World News

Coronavirus resisters could get violent if lockdowns drag on, feds warn

The federal government is warning that essential workers and authority figures — public and private — are at the highest risk of being attacked by stay-at-home resisters as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.

Counterterrorism analysts at the Department of Homeland Security notified law enforcement officials and government leaders of their findings Thursday, according to ABC News, which obtained the report.

“Some illicit actors probably will view any continued state-mandated orders as government overreach, and anticipated safety guidelines and policies—specifically the use of face masks—probably also will serve as a driving factor behind continued violent incidents related to the pandemic,” the analysts wrote.

Protesters have responded violently to the mandatory lockdowns that virtually all the states imposed — and now are beginning to lift.

Early in May, white supremacists posted a sheriff’s private information online because they were angry over the arrest of a Colorado man who had encouraged others to carry firearms at an anti-lockdown demonstration.

At the state level, Missouri has notified the customers and coworkers of a hair stylist who had symptoms of the infection. As many as 84 clients and seven employees at a Great Clips in Springfield may have been exposed from May 12 to May 20, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Health Director Clay Goddard was confident his staff could contain the spread, particularly since everyone had been wearing masks.

“But I’m going to be honest with you, we can’t have many more of these. We can’t make this a regular habit or our capability as a community will be strained and we will have to reevaluate what things look like going forward.”

Gov. Mike Parson lifted many of the state’s stay-at-home order on May 4; the state has more than 11,500 diagnosed cases and nearly 700 deaths.

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Could lockdown spell the end of Rushing Woman Syndrome?

‘I don’t want it to take a health crisis to wake you up, to remind you, of how precious life is,’ said Dr Libby Weaver, a nutritional biochemist, as she finished her 2014 TEDx talk in Queenstown, New Zealand. 

Her words seem more poignant now, as families across the world have been torn apart by Covid-19, but back then she was speaking then about Rushing Woman Syndrome.

Dr Weaver coined the term and authored a book of the same name in 2011, and if you’re not a ‘rushing woman’, the chances are you know one. 

‘I was noticing an enormous change in women’s health, and it was a feeling that women had a pile of things on their to-do list, they had overflowing emails in their inboxes… It was as if there weren’t enough hours in the day,’ she tells ‘We couldn’t keep up with everything being asked of them or that they wanted to be part of.’

The juggling of everything on our to-do lists and neverending sense of urgency, she says, is leading to ‘relentless’ output of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which come with myriad physical health issues, including problems with menstruation, menopause, energy levels and metabolism – though this is not a conclusive list. 

With many now forcibly on pause thanks to lockdown, some have an opportunity to see how they’ve been moving through life in fast-forward. A global pandemic was not the health crisis Dr Weaver meant in her talk, but it has definitely given some the opportunity to reevaluate.

Alexandra Wood, 39, is one of Savile Row’s first female tailors and juggles her business Alexandra Wood Menswear with caring for her three children, having started her company with just £1,000 maternity pay when her daughter was born. 

‘My eyes are everywhere,’ she tells us. ‘I’m dealing with all aspects of my business, while looking after the children so it’s full-on.’

Since restrictions meant her bricks and mortar store had to close its doors, she’s had the opportunity to reflect and find the positive. 

Alexandra explains: ‘I’ve had to really focus on the most beneficial use of my time and what will help me grow the business in this turbulent time. I started my business with a newborn and in a recession so where there’s a will, there’s a way.

‘I’ve always been someone who loves going at full speed ahead but I have realised that simple time with the children doing TikTok dances bring about a lot of joy. 

‘I will also make sure I have more time with the children and that will mean streamlining my business and doing things that only make a difference. The art of delegation started in lockdown and will absolutely continue.’

Caroline Johnson, 42, also started her business Cheerleader PR while on maternity leave with her second daughter and has been a rushing woman.

She says: ‘Most days and weeks my head would be struggling, trying to keep all the plates spinning. I’d see it with my friends too, especially those with their own businesses who often find it impossible to switch off.’

Lockdown has meant her husband has taken on more of the household duties while she works in the spare room. 

‘When I look at my typical day before lockdown I wonder how I kept up with myself and kept everything going,’ says Caroline. ‘I was exhausted a lot of the time and needed to recharge at weekends.

‘I wonder what I was doing it for and what I was trying to prove. But equally, I loved a lot of it and miss it.

‘Funnily enough, I find lockdown just as tiring in some ways. Maybe because it has different pressures.’

While Dr Weaver knows of women who share these experiences, lockdown has also shown us the other side of the coin.

She notes: ‘It can be such a gift to reflect and say “I was doing x, y, and z and I can see now, I don’t want or need to do that.”

‘But that requires a degree of privilege to have your basic needs met – food, clothing and shelter – to be able to do that.’

‘The other scenario is, I do know a number of women for whom everything has sped up and had more responsibility fall to them.’

Key workers like nurse Jamie-Louise Docherty, 28, know this reality all too well. A new mum to a one-year-old son, she’s not currently working with Covid-19 patients but is struggling with not seeing friends.

‘It feels like my support system is missing,’ Jamie-Louise says. ‘I am missing baby classes and meeting up with my mum friends.

‘All of our babies turned one in the last couple of months which we had lots of plans for so it’s just been adjusting to a series of disappointments.

‘But everything else is the same, and probably amplified being in the house so much more like I feel very on edge.

‘My brain is in so many places and it has never been more obvious.’

Jamie is able to divide up household duties with her husband, though she sometimes feels that the mental load of remembering what needs doing falls to her. 

Dr Weaver says in homes like this, many women can end up doing ‘the frantic double shift’ – working hard in their careers only to pick up much of the household and parenting duties when at home with little rest.

‘Women have been, I guess, just gently alert all the time,’ she tells us. ‘We see so much more in our vision so much more that needs doing so I think biologically, we are a little bit predisposed to keep doing. It’s the compromise on our rest that’s enormously impacted on the way our nervous system is able to function. 

‘I think the shift has been a lot slower with men to pick up work, that’s not paid work, so around the house, looking after children, shopping, cleaning, all those other activities.’

Rather than pursuing balance, which can seem all too unattainable, Dr Weaver says it comes down to prioritising and adjusting our feelings on other people’s perceptions of us. 

‘I think what we do is we might rate ourselves or judge ourselves harshly for not being a good enough fill-in-the-blank,’ she explains. ‘Not a good enough colleague, not a good enough mother, daughter, sister, friend.

‘When we live forever in the service of others, which I think a lot of women do with real love in their heart – and my goodness, we need that – we need to be very comfortable saying no when we need to.’

Often rushing women describe needing others to perceive them as kind, thoughtful and selfless, which she says goes to show what a ‘beautiful place’ this desire to be all things to all people comes from. 

‘We’re so stressed, we think it’s all the people and the tasks and the situations and we stop catching a glimpse of the fact that it’s our responses to all of those things and the way we think about those things that makes those things stressful or not.’

For women who don’t have the luxury of dumping anything off their to-do lists, Dr Weaver says it’s all in the breath and finding the joy: ‘One of the things that science has shown that lowers stress hormones more effectively than just about anything is to extend the length of our exhalation.

‘A slow, long exhale activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is a branch of the autonomic nervous system, which is the opposite of fight and flight.’ 

She suggests putting your legs up the wall as you lie in bed with your arms stretched out and diaphragmatically breathing for 10 minutes. This is also good for mental clarity and can improve many bodily functions including sleep, digestion, circulation, lowering blood pressure and pulse.

As for finding what feels good, Dr Weaver says: ‘Joy gives us an irreplaceable depth of energy. Think what brings me joy and how, or what brings a smile to my face and how could I incorporate more moments of that? 

‘You might identify something that brings you joy, and it’s going to take an hour and you literally might not have an hour spare but you might have five minutes to yourself at this point or first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, and it’s a time for you to write in a journal or look out the window and watch what nature’s doing.

‘I live in Australia now but I was living in New Zealand when all of the dreadful earthquakes were happening in Christchurch. People didn’t have toilets that flushed for six months or more. 

‘Still to this day when I flush the toilet I think “I’m so thankful for this”. Those little things that are so simple and yet it’s so privileged that we have food and a warm bed. 

‘I hope in putting things into perspective there is a degree of slow down for women inside themselves and what they perceive they need to be happy and fulfilled. It’s often a lot simpler than we think it once was.’

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John Humphrys: Why Covid could kill off the big city dream…

JOHN HUMPHRYS: Why Covid could kill off the big city dream… and we should all be grateful

He was just what you would expect a New York cop to look like. Big and tough and chewing gum with his gun strapped to his bulging belly and a bored look on his face.

I was a slightly overawed 27-year-old who’d arrived in the U.S. for the first time in his life the night before. It was a sunny Saturday morning and I wanted to explore the city.

‘Excuse me,’ I said politely in my best British accent, ‘can you tell me the best way to get to Central Park?’

He didn’t even glance at me.

‘Buy a f*****g map, buddy.’

John Humphrys (pictured) explains how coronavirus might change the way people look at big cities 

I knew then that when I brought my wife and two small children out from Britain, we would not be living in this city. 

Instead, I rented a house 20 miles away in Irvington, on the banks of the great Hudson River. They arrived a few days before Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, I was flying south to report on a massive earthquake in Nicaragua, riddled with guilt at leaving my family in this strange land where they knew nobody. 

I shouldn’t have. They were immediately adopted by lovely neighbours who treated them as if they were their own family.

This was small-town America.

When Watergate forced us to move south to Washington DC, I chose once again to live in a small town. In the battle between small town and big city, I reckon there’s only one winner.

Big cities around the world — not least London — have been having a hard time of it since Covid-19 went on its rampage. Behind every death lies a personal tragedy.

Cities like London (pictured) have been struggling since the coronavirus pandemic began

Yet Covid is destroying not only life, but the way we live. And perhaps we should not fear those changes but welcome them.

Throughout history, cities have been a magnet. From the late 18th century, people have been abandoning the land and the villages where they were brought up, to find fortune in the big cities of the new industrial revolution, like Birmingham and Manchester. But it was never a bed of roses.

As the great novelists tell us, many ended up in slums with their hideous overcrowding, their violent crime and their susceptibility to disease. 

Yet they kept coming. And no city exerted more pulling power than London.

In modern times, the new arrivals have been mostly young people drawn to the bright lights. Keen to get on and keen to escape the narrowness of provincial life. And keen to have fun.

Then it changed again. Immigrants arrived to fill the jobs at the sharp end of the service economy. They worked in social care and the NHS. Waiters and hotel staff now had foreign accents.

And the rich came, too. The changing skyline screamed out that this was becoming the financial capital of the world. 

A little over a year ago, the financial services sector contributed a massive £132 billion to the economy of the nation. Roughly half was generated in London.

We don’t yet know what effect the pandemic will have on that financial powerhouse. We do know how it’s affecting those who work in it. As I write, their offices — and thousands more — are empty.

Working remotely began as necessity, but is now becoming a choice. Many company owners are re-examining their leases and asking: what are our vastly expensive offices actually for?

Technology is changing everything. And this is just the beginning. Quantum computers are already being developed. You need to be a physicist even to begin to understand what they do, and I’m not. But they will make today’s supercomputers look like children’s toys.

Mark Zuckerberg, in a rare interview this week, revealed his plans to have half of Facebook’s staff working from home in less than ten years. He called it ‘fundamentally changing our culture’. 

Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) highlighted how change can always happen in society when he announced that he wants half of his Facebook staff to be working from home in ten years

Where Facebook leads, others will surely follow. Twitter already has.

And Covid has given this revolution the motivation it needed. Cities equal crowds. Crowds spread infection. 

And it’s not a straightforward, linear equation. The theoretical physicist, Geoffrey West, has shown that as cities grow, the ‘hazards’ they pose grow at a greater rate — not just the spread of infections but crime, especially violent crime. So if a city doubles in size, the risk more than doubles.

Perhaps a new Charles Dickens will emerge to bring home to us quite how dreadful conditions can be in Covid London beyond the bright lights and the comfortable homes, like mine, on pleasant parks.

Perhaps Covid will make those at the bottom end of the social and economic ladder wonder whether the city game is really worth the candle.

Perhaps Covid, combined with the digital revolution, will finally finish what began with the industrial revolution.

Without social life, London loses its lustre and many will be escaping to the countryside

It is not just the poor who may be having second thoughts. Samuel Johnson wrote: ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.’ Not these days there isn’t.

Even for the middle classes, the indulgences have disappeared. The theatres, the opera, the galleries, the museums, the fashionable restaurants. All closed. And when eventually they open, will they still retain their allure if their patrons are treated as potential lepers?

London without social life loses its lustre. No wonder the wealthy have decamped to the countryside.

Like millions of others, I escaped last weekend. I rested after running through glorious woodland that gave way to pastures full of grazing sheep, their mischievous lambs trotting around, a lone hare spotting me and loping off towards the distant hills. 

Everything bathed in the morning sun. I was 50 miles from London. An hour’s drive away. A century away.

Those forced to live in the polluted mean streets of a big city like London often dream of the rural idyll, and the response of governments to this pandemic has focused many minds on alternatives. 

Commuting is not just boring and wasteful. Now, it can also be life-threatening.

Why not build communities where we can afford to live, and where social divisions are not as extreme as they are in the capital?

Take away the power of the financial services, and much that it dictated begins to wither. Once cities lose their economic function, they go into slow decline. 

Ask Liverpool. It is a wonderful city, but 100 years ago it was the greatest port in the world and the world flocked to it.

Liverpool used to be the greatest port in the world – the way the city has declined in value shows that big cities can be doomed

But can cities really be doomed? Perhaps they will adapt to dangers like Covid. London looks as if it may have the better of it for now, and yet the Mayor is cautious about lifting the lockdown.

And anyway, a pandemic changes the psychology of a city. It’s not just the disease that makes crowds potentially so unappealing. Cities are uniquely vulnerable to many other threats.

When the Cold War ended in 1989, I asked the head of MI6 where the next greatest threat to our way of life might come from. He did not hesitate. Cyber warfare. It seemed fanciful then. It seems prophetic now.

A hostile country, or even some maniac loner, might well bring our economy to a juddering halt by hacking into the essential computer systems that keep it running.

The cities would fall first. And then the ‘crowd’ could very easily turn in on itself. We would not be competing for toilet rolls but fighting for food.

In short, the calculus of city living is undergoing great changes. No one knows where they will lead, but if it ultimately loses its appeal, would that be such a bad thing?

Those outside London and other big cities — fed up with being called ‘provincial’ — might rejoice to see the end of city bragging. A provincial nation might be better prepared for a pandemic.

Those who live away from London might just enjoy everyone not bragging about the big cities 

Look at Germany: its biggest city, Berlin, is a third the size of London. One consequence of Covid here could be a resurgent local government.

And maybe those who sneer at ‘the suburbs’ from their metropolitan ivory towers might envy them instead. Especially when there’s no need to spend thousands commuting to the office. Imagine, too, what it will do to house prices.

Both Theresa May and Boris Johnson have talked about ‘rebalancing the country’.

They may not have chosen this new path, but it may lead there. And given how all politicians love a slogan, let me suggest one.

If you love life, leave London.

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World News

Two metre rule could be relaxed raising hopes pubs can reopen

Two metre rule could be relaxed and is under frequent review raising hopes more pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen as lockdown eases

  • Yvonne Doyle said the UK took ‘cautionary’ approach compared to other nations
  • She claimed the policy is being reviewed to see if the distance can be reduced
  • Two metre rules are currently a huge obstacle for businesses in hospitality
  • JD Wetherspoon today revealed £11m plan to reopen its 875 pubs within weeks
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Plans to ease the two-metre social distancing rule will continue to be reviewed, public health leaders have said, raising hopes that more pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen.

Public Health England’s medical director Professor Yvonne Doyle told MPs that the UK had taken a ‘cautionary’ approach to introducing the rule when other countries were using shorter distances.

She told the Science and Technology Select Committee today that until more is known about how coronavirus is transmitted, the two-metre rule was ‘important’.

Staff at the Greenwich Tavern in Greenwich, London, start selling takeaway alcohol from a window directly out onto the street today

Staff serve takeaway drinks outside the Althorp pub, in Wandsworth, London today

Public Health England’s medical director Professor Yvonne Doyle told MPs today the two-metre social distancing rule will continue to be reviewed to see if it can be reduced

But when asked why the UK had decided on two metres when other countries like France, China and Hong Kong advised one metre, she said it will continue to be reviewed to see if it can be reduced.

Doing so would represent a huge boost for hard-hit industries such as hospitality, which are crucial to aiding Britain’s economic recovery. 

If the guidelines were relaxed, it would allow pubs, restaurants and hotels to welcome more people into their venues than what would be permitted under current social distancing guidance.

Tables could be moved closer together in restaurants, pubs could allow more people at the bar and hotels would be able to increase the numbers of visitors, all helping to drive profits and kick start their businesses.   

Prof Doyle said: ‘We are aware of the international differences and I am sure this will be the subject of continued investigation as to whether two metres is actually necessary or whether that can be reduced further.’ 

Easing lockdown measures was an ‘important decision’, she said, but also a trade-off between the needs of the economy and businesses and the anxieties of the public.

She added: ‘It is an important decision… and we are fully aware of that.

‘On one side we are aware of the requirements of the economy and business and on the other side we are aware of the concerns and anxieties of the population.

‘This is a trade-off, it is a balance, but you are quite right the science should inform the measures as we go forward.’

It comes as JD Wetherspoon today revealed its £11million masterplan to reopen its 875 pubs within weeks – and while the blueprint promises social distancing there is no mention of the two-metre rule.

The chain closed in March despite its chairman Tim Martin claiming the lockdown ‘wouldn’t save lives’ and the millionaire Brexiteeer also blasted Boris Johnson for not adopting a herd immunity policy.

With pubs expected to reopen in July, Wetherspoons drinkers will be told ‘not to meet in large groups’ and will be expected to sanitise their hands on arrival and at other times during their visit using dispensers dotted around the pubs. 

Wetherspoons will be very different places when they reopen and the pub chain has said it will spend £11million getting them ready

This is what a JD Wetherspoon pub bar will look like when they reopen with a screen to keep staff and drinkers apart

Customers will be asked to sanatise their hands on arrival – and throughout their visit – and pubs will have banners explaining the rules 

They will follow one-way systems to the toilets and through the bar where the tills will be screened off to protect staff likely to be wearing masks, gloves and eye protection, the chain said.

Staff will hand over all drinks holding the base of the pint or wine glass and when ordered via a smartphone they will be delivered to the table on a tray for the customers to take themselves to reduce the chances of spreading Covid-19. Families will be asked to keep children seated and always accompanied to the toilet.

The 875 pubs in UK and Ireland will open during its usual hours of 8am to around 1am and encourage customers to order using its app with posters put up telling them ‘there is no need to visit the bar’. But people can pay by cash or card at the till if necessary and must not move any furniture.

Drinkers will be encouraged to use many of the chain’s large gardens but inside tables will be surrounded by screens to ensure social distancing. The chain’s food menu will be pared back and condiment bottles removed and replaced with sachets to prevent coronavirus spreading via shared ketchup, mayonnaise and vinegar.

Every pub will also have a member of staff employed to sanatise the pubs, concentrating on door knobs, card machines and hand rails.

Catherine Noakes, professor of environmental engineering for buildings at the University of Leeds, told the committee today there was very little evidence of outdoor transmission of the virus.

She added: ‘The chances of you being able to inhale enough in an outdoor environment is very, very small.’

But she said that the two-mete rule was not over-precautionary because there was evidence of virus transmission within that distance.

Prof Noakes added: ‘It may be over-precautionary but actually it’s not, particularly when you are face to face with somebody.

‘There’s certainly evidence that people within two metres are able to be affected.’

Their comments come after the chief executive of a brewery warned that pubs will go bankrupt if staff and customers have to keep two metres apart.

Andy Wood of Adnams brewery said the two-metre social distancing rule will make it ‘very difficult’ for pubs to operate and suggested a reduction to one metre as long as it does not come at the expense of people’s safety.

Restaurants such as Bella Italia, pictured, have been closed but could reopen if social distancing rules are relaxed

Restaurants such as Cafe Rouge in Woking, Surrey, remain closed during the lockdown

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) told the PA news agency that if the UK followed the World Health Organisation’s advice of imposing a one-metre distance it would ‘enable many more pubs to viably reopen and serve their communities again’.

But after concluding a review, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has advised ministers that the two-metre rule should stay.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said that for many pubs, implementing a two-metre rule will be ‘impossible’ and mean they are closed for much longer.

‘Reopening in July will be great for those pubs who can meet the social-distancing measures required by then,’ she said.

‘However, it must be recognised that no two pubs are the same and for many, ensuring a distance of two metres will be impossible, keeping them closed for much longer.

‘Actioning advice from the WHO for example to use one metre for social distancing from July would enable many more pubs to viably reopen and serve their communities again.

‘We stand ready to work with the Government to help pubs reopen in a safe and financially viable way as soon as possible.’

Sunetra Gupta, a professor at the University of Oxford, claims there is a ‘strong possibility’ pubs and restaurants may be able to reopen immediately

Sunseekers were seen in Brighton yesterday, on the hottest day of the year so far, carrying drinks away from bars in takeaway cups

Earlier this week, a top scientist suggested pubs and restaurants may be safe to reopen immediately without risking a spike in the infection rate.

Sunetra Gupta, a professor at the University of Oxford, claims there is a ‘strong possibility’ businesses would be able to welcome customers once more, and avoid the kind of catastrophic consequences the government has warned could occur if lockdown restrictions aren’t eased in steady phases. 

Furthermore, she claimed long-term social distancing in fact makes the public more vulnerable to infectious diseases, by keeping them unprotected from pathogens. 

A study by Imperial College London, led by Professor Neil Ferguson, warned in March as many as half a million people could die in the UK if a strict lockdown wasn’t enforced.

However, Professor Gupta and her team at Oxford produced an alternative model, suggesting that half of all Brits could have already been exposed to Covid-19 and that the true infection fatality rate may be as low as 0.1 per cent. 

The study was controversial, but two months on, the scientist stands by the findings. 

She told Unherd: ‘I think there’s a chance we might have done better by doing nothing at all, or at least by doing something different, which would have been to pay attention to protecting the vulnerable, to have thought about protecting the vulnerable 30 or 40 years ago when we started cutting hospital beds.

‘It seems to me that given that the costs of lockdown are mounting, that case is becoming more and more fragile.’  

As lockdown measures were eased slightly last week, Brits have made their way to parks and beaches to take advantage of the recent warm weather.

Local businesses are also making the most of the opportunity after sunseekers were seen this week carrying drinks away from bars in takeaway cups.

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World News

Thousands of lives could have been saved ‘if coronavirus lockdown was ONE WEEK earlier’ – The Sun

THOUSANDS of lives could have been saved if coronavirus lockdown was enforced just one week earlier, a Government scientific adviser has claimed. 

Sir Ian Boyd, who sits on the SAGE scientific advisory group, said "it would have made quite a big difference" to the death rate if ministers had acted sooner.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Despite this, the Government has always insisted they have been guided by the scientific advice during the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes as 36,042 people have died from Covid-19 in the UK – the highest death toll in Europe.

Britain was one of the last countries in Europe to put the country into lockdown on March 23 – days or weeks after Germany, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy had done it.

Sir Ian, a professor of biology at the University of St Andrews, told The Coronavirus Newscast: "Acting very early was really important and I would have loved to have seen us acting a week or two weeks earlier and it would have made quite a big difference to the steepness of the curve of infection and therefore the death rate.

"And I think that's really the number one issue – could we have acted earlier? Were the signs there earlier on?"

iI would have made quite a big difference to the steepness of the curve of infection and therefore the death rate

Sir Ian suggested that the Government based its initial assessment on the transmissibility of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) virus, which is less infectious than this coronavirus.

Sars was a previously unknown disease which killed 774 people in a year across the globe in 2002/03.

He dubbed the UK and other European countries as "a bit slower off the mark" and less prepared than countries that had experienced Sars in the early 2000s.

He revealed that ministers would have received "very blunt and very clear" advice from the government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance. and chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty.

'Slower off the mark'

"One could point the finger at ministers and politicians for not being willing to listen to scientific advice," Sir Ian said.

"You could point the finger at scientists for not actually being explicit enough.

"But at the end of the day all these interact with public opinion as well.

"And I think some politicians would have loved to have reacted earlier but in their political opinion it probably wasn't feasible because people wouldn't have perhaps responded in the way they eventually did."

Sir Ian also slammed ministers for saying they are "led" by the science.

He added: "I think the statement 'we are guided by the science' is slightly misleading.

"I don't think ministers intend it to be misleading. I think they intend it to help to provide trust in what they are saying. And quite rightly so.

"Basically what we in the scientific community do is give the best advice we can based on the evidence that's available to us.

"We then pass it to government ministers and the policy parts of government who can then take that and do with it what they like within the policy context."

I think the statement 'we are guided by the science' is slightly misleading

Sir Ian, who was the chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2012-19, said SAGE meetings are currently taking place over Zoom.

More than 50 people sit on SAGE – the UK's top advisory team of elite experts who step in to inform British leadership when making decisions.

The names of those in the group were published in early May after officials bowed to mounting pressure to reveal who had been part of regular meetings during the pandemic.

The names on the list included well-known figures who have been involved in the daily press conferences, including chairman Sir Patrick Vallance, Professor Chris Whitty and his deputies Dr Jenny Harries and Professor Jonathan Van Tam.

Sir Ian's claim comes after research this week claimed launching the UK's lockdown a week earlier would have saved tens of thousands of lives.

The study, carried out by Dr John Dagpunar, from the University of Southampton, suggested implementing lockdown on March 16 rather than March 23 could have limited the number of deaths to 11,200.

Dr Dagpunar's study considered the number of people infected with the virus, its rate of reproduction, hospital bed and staff capacity, and the proportion of patients who die, among other factors.

And, using an algorithm based on the timing of the UK's outbreak, Dr Dagpunar found that if lockdown had started a week earlier there could have been a 'very large reduction' in deaths.

Earlier action was needed and would have saved many lives

The virus would have infected four per cent less of the population in this scenario (two per cent compared to six per cent), the study said, and the demand for hospital beds would have been lower.

Dr Dagpunar said: "In hindsight [this] clearly illustrates that earlier action was needed and would have saved many lives.

"Literally, each day’s delay in starting suppression (lockdown) can result in thousands of extra deaths.

"The same is true for premature relaxation, acknowledging that the rate of decline is less than the rate of growth, so the effect although severe is not quite as strong.

"These conclusions are the incontrovertible consequence of the exponential growth and decline of a managed epidemic."

Dr Dagpunar's paper was published on the website medRxiv without being peer-reviewed by other scientists.

Around two thirds of people think the Government took too long to put the UK in lockdown, according to polls.

However, other experts say ministers "lost sight" of the evidence and rushed into lockdown, praising Sweden for holding its nerve and not shutting down the economy.


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World News

Could insect repellent protect against coronavirus? The MoD thinks maybe – The Sun

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed insect repellent has been given to army personnel in order to help protect them from the coronavirus.

The Defence Committee received a letter from the secretary of state confirming that a Citriodiol-based spray could be used as a precautionary measure.

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On April 27 the chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood wrote to Ben Wallace asking if troops would be issued with the spray, on what basis it was being used and if there were any plans to roll out the spray to key workers such as NHS staff.

Last night Mr Wallace issued a response confirming the use of the spray, the main ingredient of which comes from the eucalyptus citriodora tree.

The letter stated that the MoD was "contributing extensively" to the government’s Covid-19 response and that some tasks the force is involved with required "engagement with members of the public such as the staffing of Mobile Testing Units".

Mr Wallace continued: "The wellbeing of our Armed Forces personnel is of utmost importance to the MoD, ensuring that they and their families remain healthy and can also continue contributing to the government response to this pandemic."

What is Citriodiol?

Citriodiol is a chemical that is found in the leaves of the eucalyptus citriodora tree.

These trees are native to Asia, South America and Africa and the chemicals are extracted from the leaves and used in popular insect repellant sprays that are found on the high street.

The sprays can be purchased from pharmacy stores and online and most people would usually find them in the travel section.

Studies found that the activie ingrediant from the leaves helped to kill the SARS virus.

Popular products the chemical is present in include;

  • Incognito
  • Goibi
  • Ben's Natural
  • MosiGuard

Studies are still on going into the chemical and the factory that produces the repellant in Leeds has said that it has asked the goverment to test the products effectiveness against the virus.

He added that while the army was already adhering to measures such as social distancing and hand washing, that it had also adopted other measures for officers working in a higher risk setting.

"Citriodiol is a safe and natural product, often found in commercially available insect repellents. Weaker Citriodiol spray and solutions form a barrier on the skin and have been found to provide a barrier against variants of the SARS virus similar to that causing the current pandemic”.

Mr Wallace said it was not possible to confirm the number of Armed Forces who had used the product but said it had provided the spray to each of the ten Joint Military Commands.

"The MoD does not implement such measures without rigorous examination of their effectiveness and suitability. Following consultation with subject matter experts – the Surgeon General advised that, albeit in lieu of conclusive research, Citriodiol would do no harm and should be used on a precautionary bases, as an additional layer of protection against exposure to Covid-19."

On whether or not the sprays would be provided to NHS workers, he said that this would be a matter for the bodies employing the workers to decide.

Ultimately, this would fall to NHS England and the department of Health and Social Care.

He did confirm that the Surgeon General informed the Chief and Deputy Medical officers of the development and said further study into the drug was ongoing.

Citriodiol  is the active ingredient that repels insects in popular products such as Incognito and MosiGuard.

Studies into the chemical, that is often found in the eucalyptus citriodora trees in South America, Africa and Asia found that it was able to kill SARS, which has been a constant comparison to Covid-19.

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Holidays could be disrupted for years – with borders closed at short notice and last-minute flight cancellations

HOLIDAYS could be disrupted for years after the pandemic, with borders closing at the last minute and flights being cancelled at short notice.

Experts have warned that chaos could continue well into the future.

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A new study by Swiss-based air technology specialists SITA (Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques), says travellers should expect delays and difficulties when going abroad.

Their paper "A ‘New Normal’: The changing face of air transport post-COVID-19," warns of a number worst-case scenarios to be expected, citing changes that came into place following the 9/11 bombings – adding it is likely we will see more due to the pandemic.

One is likely to be the closure of borders at the last minute because of the spread of the virus.

Due to the different emergency levels between countries, it could mean passengers find themselves unable to enter a destination with little notice.

For example, anyone heading to Spain will be forced to quarantine for two weeks from Friday, under new laws.

If a country suddenly has a large spike or outbreak of the virus, then they could also choose to shut their borders to all international travellers altogether within hours.

The study warns: "Over the past few weeks, as countries scrambled to stop the spread of the pandemic and keep their citizens safe, there has been a concerted and global effort to contain the movement of people. We have seen countries shut down their borders and passengers opting not to travel.

"Government rules and regulations for travel will mean border changes will be constant.

"As we have seen in previous outbreaks such as SARS and MERS, the pattern and speed by which a disease moves around the globe is inextricably linked to the pattern and speed by which passengers move.

"Countries will open up their borders in a controlled manner considering, for example, the health status of passengers at points of embarkation or the ability to easily identify or assist at-risk passengers."

This is already being seen at airports which are introducing health and temperature checks.

Flights could also be cancelled at the last minute, something which was already a problem pre-lockdown for frequent fliers.

The paper claims "the status of flights will remain unpredictable and change often," with passengers likely to have less cancellation warning and less choice of replacement flights.

According to IATA, more than two million flights will have already been or will be cancelled within the first six months of 2020.

Airlines which have been forced to ground their entire fleets have warned that normal operations are not expected for months, with limited flights expected over the summer.

If airlines collapse or go into administration, this will also result in less flight choice – as well as pricier tickets.

Passengers may have to pre-book meals and drinks at airports, as well as get given security time-slots to avoid queues.

Hong Kong Airport is even trialling new disinfectant booths for passengers which kill all viruses, including coronavirus, on the skin in just 40 seconds.

The new technology could become a common sight in the future at all airports as the industry looks into ways to ensure travellers feel safe post-pandemic.


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Beauty and Fashion

Could this be the new Zara spotty dress?

Last year, there was a point where you couldn’t go outside without seeing somebody in THAT spotty Zara dress.

The tiered midi was so ubiquitous that it even spawned its own Instagram account, where people could post their spots of the spots.

This year might have a contender when it comes to an It Dress, in the form of a New Look smock dress that’s been seen on tons of influencers.

The £22.99 dress of the moment comes in a black and white checked print, and has puff sleeves and an a-line below the bust.

The mini then has a tier towards the bottom, giving it a bit of volume (not quite Molly Goddard levels, but perhaps a bit more suitable for a casual day out).

It’s a worthy rival to the Zara spotted number, coming in at almost half the price of it (£22.99 compared to £39.99).

As it’s shorter, it also gives us the chance to show off our legs. Perhaps one for holidays once lockdown lifts?

Influencers who have been spotted in the dress include Nicola Nikki, who blogs at 40s Not Frumpy, beauty editor Lucy Kummer, and stylist Billie-Jo.

According to the brand, it has also appeared in Vogue, which is quite the feat for a sub-£30 frock.

Each of the bloggers has styled the checked dress completely differently, showing off how versatile it can be. From cowboy boots to studded belts to athletic trainers, it’s certainly one that can be worn in a variety of ways.

Personally, we’re ready for every pub garden to have at least three people wearing it – once they’re open, that is.

It’s still in stock for the moment, and is also available in a petite version.

Do you have a story to share? Get in touch at [email protected]

Share your views in the comments below.

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Fernandinho hints he could extend Man City contract further as 35-year-old eyes longer at top – The Sun

MANCHESTER CITY stalwart Fernandinho has hinted he could be tempted to extend his contract at the Etihad by a further year.

The veteran Brazilian – who turns 35 next month – signed a new one year deal earlier this season which ties him to the club until summer 2021.

But he has always said he believes he has several more years left in him – and admits he could be open to another year on top.

Fernandinho said: "I extended my contract a couple of months ago and I am so happy, but after that, we'll see.

"If we have another conversation about another contract in the future, I would be happy.

“But if not, I would be happy as well because I know what I have done for this club and what this club has done for me, how they have helped me.

“This time has been a pleasure for me. Manchester City will always be in my heart. That's for sure."

Fernandinho has been a revelation for City since he joined from Shakhtar Donetsk in a £30million deal in 2013.

Pep Guardiola has converted him into a centre back this season and he has been crucial in the absence of Aymeric Laporte and John Stones.

Fernandinho is isolating at home in Brazil amid the coronavirus pandemic, and recently admitted to missing his team-mates.

He said: “I am very much missing football.

"Not just the football, but my relationships with my team-mates, with the staff and all the people at the club.

“I miss arriving at the Club in the morning, having a chat with everyone in the kitchen. This is a tough time for everybody, and I am feeling it right now because I am really missing everyone.”

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World News

Farmers could receive help from the government during Covid-19 crisis

Struggling farmers could get extra help from the Government to help them through Covid-19 crisis says Environment Secretary George Eustice

  • The cabinet minister says the government has ‘not ruled out’ financial assistance
  • It is considering ‘some type of hardship payment’ once data has been analysed 
  • Last week farmer unions united after demand for dairy dropped by 50 per cent
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Struggling farmers may get extra financial help from the Government during the coronavirus pandemic, the Environment Secretary has announced.

George Eustice, 48, said that while the agriculture industry has not been down in the same ways as retail and hospitality, assistance to farmers has not been ruled out.

Last week unions including the Royal Association Of British Dairy Farmers, Dairy UK and the National Farmers Union have united behind a rescue plan for the dairy industry.

Demand for milk has fallen by as much as 50 per cent since cafes and restaurants closed due to the national coronavirus lockdown on March 23.

Environment Secretary George Eustice, 48, says the government has not ‘ruled out’ giving struggling farmers financial assistance during the coronavirus pandemic

Asked about dairy farmers, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the Government is considering ‘some type of ‘hardship payment’.

He said: ‘We don’t rule out some type of hardship payment once we’ve got to the bottom of the data.’

Asked about extending the retail and hospitality grant schemes to farmers, he said the farming industry has not been completely closed.

He said: ‘There’s a slight difference here in that agriculture has not been closed down in the way the hospitality sectors have been.

‘We haven’t ruled it out, we’re looking at it.’

Dairy farmers across the UK are having to dump tens of thousands of gallons of milk due to the massive slump in demand amid reports dairy distributors have failed to turn up to collect supplies as their processing plants are full. 

Now farmers could change the diet of their cows and adopt different feed regimes to cut production – effectively furloughing their livestock so as to prevent any further waste. 

Joanna Feddes who runs JoJo’s dairy in Wanborough near Swindon, Wiltshire, was forced to pour away 12,000 litres when processors failed to turn up to collect her milk.

She said: ‘It is utterly desperate. There is a need for milk – homeless people, hospitals. There are starving people in the world and this is just so frustrating.

Dairy farmer, Josette Feddes of JoJos Dairy, had to throw away 12,000 litres of milk but has now started pasteurising it herself and selling it directly to locals

‘Milk is needed left, right and centre, there has to be a way for us to supply it. We need to find a way to use it. There are so many people without milk at the moment, it is really silly.’ 

In a bid not to waste any more, she and husband Jonathan have started pasteurizing as much as they can themselves and selling it in bottles at half price to the local community. 

Mrs Feddes said: ‘I need to look after the farm and the animals, and just do not have the time to bottle up and deliver to local businesses. 

‘We are desperate for local help to solve this supply chain issue. Cows will keep producing milk, so we can’t just not milk them.’ 


The Covid-19 outbreak has seen the almost complete shutdown of the hospitality sector, as well as increasing price volatility in global markets, which has left farm businesses and processors under increased pressure. 

With restaurants and coffee shops closed the demand from the food service industry for milk has plummeted by as much as 50 per cent. 

This has led to some dairy farmers with no other option but to dispose of milk on farm. 

Dairy distributors have also failed to turn up to collect supplies as their processing plants are full and they have reached their storage capacity.

National Farmers’ Union President Minette Batters has called on Defra Secretary of State, George Eustice, to take immediate steps to ensure the sustainability of the dairy sector.

She said earlier this month: ‘We believe there may be at least 2,000 dairy farmers suffering severe financial pressure and that number is growing by the day as a result of the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak and as things develop very few dairy businesses will be left unaffected. 

‘We need to move fast to mitigate the impacts of this unfolding crisis on dairy farming businesses across the country. 


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