The British Medical Association has warned that the Government’s plan to exit lockdown is “full of risks” and the potential impact on the NHS is “deeply worrying”.
Boris Johnson warned on Monday night that Britain is entering “the season to be jolly careful” as he announced new coronavirus restrictions that will last until the end of March.
The Prime Minister revealed details of a revised regional three-tier system that will begin on December 2.
BMA council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “Worryingly, the Prime Minister has revealed a plan that is full of risks and threatens to undo the progress and undermine the difficult sacrifices the public have made in that time.
“The Prime Minister says the new measures are tougher than October when in reality many are far more relaxed, at a time when infection rates and Covid-related hospitalisations and deaths remain high.”
Dr Nagpaul said it was “extremely concerning” that outdoor events with crowds of up to 4,000 people will be allowed and groups of 1,000 will be able to congregate indoors.
“Now equipped with knowledge of the failings of the first three-tiered system, which led to another national lockdown, the Government must not repeat the same mistakes and risk accelerating the spread of the virus,” he said.
Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said: “In the run-up to Christmas, retail will be open come what may, but it must be recognised that this could afford the virus an opportunity to spread rapidly.
“We may have to pay a further cost in 2021, not only in terms of restrictions but also illness, hospitalisations and deaths,” he said.
Follow the latest updates below.
Meet the women leading the Oxford vaccine team
The Telegraph’s Alice Hall goes behind the scenes to explain more about the women leading the Oxford University vaccine team – and about to make history…
In the days before coronavirus (remember those?) it was celebrities and influencers who dominated the limelight. But these are strange times we live in.
As we sit cooped up in our homes seeing out a second nationwide lockdown, it is those in the science community who are emerging as the public’s new heroes.
And who would fail to be impressed by the efforts Professor Sarah Gilbert and Professor Catherine Green, two of the latest brains to emerge from the pandemic and, arguably, some of the most important.
Both women are at the forefront of the race to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, leading a team of dedicated researchers from the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group.
And it looks like success could be on the horizon for the team.
Read the full story here.
Airlines consider ‘vaccination passport’ for travellers
The boss of Australia’s largest airline has said that once a coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available, it may require passengers to use it before they can travel abroad.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said he had been talking to his counterparts at other airlines around the world about the possibility of a “vaccination passport” for overseas travellers.
“We are looking at changing the terms and conditions to say for international travellers that we will ask people to have the vaccination before they get on the aircraft,” Mr Joyce said.
Australia has imposed some of the most severe border restrictions in the world since the pandemic began. It has closed its borders to most international visitors and only allowed its own citizens to travel internationally under special circumstances.
Those restrictions have helped the nation of 26 million people tame its outbreak. Australia has reported nearly 28,000 cases and just over 900 deaths since the pandemic began, fewer than many other nations of its size.
‘Chaos’: Postal deliveries delayed as workers told to self-isolate
Postal deliveries are being delayed as Covid “chaos” at depots sees scores of staff forced to self-isolate.
Some people have reported not receiving any mail for more than a week, with postal service sources telling The Telegraph that whole offices were being taken out by Test and Trace.
The problems stem from postal staff in sorting offices working at close quarters, meaning one infection can lead to dozens of people being told to self-isolate for up to 14 days.
A senior Royal Mail source told The Telegraph that “whole buildings” were being emptied when a postal worker tested positive because staff worked “side by side”, while another said: “It is absolute chaos is the bottom line. It is a complete and utter disaster out there, and the parcel traffic is unbelievable.”
Read the full story here.
More than half of England set to be in highest tiers
More than half the country will be put into tougher restrictions when the national lockdown ends, Boris Johnson has announced.
Under the new tier system, more parts of England are expected to be placed into higher measures than they were before the national lockdown, which ends on December 2, was imposed.
Mr Johnson conceded it was “likely that more of the country is placed into tiers 2 and 3 at first” in order to “control the virus effectively”.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, a number of MPs urged the Government to put London in the lowest tier or risk economic havoc.
Read the full story here.
Crowds of up to 4,000 allowed back into sport stadiums
Spectator sports, concerts and business conferences will resume for the first time in nine months under the revamped tiers system as Boris Johnson signalled on Monday that social distancing could finally end in the spring.
Under the Government’s winter plan, thousands of fans will be allowed back into stadiums from December 2, when the second lockdown ends.
Crowd sizes will be determined according to the tiers areas are placed into, although stadiums will remain empty in Tier 3 areas.
Indoor and outdoor amateur sports will also resume in all three tiers.
English Football League officials are also discussing moving all fixtures from Tuesday to Wednesday so cash-starved clubs can start immediately clawing back matchday revenue.
Source: The Telegraph Travels