Coronavirus UK news – Even HARSHER lockdown rules needed for a safe Christmas as tiers 'don't work', health chief warns

HARSHER rules are needed to ensure a safe Christmas for Brits, the boss of Public Health England has warned.

PHE boss Dr Susan Hopkins said that Tier one restrictions didn’t work, which could see family Christmas dinners under threat.

Dr Hopkins said tonight: "We see very little effect from Tier 1.

"When we look at what the Tiers may be in the future, we will have to think about strengthening them in order to get us through the winter months until the vaccine is available for everyone."

Tier 2 was only working in some areas – but Tier 3 was driving down cases in the North West, she said.

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  • Debbie White


    Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said it was not the Government's “expectation” to make a potential coronavirus vaccine mandatory.

    Appearing on BBC Breakfast he said: “We don't want to make the vaccine mandatory. Of course, we do need to win the argument and to persuade the public that the vaccine is safe.

    “We've seen with previous vaccines over the course of the last 20 or 30 years, that there's sometimes misinformation, that misinformation is now predominately online and we've got to combat that, and persuade people that it's safe to take the vaccine.”

    “I think it's really important that people do, and I will be doing everything I can to try to persuade people that I know, my family and friends, to take it when they have the opportunity.”

    Mr Jenrick added: “Let me be perfectly clear, we don't have any plan to make the vaccine compulsory.”

  • Debbie White


    The Government would like to see “greater consistency” in England's potential post-lockdown coronavirus tier system, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has said.

    Asked on BBC Breakfast this morning if a tougher system should replace the previous tiered arrangements, Mr Jenrick replied: “We will be looking at whether the measures that we had in the old tiers were effective.

    “Remember, they varied quite a bit in different parts of the country, because in Tier 3 there was a baseline of measures, which the chief medical officer and others have always said was only the beginning, and we then asked local areas to consider whether they would be willing to go further than that, some did, some decided not to.

    “So I think in the new tiers we'd like greater consistency and we'll have to look at the evidence to see which of those measures was actually the most impactful on the virus so that we take the most evidence-based approach that we can do.

    “We haven't come to a conclusion on that yet, to be perfectly honest, but we will be within the next week or so.”

  • Debbie White


    “My fear is that we will hear from the First Minister today that (there will be) new restrictions for the west (of Scotland) for at least a couple of weeks,” said Public Health expert Professor Linda Bauld, University of Edinburgh.

    When asked if any new restrictions could be lifted for the Christmas period, she added: “I think the challenge I would see, from a behavioural perspective, is unless some progress is made towards offering that to people, there may be a problem with compliance.”

    “I just think it's so desperately difficult for people, this whole situation,” she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

    The expert added: “As we move to a time where not everybody in the country, but a lot of people in the country, want to celebrate with their families, unless there is some temporary easing slightly, people will be even more unhappy and may not follow the guidance.

    “We're looking ahead to 2021. We have all heard the news about vaccines, new treatments, rapid testing, but in the winter of 2020 these kinds of restrictions are really one of the only things that Scottish Government and other governments can use.”

  • Debbie White


    The Government might “embed” in a new tier system the additional measures previously available to local areas placed under Tier 3 before England's lockdown, the Communities Secretary has said.

    Asked by BBC Breakfast if there could be a tougher Tier 3 in the new system, Robert Jenrick replied: “We haven't come to a decision on that – the Tier 3 that we had before was just considered a baseline.

    “And then we did ask local areas whether they would be willing to go further and some did.

    “My own area of Nottinghamshire, the local council chose to go over and above and limit the sale of alcohol for off-licences and so on after a certain time, so that people didn't go home and have parties or drink alcohol on the streets.

    “So there were some tweaks to the tiers that you're seeing in some parts of the country and it's that sort of thing that we now need to consider. Was that a sensible move? If so, should we embed that in the new tier structure?”

  • Debbie White


    The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) in Scotland is calling for more investment and commitment for mental health services, to deal with the forthcoming demand.

    Dr Jane Morris, consultant psychiatrist from RCPsych in Scotland, said: “Lockdown, bereavement, job losses and isolation are all having a terrible effect on the population's mental health and it's concerning that those who were already dealing with mental ill health have seen their condition deteriorate.

    “We need more medical students and doctors to choose psychiatry to keep up with demand, but we also need solid and decisive government action on workforce, infrastructure and funding.”

    The College is launching the Choose Psychiatry in Scotland campaign to encourage more trainee doctors to take up the specialism.

  • Debbie White


    One in four people say the pandemic will have a negative effect on their mental health in the future, according to new research.

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland study also found that for those who had experienced a mental health problem before the pandemic, one third (33%) said their condition had worsened since March 2020.

    A poll of 1,055 people from across Scotland found that 40% of those questioned think the pandemic will be damaging to their mental health over the next year.

    Just under a third (32%) thought mental health services across Scotland are bad and almost half (46%) said the Scottish Government is investing too little in mental health services during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Debbie White


    Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed that ministers are keen to see coronavirus restrictions rolled back once the current England lockdown ends on December 2.

    Speaking to Sky News this morning about returning to tiered controls, he added: “There will be a review. That work is undergoing on what those tiers look like and how local areas go back in but that will very much depend on the data.

    “We will have to make decisions nearer the end of the month once we have got the most up-to-date information possible.

    “So it is too early to say which tiers people will be able to go into. But we all want to see a significant easing of the measures in all parts of England at the beginning of next month.”

  • Debbie White


    Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has said ministers want to see a “significant easing” of coronavirus controls when the lockdown in England is lifted on December 2.

    Mr Jenrick said this morning that it was too early to say which tiers particular areas moved into when the country returns to a system of tiered controls.

    However he said that any extension of the lockdown would require a vote of Parliament.

    “It is our hope and expectation that that won't be the case and that people in England will be able to move back into the tiered system,” he told Sky News.

  • Debbie White


    A funeral director who is preparing for a second wave of Covid-related deaths has used the experiences of professionals in the industry to create a guide to help support bereaved people.

    Sarah Jones, Full Circle Funerals, said many of those in the funeral industry had stepped up to become a support network for people who might otherwise be isolated due to coronavirus restrictions.

    Ms Jones recently spoke to more than 60 professionals who help bereaved people to ask them to share their experiences in order to create an open-access guide to help those in the industry to deliver the best possible care over the coming months.

    She added: “It's about recognising they might have some really basic needs, they might be self-isolating and not have any food, and being more proactive with checking-in, make that slightly more human connection and give more practical support that normally people would have got from friends and family.”

    For more information please visit

  • Debbie White


    The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said he did not want to give people “false hope” over a potential vaccine, due to the need for safety tests and the time required to produce them.

    He also told BBC News this morning: “We're told that the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine should be in the UK and available to be used by the end of this year.

    “We'll then roll that out in a sensible and fair way, focusing on the most vulnerable people in society and key workers within health and social care first.

    “But it does look as if over the course of the first half of next year, a very large proportion of population will have access to the vaccine and that will make a huge difference in our ability to return to a degree of normality.”

  • Debbie White


    Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the first doses of a Pfizer-produced coronavirus vaccine candidate could be received by the end of the year.

    Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, he said: “The Pfizer programme – we've secured 40 million doses of – and we think we will take the receipt of the first 10 million or so of those before the end of the year.”

    Mr Jenrick said the Government had also pre-ordered five million doses of the Moderna jab in development that “has a lot of promise”.

    But he added it “won't actually be available to be used until the spring of next year”.

  • Abe Hawken


    Black Friday next week will see Britain’s biggest online spree, due to the Covid lockdown.

    With non-essential shops shut until December 2, web spending on November 27 is set to hit a record £1.93billion — 70 per cent up on last year.

    An army of more than 150,000 couriers is in place to deliver the goods, but experts say huge demand will trigger hold-ups and some orders may not arrive before Christmas.

  • Abe Hawken


    Matt Hancock has warned England's lockdown could be extended beyond December 2 – fuelling fears of a ruined Christmas.

    The Health Secretary said last night it was “too early to know” if the current Covid restrictions have worked.

    Mr Hancock hinted the next week will be crucial, as cases should start to fall if “lockdown is working”.

  • Abe Hawken


    Disinfecting parcels and sending cards early are among scientists’ recommendations for those wanting to take extra coronavirus precautions this Christmas.

    Medical experts have said the risk of spreading coronavirus through the post is “really low” as laboratory experiments suggest it can live on packaging materials like cardboard for a maximum of 24 hours.

    Research published by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO in October showed the virus can last up to four weeks on mobile phone screens and banknotes, but it has a much shorter survival on porous surfaces like paper.

    Dr Lena Ciric, who specialises in molecular biology and described her work as “looking at where microbes lurk”, recommended sending gifts to family and friends “at the start of December” so they have time to quarantine parcels for “a few extra days”.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop


    Matt Hancock has hinted at a possible Christmas lockdown.

    The health secretary said that it was “too early to know” if the current lockdown restrictions had been effective, and that lockdown may have to continue.

    Mr Hancock said at a press conference yesterday: “At the moment most of the tests that we're getting back and most of the positive cases are from around the time when the lockdown came in.

    “It's too early to expect to see in the data the impact of the second lockdown, but we absolutely hope to be able to replace the national lockdown with a tiered system.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop


  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop


    Speaking at a Downing Street press conference tonight alongside Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Prof Van Tam said: “The guidance is provisional.

    “We do not yet have the data on the vaccines available to us and authorised by MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency).

    “We can't yet those make final decisions until we make sure that the vaccines are suitable for all groups, I am hoping so, but that is a decision that needs to be made in the future.

    “It is very clear that the clinically extremely vulnerable are on the JCVI priority list and many of them will already be subsumed within the priority list by virtue of age or by virtue of having chronic conditions – right down to the age of 18.

    “From that perspective I do expect there to be coverage of the extremely clinically vulnerable.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop


    Covid cases “flat-lined” two weeks ago raising hopes of a “normal Christmas and the end of national lockdowns”, experts said today.

    It comes as data revealed that cases of the virus are starting to fall in the UK according to the latest data from the Covid Symptom App.

    Professor Carl Heneghan, director of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University said hospitals are not being overwhelmed and that they are running at “normal” capacity for this time of year.

    He told talkRADIO this morning that Brits may be able to enjoy a somewhat “normal Christmas” if they prepare in advance by reducing contact in the weeks leading up to the festive period.

    This, he said, would lower the chances of Covid and other bugs like flu passing from household to household.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop


    Shielding Brits under the age of 65 will be among the first in line to receive a coronavirus vaccine, the deputy chief medical officer has confirmed.

    Professor Jonathan Van Tam tonight said that while vaccines have not yet been given the green light, those deemed clinically extremely vulnerable will be a priority.

    The elderly will be at the front of the queue but Prof Van Tam today addressed concerns that others who are vulnerable would be left behind.

    Interim guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) sets out who would get the vaccine in the first instance – but is subject to change.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop


  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop


    Fears have risen tonight that Christmas could be at risk from a new, harsher coronavirus tiers system to stop the spread of the virus.

    Hopes of lifting all the lockdown rules after December 2 were dashed tonight after PHE boss Dr Susan Hopkins said Tier 1 wasn't working – which could put family dinners and indoor parties under threat.

    Dr Hopkins said tonight: “We see very little effect from Tier 1.

    “When we look at what the Tiers may be in the future, we will have to think about strengthening them in order to get us through the winter months until the vaccine is available for everyone.”

    Tier 2 was only working in some areas – but Tier 3 was driving down cases in the North West, she said.

    She suggested that “if the lockdown is working, we will start to see cases decline over the next week”.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop


    This morning, Moderna said its two-dose jab was 94.5 percent successful at fighting the deadly virus in infected volunteers – and Dr Anthony Fauci said it may be rolled out as soon as December.

    The news was welcomed by an array of experts and politicians after coronavirus cases topped 11 million around the country over the weekend, killing 245,000 Americans in total.

    It also prompted a huge stock rush on Wall Street as the Dow Jones doubled premarket gains and was up 500 points before the opening bell, while shares of Moderna, which rocketed 13 percent higher, were set to surge.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop


    Donald Trump has hailed the discovery of an almost 95 per cent affective vaccine.

    “Another Vaccine just announced. This time by Moderna, 95 [percent] effective,” Trump wrote. “For those great 'historians,' please remember that these great discoveries, which will end the China Plague, all took place on my watch!”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop


    Matt Hancock explained No 10 hopes to replace the national lockdown with a tiered lockdown system.

    At this evening’s press conference, government officials addressed how the data for the current lockdown was not yet available.

    However, it is hoped that we should be able to see cases falling this week, it was said.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop


    Matt Hancock said that we can now see a “candle of hope” but added that we must “nurture its flame”.

    He said promising news of vaccines is a good sign.

    But the health secretary said that we must trust the science, and until the vaccines are available must continue to take care of new covid rules and regulations.

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