 degree Celsius, the season’s lowest so far, while Amritsar and Faridkot, too, braved the chill at 1.6 degrees Celsius and 1.2 degrees Celsius, respectively.

A view of dense fog that covered Gurugram on Thursday. Tribune photo/ S Chandan

Pathankot, Halwara, Adampur, Ludhiana and Patiala also recorded below normal minimums at 2.2, 3.1, 4.8, 4.1 and 4.8 degrees Celsius, respectively. PTI





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Sports UK

Premier League records season-high number of positive covid tests

The Premier League has returned its highest number of positive coronavirus tests of the season, with 18 new cases.

Between December 21 and 27, 1,479 players and club staff were tested and those 18 individuals who have the virus will now self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

A number of those cases are at Manchester City after an outbreak there saw their game with Everton called off at four hours’ notice on Monday.

The previous highest number of cases this season was 16, during the week of November 9 to 15.

A Premier League statement read: “The Premier League can today confirm that between Monday 21 December and Sunday 27 December, 1,479 players and Club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, there were 18 new positive tests.

The Premier League has seen a spike in cases

“Players or club staff who have tested positive will self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

“The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing.”

City’s trip to Goodison Park was the second Premier League game of the season to be called off due to Covid-19 after Newcastle’s game with Aston Villa was also wiped out last month.

City will begin retesting their squad on Tuesday in the hope they have acted quickly enough to prevent a widespread outbreak of the disease.

They closed their training complex on Monday after reporting “a number of positive cases”, three days after Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus tested positive and were forced to isolate.

Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus both tested positive for Covid-19

The spike in cases, an increase of 11 from the previous week’s testing, will cause concern about the prospect of more disruption across English football.

Eight games across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two on Tuesday have been wiped out because of the virus, while Rotherham boss Paul Warne said his side are only playing their match with Barnsley to avoid a possible points deduction by the EFL.

Rochdale are one of the clubs in League One whose next two games have been postponed and their club doctor Wes Tensel suggests it is time for the Football League to be suspended.

He told BBC 5 Live: “The spread and the numbers are rising and we have Tier 4 places where people cannot travel but we have players coming in and taking things back to their family, it is probably not the wisest thing at the moment.

“As well as a team doctor I am a GP so I am seeing both sides, so it seems there is a bigger picture going on.

“Why should football go on when other industries can’t and the disease is spreading?”

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Headlines UK London

Britain records 41,385 Covid cases and 357 more deaths as second wave continues to grow

Britain could be put into ‘Tier 5’ restrictions, it has been claimed, with England’s hospitals are now treating more Covid patients than they ever did in the first wave.

NHS England data shows 20,426 hospital beds were occupied by patients who had tested positive for coronavirus as of 8am this morning, up from around 17,700 exactly a week ago. 

Scientists have now advised Boris Johnson to implement measures stronger than those imposed in November, including the closure of secondary schools, pubs and non-essential shops.

Though it is unclear if the new measures will be called ‘Tier 5’, SAGE is thought to have told the Prime Minister they must be tougher than the current Tier 4 restrictions. 

Hospital bosses have also begged the public not to party on New Year, with fears of any gatherings leading to another surge in infections. 

Experts today warned the number of Covid patients in NHS hospitals on England was ‘on course to exceed the first wave in the next few days and, possibly, top 20,000 on New Year’s Eve’.

But the official figures show the grim milestone has been met three days ahead of expectations. Top officials say a highly infectious strain spreading rapidly across the country is to blame for piling extra pressure on hospitals which Public Health England bosses warn are ‘at their most vulnerable’.

For comparison, April 12 was the busiest day of the first wave for hospitals in England, when 18,974 infected patients were occupying beds.

The crisis has already hit one hospital, with a Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust spokesperson saying today: ‘We declared an internal incident at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) on Sunday 27 December as a precautionary step due to the high number of Covid-positive patients we are seeing at the hospital.’ 

It comes as Britain today recorded 41,385 cases of Covid, in the largest one-day increase since the pandemic began. 

But it is impossible to compare infection figures in the second wave against the first because of a lack of testing in the spring.

The effects of Tier Four, which came into force last week for 16million people across London, the South East and the East, should start to be seen within the next few days, with cases likely to drop sharply in areas plunged into the harshest restrictions.

And some infectious disease experts fear cases will start to rise as a result of the Christmas break on coronavirus restrictions, which allowed millions to spend the day with loved ones they don’t live with.

Department of Health bosses also recorded 357 more Covid deaths today. However, fatality tolls on Mondays and bank holidays are always affected by a recording lag, meaning the daily counts will inevitably spike later in the week.   

Department of Health statistics show 18,227 Covid-infected patients were being cared for in hospitals across the nation on Christmas Eve – a 15 per cent rise in a week. Top officials say the highly infectious strain spreading rapidly across the country is to blame. For comparison, April 12 was the busiest day of the pandemic so far for hospitals in England, when 18,974 patients were occupying beds

Hospitals in England ‘on track’ to have 20,000 Covid patients by New Year’s Eve 

Hospitals in England are hurtling towards having 20,000 coronavirus patients who need NHS treatment on New Year’s Eve, according to dire projections that will bolster calls for No10 to introduce another draconian lockdown in 2021.

Department of Health statistics show 18,227 Covid-infected patients were being cared for in hospitals across the nation on Christmas Eve – a 15 per cent rise in a week. Top officials say a highly infectious strain spreading rapidly across the country is to blame.  

For comparison, April 12 was the busiest day of the pandemic so far for hospitals in England, when 18,974 patients were occupying beds.

The Health Service Journal, a trade publication aimed at health bosses, has calculated that the number of Covid patients is rising by around 250 each day, meaning NHS England is ‘on course to exceed the first wave in the next few days and, possibly, top 20,000 on New Year’s Eve’. 

Doctors fear the NHS could be ‘overwhelmed’ within days, with frontline medics in London describing hospitals as resembling war zones. And in chaotic scenes reminiscent of the darkest days of the first wave of Covid, hospitals in England have been urged to free up every possible bed ahead of the expected spike in patients.

Health bosses today insisted health service would ‘cope’ with the surge in patients, which will inevitably begin to ease over the next fortnight when the effects of the brutal Tier Four restrictions kick in.  

Top scientists estimate up to 100,000 people were catching the disease every day during the darkest days of the spring.

Government statistics also show today’s death count – which takes the UK’s overall number of lab-confirmed Covid victims past 71,000 – is up 66 per cent on last week’s. 

But coronavirus death tolls on Mondays – and following bank holidays – are always affected because of a recording lag, meaning the counts will inevitably spike later in the week. Scotland has also not posted their daily coronavirus deaths since Christmas Eve, suggesting there may be an anomaly tomorrow when officials eventually get back-on-track with publishing the data following the festive period. 

Today’s record-high number of cases are also likely to have been skewed upwards by recording hiccups over the Christmas break, with some of the home nations not declaring any new infections in the past few days – meaning they would be pushed onto tallies released today or even later this week. 

Public Health England’s medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle said: ‘We have all made huge sacrifices this year but we must all continue to play our part in stopping the spread of the virus which is still replicating fast.’ She warned that the figure is of ‘growing concern’ because ‘hospitals are at their most vulnerable’.

The effects of Tier Four, which came into force last week for 16million people across London, the South East and the East, should start to be seen within the next few days, with cases likely to drop sharply in areas plunged into the harshest restrictions. But deaths won’t follow suit for at least another fortnight because of how long it can take infected patients to succumb to the illness.

And some infectious disease experts fear cases will start to rise as a result of the Christmas break on coronavirus restrictions, which allowed millions to spend the day with loved ones they don’t live with.

Hospitals are also beginning to feel the brunt of the growing outbreak, according to official figures, with experts warning the NHS in England on track to have 20,000 coronavirus patients who need NHS treatment on New Year’s Eve.

Department of Health statistics show 18,227 Covid-infected patients were being cared for in hospitals across the nation on Christmas Eve – a 15 per cent rise in a week. April 12 was the busiest day of the Covid pandemic so far for hospitals in England, when 18,974 patients were occupying beds. 

Separate figures laying bare the true scale of the second wave show more than 90 per cent of councils in England saw their coronavirus outbreaks grow before Christmas.

Around 24million people are already living under draconian stay-at-home orders, with ministers slapping the Tier Four measures on London, the South East and East to control rapidly growing Covid outbreaks. But millions more face being hit with the toughest curbs when officials review the existing four-tier system on Wednesday. 

 

Tier Two Cumbria is one area that could find itself in the firing line, with three of the county’s six boroughs seeing their Covid infection rate – the number of new cases per 100,000 people – double in size during the week ending December 22.

Department of Health statistics show Eden, home to around 50,000 people, had a rate of 422.5 during the most recent week data is available for – up from 200.9 in the previous seven-day spell. It stood at 41.3 at the start of the month.

It means the borough, which includes Penrith, recorded more confirmed Covid cases for the size of its population than several councils already placed under Tier Four, including parts of Surrey, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

Allerdale (163.7) and Copeland (64.5) also saw outbreaks double in size over the same time-frame. However, the latter Cumbrian borough still has England’s lowest coronavirus infection rate. 

And Barrow-in-Furness – another part of the county – was one of just 27 areas that recorded fewer cases week-on-week. England’s 288 other boroughs saw their outbreaks stay stable or grow, with 35 authorities seeing infections double over the same duration.

Local health bosses fear the rapid growth in cases across parts of the county, which borders Scotland, is being driven by the same coronavirus mutation that spread rapidly across the Home Counties.

No10’s top scientists have already admitted they cannot control the spread of a highly-contagious mutation that spread like wildfire across the south and effectively cancelled Christmas for a third of the country.

In other coronavirus developments today:

  • SAGE scientists have urged Boris Johnson to impose an even tougher third national lockdown including keeping all schools closed throughout January to curb the new mutant coronavirus strain – consigning millions of children to sub-standard online classes for at least a month; 
  • Top Brexiteer and former diplomat Andy Wigmore is among hundreds of Brits who fled Switzerland to avoid a pre-Christmas quarantine after he received a message from Swiss authorities informing him of the mandatory quarantine coming into effect on December 22;
  • Teachers and key workers will be added to the vaccine priority list when the Oxford University/AstraZeneca jab is finally approved as the government bids to accelerate its roll-out plans with hundreds of pop-up centres on the way;
  • The Covid-19 pandemic could be the biggest hit to mental health since the Second World War, a leading psychiatrist warned.
The total number of patients in hospital with the virus is likely to exceed the peak from the first wave, with 21,286 coronavirus patients being treated on December 22 - the most recent day data is available for. In comparison, the figure on April 12 was 21,683

The total number of patients in hospital with the virus is likely to exceed the peak from the first wave, with 21,286 coronavirus patients being treated on December 22 – the most recent day data is available for. In comparison, the figure on April 12 was 21,683

Millions more Britons face being plunged into Tier 4 this week as the mutant Covid-19 strain continues to spread across the country

Millions more Britons face being plunged into Tier 4 this week as the mutant Covid-19 strain continues to spread across the country 

Parents’ fury at SAGE demands that ALL pupils are kept home until February in new national lockdown

SAGE scientists have urged Boris Johnson to impose an even tougher third national lockdown including keeping all schools closed throughout January to curb the new mutant coronavirus strain – consigning millions of children to sub-standard online classes for at least a month, it was revealed today.

Michael Gove said today that only children in years 11 and 13, and those with key worker parents, will go to school from Monday – with only primary schools expected to open as usual.

But he has also sparked fears that secondary schools could remain closed for longer than a week after admitting the plan to reopen them all on January 11 is already ‘under review’ amid rumours that students in Tier 4 could be at home until the mid-February half-term.

Opening the door to longer closures, Mr Gove said: ‘We do keep things under review and we will be talking to head teachers and teachers in the next 24 and 48 hours just to make sure that our plans which of course are accompanied by community testing are right and robust. It is our intention to make sure we can get children back to school as early as possible. But we all know that there are trade-offs.’

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is set to start crunch talks with headteachers and unions today about reopening schools in January, after a meeting with Downing Street this afternoon.

The Government has bowed to pressure from teachers and unions who demanded that secondary school children should be taught online after the Christmas holidays to allow coronavirus testing to take place and for teachers to be vaccinated. 

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said today that the reopening of schools in England should be delayed by at least a fortnight.

Pressure has also been growing on Boris Johnson from within his own party to keep all pupils in school at the start the new term – but the PM has sided with SAGE scientists, who are pushing for schools, especially secondary schools to close for all of January, at least, because of the new super-strain of Covid-19, according to Politico.

Mr Johnson was reportedly told last week by SAGE, led by Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance, that a stricter lockdown is required because the one in November, where schools remained open, did not keep the ‘R’ rate below 1, an adviser has claimed. Sage wants all schools, but ideally secondaries, shut for a month while keeping pubs and all non-essential shops closed.

But one Tory backbencher told the Telegraph: ‘The view of most Tory MPs is that schools do need to stay open. We know that schools being open does increase the R rate. The question is, is that a price we are willing to pay and in my view it should be. Frankly, children don’t get harmed so why on earth should we punish them?’ 

Tory MP Robert Halfon, education select committee chairman, said: ‘The Government’s got to do everything possible not to close schools.’ He said school closures risked ‘damaging the life chances of our next generation’.

Many parents have slammed the standard and frequency of online classes for the millions of children forced to stay at home during 2020, while critics have said that by agreeing to shut schools it will now make it increasingly difficult for No 10 to reopen them again. 

It comes as Michael Gove today refused to rule out the gloomy prospect of No10 placing all of England into Tier Four, which effectively bans residents from leaving their home.

The Cabinet Office minister told BBC Breakfast: ‘We review which tiers parts of the country should be in on the basis of scientific evidence.

‘The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) will be making a recommendation to ministers, but I can’t pre-empt that because it obviously has to be a judgment based on the medical situation.’

But he warned the NHS is ‘under pressure’ and added ‘these are difficult months ahead’.

Mr Gove’s comments come amid fears hospitals in England are hurtling towards having 20,000 coronavirus patients needing treatment on New Year’s Eve.

Department of Health statistics show 18,227 Covid-infected patients were being cared for in hospitals across the nation on Christmas Eve – a 15 per cent rise in a week. Top officials say the highly infectious strain spreading rapidly across the country is to blame.

For comparison, April 12 was the busiest day of the pandemic so far for hospitals in England, when 18,974 patients were occupying beds.

The Health Service Journal, a trade publication aimed at health bosses, has calculated that the number of Covid patients is rising by around 250 each day, meaning NHS England is ‘on course to exceed the first wave in the next few days and, possibly, top 20,000 on New Year’s Eve’.

Doctors fear the NHS could be ‘overwhelmed’ within days, with frontline medics in London describing hospitals as resembling war zones.

And in chaotic scenes reminiscent of the darkest days of the first wave of Covid, hospitals in England have been urged to free up every possible bed ahead of the expected spike in patients.

Health bosses today insisted health service would ‘cope’ with the surge in patients, which will inevitably begin to ease over the next fortnight when the effects of the brutal Tier Four restrictions kick in.

But Dr Katherine Henderson, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, conceded there would be a ‘cost’ to pay, hinting that non-urgent treatment will have to be sacrificed once again. 

Thousands of patients were turfed out of hospital beds in the first wave to make room for an expected explosion in Covid admissions, which has left patients facing a huge backlog in getting their cancelled or postponed treatment.

NHS England data shows hospitals are still quieter than they were last winter, with just 88.6 per cent of available beds occupied in the week ending December 20, on average. 

But health chiefs say the statistics don’t reveal the extra strain posed by Covid, which has led to segregated wards, medics constantly using PPE and staff having to self-isolate. A lack of staff mean most of the Government’s mothballed Nightingale hospitals – built to give the NHS extra breathing room – are lying empty.

In other developments today, it was revealed that SAGE scientists have urged Boris Johnson to impose an even tougher third national lockdown including keeping all schools closed throughout January to curb the new mutant coronavirus strain – consigning millions of children to sub-standard online classes for at least a month.

Michael Gove said that only children in years 11 and 13, and those with key worker parents, will go to school from Monday – with only primary schools expected to open as usual.

But he has also sparked fears that secondary schools could remain closed for longer than a week after admitting the plan to reopen them all on January 11 is already ‘under review’ amid rumours that students in Tier Four could be at home until the mid-February half-term.

Is Tier Four coming to your area?

More than 90 per cent of councils in England saw their coronavirus outbreaks grow before Christmas, according to official figures that suggest Cumbria could be next area to be plunged into Tier Four when No10 shakes up its local lockdown policies this week.

Around 24million people are already living under the draconian stay-at-home orders, with ministers slapping the strict measures on London, the South East and East to control rapidly growing Covid outbreaks.

But millions more face being hit with the toughest curbs when officials review the existing four-tier system on Wednesday, with the speed of growth and overall infection rate being two of the key criteria health chiefs use to decide on the whack-a-mole strategy.

Tier Two Cumbria is one area that could find itself in the firing line, with three of the county’s six boroughs seeing their Covid infection rate – the number of new cases per 100,000 people – double in size during the week ending December 22.

Department of Health statistics show Eden, home to around 50,000 people, had a rate of 422.5 during the most recent week data is available for – up from 200.9 in the previous seven-day spell. It stood at 41.3 at the start of the month.

It means the borough, which includes Penrith, recorded more confirmed Covid cases for the size of its population than several councils already placed under Tier Four, including parts of Surrey, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

Allerdale (163.7) and Copeland (64.5) also saw outbreaks double in size over the same time-frame. However, the latter Cumbrian borough still has England’s lowest coronavirus infection rate. 

And Barrow-in-Furness – another part of the county – was one of just 27 areas that recorded fewer cases week-on-week. England’s 288 other boroughs saw their outbreaks stay stable or grow, with 35 authorities seeing infections double over the same duration.

Opening the door to longer closures, Mr Gove said: ‘We do keep things under review and we will be talking to head teachers and teachers in the next 24 and 48 hours just to make sure that our plans which of course are accompanied by community testing are right and robust. It is our intention to make sure we can get children back to school as early as possible. But we all know that there are trade-offs’. 

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is set to start crunch talks with headteachers and unions today about reopening schools in January, after a meeting with Downing Street this afternoon.

The Government has bowed to pressure from teachers and unions who demanded that secondary school children should be taught online after the Christmas holidays to allow coronavirus testing to take place and for teachers to be vaccinated. 

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said today that the reopening of schools in England should be delayed by at least a fortnight.

Pressure has also been growing on Boris Johnson from within his own party to keep all pupils in school at the start the new term – but the PM has sided with SAGE scientists, who are pushing for schools, especially secondary schools to close for all of January, at least, because of the new super-strain of Covid-19, according to Politico.

Mr Johnson was reportedly told last week by SAGE, led by Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance, that a stricter lockdown is required because the one in November, where schools remained open, did not keep the ‘R’ rate below 1, an adviser has claimed. Sage wants all schools, but ideally secondaries, shut for a month while keeping pubs and all non-essential shops closed.

But one Tory backbencher told the Telegraph: ‘The view of most Tory MPs is that schools do need to stay open. We know that schools being open does increase the R rate. The question is, is that a price we are willing to pay and in my view it should be. 

Frankly, children don’t get harmed so why on earth should we punish them?’ Tory MP Robert Halfon, education select committee chairman, said: ‘The Government’s got to do everything possible not to close schools.’ He said school closures risked ‘damaging the life chances of our next generation’.

Many parents have slammed the standard and frequency of online classes for the millions of children forced to stay at home during 2020, while critics have said that by agreeing to shut schools it will now make it increasingly difficult for No 10 to reopen them again.

It will consign millions of students to virtual classes, which experts believe means children, particularly from working class backgrounds, are being set back ‘years’ because of sub-standard online learning.

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Ms Spielman said earlier this month that online learning and repeated periods of isolation have ‘chipped away’ at the progress pupils have been able to make since returning to school in September – and that there is ‘no substitute’ to classroom learning.