Government claims sporting recovery has begun

0
Government claims sporting recovery has begun The Government has paved the way for elite sport to return behind closed doors in England from Monday There are claims “The British sporting recovery has begun.” New health and safety guidelines have been issued representing stage three in the process of bringing sport back from the coronavirus lockdown. Stage two, which allowed for close-contact training for elite athletes, was published last Monday. Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “Two months after sport stopped and after weeks of round the clock discussion with medical experts and professional sports bodies I’m delighted to announce today the Government has published guidance which allows competitive sport to resume behind closed doors from Monday at the earliest.” Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing, he continued: “It is up to each individual sport to decide exactly when to resume competition. They know their sports best. But football, tennis, horse racing, Formula 1, cricket, golf, rugby, snooker and others are all set to return to our screens shortly.” Dowden later added: “The British sporting recovery has begun,” hailing the “forensic, clinician-led approach” that placed the safety of athletes, coaches and support staff at the heart of its work. Horse racing will lead the way at Newcastle on Monday, while the first major meeting follows on June 6 at Newmarket, including the 2000 Guineas. Premier League football is scheduled to restart on June 17 with the English Football League set to follow later in the month, subject to club votes and approval from police and other safety bodies. Restrictions of recreational sport and exercise have also been eased, with up to six individuals now free to train together outside providing social distancing is observed. Dowden made it clear women’s sport would not be allowed to fall behind, adding: “Visibility matters, and our daughters deserve to see female athletes on the main stage.” As well as ensuring no spectators are present at events, key conditions have been made for sports fixtures to go ahead. Participants must travel alone and in private transport, while everyone entering a venue must be screened for Covid-19 and anyone suspected of having the virus must be placed in isolation. A one-way system of movement must be established around the venue, while social distancing must be maintained “where possible” – including celebrations and sitting on the bench. Dressing room use is to be minimised although showers can be taken in line with guidelines, advice for personal protective equipment must be followed, while physio treatment should be limited to essentials. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “The Premier League welcomes the Government’s announcement today. “We have provisionally planned to restart the Premier League on 17 June, but there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of everyone involved. “This includes consulting with our clubs, players and managers – along with all our other stakeholders – as the health and welfare of our participants and supporters is our priority. “If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019-20 season in just over two weeks’ time.” Asked directly about the fixtures which have been identified by police for potential hosting at neutral venues – and specifically about the Merseyside derby – Dowden said: “It is up to each individual sport to apply (Government) guidelines and determine the way in which they do so.” He added that police and local authorities will determine together which venues are appropriate for matches. Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, said fans congregating outside stadiums as football returns is “clearly a police matter”. He said: “There has to be enough understanding that the venue can cope with the segregation and the organisation and the social distancing right up until the kick-off whistle until the final whistle to make that the safest possible experience for everybody there. “And that’s going to be a crucial factor as well in choosing these venues.” Published: 31/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

US endures night of protests

0
US endures night of protests Violent protests over the death of George Floyd and other police killings of black people in the US grew on Saturday from New York to Tulsa to Los Angeles. Police vehicles were set ablaze and injuries mounted as the country convulsed through another night of unrest after months of coronavirus lockdowns. The protests – which began in Minneapolis following Mr Floyd’s death after a police officer held a knee to his neck until he stopped breathing – have left parts of that city a grid of broken windows, burned-out buildings and ransacked stores. The unrest has since become a national phenomenon as protesters decry years of deaths at police hands. More than 1,300 people have been arrested in 16 cities since Thursday, with more than 500 of those happening in Los Angeles on Friday. Tens of thousands of people were in streets across the country on Saturday, many not wearing masks or observing social distancing, raising concerns about the potential spread of the coronavirus just as society is reopening. After a tumultuous Friday night, racially diverse crowds took to the streets again for mostly peaceful demonstrations in dozens of cities from coast to coast. As on Friday, many protests descended into violence, with cars pushing into people in at least three cities. — In Washington, the National Guard was deployed outside the White House, where chanting crowds were taunting Secret Service agents. Dressed in camouflage and holding shields, the troops stood in a line a few metres away, preventing the crowd from pushing forward. — In Philadelphia, at least 13 officers were injured when peaceful protests turned violent and at least four police vehicles were set on fire, amid other fires downtown. — In the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of a 1921 massacre of black people that left as many as 300 dead, protesters blocked intersections and chanted the name of Terence Crutcher, a black man killed by a police officer in 2016. — In Seattle, police fired tear gas and stun grenades to try to disperse black-clad crowds that smashed downtown shopfronts and stole merchandise. — In Los Angeles, protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter,” some within inches of the face shields of officers. Police used batons to move the crowd back and fired rubber bullets, while a police car burned in the street. — In New York City, dangerous confrontations flared repeatedly as officers made arrests and cleared streets. A video showed two NYPD cars lurching into a crowd of demonstrators who were pushing a barricade against one of them and pelting it with objects, knocking several people to the ground. It was unclear if anyone was hurt. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, who said local forces had been overwhelmed on Friday, fully mobilised the state’s National Guard and promised a massive show of force. The Guard announced it had more than 4,000 members responding to Minneapolis and would quickly have nearly 11,000. “The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd,” Walz said. “It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.” Soon after the city’s 8pm curfew went into force, lines of police cars and officers in riot gear moved in to confront protesters, firing tear gas to push away throngs of people. The tougher tactics came after city and state leaders were criticised for not effectively confronting days of violent and damaging protests that included protesters burning down a police station soon after officers abandoned it. President Donald Trump appeared to cheer on the tougher tactics being used by law enforcement on Saturday night. He commended the Guard deployment in Minneapolis, declaring “No games!” and also said police in New York City “must be allowed to do their job!” Speaking in Cape Canaveral earlier, Mr Trump warned his administration would “stop mob violence, and we’ll stop it cold”. “What we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with justice or with peace. The memory of George Floyd is being dishonoured by rioters, looters and anarchists,” he said. “We can not and must not allow a small group of criminals and vandals to wreck our cities and lay waste to our communities.” Earlier, Mr Trump issued tweets taunting protesters and praising the Secret Service, who used shields and pepper spray to push back people gathered outside the White House to protest Mr Floyd’s death and the president’s response. Mr Trump tweeted he had watched from inside as officers “let the ‘protesters’ scream & rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone …. got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard – didn’t know what hit them”. Overnight curfews were imposed in more than a dozen major cities nationwide, ranging from 6pm in parts of South Carolina to 10pm around Ohio. People were also told to be off the streets of Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle and Minneapolis — where thousands had ignored the same order Friday night. The officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck as he begged for air was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But many protesters are demanding the arrests of the three other officers involved. The events of the last 72 hours, seen live on national television, have shown the opposite: a sudden switch to shots of crowds, screaming protesters and burning buildings, coming in stark contrast to the empty streets of recent months during lockdown. The unrest also recalled the Los Angeles riots of the 1990s after the acquittal of the white police officers who beat black motorist Rodney King. The current protests have gripped many more cities, but the financial losses have yet to approach the totals Los Angeles suffered during five days of rioting in 1992, when more than 60 people died, 2,000-plus were injured and thousands arrested. Published: 31/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Government has new plans for shielding people

0
Government has new plans for "shielding" people The Government is to set out full guidance on how the 2.2 million extremely vulnerable people shielding from coronavirus can safely venture out. They will be able to go out for the first time in months from Monday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised their resilience as he said those shielding from Covid-19 in England will be able to spend time with other people outdoors. And Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the full guidance will be revealed on Sunday, as charities called for the scientific evidence behind the decision to be made clear and urged more help. Those considered extremely vulnerable will be able to go outside with members of their household from Monday, while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines. And those who live alone can meet outside with one other person from another household. Reviews of the shielding guidance are expected to be made at regular points in the coming weeks. Mr Johnson said: “I want to thank everyone who has followed the shielding guidance – it is because of your patience and sacrifice that thousands of lives have been saved. “I do not underestimate just how difficult it has been for you, staying at home for the last 10 weeks, and I want to pay tribute to your resilience. “I also want to recognise the hundreds of thousands of extraordinary volunteers who have supported you in shielding. “Whether through delivering medicines and shopping, or simply by checking in on those isolating, they should feel deeply proud of the part they have played in this collective effort. “We have been looking at how we can make life easier for our most vulnerable, so today I am happy to confirm that those who are shielding will be able to spend time outside with someone else, observing social distance guidelines. “I will do what I can, in line with the scientific advice, to continue making life easier for you over the coming weeks and months.” Mr Jenrick said: “Those shielding from coronavirus have made huge sacrifices over recent months to protect both themselves and the NHS – they deserve our thanks and our support for their efforts. “Incidence rates of coronavirus are now significantly lower than before these measures were put in place. “That’s why we are focused on finding the right balance between continuing to protect those at the greatest clinical risk, whilst easing restrictions on their daily lives to make the difficult situation more bearable – particularly enabling the contact with loved ones they and we all seek. “We will now be providing regular updates to the shielded to guide them through the next phase and, we hope, to better and less restrictive times. In the meantime we will continue to provide the support that the shielded in our communities need.” Steven McIntosh, director of policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said the decision was “a step forward” for a group who “have felt left behind and forgotten” as lockdown is eased for others in England. He said: “For many, it’ll be welcome advice that they can now choose to go outside for exercise or to meet people whilst socially distancing. “But they still face heavy restrictions like being advised to avoid food shopping, going to pharmacies or their workplaces. “The Government also hasn’t yet delivered its commitment to provide greater help to this extremely vulnerable group, and Macmillan has heard from people living with cancer that existing ‘shielding’ support isn’t getting through. “So the Government must now set out how they will guarantee the needs of the most vulnerable and isolated are met.” And Phil Anderson, head of policy at the MS Society, said people would want to hear the scientific evidence behind the decision. He said: “Over 130,000 people live with MS in the UK and thousands of them have been left feeling forgotten after months of shielding. While for some it may be a relief that this relaxation is happening in England others have been left feeling confused. We’re extremely concerned this news has come out of the blue – people who are extremely vulnerable will rightly want to hear a lot more about the scientific evidence showing this will be safe for them. “If the Government is serious about supporting vulnerable people who are shielding they need more than just the ability to go outside. Crucially, we want to see better mental health support for everyone who needs it.” Published: 31/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Starmer says UK entering critical week

0
Starmer says UK entering critical week Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said this will be a “critical week” for the country as lockdown measures are relaxed. Sir Keir claimed Government action over the past 10 days had made difficult decisions more “risky”. From Monday, people will be able to gather outside in groups of six while observing social distancing in England. However, some senior Government advisers on the coronavirus outbreak have raised concerns about the moves. Sir Keir said: “Labour supported the lockdown and has always argued that restrictions need to be eased gradually and in a safe way. “The Government’s actions over the past 10 days have made difficult decisions more risky. “First, ministers have not yet got a fully functioning test, track and trace system in place; and second, the Government’s public health message has been undermined because the Prime Minister was too weak to take firm action against Dominic Cummings for breaking lockdown. “Ministers need to accept that mistakes have been made and do everything they now can to reduce the risks to public health. That should include three things. “First, a reiteration of the Government’s commitment to follow the science and take immediate action if scientists start raising the alarm. “Second, ensure flexibility to allow restrictions to be rapidly reintroduced, both nationally and locally, if we see an increase in the R-rate. “And third, a redoubling of efforts to ensure we have a fully functioning and effective test, track and trace system in place as soon as possible. “This is going to be a critical week for the country and a key test of the Government’s strategy. “I would urge everyone to do their bit in the national interest by following the public health advice and helping to save lives.” Published: 31/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Trump to postpone G7 meeting

0
Trump to postpone G7 meeting US President Donald Trump has said he will postpone a meeting of the G7 nations until the autumn. He has also called for an expansion of the group’s membership because he considers it an outdated body that does not properly represent “what’s going on in the world”. Alyssa Farah, White House director of strategic communications, said Mr Trump wanted to bring in some of his country’s traditional allies and those impacted by the coronavirus to discuss the future of China. The G7 members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Mr Trump singled out Russia, Australia, South Korea and India as possible additions. The leaders of the world’s major economies were slated to meet from June 10-12 in the US, but the coronavirus outbreak has now interfered with those plans. Mr Trump cancelled the initially-planned meeting, before last week saying he was considering holding it again on a similar date, and expressing a wish for it to be a face-to-face gathering, rather than be conducted by video conferencing. However, reports in the US said Mr Trump was incensed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel swiftly signalled this week that she would not be attending as she believed June was still too soon to hold large gatherings amid the ongoing pandemic. Mr Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as he returned from the SpaceX launch in Florida on Saturday he had not yet set a new date. But he said the gathering could take place in September around the time of the annual meeting of the United Nations. He also said it might wait until after the US election in November. Mr Trump has repeatedly advocated for expanding the group to include Russia, prompting opposition from some members including Canada’s Justin Trudeau, who told reporters he had privately aired his objection to Russian readmission. “Russia has yet to change the behaviour that led to its expulsion in 2014, and therefore should not be allowed back into the G7,” Mr Trudeau said at a news conference. Published: 31/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Public urged to be cautious over lockdown rules

0
Public urged to be cautious over lockdown rules The public has been warned not to go beyond official guidance as lockdown restrictions ease further. One expert is claiming the UK could face a resurgence of coronavirus cases. Small groups of people will be able to meet within the rules for the first time from Monday in England, and more than two million clinically extremely vulnerable people who have been shielding since March will finally be allowed to spend time with other people outdoors. But the new freedoms, which will come into effect officially after a hot weekend which has enticed people to beaches and beauty spots, must be treated with caution, England’s deputy chief medical officer has insisted. Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the Government and public had a “dual responsibility” to prevent a second wave of the virus, describing now as a “very dangerous moment”. Addressing the public’s responsibility in stark terms while he took part in the daily Downing Street briefing, he said: “Don’t tear the pants out of it, and don’t go further than the guidance actually says.” And writing in The Sunday Telegraph, the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said ministers had to take “many other factors into consideration” in making decisions, and that Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) advice was “independent of politics”. Minutes from 34 Sage meetings were published this week, with Sir Patrick writing: “Clearly it is right that ministers see the advice first and that they have a chance to consider it as part of their overall decision making, but I believe it is also right that the evidence base should become open for others to see too, so they can provide challenge and form new and important observations.” His comments followed earlier concern from Government advisers about easing lockdown too soon. Four members of Sage have spoke out to warn that ministers are taking risks. And on Saturday evening Professor Anthony Costello, a former World Health Organisation (WHO) director, sent a scathing tweet predicting a possible resurgence of the virus. He said: “We have 8000 cases daily, a private testing system set up without connection to primary care, call-centre tracing that appears a fiasco, and no digital app. After 4 months. Unless the population has hidden (T cell?) immunity, we’re heading for resurgence.” Prof Van-Tam said scientists will be watching “very closely” how things go over the next few weeks. From Monday in England, friends and family can meet in parks and gardens in socially distanced groups of six. For those who have been shielding, a slight reprieve will come in the form of being able to go outside with members of their household from Monday, while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines. Those in this category who live alone can meet outside with one other person from another household. The easing of restrictions for those shielding follows criticism that this group had been left feeling “forgotten”. But Phil Anderson, head of policy at the MS Society, said people would want to hear the scientific evidence behind the decision, which he described as having “come out of the blue”. “People who are extremely vulnerable will rightly want to hear a lot more about the scientific evidence showing this will be safe for them,” he said. Published: 31/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

SpaceX Rocket launched successfully

0
SpaceX Rocket launched successfully Nasa has launched two astronauts into space from US soil for the first time in nine years. Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are on their way to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Crew Dragon capsule after separating from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket shortly after lift-off. It will take them 19 hours to reach the space station, where they will join the three other residents – Nasa’s Chris Cassidy and Russia’s Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. The mission, named Demo-2, has made Elon Musk’s SpaceX the first private company to send humans into space, ushering in a new era of commercial space travel. The pair were due to travel on Wednesday but the mission was aborted less than 17 minutes before launch over concerns that the event could trigger lightning. According to Nasa, the aim of the mission is to show SpaceX’s ability to ferry astronauts to the space station and back safely. It is the final major step required by SpaceX’s astronaut carrier, the Crew Dragon, to get certified by Nasa’s Commercial Crew Programme for more long-term manned missions to space. The Crew Dragon is expected to rendezvous and dock with the space station on Sunday at 3.30pm UK time. Since ending its Space Shuttle programme in 2011, Nasa has depended on Russia’s space agency Roscosmos to transport its astronauts to the space station. In 2014, Nasa awarded SpaceX and Boeing contracts to provide crewed launch services to the space station as part of its Commercial Crew Programme. Published: 30/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

US withdraws support for WHO

0
US withdraws support for W.H.O. US President Donald Trump has announced he will withdraw funding from the World Health Organisation, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Mr Trump has expressed anger at the World Health Organisation (WHO) for weeks over what he has portrayed as an inadequate response to the initial outbreak of coronavirus in China’s Wuhan province late last year. In a White House announcement sure to escalate tensions with China that have already surged during the pandemic, he claimed Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the body to mislead the public about an outbreak that has now killed more than 100,000 Americans. On the WHO, Mr Trump said: “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act. Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating the relationship.” The US. is the largest source of financial support for the WHO, and its exit is expected to significantly weaken the organisation. Published: 30/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Man in court after body found in park

0
Man in court after body found in park A man has appeared in court accused of murder after human remains were found in a park. Police were called to reports of the discovery at Reddish Vale Country Park in Stockport at about 10.30am on Monday. Inquiries led officers to believe that the remains belonged to a woman aged in her 40s. Formal identification has not yet taken place but the woman has been named locally as Yvonne Lawson McCann. Ms McCann is understood to be the wife of Thomas McCann, 48, who appeared at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Saturday. McCann, of Rosslave Walk, Brinnington, spoke to confirm his name, address, date of birth and stated his nationality as white British. The court heard he is said to have committed murder between May 22 and 25 in Stockport. The defendant was further remanded in custody and will next appear at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday. Published: 30/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Scientists warn too soon to ease lockdown ahead of tempting warm weekend

0
Scientists warn ‘too soon to ease lockdown’ ahead of ‘tempting’ warm weekend Fears that lockdown measures may be being eased too soon by ministers have been expressed by a number of scientists who advise the Government on the Covid-19 outbreak. Fears that lockdown measures may be being eased too soon by ministers have been expressed by a number of scientists who advise the Government on the Covid-19 outbreak. Professor Peter Horby, of the University of Oxford, joined scientists Sir Jeremy Farrar and Professor John Edmunds, all members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), to warn that ministers were taking risks. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a gradual easing of the lockdown in England, with friends and families able to meet in parks and gardens in socially distanced groups of six from Monday. The easing of England’s lockdown will also signal the reopening of schools to allow students in nurseries, early-years settings, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to return to class, and more shops reopening, with outdoor retail and car showrooms able to resume operations. Asked if he agreed it was too soon to ease more of the lockdown, Prof Horby told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Actually, I do. “You know, we have still got 8,000 cases a day. We have been very successful in bringing it down, decreasing the numbers because of the social distancing.” But he said it was vital “we don’t lose control again”. He said one of the important issues is the NHS Test and Trace system which has been rolled out across England with the help of 25,000 contact tracers. But the programme will not be operational at a local level until the end of next month, while an accompanying app is delayed by several weeks. Prof Horby added: “Sage has always been very clear that that needs to be in place and fully operational before social distancing can be safely relaxed. “We are not entirely sure what the effect of relaxing the social measures will be, and so we need to have that safety net of the test, trace and isolate system. “And, as we know, it’s not yet fully operational – so, I think that is where the risk lies. “We are entering a period where there is a risk of increasing transmission, but we don’t yet have that safety net fully in place. “Returning to a situation where we lost control again is far worse than another week or two of social measures.” Asked about the possibility of a second spike in Covid-19 cases, Prof Horby said: “That’s the risk that we are all very concerned about. “It is a fragile time. We have to be very careful.” Professor Edmunds told Sky News that officials are “trying to replace these blanket measures with a much more targeted approach, this track and trace, where instead of everybody being in lockdown you put those who are most at risk in lockdown for a couple of weeks.” But, because the new system only started on Thursday, he added: “We can’t be sure that is working effectively yet, and yet we’re going ahead and making these changes anyway.” Sir Jeremy also said the newly introduced NHS test-and-trace system needed to be “fully working” before measures were eased. He wrote on Twitter: “Covid-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England. Agree with John & clear science advice. “TTI (test, trace and isolate) has to be in place, fully working, capable dealing any surge immediately, locally responsive, rapid results & infection rates have to be lower. And trusted.” The comments come as Britain is set for a weekend of high temperatures and police have urged the public to follow current safeguards about social contact ahead of the lessening of restrictions from Monday. Downing Street warned the public that meet-ups remain prohibited until after the weekend. Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said: “I know we are going into another weekend where the weather looks fantastic and beautiful, and that will bring many temptations for us to go outside and perhaps meet with friends and loved ones that we haven’t seen for some time, and perhaps gather in large groups, but, quite simply the rules and regulations will not allow that this weekend.” The situation in Scotland is that people can meet one other household at a time as long as it is outdoors, but social distancing should continue with the maximum number in the group being eight. People in Wales will be allowed to meet up with others outdoors from Monday. In Northern Ireland, more retailers can open and small outdoor weddings will receive the go-ahead from June 8 if the coronavirus infection rate remains under control, ministers in the devolved administration have said. The total number of UK deaths involving Covid-19 has now passed 48,000. As of 9am on May 29, the Government said there have been 4,043,686 tests, with 131,458 tests taking place on May 28. Official figures show that 271,222 people have tested positive. Published: 30/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub