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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Aviation bosses warn 14 day quarantine will kill travel industry

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Aviation bosses warn 14-day quarantine ‘will kill travel industry’ Aviation chief executives have reportedly warned the Government that the planned 14-day quarantine for all arrivals into Britain will “kill” the travel industry. Home Secretary Priti Patel’s plan to enforce a mandatory quarantine on all incoming travellers from June 8 is expected to reach Parliament this week, with The Daily Telegraph saying that the regulations could come before MPs as early as Tuesday. But The Times reports that industry bosses fear a blanket quarantine could cost thousands of jobs across the travel, tourism and hospitality industries while hampering the nation’s economic recovery as restrictions are eased. Simon McNamara of the International Air Transport Association said the lifting of coronavirus measures will do nothing to help people travel if a mandatory two-week quarantine is in place. “All the evidence we have is that this will just kill travel,” Mr McNamara told The Times. “If (governments) persist with quarantine it is effectively the same as locking down your country.” Tim Alderslade of Airlines UK also spoke to the paper, calling the quarantine “just about the worst thing (the Government) could do … to restart the economy and get aviation and tourism moving again.” Meanwhile, there are reports that a host of senior MPs are also unhappy with the plan in its current form. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Conservative chairman of the transport select committee Huw Merriman called for the blanket quarantine to be “ditched” in favour of other measures such as “air-bridges, compulsory PPE and temperature testing at airports”. Former Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers also called for a rethink on Sunday, telling BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “I would very much prefer the quarantine rules … be targeted on flights from Covid hotspots. “I think we really do need to find ways to ease travel between this country and other countries like Italy and Spain and France where not only are there important business connections but people do desperately want to be able to take their summer holiday. “So I appreciate why the Government is bringing in quarantine but I do think that applying it in a blanket way across the board is an over-reaction. And my understanding is that the government is actively looking at air bridges and to try to target this requirement in a more focused way and I really hope they’re able to do that rather than bringing it in across the board.” Published: 01/06/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Sports Direct stores to shut after u turn

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Sports Direct stores to shut after u-turn Sports Direct has said it will close its stores in a major U-turn after initially calling for its workers to continue selling sports and fitness equipment in the face of coronavirus. Chris Wootton, chief finance officer of owner Frasers Group, said its Sports Direct and Evans Cycles stores will not open on Tuesday. He said in a "clarification" that they will remain shut, despite stating that government policy "excludes bicycle shops from closure". Stores will not reopen until "given the go-ahead by the Government", he added. The retailer said it is contacting the Government "at all levels" in an attempt to get confirmation from the Prime Minister. It comes after politicians hit out at the business for its plan to keep stores open after Boris Johnson ordered non-essential shops to close, with Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery telling company majority owner Mike Ashley to "take some responsibility" and "shut up shop". The group wrote to all workers within 30 minutes of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to shut down non-essential retailers, telling them its position selling sporting and fitness equipment made it a vital asset during a national shutdown. In the original letter, Mr Wootton said: "Against the backdrop of the closure of gyms the demand for these types of products has increased exponentially as the population looks to maintain a healthy lifestyle. "Consequently, we are uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible during this crisis and thus our Sports Direct and Evans Cycles stores will remain open where possible to allow us to do this (in accordance with the Government's current social distancing guidance)." Labour MP Jess Phillips also criticised the appeal to keep stores open, tweeting: "Massive mugs notwithstanding there is nothing people cannot live without in Sports Direct." Rival retailers such as JD Sports have confirmed that stores will remain shut in the face of the virus, until Government guidance changes. Published: 24/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Queen delivers message of hope to the nation

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Queen delivers message of hope to the nation The Queen has delivered a message of hope to the nation, saying if we "remain united and resolute" in the face of the coronavirus outbreak "we will overcome it". The head of state warned the country, in lockdown for almost two weeks and with thousands dead after contracting Covid-19, "may have more still to endure". But she echoed the words of Forces' sweetheart Dame Vera Lynne's Second World War anthem, when she said "we will meet again". In a rare televised address to the country and Commonwealth, the Queen sounded a positive note after what has been an unsettling period, saying: "We will succeed - and that success will belong to every one of us." Speaking from Windsor Castle, the Queen personally thanked frontline NHS staff, care workers and others for "selflessly" carrying out their essential roles which had brought "us closer to a return to more normal times". The pre-recorded message was filmed before the sunny weekend, which tempted a small minority outside into public spaces - but many remained indoors. The Queen said: "I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones. "Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it." Dame Vera helped rally the nation during wartime with her songs, especially We'll Meet Again which became a significant tune for servicemen fighting abroad and those at home separated from loved ones. The Queen, who is from the wartime generation, said: "We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again." The veteran singer responded to the outbreak by releasing a video message in March, calling on the nation to pull together and overcome Covid-19. Turning to her own experiences, the Queen sympathised with those feeling a "painful sense of separation from their loved ones" and described how during the Blitz in 1940 she gave her first radio broadcast to evacuated children. The then 14-year-old Princess Elizabeth had been sent for safety to Windsor Castle with her sister Princess Margaret, and she called on evacuated youngsters to have courage - telling them she and Margaret knew what it was like to be separated from those they loved. Acknowledging the changing religious landscape as Christians celebrated Palm Sunday, the Queen said: "And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths, and of none, are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation." She added: "It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister. We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. "Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do." The broadcast featured footage of NHS frontline staff, workers making deliveries and military personnel helping to construct the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre in east London. People taking part in the Clap for Carers tribute were also shown, along with rainbow pictures drawn by children - in honour of the carers - and a black and white image of the Queen's first radio broadcast. The Queen said: "The moments when the United Kingdom has come together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit; and its symbol will be the rainbows drawn by children." The head of state also will acknowledged the "grief" some have experienced, the "financial difficulties" many face and the "enormous changes" the country is enduring. With hundreds of thousands answering the call for NHS volunteers and others supporting vulnerable people in their communities, the monarch said she hopes in the future everyone will be able to feel "pride" in how they rose to the situation. Published: 05/04/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Leeds fans raise 12000 for food banks by playing football manager for 24 hours

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Leeds fans raise £12,000 for food banks by playing football manager for 24 hours Three football fans have raised more than £12,000 for food banks by playing a management simulator game for 24 hours. Dan Moylan, Daniel Chapman and Michael Normanton, who run the Leeds United fanzine and podcast The Square Ball, streamed their efforts live online as they played Football Manager from 10am on Saturday until 10am on Sunday. And with guests joining them throughout the day and night - including comedian Jon Richardson - supporters donated a steady stream of money to Leeds Fans Foodbank, an organisation that supports two food banks in the city. "We were wanting to do something that was available to us in the lockdown, something we could do from home that would probably kill a lot of time," Mr Moylan, 41, told the PA news agency about the decision process which led to the fundraiser. In the end they decided to replay the 2007/8 season as Leeds on Football Manager, a year when the club overcame a 15-point deduction to reach the League One play-offs but ended up losing the final to Doncaster at Wembley. "The 2007 season was a pretty memorable one for Leeds, for many of the wrong reasons, but we thought it would be nice to try and go on a journey with that one and try and correct that particular wrong and get promoted," Mr Moylan said. Throughout the mammoth stint, the three - who each streamed their reactions from their homes via Skype - received messages from watching Leeds fans, who suggested tactical changes and potential signings. Some even sponsored individual players, while one Leeds fan - who appears in the game as a young trainee goalkeeper - agreed to donate money if they signed him. "It absolutely flew by," Mr Moylan said. "I guess because we had something to concentrate on and other people to speak to. "It went a lot quicker than you might think. "But there was no point until the early hours of the morning when we actually got the promotion that I think any of us struggled." Although his two co-hosts stayed online for the full 24 hours, childcare commitments meant Mr Moylan had to disappear for a couple of hours' sleep at one point. "I got the usual pelters and friendly abuse," he said. But he was there for the moment in the early hours of the morning when they secured promotion with a play-off victory at Wembley. To celebrate, Richardson even made an appearance on camera wearing only a Leeds United flag. By Sunday morning, fans had contributed around £12,500 to a fund set up by the Leeds United Supporters Trust. "We were just the vessel through which the money was collected - I don't think we can take too much credit for playing a computer game," Mr Moylan said. "Genuinely, all credit to Leeds fans who step up time and time again - we saw it with the charity shirt auction that we did for Leeds Children's Hospital, that got over £30,000. "Leeds fans are thoroughly decent people, despite what you might read." Published: 06/04/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Retail footfall still lower in June despite reopening turning point

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Retail footfall still lower in June despite reopening ‘turning point’ Retail footfall for June more than halved against the same month last year as shopper demand remains low despite the “turning point” of reopening thousands more stores. Retail footfall for June more than halved against the same month last year as shopper demand remains low despite the “turning point” of reopening thousands more stores. New figures from retail experts Springboard revealed that footfall across UK shopping destinations fell by 56.6% in June compared to the same month in 2019. However, the organisation said this reflected green shoots of improvement in the sector as it increased from a 73.3% year-on-year decline in May. Springboard stressed that the reopening of non-essential stores in England on Monday June 15 was a “turning point” for retailers. Footfall across all retail destinations for the week starting June 15 jumped by 40% against the previous week, as shoppers lined up go to their favourite fashion stores. The pent-up anticipation to shop again resulted in the significant spike, but footfall in the subsequent two weeks “slowed considerably”, Springboard said. Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “Long queues coupled with a restricted shopping experience due to social distancing could be the contributing factors to this sudden drop off in footfall. “This is concerning for the economic recovery path of bricks and mortar retail who are heavily reliant on customer experience.” In June, footfall was still particularly low on high streets, with many customers refraining from travel into city centres. High street footfall declined by 65.1% for the month, with footfall in London particularly badly hit, nosediving 80.8% lower compared to last June. Meanwhile, footfall at shopping centres slid by 62.3% for the month Retail parks were more resilient, as they reported that footfall declined by 32.2% as they continued to benefit from the presence of large supermarkets. Ms Wehrle said: “This is a sharp contrast with high streets and shopping centres which rely on a blend of shoppers, workers, students, tourists and residents to fuel spending. “The fact that much of the workforce continues to work from home, tourists and many students are absent, as well as the Government urging consumers to only use public transport for essential travel, means that footfall and therefore sales, will continue to be compromised in these retail destinations.” Published: 13/07/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Refugee family brings food to self isolating family who sponsored their move

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Refugee family brings food to self-isolating family who sponsored their move After sponsoring a refugee family to move to Canada, one Vancouver Island resident found her kindness repaid when they brought her a food parcel while she was self-isolating. Robin Stevenson, originally from Leeds, found herself having to stay inside her house after returning from Mexico in early March. After returning home, Robin received a phone call from a Syrian family she had help immigrate to North America in 2016, and who now run a local grocery store. Robin, a children's and young adult author, said: "They told me there was food on my porch. They waved from the sidewalk and said that they could bring more food in a few days if needed - though I think there is enough here that even with a teenager in the house, we should be just fine. "They are kind and incredibly generous people and we've become good friends over the past few years. It's been lovely seeing the kids grow - the smallest was just a baby when they came here. I am sure we will always be connected." Robin has been involved in a number of refugee sponsorships in the last four years. She said: "One thing that I have seen over and over again is just how much newcomers help others and contribute to the communities they resettle in. "Canada is better and stronger because of the refugees who have come here - and while no one should be forced to leave their country, we are lucky to have them." More than 2,590 people have been diagnosed with the Covid-19 coronavirus in Canada, and 25 people have died. Over the weekend, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was not yet necessary for Canada to declare a national state of emergency, but he pleaded with all Canadians to stay home and avoid all non-essential visits. Robin said: "I am just hoping that everyone who is able to will protect others who are more vulnerable by staying home as much as possible. "And I'm hoping that we can all be as kind as possible during this difficult time - lookout for others who may need help, and do what you can to help each other through this. " Published: 25/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Johnson doesnt want second national lockdown

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Johnson doesn't want second national lockdown Boris Johnson has played down the prospect of a second coronavirus lockdown, saying he did not want to use it any more than Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent. The Prime Minister said the authorities were getting better at identifying and isolating local outbreaks, although it was important that the power to order national action was held in reserve. “I can’t abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent. But it is like a nuclear deterrent, I certainly don’t want to use it. And nor do I think we will be in that position again,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. His comments could lead to further tensions between ministers and their scientific experts after the chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned on Friday there was “a risk” that national measures could be needed as winter approaches. Announcing another easing lockdown restrictions in England, Mr Johnson on Friday said he hoped there could be a “significant return to normality” in time for Christmas. At the same time, he said the Government had given local authorities new powers to close specific premises, shut outdoor spaces and cancel events. Mr Johnson told the Telegraph: “It’s not just that we’re getting much better at spotting the disease and isolating it locally, but we understand far more which groups it affects, how it works, how it’s transmitted, so the possibility of different types of segmentation, of enhanced shielding for particular groups, is now there.” “We’re genuinely able now to look at what’s happening in much closer to real time, to isolate outbreaks and to address them on the spot, and to work with local authorities to contain the problem locally and regionally if we have to.” As he approaches his first anniversary in office, Mr Johnson insisted his agenda for domestic reform and “levelling up” the economy would not be blown off course by the pandemic. “We want to be a transformative Government, because there’s a massive opportunity in this country to do things differently and to do things better,” he said. “We’ve seen that really exemplified in what happened with coronavirus.” The Prime Minister confirmed that as part of that he was looking at reform of the Civil Service in the wake of the announcement the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, is stepping down. “Please don’t think that I in any way underestimate the brilliance of the UK Civil Service, they are absolutely fantastic,” he said. “But maybe there are ways in which we can all learn together to do things faster, to have a real spirit of ‘can do’. I’m not saying that people don’t have that, but there’s an opportunity to learn from the crisis and to work faster. “I think sometimes it’s a question of confidence and belief.” Published: 19/07/2020 by Radio NewsHub

26 Challenge raises more than 46m for UK charities

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2.6 Challenge raises more than £4.6m for UK charities Events took place on Sunday which should have seen the London Marathon More than £4.6 million has been raised for UK charities by people completing various challenges in lieu of the London Marathon. The 40th edition of the sporting event was replaced by the 2.6 Challenge on Sunday after it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Race organisers launched the campaign to help the charity sector which is facing a £4 billion shortfall, according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. The event - which took place on the day the marathon was due to be held - has seen thousands of people take part in various gruelling, fun and unusual challenges based around the numbers 2.6 or 26. Published: 27/04/2020 by Radio NewsHub

How does the Covid 19 furlough scheme work

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How does the Covid-19 furlough scheme work? The Government's scheme to help pay people's wages and support businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic has gone live. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will give people 80% of their usual earnings, meaning that they can be furloughed rather than laid off from their place of work as businesses try to cope with the fallout from Covid-19. What money are you entitled to and how will the initiative work? - What is furlough? If you are furloughed then your employer is keeping you on the payroll while a business has less work than normal. While on furlough you cannot undertake work for or on behalf of your employer. Many shops, restaurants, hotels and other service industries in the UK have found themselves with no customers after being forced to close amid the pandemic, and many other firms have had work cancelled. - Who is eligible? Any employer with a UK payroll and a UK bank account will be able to claim on their employees' behalf. Employees must have been on their employer's payroll scheme and had this notified to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on or before March 19. This means that people who work for businesses, charities and public authorities will be entitled to the money if their employer signs up. Employees can be on any type of contract, including zero-hours or temporary. If you were employed as of February 28 and on the payroll, but were made redundant or stopped working before March 19, you can qualify for the scheme if your employer re-hires you and puts you on furlough. Employers can backdate claims to when employees were first furloughed, with the earliest date being March 1. - How much will I get paid? Businesses will be able to pay their employees 80% of their regular monthly wage, or £2,500 a month, whichever is lower. If on the scheme, your employer must pay you at least the 80% of your usual income, however they are also free to top this up if they wish. This means that if you earn £24,000 a year, you will earn a gross income of at least £1,600 a month on the furlough scheme. - How long will it last? The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was originally intended to run to June 1 2020, however it has been extended until at least the end of that month. In a statement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Our unprecedented job retention scheme will protect millions of jobs across the country and is now up and running. "It's vital that our economy gets up and running again as soon as it's safe - and this scheme will allow that to happen." - How have businesses and trade unions reacted? The two groups have broadly welcomed the scheme and its extension. Trade bodies and business groups said the Government must ensure speedy access to the funds so staff can be paid. Unions said there would be "no reason" for redundancies and called on ministers to ensure workers are protected longer-term during a recovery. - Who will run the scheme? The Treasury said in a statement that about 5,000 HMRC staff will work on the project, which is intended to assist thousands of UK firms, with the money due to reach bank accounts within six working days. Phone lines and web chat services will be available to help answer applicants' questions, with the scheme launching 10 days ahead of schedule, it added. Jim Harra, HMRC's chief executive, said the scheme's system had been tested at "up to 450,000 claims per hour". He said employers applying in the first few days of the scheme going live would have money in their bank accounts by April 30. - Do I still get taxed? While on furlough your wage will be subject to the usual income tax and other deductions, the Government guidance says. - What are my rights? According to HMRC furloughed employees have exactly the same rights they did when working. This means you are still entitled to statutory sick pay, maternity and other parental rights, the right against unfair dismissal and redundancy payments should you lose your job. - What if I do not want to go on furlough? The Government say you may be at risk of losing your job if your employer asks you to go on furlough and you refuse. If this is the case, it must be in line with normal redundancy rules and protections. Published: 20/04/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Commuter temperature checks under consideration in lockdown easing plans

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Commuter temperature checks under consideration in lockdown easing plans Commuters could be asked to check their temperature at home before travelling under plans to ease the coronavirus lockdown being considered by the Government. The Prime Minister will next week set out a "road map" detailing how people might get to work and how children can go back to school or into childcare. Boris Johnson has said he wants to "get our economy moving" but there are concerns that the return to work could see the virus spread on public transport. The Times reported that commuters could be asked to take their temperature before travelling, and those with an elevated reading - a symptom of Covid-19 - would be expected to stay at home. A senior Government source confirmed the plans are being looked at but stressed they are a "long way" from being policy. It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said his target for 100,000 Covid-19 tests per day had been met, which he hailed as an "incredible achievement". The number of people who have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Thursday rose to 27,510. Speaking at the daily Downing Street press briefing, Mr Hancock said 122,347 tests were performed in the 24 hours up to 9am on Friday, adding that testing would help "unlock" the UK's lockdown. But questions have been raised over how the tests have been counted, with changes in the last few days meaning newer home test kits have been counted as they are dispatched. The overall total also includes tests dispatched to "satellite testing locations" - such as hospitals that have a particularly urgent need - but does not detail whether the tests have actually been used. When he set the target, Mr Hancock said the UK "will carry out" 100,000 tests every day by the end of April. Elsewhere: - The Sun reported that the PM wants to implement his plan to restart the economy on May 26, while the paper said the Premier League could return on June 12. - Leo Varadkar said Ireland will begin its journey to a new normal after a further two weeks of the current restrictions. - A potential treatment for Covid-19 using plasma from recovered patients is to be trialled by doctors at London's Guy's and St Thomas' hospital. - New data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre suggested more than 70% of patients with coronavirus admitted to critical care are men. - Fertility services will be allowed to reopen after treatment was stopped due to Covid-19, bringing hope to couples trying for a baby, the Health Secretary confirmed. - Office for National Statistics analysis found that people living in the most deprived areas of England have experienced coronavirus mortality rates more than double those living in the least deprived areas. The Government's national testing co-ordinator, Professor John Newton, told reporters there had been "no change" to the methodology but said advice had been sought on counting as "new ways of delivering tests" were brought in. He said some 27,497 kits sent out to homes were included in the total alongside 12,872 tests delivered to satellite locations. In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Prof Newton insisted "whichever way" the results are counted, the 100,000 target would have been met. He said: "All the tests are only counted once, and you can count tests when they go out or when they come back in, and whichever way you do it we still meet the target." Guidance on the Government website appears to have changed on April 28 to include wording saying home tests and satellite tests were being included. Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said "many would have expected the 100,000 promise to have been met by actually carrying out testing, not simply because 39,000 kits had been mailed out". Meanwhile, queues have built up outside rubbish tips as they reopened for the first time since lockdown. Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has said councils should be confident to reopen tips "as soon as possible", although there have been warnings that protective equipment for waste workers and proper social distancing should be in place. Greater Manchester Combined Authority reopened some of its household waste recycling centres on Saturday, with restrictions and social distancing measures in place. At the waste centre on Reliance Street in Manchester, a queue of cars was already waiting by 7.30am, half an hour before it was scheduled to open. Published: 02/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub