Watch Police Raid An Illegal Rave In East London Last Night

By Chris York

The Met Police last might swooped on a “large group of incredibly selfish people” holding an illegal rave in east London.

More than £15,000 in fines were handed out at a venue under a railway arch on Nursery Road in Hackney in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Police said more than 300 people had attended the rave and 78 had been fined.

Loud music was heard coming from inside the venue and a significant number of people were found packed inside the small space.

Dozens of ravers attempted to flee following the arrival of the police, scaling fences at the rear of the arch while others forced open a gate to get away from officers, PA Media reports.

The Met said multiple attempts were made to engage with the event’s organisers, who were “unco-operative”, and at one point the doors were padlocked from the inside to stop police getting in.

Additional resources including police dogs and a helicopter were deployed.

A total of 78 people were stopped and issued with fixed penalty notices to the value of £200 for breaching Covid regulations by attending an illegal gathering – a total of £15,600.

Chief superintendent Roy Smith, who attended the incident, said: “This was a serious and blatant breach of the public health regulations and the law in relation to unlicensed music events.

“Officers were forced, yet again, to put their own health at risk to deal with a large group of incredibly selfish people who were tightly packed together in a confined space – providing an ideal opportunity for this deadly virus to spread.

“Our front line officers continue to police this public health crisis with compassion and professionalism but it is completely unacceptable they have to face such needless risks to their own health and to their families too.

“Whilst we will always seek to engage and explain, the message to those who have a total disregard for the safety of others and breach the law so blatantly is clear, our officers will act swiftly and decisively.

“Not just organisers, but all those present at such illegal parties can expect to be issued a fine.”



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Susanna Reid Calls Out Online Abuse She's Subjected To: 'It Is So Toxic And Horrible'

By Matt Bagwell

However Susanna said she is facing the prospect of all her children leaving home, which is “really hard”.

Her oldest son Sam, 18, left for university last year and she is aware Finn, 16, and Jack, 15, will soon follow.

She said: “Like all of them, he’s been at home a lot since starting university. We discussed whether he should defer for a year but I thought: ‘He’s ready to go.’

“I did obviously cry when we dropped him off. And it’s an emotional time. The thing I found even more emotional was realising he’s on a string of three. When he goes, the next one goes, then the next one.

“I thought: ‘This is the start of three or four years with all my ducklings leaving, then there’s going to be the empty nest.’ I find that really hard.”

  • Bullying UK – Advice on bullying at work, school and cyberbullying – 0808 800 2222



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How Donald Trump's Own Supporters Could Be Used Against Him During His Impeachment Trial

By Associated Press

The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly US Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection.

At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on January 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden’s election win.

But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It’s the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office.

“I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there,” Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station.

Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump.

Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he traveled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to DC on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers.

A supporter of Donald Trump holds a Confederate flag outside the Senate Chamber during a protest after breaching the US Capitol.” data-credit=”SAUL LOEB via Getty Images” data-credit-link-back=””>

Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump’s term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment.

Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of February 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on.

For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on January 6 to rage against Biden’s win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill.

“We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”

Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard.

Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.”

Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial.

“Bringing in those people’s statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them,” said Frank Bowman, a Constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri.

A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he traveled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump’s speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers.

Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the US Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue.”

More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming.

Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters.

Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump’s words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him.

“While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager’s case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump’s first impeachment hearings in 2019.

“They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise,” Gerhardt said.

Richer reported from Boston.



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End Of Lockdown 'Long Long, Long Way' Off, Says Matt Hancock

By Rachel Wearmouth

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said the end of the coronavirus lockdown is still a “long, long, long way” off. 

But amid fears schools may not reopen before easter, the minister said on Sunday teachers have a “good shout” of getting the vaccination first after all of the clinically vulnerable got the jab.

So far, three quarters of all those over 80 have now been vaccinated, but Hancock said case numbers were “incredibly high” and the NHS remained under intense pressure.

“There is early evidence that the lockdown is starting to bring cases down but we are a long, long, long way from being low enough because the case rate was incredibly high,” he told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

“You can see the pressure on the NHS – you can see it every day.”

Hancock said that while he hoped schools in England could reopen by Easter, it would depend on the levels of infection in the community at that time.

“We have got to look at the data, we have got to look at the impact of the vaccination programme,” he said.

He said schools would be given two weeks’ notice, adding teachers could be given jabs earlier. 

“Of course we want to break the chains of transmission but we’ve also got to stop people dying from the disease if they catch it,” he said.

“We’re going through those who are clinically vulnerable… and after that there’s a perfectly reasonable debate to be had about who should go in what order next.

“Teachers have got a good shout to be very high on the list and those discussions are going on.”

 'Act Like You've Got It', the Coronavirus warning poster seen on the almost empty Bishopsgate street during the third national lockdown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that there was evidence that the new variant of the coronavirus is more deadly. (Photo by Thomas Krych / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Ministers are expected to meet this week to discuss a proposal to require people arriving in the UK to pay to quarantine in a designated hotel to ensure they are following the rules on self-isolating.

Hancock said that so far there were 77 known cases of the South African variant in the UK and nine of the Brazilian. He said that all the cases of the South African variant were linked to travel.

“There is not what we call community transmission where you find a case that you can’t find the link back to travel. At the moment it is all linked to travel,” he told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show.

He said the new variants had been identified because both Brazil and South Africa had “decent-sized” genomic sequencing programmes but other countries were less well covered.

“The new variant I really worry about is the one that is out there that hasn’t been spotted,” he told Sky News.

“There’s probably those elsewhere that simply haven’t been picked up because the country doesn’t have that genomic sequencing service.”

Meanwhile, the deputy chief medical officer for England, professor Jonathan Van-Tam, has called on those people who have been vaccinated to keep following the rules on social distancing.

The latest government figures showed the number receiving the first dose of the vaccine across the UK has passed 5.8 million, with a record 478,248 getting the jab in a single day.

However, writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Prof Van-Tam said it was still not known if people who had received the jab could still pass on the virus to others, even though they were protected from falling ill themselves.

“If you change your behaviour you could still be spreading the virus, keeping the number of cases high and putting others at risk who also need their vaccine but are further down the queue,” he said.



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Revealed: The 10 Areas Of England Where Covid Cases Have Risen Again

By Chris York

Coronavirus infections have risen in ten areas of England, just days after it was reported they were going down across the entire country.

According to the latest NHS data, a number of places mostly in Yorkshire and the North East had a higher number of confirmed Covid cases on 21 January than they did seven days previously.

Barnsley has seen the sharpest rise with a 24% increase in cases, followed by Bradford (15%) and Wakefield (12%)

These most recent figures are for the seven-day rolling average up to January 21, and the decrease is a comparison with the seven-day rolling average to the previous day.

The 10 areas of England where Covid cases have risen again

  1. Barnsley 24% (265.5 cases per 100,000 people)
  2. Bradford 15% (301.4)
  3. Wakefield 12% (262.1)
  4. Middlesborough 8% (485.9)
  5. Calderdale 6% (223.2)
  6. Rotherham 5% (283.3)
  7. Redcar and Cleveland 4% (406.9)
  8. Leicester 3% (548.8)
  9. Northumberland 2% (247.2)
  10. Kirklees 1% (251.7)

The data show some areas of the country are seeing a reversal in the downward trend in cases seen since the third national lockdown was imposed at the beginning of January.

Just a week ago, all 151 areas listed on the NHS Digital Covid dashboard reported a fall in rolling seven-day totals.

Snow covers the village of Allenheads, Northumberland. ” data-credit=”Owen Humphreys – PA Images via Getty Images” data-credit-link-back=””>

At a regional level, the news is still encouraging – cases continue to decrease across England. 

  • London -31% (505.2)
  • South-East -28% (373.7)
  • South-West -27% (254.0)
  • East -26% (401.1)
  • North West -24% (414.6)
  • West Midlands -14% (489.5)
  • East Midlands -10% (367.3)
  • Yorkshire and The Humber -8% (243.4)
  • North East. -7% (309.1)

The news comes as Matt Hancock warned the government is a “long, long, long way” from being able to lift coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England.

The health secretary said there was evidence that restrictions in place were having an impact while the vaccination programme was making “brilliant progress”.

Three quarters of all those over 80 in the UK had now been vaccinated, with a similar number of those in care homes, he said.

However, Hancock said that case numbers were “incredibly high” and the NHS remained under intense pressure, PA Media reports.



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All These Countries Played A Part In Delivering The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine

By Sarah Turnnidge

All eyes were on Coventry Hospital early on Tuesday morning as 90-year-old Margaret Keenan became the first patient in the world to be injected with Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine. 

“If I can have it at 90 then you can have it too,” she told the crowd of reporters who had gathered to capture the very start of the nation’s largest ever immunisation programme.

The NHS has been widely praised for mobilising within a matter of days to start delivering jabs to some of the nation’s most vulnerable people, with plans for millions of people to have received the vaccine before Christmas. 

But despite what Gavin Williamson and Alok Sharma say, the team behind its development, manufacturing, funding and delivery is a truly global one – relying on work that has been in progress for decades.

Here’s a look at the people around the world who have got us to this point:

The nurse who administered the first dose 

On Tuesday morning May Parsons, who has worked for the NHS since arriving in the UK from the Philippines 17 years ago, became the first nurse ever to administer a Covid-19 vaccine to a patient. 

She told ITV: “I’m really glad to be telling all the Filipinos in this country and everywhere in the world that we can make a difference and we do make positive contributions to humanity as it were. 

“I think it’s a historical event for Filipinos all across the globe, for making sure we’re all proud of what we’ve achieved, what we contribute to everyone and the care we give. 

“I’m very proud to be saying to everyone that I’m a Filipino Briton today making history.” 

There are more than 18,500 people of Filipino heritage currently working across the NHS, making up almost 2% of the total workforce –  the third largest ethnic group following White British and Indian. 

NHS workers from the Philippines have been disproportionally impacted by Covid-19, with a Nursing Times article from June quoting an estimate of around 50 coronavirus deaths among Filipino NHS staff. 

The scientists who founded BioNTech 

Married couple Özlem Tureci and Ugur Sahin became billionaires in an instant after their startup BioNTech developed the successful vaccine being rolled out in the UK. 

Both born into Turkish families who had emigrated to Germany, Tureci and Sahin met while working on an oncology ward in Homburg, and launched the company in 2008 after finding surprising gaps between medical advances and what was available to medical staff, the Washington Post reported.  

With a team of 1,000 people working round the clock, within a month BioNTech had developed 20 candidate vaccines, before narrowing those down to four. Tureci and Sahin didn’t have the financial resources needed to fund trials, so turned to Pfizer, who they had already worked on flu vaccines with in the past. 

The company also received a $442million (£331.3m) grant from the German government to help develop the vaccine, Forbes reported

Speaking to the Washington Post before the rollout in the UK, Sahin said: “This is a new virus and a completely new situation for mankind.

“That provides an opportunity to prove that the technology works and works faster than existing technologies.”

The company that financed the vaccine 

A woman walks in front of Pfizer headquarters in New York City. 

While BioNTech produced the vaccine, the trials and production couldn’t have been facilitate without the financial support of a huge investor – which is where US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer comes in. 

While the UK was the first country to approve the vaccine for use, as the New Scientist reports, the company has also applied for regulatory approval in the US, EU, Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand. 

Founded in 1849 in New York City, the company produces a vast array of pharmaceutical products which are distributed worldwide. It used to employ 2,400 at a site in Sandwich, Kent, and still run a research unit in Cambridge, but its operations in the UK have been significantly scaled back in recent years. 

While several companies, such as Moderna, have secured government funding from the US government, Pfizer used $1billion of its own money to invest in the Covid-19 vaccine (£752m). 

“A billion dollars is not going to break us,” CEO Albert Bourla told Forbes earlier in 2020. 

The people actually producing the vaccine 

Trucks are loaded at a Pfizer factory in Puurs, Belgium where Covid-19 vaccines are being produced for Britain.

Designed in Germany, funded by a US company, the vaccine itself is now being manufactured in Belgium at Pfizer’s Puurs factory. 

According to the Brussels Times, the production of the jab has led to 150 new workers being employed by Pfizer at the site, where millions of doses have already been manufactured ready for shipping to the UK. 

The first batch of vaccine vials arrived from Belgium on Thursday, and must be kept at around -70C before they are thawed ready for use. The window within which they remain viable is relatively narrow, placing increased pressure on the NHS to deliver as many vaccines as possible within a tight timeframe. 

In an interview with Politico, Pfizer spokesperson Koen Colpaert said Belgium had been picked as a site of investment by the company due its “high-tech expertise and training of its staff and the high level of academic research.”

The tiny town of Puurs is also conveniently located for worldwide distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine. According to Politico, Brussels Airport was one of the first to be certified by the International Air Transport Association for cargo transport of pharmaceuticals, and around half of the nation’s pharmaceutical production is exported outside of the EU. 

The company has said it expects to produce up to 1.3bn doses of the vaccine by the end of 2021. 

The team who discovered the genetic sequencing of the virus itself 

Scientists in China were the first to discover the genome sequencing behind the virus itself, opening the door to scientists working to find a vaccine. 

Within weeks of the first outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan, Chinese scientists had already discovered the genetic code of the virus itself. 

Officials posted it publicly in January – before the virus was even known to have taken hold in Europe – allowing scientific research teams to get to work right away.

With the genetic code in hand, scientists could start vaccine development work without needing a sample of the virus, buying teams around the globe extra time to start work.

During the deadly 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) outbreak, it took US scientists 20 months to go from genetic sequence to the first phase of human trials. By that time, the outbreak was under control.

But by January 2020, research groups worldwide were already executing plans to test vaccines, treatments and other countermeasures to stop Covid-19 from spreading globally.

While they were unable to contain the outbreak, the rapid identification of the genetic sequencing behind the virus helped scientists around the globe start on a vaccine much earlier than they were likely to have otherwise been able to. 

The trial participants 

A health care worker injects a syringe of the phase three Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trial into a volunteer at the Ankara University Ibni Sina Hospital in Ankara, Turkey.

Unlike Oxford’s vaccine trials, none of Pfizer’s trials took place in the UK.

Instead, trials were set up at 150 different sites in the US Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina. 

According to Pfizer’s most recent update on their website, 41,135 of the participants had received a second dose of the vaccine candidate as of November 13, in stage three of the clinical trials. 

Approximately 42% of global participants and 30% of US participants were from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and 41% of global and 45% of US participants are 56 to 85 – the age group amongst those at highest risk of developing serious complications after catching Covid-19.

The scientists who discovered how to produce this type of vaccine 

The leading vaccine candidates to tackle Covid-19, including the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford and Moderna jabs use a novel type of vaccine made from messenger RNA, known as mRNA.

Rather than injecting the viral protein, a method used in many typical vaccinations, an mRNA vaccine actually injects genetical material. 

When these genetic instructions are injected into body, usually through the upper arm, the muscle cells translate them to make the viral protein directly in the body.

The development of this approach was led by Hungarian scientist Katalin Karikó, who – as The Telegraph reports – has been working on the science behind mRNA vaccines for years decades. 

It wasn’t until 2005 that her team, which she ran alongside colleague Drew Weissman, finally established how to stabilise mRNA and package it into small particles to deliver it as a vaccine.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Karikó described the emotional moment she heard the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was highly effective in protecting against Covid-19. 

“Redemption!” she exclaimed.

“I was grabbing the air, I got so excited I was afraid that I might die or something.”



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Boris Johnson Heading For Wednesday Night Brexit Showdown In Brussels

By Arj Singh

Boris Johnson will travel to Brussels on Wednesday for a make-or-break Brexit showdown with the EU.

The prime minister will have dinner with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is what is being seen as potentially the last chance to break the impasse in talks on a trade deal.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier earlier this week told MEPs that Wednesday was the final opportunity to reach an agreement.

A failure to do so would see the UK crashing out of the transition period into World Trade Organisation rules for trade with the EU from January 1, which is predicted to be the most economically damaging Brexit outcome.

A No.10 spokesperson said: “The PM will travel to Brussels tomorrow for dinner with VDL to continue discussions on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.”

Von der Leyen said: “I look forward to welcoming [the] UK prime minister tomorrow evening.

“We will continue our discussion on the partnership agreement.”

It comes after the prime minister dropped controversial legislation that would have broken international law by allowing ministers to breach the withdrawal agreement (WA) he struck with the EU last year.

The UK’s decision to bin the plans came after Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic struck an “agreement in principle” on how trade will work for Northern Ireland from January 1.

It has expectations from some observers that both sides are clearing the path for Johnson and von der Leyen to strike a wider deal on the future UK/EU relationship.

But others have suggested it could make a no-deal outcome easier by sorting out all outstanding issues in negotiations over the implementation of the WA.

At a Brussels press conference, Sefcovic said the deal on Northern Ireland removed “one big obstacle” to a wider agreement.

“I hope that this would create positive momentum for the discussions on the free trade agreement,” he said.

“As you know we are still very far apart.”

He added: “We removed, I would say, one big obstacle from the way.”

It came after Johnson said on Tuesday that trade talks with the bloc were proving “very tricky” and that it was “very, very difficult” to make progress, but that he was hopeful about reaching a deal.

UK chief negotiator Lord Frost and Barnier spent Tuesday drawing up a list of remaining differences for the PM and von der Leyen to discuss at the dinner.

The showdown talks come ahead of a meeting of the 27 EU leaders at a European Council summit on Thursday and Friday.

Johnson said he hoped the “power of sweet reason” would triumph but Brussels had to accept there were limits to what terms the UK would be prepared to accept.

Talks have faltered on the issues of fishing rights, the “level playing field” measures aimed at preventing the UK undercutting the EU on standards and state subsidies, and the way that any deal would be governed.

In a message to Brussels, the PM said: “Our friends have just got to understand the UK has left the EU in order to be able to exercise democratic control over the way we do things.

“There is also the issue of fisheries where we are a long way apart still. But hope springs eternal. I will do my best to sort it out if we can.”

Johnson acknowledged that there may be a point where it is “time to draw stumps” and accept that a deal is impossible.

“There are just limits beyond which no sensible, independent government or country could go and people have got to understand that.”

But Germany’s European affairs minister, Michael Roth, said “political will in London” was needed to get a deal.



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Covid Vaccine: What The Results Of The Oxford Trial Tell Us

By Léonie Chao-Fong

The first ever peer-reviewed study of a coronavirus vaccine has confirmed that the Oxford University/AstraZeneca jab that could go to millions of Brits is “safe and efficacious”.

Interim results from phase 3 trials – the final stage of a vaccine trial, where it is administered to thousands of people – were published in medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday, confirming the jab has “a good safety record and efficacy”. Previously, only the most top-line results had been published, not the underlying data.

The data have also been submitted to the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for approval. The UK government has already ordered 100m doses of the vaccine.

These results are the first to be published in a peer-reviewed paper, meaning that the data have undergone extensive scrutiny by other scientific experts. Interim results from the Pfizer and Modern vaccines have so far been published only in press releases. 

Here’s what the results published today tell us.

The trials involved a total of 23,745 participants

Tuesday’s safety results are based on 23,745 adult participants in four trials that took place in the UK, Brazil and South Africa, monitored over a median period of 3.4 months.

The clinical efficacy results are based on 11,636 volunteers across the UK and Brazil.

All participants in the trial continue to be monitored for safety.

It has “a good safety record and efficacy”

Writing in the Lancet, researchers said the phase three trials showed the Oxford vaccine “is safe and protects against disease”.

No hospitalisations or severe disease was reported in the participants who received the vaccine, they added.

“Our findings indicate that our vaccine’s efficacy exceeds the thresholds set by health authorities and may have a potential public health impact,” said Oxford’s Professor Andrew Pollard, a lead author of the study.

“Control of the pandemic will only be achieved if the licensing, manufacturing and distribution of these vaccines can be achieved at an unprecedented scale and vaccination is rolled out to those who are vulnerable.”

It has an overall efficacy of 70.4%

This figure was reached by pooling the results from two different dosing regimens.

One month apart, one set of volunteers received two identical doses while the other received a half-dose, and then a full dose. In the first group, the efficacy was 62%. In the second, 90%.

The combined analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70.4%.

“Following the demonstration of vaccine efficacy in many preclinical studies, we now have clear evidence of efficacy in the trial results presented in a peer-reviewed publication today,” said Professor Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford.

“Now under regulatory review, we hope that this vaccine will shortly be in use to start saving lives.”

Here’s an explanation of what vaccine “efficacy” really means.

Most of the participants were young and white

Most of the participants in the earlier trials (82%) were aged 55 and under, with researchers saying older participants were only recruited later.

Out of the 11,636 people in the analysis of vaccine efficacy, only 12% were older and 83% were white. 

As a result, researchers said more detail is needed on how effective the vaccine is on older people.

This is particularly important as people aged 55 and over are particularly vulnerable to severe Covid-19.

Study author Dr Merryn Voysey, from the University of Oxford, said: “Since recruitment of older adults started later than in younger adults there has been less follow up time for these cohorts and less time to accrue Covid-19 cases. This means we have to wait longer to have sufficient data to provide good vaccine efficacy estimates in smaller subgroups.

“In future analyses, with more data included as it becomes available, we will investigate differences in key subgroups such as older adults, various ethnicities, doses, timing of booster vaccines, and we will determine which immune responses equate to protection from infection or disease.

How does it work?

The Oxford vaccine – called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 – uses a harmless, weakened version of a common virus which causes a cold in chimpanzees.

Researchers have already used this technology to produce vaccines against a number of pathogens including flu, Zika and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers).

Scientists have transferred the genetic instructions for coronavirus’s specific “spike protein” – which it needs to invade cells – to the vaccine.

When the vaccine enters cells inside the body, it uses this genetic code to produce the surface spike protein of the coronavirus.

This induces an immune response, priming the immune system to attack coronavirus if it infects the body.

The virus is genetically modified so it is impossible for it to grow or cause disease in humans.



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Video Shows How Much Face Shields Protect Against A 'Sneeze Vortex'

By Natasha Hinde

A video showing a simulation of someone sneezing near to another person wearing a face shield has revealed exactly how much protection such face covers can offer – and the answer is, not much.

Researchers at Fukuoka University in Japan wanted to better understand what happens to the airflow around a face shield when someone nearby sneezes.

They were particularly interested in sneezes because they produce a fluid phenomenon known as ‘vortex rings’, which lead researcher Fujio Akagi says is “a donut-shaped vortex that is generated by an instantaneous ejection of fluid from a circular orifice” – a bit like bubble rings made by dolphins.

Researchers found when a face shield wearer is exposed to a sneeze from an infected person standing a metre away, the vortex rings generated by the sneeze capture microscopic droplets and transport them to the top and bottom edges of the face shield.

They concluded that face shields alone are not “highly effective” to prevent Covid-19 infection, as aerosols can still be inhaled through the nose and mouth. 

On their own, face shields can help protect the wearer from the bulk of larger droplets caused by a cough or sneeze a short distance away, but studies have found smaller aerosols can travel up and underneath the shield.

A study of healthcare workers found wearing a face shield reduced exposure to flu by 96% in the period immediately after a cough – from 18 inches away. But in the context of a smaller aerosol, the face shield was less effective, blocking only 68% of the cough.

In the half an hour period after a cough, during which the aerosol had dispersed throughout the room and larger particles had settled, the face shield was less effective, the study found – with researchers concluding that people wearing face shields can still inhale infectious airborne particles. 

“They cannot be used as a substitute for respiratory protection when it is needed,” researchers said of face shields.

Fujio Akagi tells HuffPost UK that people who want to prevent Covid-19 infection should wear a face mask under a face shield. Health experts agree – and have continued to do so throughout the pandemic – that doubling up offers the best protection. 

Dr David Strain, a clinician at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, previously told HuffPost UK that face shields on their own are not protective and should be worn in addition to a face mask, rather than as a replacement. And Dr Julian Tang, honorary associate professor in respiratory sciences at the University of Leicester, previously said face shields are “better than nothing”, but recommended wearing a shield and face mask together for “added protection”.

One of the benefits of wearing a shield is that it can protect the eyes from potential droplet exposure, whereas a face cover alone cannot. They are also washable and re-useable, and less claustrophobic than masks.

“However, as our research shows, small droplets and aerosolised Covid-19 can enter the shield and can be inhaled,” says Akagi. “So wearing a face mask and a face shield reinforces the weaknesses of both and is a much more effective preventive measure.

“We are currently developing and demonstrating several improved shields. We want to contribute to keeping people safe from infection, and believe that one day in the near future, medical workers will be able to prevent infection using only a face shield and a regular mask or, ideally, with only a face shield.”



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Matt Hancock Hails 'Historic Moment' As New Covid Vaccine Details Revealed

By Sarah Turnnidge

The health secretary said efforts are being made to ensure care home residents receive the coronavirus vaccine “as soon as possible”, as dozens of hospital hubs prepare for the start of the biggest immunisation programme in history.

People aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers, will be first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine – typically delivered by an injection in the shoulder – along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.

But there is still no guaranteed date for when care home residents will be vaccinated despite them being at the top of the priority list, with Matt Hancock saying there are “significant challenges”.

Logistical issues mean there are difficulties in getting the jab to residents, as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain before being used.

Hancock said: “This coming week will be an historic moment as we begin vaccination against Covid-19.

“We are prioritising the most vulnerable first, and over-80s, care home staff and NHS colleagues will all be among the first to receive the vaccines.

“We are doing everything we can to make sure we can overcome significant challenges to vaccinate care home residents as soon as possible too.

“I urge everybody to play their part to suppress this virus and follow the local restrictions to protect the NHS while they carry out this crucial work.”

NHS England said NHS staff were working through the weekend to prepare for the launch of the programme with the first vaccinations happening from Tuesday.

There are 50 hubs in the first wave, with more hospitals starting to vaccinate over the coming weeks and months as the programme ramps up.

NHS England have now officially confirmed the first 50 hubs, listed in full here:

  • Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
  • Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • East Suffolk And North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
  • North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
  • James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Norfolk And Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
  • Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
  • St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Coventry And Warwickshire NHS Trust
  • Royal Stoke Hospital
  • Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust
  • University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Shrewsbury And Telford Hospital NHS Trust
  • Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • South Tees NHS Trust
  • Wirral University Teaching Hospital
  • Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
  • Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
  • Blackpool Teaching Hospital
  • Lancashire Teaching Hospital Trust
  • Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust – Wexham Park Hospital
  • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – William Harvey Hospital
  • Brighton And Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust –  Royal Sussex County Hospital 
  • Portsmouth University Hospitals Trust
  • Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust
  • Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
  • University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
  • Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • North Bristol NHS Trust

Patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, will be among the first to receive the life-saving jab, health officials said.

Hospitals will also begin inviting over-80s in for a jab and work with care home providers to book their staff in to vaccination clinics.

Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from the virus.

All those vaccinated will need a booster jab 21 days later. GPs and other primary care staff are also being put on standby to start delivering the jab.

A small number of GP-led primary care networks will begin doing so during the week beginning December 14, with more than 1,000 practices across the country expected to join on a phased basis during December and in the coming months.

More vaccination centres treating large numbers of patients in sporting venues and conference centres will subsequently take part when further supplies of vaccine come on stream, officials said.

Plans published by the Department of Health and Social Care reveal the complex logistical challenges surrounding the delivery of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. 

The vaccine itself must be stores at extremely cold temperatures, which means defrosting the vaccine takes several hours, with additional time required to prepare the vaccine for administering.

Vaccine hubs only have a relatively short timeframe in which to administer doses of the vaccine, further complicating the vast programme of immunisation. 

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “Despite the huge complexities, hospitals will kickstart the first phase of the largest scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history from Tuesday.

“The first tranche of vaccine deliveries will be landing at hospitals by Monday in readiness.

“The NHS has a strong record of delivering large scale vaccination programmes – from the flu jab, HPV vaccine and lifesaving MMR jabs – hardworking staff will once again rise to the challenge to protect the most vulnerable people from this awful disease.”



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Keir Starmer Self-Isolating After Staff Member Tests Positive For Covid-19

By Sarah Turnnidge

Sir Keir Starmer is self-isolating after a member of his private office tested positive for coronavirus, the party has said.

A spokesman for the Labour leader said that he had not shown any symptoms of the disease but would be working from home in line with government regulations.

“This afternoon, Keir Starmer was advised to self-isolate after a member of his private office staff tested positive for the coronavirus,” the spokesman said.

“Keir is well and not showing any symptoms. He will now be working from home.”

It is understood Starmer will stay at home until December 16 – 14 days after he last came into contact with the staff member concerned last Tuesday.

This is the second time that he has been required to self-isolate.

In September Starmer went into quarantine when his daughter developed possible symptoms of the disease only for a test to come back negative two days later.




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Twitter Users Have Some Mocking Title Ideas For Melania Trump's Reported Memoir

By Lee Moran

First lady Melania Trump is reportedly in talks to write a memoir about her time in the White House.

And Twitter users, just as they have done previously with President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr, and former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have thrown out some mocking title suggestions.

The #TitlesForMelaniasMemoir hashtag trended nationally late Friday into Saturday.

Some people referenced Trump’s speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, in which she appeared to plagiarise parts of former first lady Michelle Obama’s address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Others used their suggestions to call out her husband, the president.



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Tess Daly Hails Husband Vernon Kay Her 'Winner' With I'm A Celebrity Final Tribute

By Ash Percival

She said that the cashmere blanket she sent into camp to remind Vernon of home was “going straight in the wash”, however. 

Tess added: “Huge congratulations to @mrsgifletcher and a massive thank YOU for posting, voting, phoning and cheering him on all the way… the support has been overwhelming, we are stunned and so grateful xxx.”

She later posted a video on her Instagram Story revealing that she had been shopping for all of Vernon’s favourite foods for his homecoming, after he lost over two stone during his stay in the castle. 

Tess previously admitted she’d been having sleepless nights during the series, as she worried about Vernon being cold and not eating enough.

Giovanna Fletcher was crowned Queen of the Castle with Jordan North finishing runner-up and Vernon Kay placed third

She told ITV’s Lorraine: “Oh my goodness, it feels like he has been away forever. I think about him every moment of every day and I watch him every night.

“Yeah, he is doing brilliantly and it’s lovely watching him but it’s nerve-wracking, it really is. I worry about him being cold, about him not eating.

“Honestly, I have barely slept. I don’t think I have slept more than five or six hours since he has been in there.”



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Three People Taken To Hospital After House Destroyed In Explosion

By Sarah Turnnidge

Three people have been taken to hospital after an explosion at a house in West Yorkshire.

The incident, which completely destroyed the family home, happened shortly after 7.30am on Saturday in Green Lane in the Illingworth area of Halifax.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said three people were treated and taken to hospital, and all others have been accounted for.

The service said the explosion affected one building and six surrounding houses were evacuated as a safety precaution.

Investigations are ongoing into the cause of the explosion and crews are managing any “remaining pockets of fire” at the scene.

A picture shared by the service showed smoking rubble where the property had once been.

The fire service said crews are likely to be on the scene for some time.

They also said crews have been working with police and ambulance services as well as the local authority and utility companies.

Many in the area posted on social media, reporting an extremely loud bang.

One wrote: “Never head such BANG it shook the promenade at Ogden.”

Fire engines from Fairweather Green, Halifax and Odsal initially attended and were joined by specialist units from Cleckheaton and Dewsbury.

A fundraiser for those affected by the blast was set up on Saturday morning, with people offering to donate clothes and food to the family through local businesses and charities.

“We from the Illingworth community should all come together and support this family as much as we can … let’s get this community support going as soon as possible,” wrote one member of the public.



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40 Hilarious Tweets About The Self-Checkout At Supermarkets

By Caroline Bologna

Self-checkout has changed the supermarket shopping game. For some, it’s a helpful convenience that reduces the need to interact with people and allows for petty theft (joking!). For others, it’s a confusing bother that takes jobs away from actual humans.

However you feel about it, you’re likely to find folks on Twitter who agree with you. We’ve rounded up 40 funny tweets about the self-checkout experience.

Using self-checkout lane so I don’t have to interact with anyone.

Scans first item.

Register: … “Please wait for assistance.”

— Kate Hall (@KateWhineHall) January 25, 2018

I’m just a girl, standing in front of a self-checkout, screaming that there’s no unexpected item in the bagging area.

— Abby Heugel (@AbbyHasIssues) July 20, 2020

I always keep my cool when using self-checkout machines because I want them to vouch for me as an ally during the robot uprising

— Ashes to ashes (an spooky female) ⚪️ (@adult_mom) June 20, 2017


target self checkout cameras: you are ugly. you are nothing. you are the scum at the earth. look at you LMAOOOO. EYE SPY A BUM.

— queen quen (@quenblackwell) July 13, 2019

you can tell how much someone hates people by how skilled they are at the self-checkout

— Mary Charlene (@IamEnidColeslaw) February 8, 2013

at target self checkout & a rambunctious child stuck his butt on my bagging area & the register was like “unexpected item in bag” !!!!

— Gabby Noone (@twelveoclocke) March 22, 2017

All I want to do before I die is make it through the self-checkout one time without needing an employee to turn a key.

— mark (@TheCatWhisprer) May 3, 2016

sure. we had self checkout back in my day. it was called shoplifting

— kim. (@KimmyMonte) December 15, 2017

Day 1087 without sex: Purposely messed up my self-checkout at the grocery store just to hear a voice telling me what to do

— Vision Booooooored? (@VisionBored1) January 8, 2020

Grocery store self-checkout may put people out of work, but at least it’s also awful & annoying for customers.

— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) May 9, 2019

they gotta turn down the volume on those self checkout machines in the grocery store. they be just screaming at me and making me nervous. give me fucking two seconds to put it in the bagging area please god damnit

— spooky blm donny (@_donnydrama) December 31, 2017

The cutest chick rang me up at the self-checkout today!

— Stephanie McMaster (@Smethanie) January 2, 2015

But if I use the self checkout who will see all of the pretentious food I bought?

— Life at Tiffany’s (@lifeattiffanys) February 7, 2017

This Target cashier seems frustrated that I need help with the self checkout like I am an actual employee.

— Simon Holland (@simoncholland) February 18, 2020

The target self checkout camera makes you look ugly as fuck so you lose self esteem and don’t steal

— cayne (@c0mic_sans) October 24, 2018

I decided to use the self-checkout and a lady asked me to scan her stuff, so I did. Then another lady asked me, anyway long story short I’m still checking people out and apparently I work here now. I hope I get a break soon because I’m hungry.

— Marcy G (@BunAndLeggings) September 8, 2019

self checkout?! gotta check items out myself?!! self checkout what’s next??! what’s next do i get a job?!! do i get a job and support myself

— tara shoe (@tarashoe) January 29, 2015


“Unexpected item in the bagging area”


*notices that toddler has climbed up and is trying to bag herself*


— TheBabyLady (@thebabylady7) January 19, 2018

My daughter just learned how to scan items at the grocery store self-checkout, so a trip for bread & milk is now 45 minutes and 137 scan attempts long.

— Stephanie Ortiz (@Six_Pack_Mom) June 21, 2018

Scanning the PS5 as a bell pepper at self-checkout>>>

— T O R ï (@returnofthetori) September 16, 2020

I am not brave enough to scam at self checkout. I don’t have it in me.

— bri (@bigshitxtalker) September 3, 2017

A little boy changed his mom’s grocery self-checkout’s language to Spanish. She did not find it amusing. I did. #iheartboys

— Emily Volman (@emilyvolman) February 3, 2011

Sorry I sang “The Heat Is On” while you were using the self-checkout at Target.

— Kendra Alvey (@Kendragarden) May 15, 2018

Not bragging but I go thru the self checkout like it’s an Olympic competition

— Envy (@envydatropic) September 7, 2015

At least the self-checkout doesn’t ask me what I’m making for dinner with these items or when I’m going to call my mother.

— Just J (@junejuly12) October 13, 2019

Is it possible for the self-checkout machine to judge you?

— caprice crane (@capricecrane) September 17, 2012

If you want to know how much of a maverick I am, when the CVS self checkout says, “Please remember to take your receipt,” I just turn and walk away. I just leave the receipt in the machine like it’s nothing.

— Sandra Newman (@sannewman) June 29, 2018

*uses self-checkout to save time*
*waits 30 minutes for assistance after register freezes*

— mark (@TheCatWhisprer) July 15, 2015

[meeting god] sorry. you didn’t scan every item at the self checkout. looks like it’s downstairs for you, little lady

me: but free labor is theft. i paid myself for working as a cashier on behalf of a bloodsucking corporation

god: lmao, you got me. welcome to heaven, sis

— beth, uprising enthusiast (@bourgeoisalien) November 25, 2019

I’m always cool and confident until I’m paying for fruit at the self checkout.

— Possum Kingdom ? (@aissalanis) September 24, 2018

That camera at self checkout really humbles you

— Toks (@_Toks96) February 20, 2020

self-checkout lanes: because you hate people yet love doing someone else’s job for nothing

— Mary Charlene (@IamEnidColeslaw) September 22, 2012

With face recognition technology, grocery stores could save so much time by signaling the manager while I’m still in the self checkout line.

— Lurkin’ Mom (@LurkAtHomeMom) December 8, 2016

I wish I could be like the self checkout machine and work when I feel like working.

— Jessie (@mommajessiec) March 24, 2018

Self checkout should just be called “payment optional”

— Swishergirl (@Swishergirl24) September 2, 2013

When you’re in self checkout and your son is screaming “it didn’t scan”

— Lake effect tech Ep 3 this Wednesday (@I_Exude_Sarcasm) October 4, 2018

having a panic attack because I’m 28 and I still use the self checkout to buy tampons because I’m too embarrassed

— Mary Charlene (@IamEnidColeslaw) December 28, 2013

Every time I almost think humanity will be okay, I see someone struggle with the self-checkout for 20 minutes.

— caprice crane (@capricecrane) December 16, 2011

self-checkout voice: remove item from bagging area
me: ok
scv: stand up straight
me: …ok
scv: the fuck are you wearing?

— keely flaherty (@keelyflaherty) September 13, 2016

If you can’t find the barcode on a product, maybe the self-checkout isn’t for you. Don’t be a hero.

— Abby Heugel (@AbbyHasIssues) January 23, 2016

Also on HuffPost



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These Are The Best 10 Cities For Work-Life Balance

By Natasha Hinde

What do Amsterdam, Marseille and Alice Springs have in common? Their
10 Ways To Make Working From Home A Bit Cheerier Right Now

Holland & Barrett collected all this data so they could analyse which cities on the whole were best for upping your exposure to sunlight, and therefore getting a hearty dose of vitamin D.

Its ‘Sunshine Cities’ report looked at metrics such as how short the working day was (meaning more time to spend outside), how many hours of sunlight each city had, how many free outdoor attractions they had, and how many hours sleep people were getting on average.

In total, 210 cities around the world were analysed. Each of the metrics was awarded a weighted score and these were combined to give each city a score out of 100. Where data was not available for every metric, the city wasn’t counted.

Rome was crowned the vitamin D capital thanks to the Italian city seeing plenty of hours of sunshine each year, as well as being home to hundreds of free outdoor attractions and shorter working and sleeping hours (meaning more time to spend outdoors).

Alice Springs in Australia came in second place, while Madrid in Spain came third. Here’s the ‘Sunshine List’ in full:

  1. Rome, Italy
  2. Alice Springs, Australia
  3. Madrid, Spain
  4. Marseille, France
  5. London, UK
  6. Las Vegas, US
  7. Calama, Chile
  8. Tel Aviv, Israel
  9. Moscow, Russia
  10. Vienna, Austria



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Boris Johnson To Announce Manchester Lockdown Decision At 5pm Press Conference

By Arj Singh

: Feel The Burnham? What People In Manchester Think Of Row Over ‘Shambolic’ Lockdown

Local leaders have argued that existing tier 2 restrictions have not brought cases down for months, and that financial support needs to be scaled up to help people and businesses hit by further lockdown measures.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick in a letter offered £22m to help the city enter tier 3, worth around £8 per person, with “additional support commensurate” with that offered in Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region.

But Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell said the government’s offer was an “insult”.

Where to start with government response to GM this am:
?not good faith discussion but only 2 ministerial meets
?been in Tier 2 since July when our rates lower than lowest regions today
?rates are falling in Mcr and stabilising across region
?£7.85/person offer is insult

— Lucy Powell MP (@LucyMPowell) October 20, 2020

Speaking earlier on Tuesday, Burnham said he would “try to be positive and respond, and see if we can find a way forward” despite the “slightly provocative move” by the government.

“The letter is odd in that it is both an ultimatum but it references potential additional support that could be given to us,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“The thing is, we’ve never been given a figure for that additional support.

“What I’ll be proposing to the Greater Manchester leaders when we meet this morning, quite early, is that we write to the government setting out what we think a fair figure is for that support, given we’ve been under restrictions for three months and that has taken a real toll on people and businesses here.

“The second thing we would need is full flexibility to support the people that we think are going to need to be supported in a tier 3 lockdown.”

But he said he would not break the law if the government imposed the measures on Greater Manchester without the consent of civic leaders.

In his letter, Jenrick had warned there were now “more Covid-19 patients in Greater Manchester hospitals than in the whole of the south-west and south-east combined”.

“Despite recognising the gravity of the situation, local leaders have been so far unwilling to take the action that is required to get this situation under control,” he wrote.

“I have written to local leaders this evening to make clear that if we cannot reach agreement by midday [on Tuesday] then I must advise the prime minister that, despite our best endeavours, we’ve been unable to reach agreement.”



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