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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Morrisons to pay staff at least 10 an hour in new deal

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Morrisons to pay staff at least £10 an hour in new deal The change is subject to a vote later this month Supermarket giant Morrisons has announced a new pay deal which it says will guarantee at least £10 an hour for all staff. The retailer, which employs around 120,000 people across the UK, said it will be the first UK supermarket group to secure workers a £10 minimum rate when the pay deal starts in April. The West-Yorkshire based supermarket say that the new payment policy will result in a “significant” pay increase for nearly 96,000 staff members. Most workers who move up to the new minimum hourly rate, which is subject to a ballot vote on January 27, will receive a 9% rise in their pay. Currently, Morrisons has a minimum hourly pay rate of £9.20 per hour. Published: 13/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Walk in testing facility opened at Belfast International Airport

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Walk-in testing facility opened at Belfast International Airport It will offer PCR swab tests for less than £100 A walk-in testing facility has been opened at Belfast International Airport for passengers. It has been set up to provide rapid test results for those travelling on essential journeys. The airport is working with Co Antrim diagnostics firm Randox to provide the PCR tests. The test costs £99 and results are available the following day. Airport managing director Graham Keddie said the facility was needed because many destinations now require negative test results within 72 hours of leaving the country of departure. Published: 12/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

The Home Secretary says that a minority of the public putting nations health at...

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The Home Secretary says that a minority of the public putting nation’s health at risk Priti Patel has backed police forces to enforce lockdown rules Home Secretary Priti Patel says that a minority of the public are “putting the health of the nation at risk” as she backed a tougher police approach to lockdown rules. Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, she said that officers are moving more quickly to issuing fines where people are clearly breaching coronavirus regulations, with nearly 45,000 fixed penalty notices issued across the UK since March. Chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt said that more officers will be out on dedicated patrols to deal with rule breakers, while Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has also spoken to councils about enforcing the regulations. Latest figures showed that as of Tuesday, a further 1,243 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, which brings the UK total to 81,960. Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 99,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK. The Government also said that, as of 9am on Tuesday, there had been a further 45,533 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 3,118,518. Published: 12/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Aston Villa and Premier League discussing possible postponement of Everton clash

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Aston Villa and Premier League discussing possible postponement of Everton clash The club had to field their youth team in last weekend's FA Cup game with Liverpool Aston Villa are in discussions with the Premier League about the possible postponement of Sunday’s Premier League match at home to Everton due to their ongoing issues with coronavirus. The club closed their training ground last week after nine players and five staff tested positive for Covid-19, resulting in their youth team having to play the FA Cup third-round tie against Liverpool. Villa were scheduled to play Tottenham on Wednesday but that has had to be rescheduled because the training ground has still not reopened. Having had to sit out their midweek slot this week, Villa are already two matches behind the majority of their top-flight rivals and having to fit in a third rearranged game will push the already stretched programme further. Published: 12/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Police warn coronavirus rule breakers they are increasingly likely to be fined

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Police warn coronavirus rule-breakers they are ‘increasingly likely’ to be fined Britain’s most senior police officer has warned coronavirus rule-breakers they are “increasingly likely” to face fines as forces move “more quickly” to enforce lockdown restrictions. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said it is “preposterous” that anyone could be unaware of the need to follow the stringent measures designed to curb Covid-19 cases. Writing in a newspaper, she said: “It is preposterous to me that anyone could be unaware of our duty to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus. “We have been clear that those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly likely to face fines.” However, her comments came as law enforcement sources told the a national paper that police officers would not enforce mask-wearing in supermarkets – despite a Government crackdown on compliance. Supermarket chain Morrisons said on Monday that customers who refuse to wear a mask without a medical exemption will be told to leave stores, while Sainsbury’s also said its security staff would “challenge” shoppers who were not wearing masks or entering stores in groups. Meanwhile, ministers are reported to be mulling over introducing tougher measures in England, with the wearing of face masks outdoors and banning exercise with people not in their household bubble said to be under consideration. Tory former health minister Steve Brine led calls for an end to non-essential takeaway sales, including coffee, saying on TV “There are so many things that we are doing, which are allowed in the rules … but I just don’t think they are wise right now.” Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned on Monday that the NHS is under “very significant pressure” and told the public to reduce all social contact that is “not absolutely strictly necessary” in a bid to cut cases. His warning came as NHS England data showed there were 32,070 Covid-19 patients in English hospitals as of 8am on Monday. The figure is up 20% compared with last week, and up 81% since Christmas Day. A further 529 people died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus as of Monday, taking the UK total to 81,960 – though separate figures show there have now been 97,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK. Mr Hancock told a Downing Street press conference: “The NHS, more than ever before, needs everybody to be doing something right now – and that something is to follow the rules. “I know there has been speculation about more restrictions, and we don’t rule out taking further action if it is needed, but it is your actions now that can make a difference. “Stay at home, and please reduce all social contact that is not absolutely strictly necessary. That’s what is needed: act like you have the virus.” He said vaccination is the “fastest route to safely lifting restrictions” and the Government is on track to vaccinate the 15 million people most at risk by the middle of February. Almost 2.3 million people in the UK have been given a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to new figures, while 388,677 second doses have also been given. In other developments: – The Prince of Wales warned that by destroying the natural world “we are making ourselves ever more vulnerable to all sorts of diseases and problems” – and said: “This pandemic won’t be the last one if we’re not very careful.” – The United Arab Emirates has been added to the UK’s travel quarantine list, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced, meaning anyone who arrives in England from the UAE after 4am on Tuesday will need to self-isolate. – Sitting on a park bench for a “short pause” during exercise is reasonable, but leaving the home just to sit in public is unlawful under coronavirus rules, Downing Street said amid confusion over the regulations. – Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of hypocrisy after reports that he went cycling at the Olympic Park in east London on Sunday – seven miles from his home – after imposing sweeping Covid restrictions on others. – Two women who received £200 fixed penalty notices after travelling to a reservoir for a walk around five miles from their homes have had their fines rescinded, Derbyshire Police said. – Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, told MPs that over-50s and those in vulnerable groups will be vaccinated by the end of April, with “a marathon from April through the summer into autumn” to offer vaccines to all adults over 18 who want a jab. – Scientists advising the Government want the social distancing gap to be increased from “one metre plus” to “two metres plus”, according to the Daily Mail. Elsewhere in the UK, Wales’s health minister, Vaughan Gething, said people should consider keeping their masks on in public places if they are “out and about”. In Northern Ireland, First Minister Arlene Foster defended the pre-Christmas easing of coronavirus restrictions as hospitals struggle to deal with surging admission numbers. And in Scotland, the coronavirus detection rate was said to be the worst of the UK nations, according to a report from former prime minister Gordon Brown’s think tank. Published: 12/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

New rules for travellers arriving in England to come into force from Friday

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New rules for travellers arriving in England to come into force from Friday New rules that will require international travellers to test negative for coronavirus before arriving in England will come into force from Friday, a transport minister has said. From 4am on January 15, passengers arriving in England by boat, train or plane – including UK nationals – will have to take a test up to 72 hours before leaving the country of departure. They will need to present proof of a negative test result to their carrier on boarding while the UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrivals. New arrivals who flout the rules will face a minimum £500 fine, while the operator who transported them will also be fined. Passengers will still have to quarantine for 10 days regardless of their test results, transport minister Robert Courts said in a statement. British nationals attempting to return home who test positive must not travel and must follow the local guidance in their host country, and contact the nearest consulate if they need support. “If a passenger arrives in England without a pre-departure negative test result they will be fined,” Mr Courts said. “We will amend the International Travel Regulations so that fines, starting at £500, can be levied on non-compliant passengers.” Travellers will have to take an internationally approved test, and Mr Courts said guidance on what was acceptable would be made available to passengers and carriers. “We will keep test standards and innovative testing technologies under review,” he said. The new rules apply to almost every country in the world, including those on England’s travel corridor list, and further compliance checks are due to be conducted by Border Force staff. Passengers travelling to England from other UK countries, as well as the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, will not be covered by the new regulations. Children under 11 travelling from any country are also exempt from pre-departure testing. The DfT said there would also be a limited number of exemptions for people like hauliers, air, international rail and maritime crew to allow the free flow of freight. Travellers from three overseas territories – St Helena, Ascension Island and the Falklands – will be exempt due to lack of testing infrastructure. Passengers from Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia and Barbados will be exempt until 4am on January 21, again due to lack of testing infrastructure in those countries. Mr Courts said: “Measures are likely to be in place until the end of the current lockdown, although a review will take place before the end of that period.” He added: “With the addition of pre-departure testing requirements, our already robust system to protect against imported cases of coronavirus is further strengthened and will provide the greatest overall protection against the risk of transmission during travel to England and after arrival.” Other countries in the UK are expected to announce their own plans for pre-arrival testing in the coming days. Published: 12/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Gorillas test positive for coronavirus at San Diego park

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Gorillas test positive for coronavirus at San Diego park Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for the coronavirus in what is believed to be the first known cases among such primates in the United States and possibly the world. The park’s executive director, Lisa Peterson, told The Associated Press that eight gorillas that live together at the park are believed to have the virus and several have been coughing. It appears the infection came from a member of the park’s wildlife care team who also tested positive for the virus but has been asymptomatic and wore a mask at all times around the gorillas. The park has been closed to the public since December 6 as part of the state of California’s lockdown efforts to curb coronavirus cases. Veterinarians are closely monitoring the gorillas and they will remain in their habitat at the park, north of San Diego, Ms Peterson said. For now, they are being given vitamins, fluid and food but no specific treatment for the virus. “Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well,” Ms Peterson said. While other wildlife has contracted the coronavirus from minks to tigers, this is the first known instance of transmission to great apes and it is unknown if they will have any serious reaction. Wildlife experts have expressed concern about the coronavirus infecting gorillas, an endangered species that share 98.4 percent of their DNA with humans and are inherently social animals. The gorillas infected at the San Diego safari park are western lowland gorillas, whose population has declined by more than 60% over the last two decades because of poaching and disease, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The safari park tested faeces of the troop of gorillas after two apes began coughing on January 6. Positive test results were confirmed by the US Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratories in three gorillas. Faeces from all eight in the troop are being taken for testing. Zoo officials are talking to experts who have been treating the coronavirus in humans in case the animals develop more severe symptoms. They will remain together since separating them could be harmful to the gorillas that live in tight-knit groups. “This is wildlife, and they have their own resiliency and can heal differently than we do,” Ms Peterson said. The safari park on Monday added more safety measures for its staff, including requiring face shields and eye goggles when working in contact with the animals. The confirmation that gorillas are susceptible to the coronavirus contributes to information about how the pandemic may affect these species in their native habitats where they come into contact with humans and human materials, the park officials said. San Diego Zoo Safari Park plans to share what it learns with health officials, conservationists and scientists to develop steps to protect gorillas in the forests of Africa. Published: 12/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

PM urged to move on distant waters fishing deals as huge trawler remains in...

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PM urged to move on distant-waters fishing deals as huge trawler remains in port There are concerns over availability and the price of fish in UK chip shops An MP has urged the Prime Minister to step in as the trawler which normally catches up to 10% of all the fish sold in the UK’s fish and chip shops remains tied up in port waiting for new distant-waters fishing deals. Hull East MP Karl Turner said it seems the Government “is hell-bent on putting the last nail in the coffin of distant-waters fishing” as the 100-strong crew of Kirkella wait for negotiations to be completed with Norway and others. Kirkella – which has been described as the pride of the UK’s distant-waters fishing fleet – has been tied up in St George’s Dock, Hull, since returning from its last trip at the beginning of December. Despite the Brexit trade deal having much to say about the UK-EU fishing arrangements, it meant agreements are still needed with the non-EU countries involved in the distant-waters arrangements. The £52 million state-of-the-art Kirkella can freeze up to 780 tonnes of cod and haddock on each of its trips to the seas off Norway, Svalbard and Greenland. Published: 11/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Health Secretary crystal clear support bubbles will stay

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Health Secretary ‘crystal clear’ support bubbles will stay Matt Hancock also announced over 46000 further cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours Health Secretary Matt Hancock has categorically ruled out an end to the support bubble system in the face of rising coronavirus infection rates, allaying the fears of many that the policy was about to be scrapped. Support and childcare bubbles allow adults living alone or single parents living with children under the age of 18 to join up with one other household, essentially becoming one single household. Introduced in June, the system allowed people in one bubble to visit each other indoors, ignore the two-metre rule and stay overnight – as if they were all living under the same roof. It means elderly people living alone can bubble up with an adult son or daughter, also allowing them to spend time with any grandchildren in the home and share childcare responsibilities. Published: 11/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Manchester United draw Liverpool in FA Cup fourth round

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Manchester United draw Liverpool in FA Cup fourth round Crawley Town who beat Leeds United face a trip to Bournemouth Manchester United will host Premier League champions Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round. Monday night’s draw pitched 12-time winners United into battle with Jurgen Klopp’s men, who beat a coronavirus-hit Aston Villa side to book their place. National League North side Chorley’s reward for their victory over a depleted Derby was a home tie with Premier League Wolves. League Two Crawley, who dumped top-flight Leeds out of the competition in the third round, face a trip to Sky Bet Championship promotion hopefuls Bournemouth. Fourth-tier counterparts Cheltenham, however, were rewarded for their win over Mansfield with a home tie against Premier League giants Manchester City. Tottenham, 5-0 third-round winners at Marine of the Northern Premier League North West Division, are on the road again, with Championship strugglers Wycombe this time providing the opposition. Should Chorley pull off a shock against Wolves, they could have another big date ahead of them after the fifth round draw pitched the winners in battle with either Southampton, Shrewsbury or 14-time winners Arsenal. Published: 11/01/2021 by Radio NewsHub