Saturday, 16 Oct 2021

Coronavirus map LIVE: Huge lockdown changes introduced in England TODAY

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As of midnight, new guidelines stated it was no longer be illegal to leave or to be outside of home without a reasonable excuse. The rule is being relaxed with another making it illegal to stay overnight away from home, with exceptions for various reasons including those who need to do so for work purposes, and in order to move house. In addition, Britain’s Premier League footballers are in the clear for a return to behind-closed-doors action on June 17, with the rules stating “elite athletes” are also exempt.

Other changes allow groups of up to six people from separate households, in outside spaces, with sports permissible provided it is possible to maintain a two-metre distance between competitors.

Primary schools can begin to open for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from today.

Meanwhile, the easing of restrictions has prompted the president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, to voice widespread concerns about the speed at which they are being rolled back.

Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The five tests haven’t yet been met.

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“In terms of the R (rate of infection), it’s 0.7 to 0.9 in the latest Government assessment.

“It is below one but it’s a very limited room for manoeuvre isn’t it and we know how quickly this virus can spread and it’s difficult to predict then with quite a lot of the measures being eased at once what the impact that will have on the R value.

“We’re also concerned about meeting all the other operational challenges ready to meet a potential rise in infections.”


7.57am update: Piers Morgan blasts Dominic Cummings in furious rant on GMB return ‘Destroyed lockdown!’

Piers  Morgan returned to GMB this morning after some time off from the ITV breakfast show – and it didn’t take long for the presenter to take aim at the Prime Minister’s adviser Dominic Cummings.

Following Mr Cummings’ trip to Durham in May amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Boris Johnson’s senior aide has come under considerable scrutiny.

Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan has been vocal away from the ITV show with his thoughts that Mr Cummings should step down and continued to voice his opinion on his return to GMB today.

He said: “What Dominic Cummings has almost singlehandedly done, is he’s destroyed the lockdown.”

7.50pm update: Experts issue lockdown warning

Public health experts have re-emphasised the importance of social distancing – with one concerned rules are being relaxed to quickly.

Speaking after a scorching weekend which saw huge numbers crowd to beaches and parks, Jeanelle de Gruchy, president of the Association of Directors of Public Health told The Guardian the public was “not keeping to social distancing as it was”.

She said her organisation was “increasingly concerned that the Government is misjudging the balance of risk between more social interaction and the risk of a resurgence of the virus, and is easing too many restrictions too quickly”.

Deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries, speaking at the Downing Street briefing yesterday, said the public would be safe if they were “sensible” and did not “overdo it”.

She added: “Where we are seeing that Government is easing measures, the public really, really need to stick to those messages, and it is not just about what it is possible to do, it’s about what it is sensible to do, and what is sensible to do is have as few interactions as possible as you can with other people in all settings.”

7.45am update: Pupils begin returning to school today

Pupils will begin to return to school and families will be reunited on Monday as major changes are made to lockdown restrictions.

It is part of a wider easing of measures that will also see groups of up to six people allowed to meet in public places or private gardens and outdoor markets and car show rooms reopen.

But Government leaders have stressed social distancing measures must stay in place, particularly staying two metres apart from someone outside your household.

It comes as several scientists have criticised the move suggesting it is too early to lift restrictions and could cause coronavirus infections to rapidly rise again.

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