Coronavirus UK news – Premier League CHAOS as clubs ordered to take covid more seriously amid worrying infections surge

Premier League clubs are considering "emergency measures" just weeks before the start of the football season after a rise in Covid cases.

Clubs have been today they may have to reimpose Covid safety rules which were first used at the end of the first lockdown to bring the beautiful game back, Mail Online reports.

'Project Restart' rules meant medical staff were only allowed to see players in full medical-grade PPE for 15 minutes at a time. Everyone also has to wear masks in all indoor settings and observe social distancing.

Last week, Arsenal announced it was calling off its pre-season planned trip to the U.S. to compete in the Florida Cup after a "small number" of staff members who were due to go tested positive.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the UK not to get "carried away" with the news that Covid cases are falling.

He said: "I've noticed obviously that we're six days into some better figures, but it is very, very important that we don't allow ourselves to run away with premature conclusions about this,.

"People have got to remain very cautious and that remains the approach of the government."

Read our coronavirus live blog for the very latest updates..

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    FACE MASK USAGE AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE HAS SLUMPED SINCE FREEDOM DAY, SUGGESTS NEW POLL

    A new poll by YouGov suggests the use of face masks among young people has slumped since “freedom day” on July 19.

    The survey found 46% of 18 to 24-year-olds said they wore a face mask in a public place in the last two weeks, compared to 58% on July 16 and 64% on June 2.

    Meanwhile, the survey of 1,742 British adults between July 21 and 22 found other age groups were still wearing face coverings at around the same rate as 69% of all Britons say they wore a face mask in the last two weeks, compared to 71% on July 16 and 73% on June 2.

    YouGov also said young people were less likely to be fully vaccinated and more likely to have disabled their NHS Covid-19 app. Meanwhile, the proportion of Britons thinking the Government is handling Covid-19 well fell from 41% just before “freedom day” to 34% afterwards.

    Attitudes among Conservative voters tumbled 17pts this week. Prior to July 19, about three-quarters (73%) of Conservative voters thought the Government was doing a good job of managing the pandemic response. According to YouGov, now only 56% do, the lowest to date among Tory voters.

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    ‘WE’RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET’ WARNS BORIS JOHNSON

    Boris Johnson has warned “we’re not out of the woods yet” despite Covid cases tumbling for five days in a row, raising hopes the Delta wave peak is over.

    The PM believes the rapid fall in infections is “encouraging” but insisted the pandemic “is not over” and Brits must still stay on their guard.

    No 10 said the country should brace for another rise in cases as a result of dropping all restrictions on Freedom Day on July 19.

    A Downing St spokesman said: “Throughout the pandemic we have always said it’s encouraging when cases are falling.”

    But he added: “We should still expect to see a rise in case numbers given the move to Step 4 last week. The Prime Minister thinks we’re not out of the woods yet.”

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    WATCH: YOUNG SCOTS NURSE OPENS UP ON HORRIFIC LONG COVID STRUGGLE

    Young Scots nurse opens up on horrific Long Covid struggle

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    RECORD 1.13m PUPILS ABSENT FROM SCHOOL DUE TO COVID-RELATED REASONS

    A record 1.13 million children in England were out of school for Covid-19 related reasons on Friday, Government figures show.

    Around 1,126,000 pupils missed class on July 16, compared with 859,000 on Friday July 9, according to Department for Education (DfE) statistics.

    The figures include 994,000 children self-isolating due to a possible contact with a Covid-19 case, 48,000 pupils with a confirmed case of coronavirus, and 33,300 with a suspected case.

    A further 50,700 pupils were off as a result of school closures due to Covid-related reasons.

    The DfE survey, which has been recording daily attendance in schools over the past year, closed on July 16 – when the number of children absent from class due to Covid-19 reached a record high since all students returned in March.

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    VACCINE REFUSENIKS BARRED (CONTINUED)

    Speaking to the PA news agency during a visit to the Lighthouse Lab in Glasgow, Gove said: "Ultimately, if you can be vaccinated and you refuse to, that is a selfish act.

    "You're putting other people's health and lives at risk, you should get vaccinated."

    When asked if refusal to be jabbed should prevent attendance at some mass events, the minister said: "It depends on which part of the United Kingdom you're in and what the nature of the event is.

    "But if you deliberately refuse to get vaccinated and there are certain venues and certain events that require a certain level of safety, then, you know, the terms in which you will be able to get into those venues and those events will be barred to you."

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    VACCINE REFUSERS COULD BE BARRED FROM EVENTS

    Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has branded those who refuse a vaccine "selfish" and warned they will be barred from some events.

    The UK Government is mulling the use of vaccine passports for some large scale events such as football matches, having already announced they will be required for nightclub entry in England from the end of September.

    But Mr Gove warned those who refused to be jabbed may not be able to access such events.

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    THIRD WAVE ‘COULD BE ENDING’ AS COVID CASES DROP FIVE DAYS IN A ROW

    THE UK may now have passed the peak of the third wave – after the number of new cases dropped for the fifth day in a row in a “reassuring” sign, experts say.

    The number of people testing positive for Covid plunged from 49,000 last Sunday to 29,173 yesterday, building hopes Brits may be past the worst.

    And it’s the first time cases have fallen below 30,000 since July 6.

    The number of fatalities, however, was slightly higher, with 28 people losing their lives – three more than the previous Sunday. The UK last saw five running days of dropping case numbers in February.

    It’s understood ministers are “trying not to get too excited” about the drop – but there’s now “confidence” that things are heading in the right direction, Politico reports.

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    IRAN BREAKS SINGLE DAY RECORD FOR NEW COVID CASES FOR SECOND DAY IN A ROW

    Iran recorded over 34,900 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, setting the nation's single-day record for cases as vaccinations lag, public complacency deepens and the country's outbreak spirals further out of control.

    The previous record of 31,814 infections had been set only a day earlier, providing a sense of how quickly Iran's latest surge, fueled by the contagious delta variant, is mounting. Health authorities recorded 357 Covid-19 fatalities on Tuesday, bringing the total death toll to 89,479 — the highest in the Middle East.

    The alarming spread of the variant prompted new anti-virus restrictions last week. The government ordered the closure of state offices, public places and non-essential businesses in the capital of Tehran. But as with previous government measures, the lockdown looked very little like a lockdown at all. Tehran's malls and markets were busy as usual and workers crowded offices and metro stations.

    Iranian authorities have avoided imposing heavy-handed rules on a population that can little afford to bear them. The country, which has suffered the worst virus outbreak in the region, is reeling from a series of crises: tough U.S. sanctions, global isolation, a heat wave, the worst blackouts in recent memory and ongoing protests over water shortages in the southwest.

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    LABOUR SAYS GOVERNMENT’S VACCINE PASSPORTS PLAN ‘IS UNWORKABLE’

    Labour’s deputy leader has said the Government’s plans for vaccine passports are “unworkable”.

    Speaking on a visit to co-working space Impact Hub, in central London, Angela Rayner said: “We think it is unworkable actually and we should be encouraging people to get the vaccine as soon as they possibly can, and also encouraging people to take regular tests as well. Because that is how we keep control of the virus.

    “Of course, even with the two vaccines you can still get Covid, so therefore testing has got to be an important part of that scheme.”

    She had earlier said of vaccine passports: “The bureaucracy shouldn’t fall on businesses. Many businesses, the practicalities, whether it is in hospitality or in other organisations, they have absolutely struggled during this pandemic and there is absolutely no way that these businesses can go around vetting and checking these vaccine passports are legit.”

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    TRIBUTES CONTINUED

    She said: "Our sickest patients are unvaccinated & under 40. Matthew is fighting for his life … save yours #GetVaccinated #GrabAJab."

    Dr Cheyne took down the post two days later after she was targeted by trolls. She explained that Mr Keenan was connected to a CPAP machine in the picture she posted and was one step below being in the intensive care unit.

    Bradford Sunday Alliance Football League said in a Facebook post: "Wow a shock this morning, waking up to the devastating news that Matthew Keenan has passed away, such a top lad gone too soon. Respected by everyone. My heart goes out to all his family at this sad time RIP big man and sleep tight."

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    TRIBUTES PAID TO 34-YEAR-OLD COVID VICTIM WHO FEATURED IN SOCIAL MEDIA PLEA FOR VACCINATION

    Tributes have been paid to a 34-year-old father whose Covid-19 plight was highlighted by a doctor in a bid to boost vaccine take-up.

    Keen football coach and fan Matthew Keenan has been remembered by friends and clubs across his home city of Bradford following his death after contracting coronavirus.

    His case was highlighted earlier this month by a consultant at Bradford Royal Infirmary who shared a photograph of him in hospital in an oxygen mask saying he had been a vaccine sceptic until he caught Covid-19.

    Respiratory consultant Leanne Cheyne said Mr Keenan had agreed for her to share his story, saying: "Self-confessed vaccine skeptic until he caught Covid, if he could turn back time he would."

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    CLOSE RUN PING

    Self-isolation rules could stay in place beyond August 16 if Covid cases start to rise again, a minister suggested today.

    Policing minister Kit Malthouse said No 10 will have to remain “agile” even after new infections dropped for the sixth day in a row.

    He said a final decision on whether to end quarantine for the double-jabbed will be taken on the advice of scientists.

    No 10 has repeatedly insisted that the restrictions will be scrapped on August 16 come what may.

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    GP ADMINISTERED COVID-19 VACCINES AWAY FROM OFFICIAL VACCINATION CENTRE

    A GP is being investigated for taking 300 Covid-19 vaccines to be administered outside of an official vaccination centre.

    Patients in Portsmouth, Hampshire, who received one of the doses are being offered an additional jab as a precaution.

    The Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group has warned that the 300 vaccinations given by the GP, who has not been named, might not be as effective if they had not been stored at the correct temperature.

    A spokeswoman said: “These vaccinations were given by a GP outside of an NHS-approved vaccination site.

    “While there is no reason to suggest that people vaccinated at this site are at any increased risk, we are acting on advice from Public Health England and contacting them to offer an additional vaccination as a precaution.”

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    BUTLIN'S LAUNCHES DAY PASSES FOR FAMILIES LOOKING FOR A CHEAPER BREAK

    With foreign travel still off limits for most Brits, many have reported difficulty securing an affordable break in the UK with prices skyrocketing amid a surge in demand.

    But now Butlin's has launched day passes for families this summer who want a holiday without breaking the bank.

    The new passes, currently just launched at the Bognor Regis resort, will mean visitors can get the most of the parks without staying overnight.

    The pass also includes unlimited rides at the fairground, with kids of all ages welcome, where rides range from the carousel to the dodgems.

    Live entertainment is on throughout the day at the indoor Skyline Pavilion, while the cafes and restaurants are also open.

    Families can also pay a little extra for additional activities such as go karting and laser tag.

    Running from July 31 to September 2021, just in time for the end of the summer, tickets start from £10 for kids and adults for £17.

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    DOWNING STREET REFUSES TO DENY IF STUDENTS WILL NEED JABS FOR LECTURES

    Downing Street did not deny reports that students would need to be fully vaccinated to attend university lectures.

    “You have heard what the PM has said before, specifically that the pandemic is not over,” a No 10 spokesman said.

    “We are still looking at the scope for vaccination certifications.”

    Asked if there was concern about take-up of the vaccines in younger age groups, the spokesman said: “I think you continue to see more and more young people coming forward to receive the vaccine, both in terms of first doses and now second doses.

    “Of course, we want to see more people come forward to receive it. We would like to see everybody who is invited to come forward and receive the vaccination to do so. That’s the message we continue to try and give to young people.”

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    FACE MASK USAGE AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE HAS SLUMPED SINCE FREEDOM DAY, SUGGESTS NEW POLL

    A new poll by YouGov suggests the use of face masks among young people has slumped since “freedom day” on July 19.

    The survey found 46% of 18 to 24-year-olds said they wore a face mask in a public place in the last two weeks, compared to 58% on July 16 and 64% on June 2.

    Meanwhile, the survey of 1,742 British adults between July 21 and 22 found other age groups were still wearing face coverings at around the same rate as 69% of all Britons say they wore a face mask in the last two weeks, compared to 71% on July 16 and 73% on June 2.

    YouGov also said young people were less likely to be fully vaccinated and more likely to have disabled their NHS Covid-19 app. Meanwhile, the proportion of Britons thinking the Government is handling Covid-19 well fell from 41% just before “freedom day” to 34% afterwards.

    Attitudes among Conservative voters tumbled 17pts this week. Prior to July 19, about three-quarters (73%) of Conservative voters thought the Government was doing a good job of managing the pandemic response. According to YouGov, now only 56% do, the lowest to date among Tory voters.

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    JABBED BRITS ABROAD WILL BE ABLE TO HEAD HOME ISOLATION FREE AT THE END OF THE MONTH

    Brits jabbed abroad will be able to head home quarantine free at the end of the month as ministers are poised to recognise foreign vaccines.

    Ministers will sign off plans at a Covid meeting on Tuesday paving the way for hundreds of thousands of expats to come home without having to isolate for ten days.

    Jabs administered in the EU and USA will be recognised – as long as they are by the same doses handed the green-light in the UK.

    It’s understood that expats will have to contact their GP to get their jab’s batch number processed and recognised before it is added to their NHS file.

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    WATCH: CALIFORNIA TO SEND OUT $600 CHECKS IN $100BILLION PLAN

    California to send out $600 checks in $100billion plan

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    NHS IS AS STRETCHED NOW AS IT WAS IN JANUARY – HEALTH LEADERS

    The NHS is as stretched now as it was at the height of the pandemic in January and things will get worse before they get better, health leaders have said.

    In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay, and NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Providers said a combination of pressures are being experienced by the health service.

    “This combination means that many trust chief executives are saying that the overall level of pressure they are now experiencing is, although very different in shape, similar to the pressure they saw in January of this year when the NHS was under the greatest pressure in a generation,” the letter said.

    It called on the Government to make “the right decisions” over the next month as it finalises NHS funding for the second half of the financial year.

    Pressures on the NHS include going “full speed” to address the backlog of care across hospital, mental health and community services; and record levels of demand for urgent and emergency care.

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    WHAT HELP CAN I GET WHEN MY PAYMENT BREAK ENDS?

    Your lender is still obliged to help you and before the end of the payment break they should have explained the options available after.

    This could include he following if you took a break from paying your mortgage:

    • Extending the length of your mortgage
    • Changing the type of mortgage you have, for example, paying only the interest
    • Deferring interest payments
    • Adding the interest owed onto the mortgage balance

    EXTRA HELP

    Vital financial support for Brits struggling because of coronavirus will come to an end this week.

    Millions of people have paused repayments on mortgages, credit cards and loans thanks to emergency rules introduced during the pandemic.

    The payment holiday support was extended several times and now anyone who applied before the final deadline will find their break ending this Saturday.

    The official end to the break will be on July 31 – in just four days time.

    Banks and lenders will still be offering help to anyone who continues to be in financial difficulty because of Covid after this date.

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      EXTRA ICU BEDS PLANNED FOR BELFAST AMID COVID-19 SURGE

      Extra ICU beds are being made available in Belfast as hospitals struggle to cope with a surge in Covid-19 admissions.

      Northern Ireland’s chief nursing officer Charlotte McArdle said beds for Belfast health trust patients are being made available at Belfast City Hospital due to capacity issues at the Royal Victoria and Mater hospitals.

      Ms McArdle said the numbers in ICU had increased significantly in Northern Ireland over the weekend, with 27 Covid-19 patients in intensive care as of Sunday.

      Ms McArdle said there was currently no plan to reopen the region-wide Nightingale facility at Belfast City Hospital but she warned that would become a “very real possibility” if the surge continues.

      The senior nurse’s comments came after both the Belfast Trust and the South Eastern Trust issued emergency appeals to off-duty staff on Sunday to come in to work to help colleagues deal with the escalating situation.

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      RAIL TRAVEL IS HIT BY ‘PINGEDEMIC’ AS REDUCED TIMETABLES COME IN TO SERVICE

      Workers in the sector are among the vast number of people being pinged by the NHS coronavirus app.

      Reduced timetables have been introduced on railways across England in an attempt to improve reliability after a recent spate of last-minute cancellations due to staff shortages.

      Passengers are being advised to check their train is running before they leave home.

      Thameslink and Southern has cut its weekday timetables on five routes “until further notice”, and warned that further changes could be required.

      Avanti West Coast has reduced the frequency of its services between London Euston and Manchester, Birmingham and North Wales to “manage staff shortages and ensure a reliable service”. A revised timetable with fewer services was also launched by London Northwestern Railway on Saturday.

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      UPDATED UK COVID-19 DEATH TOLL

      A total of 218 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending July 16 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – up 19% on the previous week.

      It is the highest total since 260 deaths in the week to April 23.

      Meanwhile, some 27 care home resident deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales were registered in the week to July 16, up from 20 deaths in the previous week.

      In total, 42,614 care home residents in England and Wales have had Covid-19 recorded on their death certificate since the pandemic began.

      The ONS figures cover deaths of care home residents in all settings, not just in care homes.

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      NORTHERN IRELAND HAS HIGHEST RATE OF NEW COVID-19 CASES AMONG UK NATIONS

      Northern Ireland has overtaken England to become the UK nation with the highest rate of new coronavirus cases.

      It is also the only one of the four nations that is recording a steady rise in rates.

      A total of 9,832 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Northern Ireland in the seven days to July 21 – the equivalent of 519.2 cases per 100,000 people.

      This is up sharply from 253.4 one week earlier and is the highest rate for Northern Ireland since January 9, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

      By contrast, England now has the second highest rate of the four UK nations and is sitting just behind Northern Ireland on 499.1 cases per 100,000 people.

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