SCHOOLS are struggling to cope with the lack of Covid-19 testing for staff and students with the situation becoming "increasingly out of control", a teaching union leader has warned.
With hundreds of pupils being sent home to self-isolate because of school outbreaks, officials are calling for a more robust plan for testing.
Meanwhile, MPs fear the hospitality industry could crash again as the warm weather dwindles.
Tory MP for St Austell and Newquay Steve Double addressed the Commons, saying: "August has been incredibly busy in Cornwall but we do face a big challenge as we head into winter for the hospitality sector.
"So could I ask (Sunak) if he would consider a similar sort of scheme to be run at some point during the winter to help as many businesses as possible survive the winter and be here for next summer?"
The idea for a winter Eat Out to Help Out scheme is said to be "under review".
The news comes amid test chaos as up to 230,000 people wait for their test results which Matt Hancock admitted today said could last for weeks.
The Health Secretary said he would have to set out new rules for rationing tests and prioritising people in the NHS and social care settings to try and fight the chaos and shortages – as some sites reportedly ran out.
The Health Sec admitted there had been "operational" challenges to the testing system, blaming people who are not eligible to get swabbed, for delays, and the increased demand.
Follow our coronavirus blog for the latest news and updates…
'RULE OF SIX' WON'T CANCEL CHRISTMAS, SAYS JUSTICE SEC
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland denied that the “rule of six” would effectively cancel Christmas, following criticisms from a source close to the Archbishop of Canterbury about the social restrictions imposed this week to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the Cabinet minister said: “Archbishop Justin Welby makes an important contribution to this debate and he is right to point to the huge spiritual and social significance of Christmas.
“I don't think any of us in Government want to be Oliver Cromwell-esque about this – we want to see families celebrate Christmas in a safe and happy way and we want to see our churches and indeed our other places of worship joining in that celebration.”
STOP CONTROLLING OUR FREEDOMS, SAYS ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on ministers to stop controlling people's freedoms from Westminster, saying instead they should “only do centrally what must be done centrally”.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said the Government had “determined the daily details of our lives” during the coronavirus lockdown in a way “few of us have experienced”, as he argued instead for localism.
ZARA SALES SLIDE BY A THIRD
Zara owner Inditex has said that sales dived by almost a third over the past quarter as shoppers stayed away from city centre shopping districts.
The Spanish fashion giant, which also owns the Bershka and Pull & Bear brands, said sales slid by 31 per cent in the three months to July 31.
It told investors that around 87 per cent of stores were open globally at the start of the period but it now has around 98 per cent of sites welcoming customers again.
However, the company said it has continued to be impacted by limits on capacity in stores and restricted hours in certain markets, due to the pandemic.
KEEPING SCHOOLS OPEN IS 'UNSUSTAINABLE'
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said keeping schools open would become “unsustainable” if issues with testing capacity were not fixed.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said headteachers were being forced to decide that the “bubble has to stay at home” if a pupil or teacher in a year group had shown Covid-19 symptoms and could not get a test to prove they were negative.
Mr Barton said: “This will feel I think like lockdown by default – it will be more frustrating for parents because you can't predict whether it is going to happen.
“And similarly from the headteacher's point of view, if my Year 4 teacher today shows symptoms, will he or she be in school tomorrow, will they be here for the next 14 days?
“As soon as you start to get that with six, seven, eight teachers, it becomes unsustainable to be able to run things.”
SCHOOLS NEED MORE TESTING, SAYS OFFICIALS
Schools have been hit with Covid-19 cases since it became compulsory for pupils to return.
NASUWT members are “expressing serious concerns about the failure” of the testing system and the impact on schools, the letter to Mr Gibb says.
Dr Roach said: “In particular, areas where additional local restrictions have been introduced due to the increase in the R-number are now unable to cope with demand for tests.
“Teachers, support staff and children and young people are unable to access tests where they have Covid-19 symptoms.
“Employers are struggling to deal with the implications and consequences.”
LACK OF SCHOOL TESTING IS 'OUT OF CONTROL'
Schools are struggling to cope with a lack of Covid-19 tests for pupils and staff as the situation is becoming “increasingly out of control”, a teaching union leader has warned.
Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, has called on the Government to prioritise the education sector for the allocation of tests in light of the challenges.
In a letter to the schools minister, Dr Roach said the union had heard of approximately 600 pupils being told to self-isolate in one local authority area and he said the “number is growing”.
Pupils who have been sent home with symptoms are “facing uncertainty” about when or where they will be able to access a test.
THUG WHO 'HAD COVID' AND COUGHED ON COPS IS JAILED
A vile thug told police he had Covid and coughed in their faces as they arrested him for domestic violence.
Daley Cartwright was being led to a police car when he was asked if he had any symptoms of the virus and replied “Yes I've got it and I hope you f****** get it and die”, then coughed at the two officers.
Later, at the police station, he spat at another police officer through the hatch of his cell while being charged and said: “I've got hep B so you are f*****”.
Now the 32-year-old, of Avenue Terrace, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, who admitted three counts of assaulting an emergency worker and separate offences of common assault and threats to kill in relation to his ex partner, has been jailed.
HALF-A-MIL TESTING PER DAY NEEDED TO COPE WITH WINTER DEMAND
Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the Government would need to “dramatically” increase Covid-19 testing to half a million people per day if testing was to cope with demand during winter.
The director of University College London's Institute of Epidemiology & Health told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Health Secretary Matt Hancock's analysis that it could take weeks to sort the current delays was “concerning”.
He said: “Some of our research has shown that at least in the winter, you would expect about half a million people a day to develop symptoms that are typical of Covid – and that would be in a winter when there was no Covid – so you can see that the capacity requirements will have to increase dramatically if we are going to keep up.”
EAT OUT TO HELP OUT SLASHED INFLATION TO FIVE-YEAR LOW
Last month's Eat Out to Help Out scheme and the Government's VAT cut helped push UK inflation to its lowest level for nearly five years in August, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics said the Consumer Prices Index tumbled from 1 per cent in July to 0.2 per cent in August – the lowest rate since December 2015.
SCHOOL KIDS, PARENTS, NHS, AND SOCIAL CARERS SHOULD BE PRIORITY
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the Government was facing “real challenges” on coronavirus testing and suggested that school children and their parents would be the next testing priority after NHS and social care workers.
“I think the announcement by Matt Hancock yesterday to create a prioritisation system is the right thing to do.
“He is going to develop that very quickly over the next few days, to explain to us what that looks like but I think… it has to be the NHS first and then social care.
“And then I think what we need to do is have a cascading system where we know where our priority should be and for me priority should be for children in school and their parents in order to ensure their lives are safe and also importantly they are not disrupted in the way we are seeing.”
PM TO FACE MP'S OVER TESTING 'FAILURE'
Boris Johnson will face a grilling from senior MPs amid a warning that the “failure” of the test and trace system is placing “huge pressure” on the health service.
As the system struggles to cope with soaring demand, people have been turning up to accident and emergency to ask for Covid-19 tests.
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said on Tuesday that a “high volume” of patients arrived to the A&E requesting tests.
Trust chair Professor Donna Hall said people in Bolton – which has the highest infection rate in England – had been trying to get tests via their GPs and the hospital when they could not get them online or at mobile testing units.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted that it might be “a matter of weeks” before the testing problems are resolved, and on Tuesday announced that tests in England will be rationed.
He said there would be “prioritisation” of tests for people with acute clinical need and those in social care settings as he acknowledged “operational challenges” in the system.
The updated prioritisation list which will set out who will be at the front of the queue is yet to be published.
Mr Hancock faced a barrage of complaints in the Commons about people being forced to travel long distances or even enter false addresses in the hope of securing a test.
He said there had been a “sharp rise” in people coming forward for a test, including some who are not eligible but Government sources acknowledged there was no accurate data on the latter.
BACK OF THE QUEUE
Children face being turned away from coronavirus testing centres after Matt Hancock admitted swabs would be rationed.
The Health Secretary said Covid tests would be prioritised for people with acute clinical needs and those in social care, following a nationwide test shortage.
It means children, who are least at risk from coronavirus, are likely to be at the back of the queue along with parents and teachers.
Yesterday, no tests were available in 46 out of 48 of the nation’s worst hotspots as the fiasco spiralled.
Sites in Southend, Bury, Birmingham and Manchester were overwhelmed with families desperately trying to get tests to allow them to get back to work or school.
A backlog of 240,000 tests has now built up, which will not be cleared until autumn or beyond — when millions of people will be at risk of cold and flu symptoms similar to coronavirus.
INDIA COVID CASES
India's coronavirus confirmed coronavirus cases crossed 5million on Wednesday.
The Health Ministry reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours.
It said 1,290 more people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 82,066.
India's total coronavirus caseload is closing in on the United States highest tally of more than 6.6million cases and expected to surpass it within weeks.
But authorities ruled out imposing a second countrywide lockdown as recoveries were growing at more than 78 per cent.
VIRUS TESTS AVAILABLE IN JUST TWO COVID HOTSPOTS
Tests for coronavirus are available in just two of the country’s 50 covid hotspots.
An investigation by LBC radio found Covid checks were only available in Liverpool and the Wirral – of all the areas on Public Health England's watchlist.
The Government's online testing portal returned an error message saying there were no home test kits, drive-through or walk-in sites available.
The website reportedly said: “This service is currently very busy. More tests should be available later.
“If you cannot book a test now, or the location or time are not convenient, try again in a few hours. Do not call the helplines – you will not be able to get a test this way.”
According to the latest available Public Health England data, the Wirral has 43.6 cases per 100,000 people, while Liverpool has 31.1.
WINTER EAT OUT TO HELP OUT 'UNDER REVIEW'
A winter version of Eat Out to Help Out could be launched after the scheme's success this summer.
The initiative, launched to boost the economy and rescue the flailing hospitality sector, is being kept “under review” for round two.
It comes amid fears from MPs that the hospitality industry will dip further in the winter as more Brits opt to stay in and out of the cold.
COVID TEST CHAOS
Covid test shortages across the country have left the Operation Moonshot plan for ten million swabs a day in chaos.
Huge queues formed at testing centres as MPs branded the system a “bloody mess”.
Swabs for many were rationed as Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted the crisis will last into winter.
No tests were available in 46 out of 48 of the nation’s worst hotspots as the fiasco spiralled.
Sites in Southend, Bury, Birmingham and Manchester were overwhelmed with families desperately trying to get tests to allow them to get back to work or school.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted the crippling shortages will last into winter.
CHINA WILL STILL BE UNDER SCRUTINY DESPITE VACCINE HOPES
Even if China were to become the first country to develop a vaccine, it would continue to face scrutiny over its role in allowing the pandemic to begin in the first place.
The emergence of the coronavirus late last year also brought reports of doctors being detained and harassed after trying to use social media to raise the alarm, while journalists attempting to cover the issue had their equipment confiscated.
A top virologist who fled to the US from Hong Kong in April has also spoken of her fear of being “disppeared” for speaking out about the alleged cover-up.
FURY AT FISH AND CHIP SHOP PUNTERS QUEUING ‘LIKE SARDINES'
Fishand chip shop customers have sparked anger after queuing “like sardines” for a 45p meal deal.
Hungry punters hunting a bargain meal queued for hours at Mother Hubbard's fish and chip shop in Bradford, West Yorkshire, over the weekend.
It comes as Covid-19 cases in the area have seen a sudden surge amid fears of a local lockdown.
Nicola Khan, who captured video of the queues, said people were not wearing masks or distancing as they flocked to the eatery.
“Absolutely shocking, people queuing like sardines, no social distancing, no masks – and all for 45p fish and chips,” she said.
ENGLAND CRICKET REDUNDANCIES
Cricket bosses are being forced to decimate the game’s workforce because of losses caused by Covid-19 of more than £100million.
The ECB is to make redundant 20 per cent of its employees – that’s 62 jobs – and many counties will have to reduce playing and non-playing numbers.
All-rounder Chris Woakes says England players might have to accept a pay cut or pay freeze when the new central contracts are negotiated at the end of September.
But these deals are ring-fenced so it is unlikely top stars will take a reduction in salary, forfeit win bonuses, stay in worse hotels or no longer travel business class.
Some members of England’s backroom staff have already been told their jobs are safe.
HOW VIRUS' GRIP ON UK HAS WEAKENED
TWICKENHAM MUMS ‘GAMING’ COVID TEST SYSTEM FOR POORLY KIDS
Mums in Twickenham are “gaming” the coronavirus test system to get their kids tested.
The Sun understands thatthose who put in an Aberdeen postcode can get a QR code which also worked at Twickenham Stadium.
Twickenham based photographer Emma Durnford said test centre staff are telling mums to use the ploy to get their poorly kids tested.
She tweeted: “On our local WhatsApp this morning a mum was desperate to get a test for children with symptoms, she couldn’t get one so went directly to Twickenham who advised she log on with a Scottish postcode.
“They were then able to do the test once she had the code.
“They were very empty when she went as nobody can get a local test the correct way – this is a shambles.”
BRITS CAN ‘GAME’ COVID TEST SYSTEM
Brits can “game” the system to get a Covid test by using postcodes hundreds of miles away from their home, an MP has sensationally revealed.
Test centre staff at Twickenham Stadium in London are advising locals to say they live in Aberdeen to bag themselves a swab slot.
They worked out appointments were still being dished out to the Scottish postcode long after locals were told they were all full up.
Munira Wilson, the local Lib Dem MP, revealed the barmy loophole in an explosive intervention in Parliament yesterday.
CHINA’S COVID-19 VACCINE COULD BE READY IN WEEKS
China’s coronavirus vaccine could be ready for use by the public as early as November, Beijing claims.
The remarks come as the country continues to face questions about whether it attempted to cover up the outbreak in its earliest stages and allowed the virus to spread around the world.
China currently has four jabs in the third and final stages of trials, of which at least three have been available for emergency use by key workers since July.
Speaking to state broadcaster CCTV on Monday, Wu Guizhen, the head biosafety expert at China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the trials were going well and the jab could be rolled out to the general population before the end of the year.
“It would be about November or December,” she said.
EXCESS DEATHS FROM COVID-19 SINCE JANUARY
Source: Read Full Article