Coronavirus UK news: Live updates as London leaders demand tougher lockdown

Coronavirus rules are ‘tough enough’, says Priti Patel

London Councils and Mayor Sadiq Khan have implored Boris Johnson to immediately implement tougher coronavirus measures – including closing places of worship – or risk putting an “unsustainable strain” on the NHS and public services.

After a major incident was declared in the capital last Friday due to rising Covid-19 cases, Mr Khan and London Councils chair Georgia Gould have written to the prime minister, calling for measures similar to those in place last March and April.

Aside from the closure of places of worship, they have called for the prime minister to make mask-wearing mandatory outside the home – including in supermarket queues, on high streets and in other possibly crowded outdoor settings.

Also among four major demands is for the government to provide greater financial support for Londoners who need to self-isolate and are unable to work, backed by improved asymptomatic testing for key workers.

New research suggests almost half of intensive care unit staff working during the Covid-19 crisis is suffering from a mental health issue, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), problem drinking or severe anxiety.


NHS boss says pressure on hospitals in England is worst she’s ever seen

Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director of primary care for the NHS in England, said the pressure on the NHS hospitals was the “worst” she had known it to be.

“It’s really pressured, its staff are absolutely working beyond all of their time and energy,” she told Good Morning Britain.

When asked if it is the worst she has known it to be, she added: “Yes, it is the worst for staff, for services, our sector.

“Please please please follow the guidance, stay at home, act as though you have Covid, stay at home and look after your yourself and your family, because that’s what we need you to do right now.”

Chiara Giordano13 January 2021 09:38


Doctors and nurses are at ‘breaking points’, says NHS psychiatrist

Doctors and nurses are at “breaking point” and feeling “exhausted” amid the coronavirus pandemic, an NHS psychiatrist has said.

Dr Caroline Walker, who has been counselling intensive care unit (ICU) workers, told BBC Breakfast: “They’re really at breaking point, or exhausted, or overwhelmed, they’re demoralised and there’s a real sense of dread actually, as we know that the peak of the second wave is still yet to hit.”

She urged staff to seek help through wellbeing hubs being set up and support lines for frontline workers.

Dr Walker said that during the first wave of the pandemic it took a “few weeks” for people to come forward for support, something she expected would be “mirrored” during the second wave.

Chiara Giordano13 January 2021 09:30


NHS considering sending patients to hotels to ease pressure, says Hancock

Matt Hancock has said the NHS is considering plans to move some patients into hotels in order to ease intense pressure on hospitals.

The health secretary insisted the government will “look at all contingencies” as hospitals across England treat 35,000 coronavirus patients and the chief medical officer warned the coming weeks will be the “worst” for the health service during the pandemic.

Political correspondent Ashley Cowburn has more details:

Chiara Giordano13 January 2021 09:21


Free school meal parcels scandal

In case you missed the headlines yesterday about low quality free school meal parcels sent out to some families during the pandemic, Tom Batchelor has more details in this article below:

Chiara Giordano13 January 2021 09:10


Some free school meal parcels ‘clearly inadequate’ , admits health sec

Asked about the images of free school meal parcels shared on social media, health secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast: “Well it’s clearly inadequate isn’t it? The company’s apologised and rightly so.

“Frankly, this is one of the good things about social media, this could surface so quickly, and then colleagues in the Department for Education were on it straight away.

“And they spoke to the company immediately and the company have apologised and it got sorted out.

“I think it’s good that we’re able to provide free school meals, even when the schools aren’t in, but obviously they’ve got to be decent meals and, and this wasn’t.”

Chiara Giordano13 January 2021 09:00


Health secretary ‘very reluctant’ to change outdoor exercise rule

Asked if he would specifically change the rule on people meeting one other person outside, health secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast said: “We always keep these things under review, but you’ve got to balance the downsides.

“The rule is clear. You can go outside to exercise with one other person, not a group of people, one other person, and it should be for the purposes of exercise, not socialising, but I’m very reluctant to remove this rule because for some people this is a lifeline – (including) for some people who live alone.”

He said that when two people meet for socially-distanced exercise, the “likelihood of spread from people who are following that rule is very, very small”.

Chiara Giordano13 January 2021 08:50


Social distancing needed ‘for a while yet’, even among vaccinated

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told Sky News that measures such as social distancing will be needed “for a while yet”, even among those who have received the jab.

“We must be very clear that vaccination will prevent disease in individuals but it may not prevent those individuals from transmission to others,” he said.

“So, even though you’ve been vaccinated, you might not be completely protected yourself, you may be in risk of transmitting to others, so I think we will have to use extra precautions in terms of social distancing, wearing masks, for a while yet.”

He added: “There is light at the end of the tunnel and certainly by the beginning of March we should see a sharp drop off in hospitalisations and deaths.”

Chiara Giordano13 January 2021 08:32


‘Together we can make this the peak,’ says Hancock

Asked on BBC Breakfast if the latest data showed the country had hit the peak of this wave, health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Well, I want it to be. But, again, that comes down to the behaviour of everyone.

“We know that this can work because we know that the only way that the virus spreads is when people meet each other, or on surfaces.

“Together we can make this the peak if enough people follow the rules, which are incredibly clear.”

Pressed again on if this was the peak, he said: “Well, we don’t know, we published the data every day. I hope that it is. But we watch it like a hawk.”

Chiara Giordano13 January 2021 08:24


NHS considering moving some patients into hotels

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS is considering plans to move some patients into hotels to ease pressure on hospitals.

He told Sky News: “There are huge pressures on the NHS and we are looking to all different ways that we can relieve those pressures.

“We would only ever do that if it was clinically the right thing for somebody. In some cases, people need sit-down care, they don’t actually need to be in hospital bed.

“It isn’t a concrete proposal by any means but it is something that we look at as we look at all contingencies.”

Chiara Giordano13 January 2021 08:16


Impossible to know when restrictions will end, says Hancock

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said coronavirus lockdown restrictions will remain in place in England for as “long as they are necessary”.

He told Sky News it was “impossible to know” when restrictions could be eased, adding: “We will keep the restrictions in place not a moment longer than they are necessary, but we will keep them in place as long as they are necessary.

“These measures that we have got in place that we hope to be able to lift, and we should be able to lift when we have been able to protect through vaccination those who are vulnerable – right now the vaccination is not in a position to do that.”

Chiara Giordano13 January 2021 08:08

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