Will Britain see a weekend lockdown rebellion?

Will Britain see a weekend lockdown rebellion? Fears that scorching weather will tempt public into partying before new rules allowing six-strong groups come in on MONDAY

  •  Prime Minister has allowed groups of six people to meet up from Monday
  • Government urges people not to use hot weather as an excuse to break the rules
  • Supermarkets recorded record spends on sausages, beer, wine and ice cream

Fears were growing last night that scorching weekend weather will tempt large numbers to break lockdown early by holding barbecues and other family gatherings.

Boris Johnson has given the green light for outdoor gatherings of up to six people in England from Monday.

But Downing Street urged the public not to jump the gun today and tomorrow as temperatures soar above those in the Mediterranean.

Some clearly already had yesterday. A stretch of riverside in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, was packed with young revellers, who shunned social distancing rules to top up their tans.

And in Christchurch, Dorset, one family took folding chairs along as they gathered in a park.

Supermarkets reported last night that shoppers were already spending record sums on sausages, beer, wine and ice cream in anticipation of weekend barbecues and picnics.

Police chiefs and MPs have complained that the Government has created an impossible situation by announcing the changes too far in advance. There is also the possibility for confusion as while Wales also does not relax its lockdown rules until Monday, Scotland did so from yesterday.

From Monday, the number of people able to meet at once in England will be increased from two to six and they may use private gardens. But members of different households must still stay two metres apart. Tory former minister Tobias Ellwood said last night: ‘The nation has been incredibly disciplined to date.

‘Is it wise to tell the public that they can have barbecues with friends from Monday before a sunny weekend?’

Northumbria’s Labour Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said: ‘The PM must have known he was going to create a situation that is difficult to police. The messaging looks like it was rushed forward to help ministers in a difficult position.’

Sun day: Two girls enjoy the warm weather on Portobello beach, Edinburgh, yesterday

Anthony Stansfeld, the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: ‘People should obey the rules – things are only just beginning to open up, so please don’t pre-empt them. All the relaxation of lockdown is being carefully timed by the Government’s chief scientists for good reason. It’s far better if people wait and do things at the proper time, so please don’t jump the gun. A bit more freedom is coming on Monday, so I urge everyone to be patient.’

Merseyside police warned that people would be fined if they turned up to parks and beaches in large groups this weekend.

Superintendent Jonathan Davies said: ‘I know people will be tempted to get outside. This is a reminder that the rules on spending time with only one other person from another household remains in place this weekend.’

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman defended the decision to announce the change on Thursday, saying: ‘We’ve said that wherever possible we would give a period of notice in advance of changes being made, ideally 48 hours or more. We’re enormously grateful for the efforts of the British public in sticking by the rules and getting the infection rate down and that does mean that from June 1 we will be able to allow people to have some more social contact in a safe and socially-distanced way. I’m sure that members of the public will show common sense.’

Police will not be carrying out spot checks on private gardens, the spokesman said.

Pictured: Hordes of young people have fun by the riverside in Ilkley, West Yorkshire

Supermarkets reported the biggest sales of barbecue food on record. Charcoal sales are more than double those of a year ago and retailers such as John Lewis and B&Q have seen a surge in sales of barbecues at the end of the sunniest May since 1929.

The Co-op expects sales of its barbecue products to be up 80 per cent on last week and 320 per cent on a year ago. Marks & Spencer has seen sales of its own brand Prosecco double and its largest ever sales of rosé wine.

Britain is set to be warmer than much of southern Europe and even Bermuda as the heatwave continues through the weekend into next week.

Temperatures could reach 27C or even 28C (80 to 82F) in southern England today and tomorrow.

There is an outside chance the record for the warmest day of the year so far – 28.2C (82.8F) at Santon Downham, Suffolk, on May 20 – could be broken.

It could be even warmer by midweek, forecasters say.

The Met Office revealed yesterday that the UK has experienced its sunniest spring since records began in 1929.

An average of 573 hours of sunshine across the country were recorded up to Wednesday, with warm sunshine in most places since then and more forecast for the last two days of the month, today and tomorrow, as a record-breaking spring comes to an end. 

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Amy Klobuchar on claims she didn’t charge Derek Chauvin in 2006 shooting: ‘It’s a lie’

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Friday denied reports that she failed to get charges brought against the police officer involved in George Floyd’s death for a fatal shooting while serving as a county attorney in 2006, calling it a flat-out “lie.”

“This idea that I somehow declined a case…against this officer is absolutely false. It is a lie,” Klobuchar, who served as Hennepin County attorney from 1998 to 2006, said during an MSNBC interview.

The former Democratic presidential candidate and potential vice presidential pick denounced the reports she that failed to get charges brought against Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis cop who was captured on video with his knee on Floyd’s neck as he begged for air before dying Monday, for the deadly shooting of another man in 2006.

“I don’t know what else to say about it then it is a lie,” said Klobuchar, explaining that “the case was investigated.”

“That investigation continued into a time when I was already sworn into the US Senate,” she said. “I never declined the case. It was handled and sent to the grand jury by my successor.”

“The decisions were made when I was in the US Senate,” Klobuchar said.

A grand jury ultimately decided not to charge Chauvin or other officers involved in the 2006 shooting with any wrongdoing.

After being asked by reporter Andrea Mitchell about a slew of other police brutality cases that went uncharged under Klobuchar’s tenure as county attorney, Klobuchar said she now believes that the process of letting the grand jury handle the cases “was wrong.”

“Back when I was the county attorney, the cases that we had involving officer involving shootings went to a grand jury. That was true in every jurisdiction across our state and that was true in many jurisdictions across the country,” she said. “I think that was wrong now.”

“I think it was better if I took the responsibility and looked at the cases and made the decision myself,” she said, clarifying, “Let me make this clear — we did not blow off these cases.”

Klobuchar continued, “We brought them to a grand jury, presented the evidence for a potential criminal prosecution and the grand jury would come back with a decision.”

During the interview, Klobuchar said “there is systematic racism” and that “there must be change.”

“If George Floyd’s death has any legacy — because he will never be brought back — it should be systematic change to our criminal justice system in Minnesota and across the country,” she said.

When asked by Mitchell whether Klobuchar should be disqualified from consideration of Joe Biden’s vice president pick based on her actions during her time as county attorney, Klobuchar said, “This is Joe Biden’s decision and he was an excellent vice president and he’s going to make the best decision for him for, our country, for the [coronavirus] pandemic and the crisis we’re facing.”

Klobuchar noted that when she was county attorney the African American incarceration rate went down by 12 percent.

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NYPD cops face disciplinary charges over ‘George Floyd-style’ incident

An NYPD cop will face misconduct charges for putting his knee on a suspect’s neck — the same move that led to the controversial police death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

“The internal investigation is recommending discipline for several members of the Department involved in the incident. Charges are expected as early as next week,” the NYPD said in a statement Friday.

Officer Francisco Garcia was suspended pending an Internal Affairs Bureau probe after he was caught on camera violently subduing a suspect in the East Village on May 2.

Cellphone video shows Garcia, who was wearing street clothes, wielding a Taser as he shouts at bystanders as other cops confronted two men for allegedly violating coronavirus social-distancing rules near East 9th Street and Avenue D.

“Move the f–k back right now!” he was recorded saying.

“What you flexing for? Don’t flex!”

Garcia then holstered the Taser and grabbed an onlooker, wrestling him down and punching him in his head before using his knee to pin the man’s neck to the sidewalk, the video shows.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office later deferred prosecution of the man — Donni Wright, 33 — on charges of assaulting a police officer, menacing and resisting arrest.

In addition to Garcia, at least two other cops are expected to face disciplinary charges over the incident, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Garcia has been sued seven times during the past six years, leading to more than $200,000 in settlements by the city, records show.

Following the May 2 incident, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said there were “certainly some tactics that I was not happy with.”

“I think we got to be better and that’s what was most troubling to me,” Shea said.

“I would also like to remind you that de-escalation takes two, unfortunately.”

Garcia’s union, the Police Benevolent Association, didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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The SAGE files: Social distancing must stay until the virus is gone

The SAGE files: Local lockdowns may prompt attacks on the police, hairdressers could be Covid-19 hotspots and strict social distancing measures cannot go away until the coronavirus can be wiped out

  • Only half of people acutally self-isolate if they have symptoms, scientists said
  • Reopening pubs, restaurants and schools would speed up virus spread
  • Lockdown rules should be stricter for people at high risk of dying of Covid-19
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Scientists have peppered the Government with warnings about lifting the coronavirus lockdown too soon, published secret advice papers have revealed.

A trove of around 50 scientific papers submitted to the Government were unveiled today laying bare the advice top researchers gave to ministers in April and May.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has been warned that social distancing must be kept in place until the virus is gone and that returning to offices, hairdressers and nail bars could push the outbreak out of control again.

Papers warned that easing the lockdown region-by-region could lead to violent protests and tensions within the UK, but that different groups of people may face varying rules based on their risk of dying if they catch the disease.

The release of the documents – which SAGE committed to do for better transparency – comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week announced the biggest lockdown changes so far.

Schools will start to reopen next week, along with some outdoor businesses, and people will be allowed to meet in groups of six outdoors. 

But infection rates are still high in hospitals and care homes and SAGE papers suggest that up to 25 per cent of more patients are catching the virus inside hospitals.

Scientific advice put to the Government in SAGE papers revealed: 

  • Only around 50 per cent of people will actually self-isolate for a week if they have coronavirus symptoms;
  • Regional lockdowns could increase tensions and risk violence, much of it directed at the police;
  • Face masks are beneficial and scientists told officials two weeks before the public was given the advice;
  • Test and trace will not be enough to stop the virus spreading – social distancing must carry on until the coronavirus can be eradicated; 
  • Up to 25 per cent of hospital patients diagnosed with the coronavirus caught it while they were being cared for;
  • A policy of ‘social bubbles’ could have encouraged the spread of the virus by opening the door to ‘excessive’ social networking. 

Lifting Britain’s lockdown in April would have led to more than double the number of deaths of lifting restrictions at the start of May, scientists predicted in the midst of the outbreak

Papers presented to SAGE suggest that it is possible for thousands of deaths per week to continue into and beyond August if the coronavirus situation is not handled well. In the past seven days 2,119 deaths have been declared by the Department of Health, putting Britain close to the worst case scenario on this graph

Regional lockdowns could trigger violence 

Imposing lockdowns on a region-by-region basis wouldn’t work and could lead to a rise in attacks on the police, scientists warned. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed this week measures may be imposed on whole towns, if there are regional flare-ups of coronavirus cases.

But ministers were warned enforcing rules on certain regions ‘would not be suitable’ for the UK – despite its apparent success in China.

In one of the SAGE papers, two security experts said doing so may ‘undermine the consensus that has been built on the need for restrictive measures’.

Professor Clifford Stott, a social psychologist at Keele University, and another author whose name was redacted said enforcing lockdowns on a region-by-region basis may ‘lead to significant issue of disorder’.

Allowing sub-sets of the population to live normally ‘undermines’ the sense of ‘we are all in this together’ spirit, the pair said. 

They added: ‘Geographical division of a large urban area in the UK will inevitably intersect with ethnic and socio-economic boundaries. 

‘Those in lower socio-economic positions are more susceptible to the virus and therefore lockdown will be more likely in areas of poverty relative to wealth.  

‘Anger arising from communities who perceive they have been locked down unfairly would be directed at police in the majority of cases. 

This is particularly problematic in areas… whose populations traditionally have more difficult historical relations with police and could easily lead to escalations.’

Restrictions imposed in the UK so far have yet to lead to any conflict because they have been perceived as fair, the experts said.   

They added: ‘Any sense of inequality… would likely lead to civil disorder and feed the propaganda of extremist groups and hostile states. 

‘Households may also fear retaliation if cases within a neighbourhood prevent release and may conceal cases as a result.’ 

‘Not enough is being done’ to protect the vulnerable 

Scientists raised concerns last month that not enough was being done to protect people most at risk of dying of Covid-19 and called for separate tiers of protections.

In a SAGE paper dated April 27, one of its sub-groups, SPI-M, raised concerns that the most at-risk groups of people were not being protected well enough.

It suggested that lockdown rules should not be loosened in a blanket fashion but should be designed to ‘de-couple’ outbreaks in the community and vulnerable places like care homes.

Experts in the group said: ‘SPI-M remains concerned that not enough is being done to protect those who are known to be at high risk of death if infected with COVID-19.’

The people at highest risk of dying if they catch Covid-19 are the very elderly and those with serious long-term health problems such as dementia, or people whose immune systems or lungs don’t function properly, such as cancer or transplant patients.

Those people are still being urged to ‘shield’ themselves by the Government – to avoid leaving home or having visitors – even as lockdown releases around them.

SPI-M’s paper suggested they may have to abide by social distancing rules for longer than other younger, lower risk sections of society, even if case numbers were low.

The statement added: ‘A low incidence scenario would still require risk-based variation in social distancing measures and careful shielding of parts of the population, although this would not need be as aggressive or have as high adherence rates necessary for a high incidence scenario.’   

Hairdressers and nail bars are high risk

Hairdressers and nail bars could be coronavirus hot-spots, ministers were warned at the start of May.

Scientists feeding into SAGE claimed personal care businesses ‘could have levels of infection as high as those seen in social care’.

And the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling group warned it may lead to an increase in Covid-19 transmission in the community. 

Mr Hancock yesterday said hairdressers will not reopen in the next fortnight, despite salons saying they are ready to open their doors in June.

The Health Secretary – who revealed his wife cuts his locks – would not commit to hairdressers being allowed to open their doors again on June 15. 

In Europe salons are open already with everyone forced to wear masks, including customers, and dry cuts, magazines, hot drinks and even long chats banned.  

Social distancing must stay until vaccine or cure is found 

Social distancing cannot go away until the coronavirus can be wiped out, vaccinated against or cured, top scientists say. 

Government advisers regularly remind the public social distancing is ‘here to stay’ but SAGE documents ram home how indispensable it is in the long term.

WHAT WAS DISCUSSED IN THE FIRST SAGE MEETING? 

WHEN WAS IT HELD? 

January 22 in Westminster – Britain recorded its first confirmed cases of coronavirus nine days later. 

WHICH SCIENTISTS ATTENDED?

  • Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser
  • Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England 
  • Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for International Development
  • Professor Jonathan Van Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England  
  • Carole Mundell, Chief Scientific Adviser, Foreign and Commenwealth Office
  • Cathy Roth, Department for International Development
  • Phil Blythe, Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Transport
  • Pasi Penttinen, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
  • Maria Zambon, Public Health England 
  • Jim McMenamin, Health Protection Scotland
  • Christine Middlemiss, Chief Veterinary Office, DEFRA
  • Professor Neil Ferguson, Imperial
  • Professor Peter Horby, Oxford
  • Professor David Lalloo, LSHTM
  • Sir Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome Trust
  • Dr Ben Killingley, UCL
  • Professor John Edmunds, LSTHM
  • Dr James Rubin, King’s College

WHAT WAS THEIR UNDERSTANDING ABOUT THE VIRUS AT THE TIME? 

There is evidence of person-to-person transmission.

The incubation period appears to be within five to 10 days.

It is ‘highly probable’ the reproductive number is currently above one.

The mortality rate for WN-CoV appears to be lower than for SARS.

No evidence to prove individuals are infectious prior to showing symptoms. 

WHAT DID EXPERTS RECOMMEND AT THE TIME? 

NERVTAG did not advise port of entry screening, despite not knowing much about the virus.

It also didn’t advise the use of screening questionnaires or requiring proof of exit screening at Wuhan.

SAGE said it would review its position on port screening only if a simple, specific and rapid test was available.

Temperature screening was unlikely to be of value and have high false positive and false negative rates, it said.    

DID THEY DISCUSS GETTING A TEST READY? 

The UK currently has good centralised testing capacity for Covid-19, which had yet to be named at the time, the experts claimed at the meeting.

And they claimed they were days away from having a specific test, which they said was scalable across the UK within weeks.

They warned of ‘conflicting reports’ of the accuracy of test samples taken from the upper respiratory tract, such as the nose and mouth.

SAGE agreed that only people who had symptoms and had returned from Wuhan in the past fortnight should be tested.

Even a highly effective test and trace system which has 100 per cent compliance from the public would not be enough to keep the R below 1 on its own, SAGE was warned.

The SPI-M group said that people must make long-term reductions to the number of people they meet up with outside of work and change how they do so.

In papers submitted in April and May the group warned: ‘Case isolation, household quarantine and app-based tracing, even with very high uptake levels, without some level of social distancing will not be sufficient to keep R below 1 on their own.’

It added: ‘Even with contact tracing in place, there will need to be sustained, deep reductions in contacts outside work and schools to keep the reproduction number below 1.’

Keeping the R below 1 is crucial for preventing a second wave.

The group said trying to restrict social distancing only to specific groups, such as the over-45s, would require ‘unrealistic’ proportions of people to agree to it. Applying it to everyone would see benefits with a lower level of compliance.

Rules expected to continue in the long-term could include keeping distance from other people (currently 2m/6’6′) and not having physical contact with people from outside your household.

The strictness of these would depend on the number of coronavirus cases being diagnosed in the population.                                 

Herd immunity could develop in a year but thousands would die 

One of the only ways to get rid of distancing measures without a vaccine or cure would be to try and develop herd immunity SAGE was told, but tens of thousands of people would die.

Herd immunity, in which so many people catch a virus that it struggles to spread any more, could work if it turns out people are unable to catch the illness twice.

For a brief period at the start of the outbreak the Government had considered trying to slow down the virus but let it keep going so that herd immunity would develop, but there was massive public backlash when it emerged thousands would die as a result.

In a paper submitted to SAGE in April, SPI-M said: ‘Maintaining a high incidence scenario [large number of infections] could allow measures to be progressively relaxed as population immunity developed.

‘It would, however, take around one year to allow all measures to be removed using such an approach, even if all infections resulted in an effective, long-lasting immune response.

‘Such a policy would result in tens of thousands of direct deaths from COVID-19 and it is unlikely that significant levels of population immunity could be achieved by autumn without ICU [intensive care units] being overwhelmed.’ 

Up to 25% of Covid-19 hospital patients catch virus during treatment

Up to a quarter of Covid-19 who need medical treatment caught the virus in hospital, government advisers warned.

And SPI-M told ministers the figure – compiled from ‘several sources’ – suggested this figure was ‘highly likely’ to be an under-estimate. 

Scientists revealed their estimate, submitted on April 20, did not include people who acquire infection in hospital, leave and are then readmitted. 

They called for an ‘urgent investigation’ into the true burden of healthcare-acquired infections.

And the experts suggested using some hospitals solely to treat Covid-19 patients, to reduce the rate of healthcare-acquired infections. 

Their estimate took into account data from provided to the Department of Health on a weekly basis, as well as Public Health England figures.

It comes amid claims 40 per cent of staff at a Weston-super-Mare hospital that shut to new patients over a spike in Covid-19 have tested positive for the infection.

Separate studies have suggested up to three per cent of NHS medics on coronavirus front-line unknowingly had the virus in April.

It raised the possibility that NHS workers were spreading the disease to vulnerable patients without knowing, treating them while infectious. 

Opening pubs, restaurants and schools would speed up viral spread 

Scientists cannot say how lifting lockdown will affect the speed at which the virus is spreading but fear reopening pubs, restaurants and schools would allow it to spiral.

SPI-M warned in a paper on April 1 that the more time people spend indoors with one another, the more likely it is that a second wave of coronavirus would emerge.

The Government, as it releases lockdown restrictions, is desperate to keep the virus’s reproduction rate – the R – below 1, to make sure patients don’t infect any more than one other person each.

Lockdown has pushed the R to somewhere between 0.7 and 0.9 but releasing the rules too soon will allow it to spiral again.

SPI-M said: ‘Relaxing rules of the use of outdoor spaces, including working outdoors, is highly unlikely to make a significant direct difference to infection rates, as long as social distancing continues to be followed in this environment.

‘There is limited evidence on the effect of closing of non-essential retail, libraries, bars, restaurants, etc., but it is likely that R would return to above 1 and a subsequent exponential growth in cases.’

They said that allowing people outdoor exercise and supermarket shopping were likely to have little effect on the R rate.

And large gatherings are also unlikely to boost an outbreak because they account for so few of people’s personal contacts because they are attended infrequently. 

But encouraging people to return to offices instead of working from home would likely have ‘the largest effect’ on the reproduction rate.

Fully reopening schools back to normal would also have a significant effect, the scientists said: ‘Lifting any of the other measures in place, including school closures are almost certain to return R to above 1’.

However, SPI-M admitted that it was difficult to assess the true impact of different lockdown measures on the speed the virus spreads.

The group added: ‘Measures have been introduced simultaneously or in quick succession, so their individual effects cannot be disentangled; self-imposed population behaviours may also complicate the picture.’

Terrorists could attack large gatherings while police short-staffed 

Terrorists could carry out an attack on British soil while police forces are distracted by a lack of crime, experts warned.

In evidence submitted to ministers on May 4, behavioural scientists claimed it was ‘an opportunity’ for the UK to be rocked by an attack.

SPI-B claimed violent extremist organisations may launch an attack ‘as a means of signalling to the public that a group or issue has not gone away’. 

The group also warned that permitting protests – currently restricted because of the Covid-19 crisis – could also be exploited by terrorists.

They said: ‘Lifting restrictions on assembly will permit protests against the economic effects of the lockdown, which will become more visible as time wears on. 

‘It is at points such as this that one could expect exploitation by violent extremist organisations and intersection with protests in other countries as a result of emulation/common purpose or trans-European activism.’ 

In a separate paper, government advisers said data showed 999 calls for the police have dropped up to 75 per cent in some areas.

Experts said the trend suggests the lockdown has led to major reductions in crime across Britain, perhaps due to a ‘lack of opportunity’. 

But they revealed there has been a spike in calls to the police for certain offences, such as domestic violence.  

Social bubbles could lead to ‘excessive networks’ and risk spread

Allowing people to meet in bubbles could have enabled coronavirus to spread through the population, scientists suggested. 

It was thought the roadmap to easing the lockdown contained the possibility one household could form a social ‘bubble’ with one other in a mutual group. 

However as people are set to start meeting up outdoors in groups of up to six from Monday, there has been no mention of bubbles. 

And Downing Street has warned the public that socially-distanced, six-people meet-ups remain prohibited in England until Monday.  

Minutes from a SAGE meeting on May 7 disclosed what the experts had to say on the issue of bubbles. 

They said that while the concepts of bubbles has potential benefits for wellbeing and mental health, there were also risks if they were to be introduced alongside other changes, or if there is poor adherence. 

The minutes said: ‘The effects of bubbles are complex. Introducing bubbles alongside other changes could reconstruct excessive networks, particularly when combined with any increase in contacts in other settings.

‘These networks could enable transmission through the population. It will be difficult to assess the effects of individual policy changes on R if multiple changes are introduced together.’ 

SAGE added: ‘A safe approach to bubbles would need to include isolation of all members of a bubble in the case of one member showing symptoms. 

‘This would lead to increased frequency of isolation for people, particularly in winter months.’

Face masks are protective when people can’t social distance 

Scientists concluded there was enough evidence to recommend the use of face coverings weeks before ministers issued the advice.

Experts said on April 21 that the public should be advised to wear coverings when social distancing is not possible, but ministers in England did not issue the advice until May 11. 

The SAGE panel, including chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, discussed masks on April 21. 

‘SAGE advises that, on balance, there is enough evidence to support recommendation of community use of cloth face masks, for short periods in enclosed spaces, where social distancing is not possible,’ they concluded. 

Despite Scotland and Northern Ireland issuing the advice to wear coverings, ministers in England did not give the guidance until publishing the ‘plan to rebuild’ nearly three weeks later. 

‘As more people return to work, there will be more movement outside people’s immediate household,’ they said. 

‘This increased mobility means the Government is now advising that people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible, and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops.’ 

Only HALF of people with coronavirus symptoms self-isolate 

Only about half of people with coronavirus symptoms self-isolate for an entire week, behavioural experts told SAGE.

The discovery raised concerns over whether future outbreaks can be prevented. 

The disclosure of low compliance with a key rule in suppressing Covid-19 comes days before the lockdown is eased, with people being asked to isolate for 14 days even if they do not have symptoms. 

Under the NHS test and trace programme, people in England will be told to quarantine themselves for two weeks if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive. 

A document shows behavioural experts warning: ‘We strongly recommend monitoring and rapid research into adherence rates to all key behaviours and how to improve them, noting that based on DHSC tracker only around 50 per cent of people are currently reporting self-isolating for at least seven days when symptomatic with cough or fever.’

Their warning came on April 29 and an updated figure was not immediately available, but now people across the UK are beginning to be allowed to meet up outside, at a distance, and shops are starting to reopen.  

Masks could make people ‘falsely reassured’ and ignorant of rules 

Wearing a face mask could give someone a false sense of security that encourages them to flout other social distancing rules, SAGE was warned.

The Government declined for weeks to advise that people wear face masks, saying they were best reserved for medical workers. 

But it now encourages people to use coverings – not medical grade masks – if they are in indoor spaces where social distancing is difficult, such as in busy shops or on public transport.

A document from SPI-B presented in April said: ‘There are a number of issues, risks and potentially harmful behaviours associated with recommending or mandating use of facemasks which could reduce their effectiveness.’

It said people might use them incorrectly or touch them, contaminating their hands, or make homemade masks that are ‘ineffective.

The group also warned: ‘People may feel falsely reassured by wearing facemasks and so pay less attention to other behaviours that reduce viral transmission e.g. wash their hands less, do not adhere to social distancing measures.’

90 per cent of care homes could experience outbreaks 

Scientists said in April that ‘current trends’ suggested 90 per cent of all care homes could suffer from outbreaks of Covid-19.

The SPI-M group said in a statement on April 20: ‘There is evidence in continued growth in the number of care homes which have experienced cases of COVID-19.

‘Any estimates of the proportion of care homes which will eventually experience outbreaks is highly speculative at this stage, but a figure approaching 90 per cent cannot be ruled out if current trends are maintained.’

The statement came shortly the peak of the outbreak before a focus had really shifted on to care homes and testing was not widely available for staff or residents.

More than 11,000 people are now known to have died in care homes.  

The proportion of homes that have had outbreaks is not clear, but bosses in the sector estimated it was around two thirds in April, while the Government’s estimate was considerably lower.

 Russia ‘is watching and gathering intelligence’

SAGE was warned by SPI-B that Russia would be watching the attempts to set up a track and trace system and mobile app in a bid to find ways to gather data. 

They said: ‘From an external security perspective, Russia will scrutinise all Western responses to Covid-19 as a significant intelligence gathering opportunity. 

‘Responses to CV19 allow it to monitor different countries’ response measures, timings and effectiveness in a wartime-like scenario. 

‘In particular they will examine planning and capabilities in response to a civil contingency/peacetime threat. 

‘There will consequently be interest in how effectively the UK can mount a contact tracing campaign as well as attempts to exploit whatever deficiencies or public concerns there may be with it.’

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Bill would add 15 to 35 years in prison for COVID-19 scam artists

Sellers of shoddy protective gear and thieves of stimulus checks, beware: A bipartisan new bill proposes decades in prison for scam artists exploiting the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation, introduced late Thursday, would temporarily boost federal criminal penalties by 15 years for pandemic-related fraud and by 35 years for COVID-19-linked counterfeit goods.

The Coronavirus Swindlers, Crooks, and Manipulators (SCAM) Act was introduced by Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Long Island Democrat, and eastern Pennsylvania Rep. Daniel Meuser, a Republican, who say they were outraged by reports of senior citizens being cheated out of their $1,200 stimulus checks via phishing emails and by reports of phony protective masks.

“Taking advantage of elderly Americans amid their anxieties regarding the pandemic is deplorable,” Suozzi said in a statement provided to The Post. “We must do everything we can to deter scam-artists from taking advantage of this global crisis. I am proud to introduce this critical, bipartisan legislation alongside Rep. Meuser.”

Meuser said, “The SCAM Act warns that these scammers engaging in deceitful activities will pay a steep price.”

“Since the coronavirus pandemic began, there has been an unfortunate rise in the number of scams aimed at taking advantage of hardworking Americans and seniors,” Meuser said.

“For example, the [Federal Trade Commission] has reported more than 50,000 scams totaling $38.6 million dollars and the IRS has investigated 15,000 false websites since economic impact payments began. These fraudulent schemes are always shameful, but scammers using this time of crisis to take advantage of vulnerable individuals is absolutely reprehensible.”

The legislation also increases maximum financial penalties for fraudsters.

To qualify for a sentencing hike, the legislation says a crime must occur “in connection with the emergency declared on March 13, 2020, by the President under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act relating to Coronavirus Disease 2019.”

The counterfeiting provision specifies that the product be “advertised by the person as having the ability to treat, prevent, or cure COVID-19.”

The new maximum penalties for fraud statutes would be 45 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine, while counterfeiting penalties would temporarily increase to 45 years in prison — up from 10 years for a first offense — along with a $2.5 million fine.

The legislation may have difficulty passing on its own, but as lawmakers work toward a fifth large coronavirus package, it’s possible there will be a serious effort to incorporate it into a larger deal.

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Pubs with beer gardens to be first to reopen when coronavirus restrictions are eased, minister says

PUBS with beer gardens are likely to be the first to reopen when coronavirus lockdown rules are eased, the Environment Secretary has confirmed.

George Eustice said earlier today that there would be no changes until "at least" July when he expected pubs and restaurants with outdoor areas would be the only ones able to welcome customers again.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Pubs, restaurants, theatres, clubs and cinemas have been closed for more than two months after the Prime Minister announced last orders on March 20.

But experts think that infection rates are much lower in outside spaces and there is a smaller risk of catching the bug.

Yesterday Boris Johnson announced that up to six people in England can go for a picnic or have a BBQ in their garden – as long as they remain 2m apart.

He told Sky News: "The sectors that are going to have the greatest challenge getting back to work, which we recognise.

"I'm sure the Chancellor recognises this too – the hospitality sector and some of those other ticketed venues, in particular cinemas and in particular theatres, restaurants and pubs, will also face a challenge getting back into operation.

"And that is why we won't be loosening the restrictions on them until at least July and even then it is likely that in the case of pubs and restaurants it will begin with beer gardens and outdoor areas only."

The 50-page roadmap for easing lockdown restricts set out some hospitality venues would be able to reopen with those with outdoor seating hoping to start serving customers again in July.

But pubs without outdoor spaces might have to wait even longer until August to start opening their doors again to customers.

The PM suggested yesterday the timings laid out in the roadmap could be sped up if new coronavirus infections continued to fall.

He said: "It is really difficult to bring forward hospitality measures in a way that involves social distancing.

"But I am much more optimistic about that than I was. We may be able to do things faster than I previously thought."

The news comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce changes to the furlough scheme which currently pays employees 80 per cent of their wage up to £2,500.

A tapered-down version of the scheme would pay employees 60 per cent of the wages with employers expected to top up the additional 20 per cent.

But hospitality bosses have warned this could mean the closure of many pubs.

While the risk of catching the bug is much lower when people are outdoors, the risk is not zero, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned yesterday.

He said: "It is essential people maintain 2 metres distance, if people are outdoors and stay 2 metres apart the risk is very very small but not absolutely zero under any circumstances."

But hospitality sector leaders are urging the Government to relax the 2 metre social distancing rule to 1 metre – which could allow thousands more venues to reopen.

Non-essential retail shops will be able to reopen from June 15, as the UK economy begins to come back to life.

All shops will have to ensure strict social distancing measures are followed.



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Who is Akshata Murthy? Rishi Sunak’s wife and daughter of billionaire N. R. Narayana Murthy – The Sun

AKSHATA Murthy is wife to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak. 

Rishi Sunak and Akshata married back in 2009.  She is also the daughter of Indian billionaire N.R Narayana Murthy – and believes we "live in a materialistic society". Here's what else we know about her family life.

Who is Rishi Sunak wife Akshata Murthy?

Rishi Sunak, 40, tied the knot with Akshata Murthy in 2009, in a two-day wedding in Bangalore, after the pair met at Stanford University.

The couple have two daughters, Krishna and Anoushka.

Ms Murthy runs fashion label Akshata Designs and is also a director of a venture capital firm founded by her dad in 2010.

She is the daughter of the sixth richest man in India, billionaire N.R Narayana Murthy, who is co-founder of Infosys, an IT company.

The Times of India says her father is "one of India's top entrepreneurs".

Akshata used to work in finance and marketing.

But she turned to fashion design, working with artists in isolated villages in India.

Akshata loved clothes as a child – a penchant that baffled her "no-nonsense engineer mother".

She told Vogue India in 2011: "I'm about the story behind a particular garment, its authenticity, craftsmanship and protecting a rich heritage."

Akshata was also quoted saying: "I believe we live in a materialistic society, and over the last few decades it has become easier to sell products to a wide audience, given the advent of globilisation."

The Times reported in February 2020 that she has a stake in her dad's IT firm that is reportedly worth £185million.

The couple are understood to own "at least four properties", the publication says, including a five-bedroom mews house in Kensington, valued at about £7million.

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SUV ploughs into a George Floyd protesters and then rams into a man

Shocking moment SUV ploughs into a George Floyd protesters and then rams into a man who tried to hold onto the car’s hood during a Black Lives Matter demonstration

  • Black Lives Matter protesters in Denver get out of way of Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • One man can be seen on top of the hood of the car before running away 
  • The car started to drive off before it appeared to suddenly swerve into the man

An SUV ploughed into a group of Black Lives Matter protesters before ramming into a man on the third night of unrest after the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd. 

White police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes until he passed out and later died earlier this week. 

His death sparked outrage and protests in various states, including Colorado.

Shocking footage shows Black Lives Matter protesters in Denver get out of the way of a black Jeep Grand Cherokee as it careens through the group.

A driver appeared to swerve to hit a protester in Denver on the third night of unrest after the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd

Shocking footage shows Black Lives Matter protesters get out of the way of a black Jeep Grand Cherokee as it careens through the group

One man can be seen on top of the hood of the car before jumping down and running away.

The car starts to drive off before it appears to suddenly swerve.

It charges into the man as a horrified onlooker yells: ‘Watch out!’ 

The protester is thrown to the floor but quickly jumps up and – joined by others – starts chasing the SUV as it drives away.

One man can be seen on top of the hood (pictured) of the car before jumping off and running away

The protester is thrown to the floor but quickly jumps up and – joined by others – starts chasing the SUV as it drives away

The clip was shared to Twitter by Joshua Potash with the caption: ‘Warning: this is horrifying.

‘Tonight at a Black Lives Matter protest in Denver a car pushed through the protesters blocking the street.

‘Then intentionally turned to try to run a man over.’

Panic also erupted in Denver when shots were fired during a march on the Colorado State Capitol. No injuries were reported.

Viewers quickly likened the video to the murder of Heather Heyer in 2017 who died after James Alex Fields Jr. mowed her down with his car at a protest in Charlottesville. 

It came the same night that rioters broke into a police station in Minneapolis – the city where Floyd was killed – and torched it. 

It came the same night that rioters broke into a police station in Minneapolis – the city where Floyd was killed – and torched it 

Minneapolis, Minnesota: The police building is engulfed in flames as rioters took over the building and set it alight

Minneapolis, Minnesota: A mob descended upon Minneapolis Third Precinct, smashing windows before setting the building on fire during the second night of violent protests

Shocking footage showed flames billowing out of the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct just hours after prosecutors warned there is ‘evidence that does not support criminal charges’ in the case of the four cops accused of killing Floyd, sparking fears that they will continue to walk free.  

In New York City, NYPD officers were seen brawling on the ground with protesters as at least 70 people were arrested in the Big Apple.  

Protesters in Ohio smashed the windows of the statehouse in downtown Columbus and raided the building and demonstrators damaged a police cruiser in downtown Los Angeles. 

Over in Kentucky, seven people were shot in downtown Louisville during a protest demanding justice for black woman Breonna Taylor who was shot dead by cops back in March, as the Floyd case reignited tensions between cops and the African-American community. 

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Johnny Cash's granddaughter called a 'liberal p****' for wearing mask

Ring of Ire! Johnny Cash’s daughter Rosanne is left outraged after one of her children is called a ‘liberal p****’ for wearing a face mask in Nashville store

  • Rosanne Cash has slammed the ‘ignorance’ and ‘hatred’ surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, after her daughter was apparently heckled for wearing a facemask
  • Rosanne said her daughter was sensibly following government guidance when she was accosted inside a Krogers, in Green Hills on Tuesday
  • Cash didn’t say which daughter was subjected to the verbal lashing, though two of her children, Caitlin Rivers Crowell and Carrie Kathleen, live in Nashville
  • The outraged mother says her daughter has to wear a mask because she would be at high risk should she ever contract coronavirus
  • Cash revealed her daughter nearly died from swine flu, and had to be placed on a ventilator for three days, so she ‘cannot get COVID’ 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Rosanne Cash has slammed the ‘ignorance’ and ‘hatred’ surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic after her daughter was apparently heckled for wearing a face mask inside a Nashville grocery store.

Though her father, legendary singer Johnny Cash, was famed for his rebellious and outlawish ways, 65-year-old Rosanne said her daughter was sensibly following government recommendations when she was accosted by a man inside a Krogers, in Green Hills.

‘My daughter lives in Nashville & wore her mask to buy groceries,’ Rosanne tweeted Tuesday. ‘Guy yells at her: ‘Liberal p****!’

Cash didn’t specify which of her four daughters was subjected to the apparent verbal lashing, though two of her children, Caitlin Rivers Crowell and Carrie Kathleen Crowell both live in Nashville.

Rosanne Cash has slammed the ‘ignorance’ and ‘hatred’ surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, after her daughter was apparently heckled for wearing a face mask inside a Nashville grocery store

Cash didn’t specify which of four daughters was subjected to the apparent verbal lashing, though two of her children, Caitlin Rivers Crowell (second left) and Carrie Kathleen Crowell (center) both live in Nashville

The outraged mother said she found the remark offensive for two reasons: firstly because the CDC recommends wearing the face masks to help curb the spread of the deadly disease, but also because her daughter his high risk should she ever contract it.

‘Back story: she nearly died of H1N1 [Swine Flu]. She was in the ICU for a week, on a ventilator for 3 days. She CANNOT get covid,’ Cash, a four-time Grammy winner, wrote. ‘The ignorance & hatred is so painful. She’s trying to survive.’

The tweet has since received more than 44,000 retweets and nearly 250,000 likes, Cash also received thousands of comments from friends and followers who shared her shock.

The incident happened at a Krogers, in Green Hills, Tennessee on Tuesday afternoon

‘Imagine some idiot calling Johnny Cash’s granddaughter a p****,’ actress Patricia Arquette tweeted in response. ‘May the ghost of Johnny cash hound him all of his days!!’

Carol Abney, a Democrat who is running for the Tennessee House of Representatives, also responded, saying: ‘I am so sorry some of us do not project the actual care for families and neighbors that most Tennesseans exhibit so proudly.

‘Tell her I’m from Tennessee, I care about her, I thank her for wearing a mask, and to just remember #WeAreTN, not the ignorant a** that yelled at her,’ she continued.

One tweeter mused, ‘The sad part is, if she mentioned who her grandfather was, he would’ve probably bowed down before her.’

‘Or her mother,’ another added, while others called the alleged occurrence ‘awful’ and thanks Cash’s daughter for ‘being a hero’.

While the majority of the comments voiced support, some accused the singer of fabricating the anecdote in an attempt to make a political statement.

‘It reveals a lot about you, that you think I would make up a story that used my daughter’s compromised health to make a point,’ Cash wrote in rebuttal to a since deleted tweet.

Face coverings have proved to be a polarizing topic for Americans since coronavirus started spreading across the country in March. While politicians such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has insisted wearing a mask is the new ‘cool’, others have completely objected to the idea, such as President Donald Trump who has repeatedly refused to wear a mask in public.

In many states across the country, including New York, businesses now require patrons to wear masks upon on entry, otherwise they can be refused service. Meanwhile, in Kentucky, one convenience store displayed a ‘No Face Masks Allowed!’ sign on its doors, telling customers to take off facial coverings or ‘go somewhere else’ for their goods.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended people wear cloth face coverings in public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in communities, including among vulnerable populations.

Initially, the CDC instructed that healthy people shouldn’t wear the masks because it would not protect, but research about asymptomatic spreaders led the agency to reverse its recommendations.

Before her Tuesday tweet, Cash previously revealed that she had been reprimanded for not wearing a face-mask during a socially-distant visit with friends.

‘We took our masks off and they sat on the bottom of the stoop and we sat on the top and had wine and cake. We haven’t seen many people outside of Zoom so it was really fun. (We still got reprimanded by a passerby for not wearing masks while visiting,’ she wrote on Instagram. 

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Four more Harvey Weinstein accusers come forward including one who was 17 ‘when the vile half-naked mogul raped her’ – The Sun

FOUR more Harvey Weinstein accusers came forward  in a bombshell new lawsuit on Thursday – with one claiming she was only 17 when the Hollywood mogul raped her.

The disgraced 68-year-old is currently serving time on a slew of sexual assault convictions, which ranged from harassment to rape of multiple women.


On Thursday, more alleged victims took legal steps, revealing that he allegedly preyed on them decades ago, which the former movie mogul has denied.

One of these women, now 43, claimed he lured her to a hotel room as a teenager to discuss an acting opportunity – this is where he allegedly sexually assaulted and raped her.

The Manhattan Supreme Court filing cited by the New York Daily News detailed how a naked Weinstein met the young girl at the door.

"Because she was on her own in a hotel several miles from her home, with no way of getting home without Weinstein’s associate taking her there, she decided to keep her cool and try to get through the 'meeting' as quickly as possible," the lawsuit stated.

Lawyers for this woman, referred to as "Jane Doe II," said she rejected Weinstein’s advances but he cornered her, forcing her to perform oral sex on him and then raping her, as per the suit.

ALLEGED THREATS

After the alleged violent attack, the convicted sex pest then demanded that she give him her driver's license, according to the filing.

Weinstein then allegedly told her "not only [would he] make sure she never got to act in any films, but [he would] also have his associates track her down and physically harm her and her family" if she told anyone.

"She was thus afraid to come forward until now," the lawsuit stated, months after his previous conviction.

The three other women named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit make similar allegations against Weinstein.

Jane Doe I claimed Weinstein raped her in a hotel room during the Cannes Film Festival in 1984; Jane Doe III said she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein in a hotel room in SoHo, Manhattan, in 2008; and Jane Doe IV claimed Weinstein assaulted her during the 2013 Venice Film Festival.

'CULTURE OF SILENCE'

His four new accusers are now aged 70, 38, and 35.

The lawsuit also named his brother and business partner Bob Weinstein, their company Miramax, and the Walt Disney Company.

They are accused of fostering a damaging culture of silence in the lawsuit, which claimed that Weinstein's behavior was "ratified or concealed by higher-ups, managers and principals" at The Weinstein Company, Walt Disney and Miramax.

The Walt Disney Company vehemently denied the accusations.

DENIALS

A spokesperson told The Sun: "The Weinsteins operated and managed their business with virtual autonomy.

"There is absolutely no legal basis for claims against the company and we will defend against them vigorously.”

In March, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison by a New York judge for sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping Jessica Mann, a former aspiring actress.

He has since contracted coronavirus behind bars and has yet to recover.

Weinstein was charged in Los Angeles last month with a third sexual assault case and is set to be extradited.

LA prosecutors have reportedly requested temporary custody of Weinstein from New York State's Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo.

He is to be arraigned on these charges once he arrives in California. The Sun has contacted Miramax and Robert Weinstein's representatives for comment.



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