Employers will pay a quarter of furloughed staff's wages from August

Employers will have to pay a quarter of furloughed staff’s wages from August, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce

  • Rishi Sunak will ask businesses to pay 25 per cent of furlough money for staff
  • Chancellor is expected to make radical announcement today or this weekend
  • It comes as 8.4 million workers are now furloughed to cost of £15bn to date
  • Britain faces the biggest economic nosedive of the industrial period – since 1709 

A quarter of the wages of furloughed staff will be paid by employers from August, Rishi Sunak is expected to announce imminently. 

The Chancellor will ask businesses to contribute 25 per cent of the wages paid through the government’s furlough scheme unveiled in March. 

He will also explain how people will be able to work part-time while still having their wages part-paid by his Job Retention Scheme.

Mr Sunak is expected to make the announcement either today or over the weekend as the government seeks to restart the engines of UK plc.

It comes as 8.4 million workers are now furloughed to a cost of £15billion to date, according to data provided by HM Revenue & Customs. 

A quarter of the wages of furloughed staff will be paid by employers from August (pictured, closed shops in a deserted Carnaby Street in central London)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will ask businesses to contribute 25 per cent of the government’s furlough scheme unveiled at the start of lockdown 

From August, employers must contribute one quarter of the furlough scheme, in which 80 per cent of wages for workers are paid by the state. 

Mr Sunak’s radical scheme will be closed to new entrants from the end of June, according to Treasury plans seen by The Daily Telegraph. 

All employers will be required to make the payments if they continue to furlough their staff, regardless of whether their business has been allowed to open. 

Over two million self-employed workers are also receiving grants to cover income lost through the disruption caused by the pandemic.

More than one in three private sector workers are now being paid by the state.

The Chancellor recently warned that Britain is facing a ‘severe recession’ and warned that lockdown is having a ‘severe impact’ on the economy. 

Mr Sunak is expected to make the announcement either today or over the weekend as the government seeks to restart the engines of UK plc (pictured, shops in Slough)

The Office for National Statistics said borrowing was up £51.1billion on the same month in 2019

All employers will be required to make the payments if they continue to furlough their staff, regardless of whether their business has been allowed to open

His claims have been echoed by economic analysts who in early April estimated that lockdown has costed Britain around £2.4billion per day.

The Bank of England forecast this month a 30 per cent contraction of GDP in the next quarter before potentially rising by 15 per cent by late 2020.

Bank staff believe this would represent the biggest nosedive of the industrial period, equivalent to the agrarian Great Frost crisis 300 years ago. 

Mr Sunak has extended the Job Retention Scheme until the end of October, though he said it would be altered in August to encourage people to return to work. 

Over two million self-employed workers are also receiving grants to cover income lost through the disruption caused by the pandemic

The figures appear to be even worse than the doomladen estimates produced by the independent OBR watchdog last week

The Chancellor told MPs: ‘We are in deep consultation with both unions and business groups to make sure we get the design of the second part of this scheme right.

‘I think it is right both for the economy and, indeed, for the taxpayer to ask employers to make a contribution.

‘They will have the benefit of flexible furloughing to help offset that.’ 

This week, the government vowed not to increase income tax, VAT or national insurance despite coronavirus wreaking havoc on the public finances. 

Boris Johnson also promised that the triple lock on state pensions – which means they rise by the highest of inflation, earnings, or 2.5 per cent – would be maintained. 

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Muggers jailed after Duchess of Cambridge's fashion designer robbed

Two muggers who stole £30,000 gold Rolex from Duchess of Cambridge’s fashion designer Amanda Wakeley during terrifying axepoint robbery are jailed for more than ten years

  • Amanda Wakeley was targeted by thieves on a moped in west London last year
  • They put an axe to her neck and put her in a headlock before grabbing the watch
  • Connor Murphy, 26, and Richard Walsh, 29, were jailed at Isleworth Crown Court 

Two men who targeted one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite fashion designers in a terrifying axepoint robbery, in which her £30,000 watch was stolen, have been jailed for more than ten years. 

Amanda Wakeley, the British fashion designer who has supplied evening dresses to countless celebrities and royals, was mugged near Chelsea Harbour, west London on the morning of November 13 after two men approached on a moped. 

They let the tyres of her car down, stalling her, before holding an axe against her neck, putting her in a headlock and forcing her to the ground. 

British fashion designer Amanda Wakeley, pictured with her partner Hugh Morrison, was mugged of her watch by robbers on a moped


Connor Murphy, pictured left, and Richard Walsh, pictured right, were jailed for more than ten years at Isleworth Crown Court

While Ms Wakeley, 57, did not suffer any serious physical injury, the thieves took her Rolex Daytona, which has still not been recovered six months on, and fled the scene, as members of the public rushed to help her.

Ms Wakeley offered to hand over her watch to stop the attack, and had to unclip it as the thief was struggling to wrestle it from her wrist, according to the Evening Standard.

Judge Simon Davis described it as a ‘carefully planned and organised robbery’ with the ‘hallmarks of some professionalism’, the paper reports, with one member of the gang having researched the value of the jewellery online prior to the ambush. 

Connor Murphy, 26, of Salters Road, W10, was jailed for six years and nine months yesterday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery at Isleworth Crown Court.

Richard Walsh, 29, of Ashburnham Road, Chelsea, was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison after admitting encouraging and assisting a robbery.

Mark Toth, 35, who has links to the Ladbroke Grove area of Kensington and Chelsea is still being hunted by police in connection with the incident. He should not be approached, officers warned.

The 57-year-old managed to get this photo of the robbers making off after the mugging

Her partner Hugh Morrison posted this message online after the incident in November

The thieves let the tyres of her car down, stalling her, before riding up and threatening her with an axe (pictured: Ms Wakeley’s Porsche)

At the time of the attack, her partner Hugh Morrison posted online: ‘Urgent, Amanda Wakeley was mugged this morning for her watch as she was getting into her car.

‘The moped assailants had earlier let down her tyres to make her stop to investigate and came up behind her, threatening her with an axe.

‘She is unhurt but naturally shocked.

‘The police have been amazing but say that this happens 5-6 times every day in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and have asked us to share this.

‘There are a lot of witnesses and the police feel that the culprits will be caught.

‘In the meantime, Amanda just wants to share her experience and hopes that everyone stays safe.’


The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex are both big fans of Ms Wakeley’s designs and have repeatedly warn them to formal occasions 

Stand-up comic Michael McIntyre and Arsenal footballer Mesut Özil have also fallen victim to moped criminals in the last two years. 

Detective Sergeant Chris Taylor, said: ‘This was a terrifying robbery which happened on what was a normal morning. We quickly identified those involved, and this has resulted in two convictions.

‘However, there is one outstanding suspect and we are appealing for the public’s help to locate him.

‘We would like to thank the victim for her cooperation during the investigation, and acknowledge her courage and bravery.’ 

If you have any information regarding his whereabouts then please call 020 7321 7581, or 101 quoting CAD 1848/13Nov19.

The designer with no formal training who made her name with Princess Diana’s ‘powersuits’

Amanda Wakeley, pictured this summer

Amanda Wakeley was brought up in Chester, the daughter of a prominent surgeon, Sir John Wakeley.

She has never had any formal training, but from her earliest childhood she was raiding her dressing-up box and altering the contents.

At her boarding school, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, she made extra money by running up clothes for her friends, and her first job, at 16, was working in a designer menswear boutique in Chester.

She began her own design career with a made-to-order collection, which she ran up in her Chelsea studio: ‘There was no great financial backing, just a collection of samples,’ she later said.

Nevertheless, her elegant styles soon brought her to the attention of Princess Diana.

The princess’s patronage made Amanda’s name, and famously, when Diana resigned from public life in 1993, she did so wearing a bottle-green Wakeley suit.

Amanda’s future should have been assured; unfortunately, she had her own marital difficulties to contend with.

By 1998, her marriage to Australian property developer Neil Gillon had ended – but his involvement in her business had not.

Two years later he sold his majority stake to Richard Caring, with Amanda staying on as creative director.

After five years, in 2005, Caring in turn sold the brand on to Saudi billionaire Walid Juffali.

And in 2008, Juffali sold it to the former City trader Jason Granite. Less than a week later, Amanda resigned.


Princess Diana in Amanda Wakeley in 1993 and the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011

Fortunately, by this stage, Amanda had already fallen in love with Hugh Morrison, a strategic business advisor.

Amanda credits Hugh with the fact that just a month after she lost her eponymous business, a deal had been engineered for her to regain control.

By April 2009, Amanda was back in the driving seat as owner and creative director.

She had not looked back since, with stars such as Scarlett Johansson, Kate Winslet and Angelina Jolie having shimmered down the red carpet in Amanda’s liquid silks.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Rania of Jordan have also worn her label for formal engagements and innumerable brides have chosen to wear Wakeley up the aisle.

More recently, she has changed direction somewhat from purveyor of evening-wear to luxury lifestyle brand and has begun to attract an edgier sort of customer, including Nicole Scherzinger and J-Lo, who wore head-to-toe Wakeley the 2015’s Golden Globes.

 Previously published in You Magazine.

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Painful blood tests could be over – replaced by pictures of your eyelid taken on a SMARTPHONE – The Sun

PAINFUL blood tests could be over for many thanks to a new tool to measure haemoglobin — using a smartphone.

Instead of drawing blood, a picture of a person’s eyelids is taken with a specially adapted phone camera.

It has a hyperspectral imager to measure haemoglobin, blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity.

US tests on more than 150 volunteers showed they were comparable to traditional blood tests.

Medics hope it can help detect anaemia, acute kidney injury and haemorrhages, or assess blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia.

Study leader Prof Young Kim, from Indiana’s Purdue University, said: "Our new mobile health approach paves the way for bedside or remote testing of blood haemoglobin levels for detecting anaemia, acute kidney injury and haemorrhages, or for assessing blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased awareness of the need for expanded mobile health and telemedicine services."

"This new technology could be very useful for detecting anaemia, which is characterised by low levels of blood haemoglobin.

"This is a major public health problem in developing countries, but can also be caused by cancer and cancer treatments."

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Mothers reveal how they felt on their first day of being a parent

What the first moments of motherhood are REALLY like: Women reveal their complex emotions from feeling judged by nurses to mourning their old life – and some admit they felt nothing

  • Mothers from around the world have revealed how they felt after giving birth
  • Writing on confessions app Whisper, many admitted they experienced fear 
  • One said she felt judged by the nurses for her decision not to breastfeed

Many mothers share snaps of joyous first moments with their newborn on social media, but some have confessed their own experiences were not suitable for camera.

Writing on anonymous sharing app Whisper, women from around the world have revealed how they felt during the first day of motherhood. 

One woman said she felt judged by the hospital nurses for deciding not to breastfeed after having an emergency c-section and a rough night.

Meanwhile, others admitted they felt terrified after experiencing trauma – including one mother who spent over 40 hours in labour and spent the first night worrying because her daughter was born prematurely. 

Mothers from around the world revealed how they felt within the first few hours of giving birth, including an anonymous parent, from an unknown location, who didn’t know she was pregnant until she was in labour

A mother, who lives in Kentucky, said she felt relieved after giving birth because she almost died in the process 




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One woman, who is believed to be from America, confessed she felt scared on the first night with her daughter because it felt like she was saying goodbye to her old life 

Another anonymous woman, from an unknown location, said she felt judged by the nurses in her hospital for not breastfeeding

A woman, from Connecticut, confessed she felt like something was wrong with her because she couldn’t cry when her daughter was born

One woman, who lives in New Mexico, revealed she didn’t have any emotion for the first six months after her baby was born 

Another mother from America said she felt terrified when her daughter was born three months early and had to stay in intensive care

A woman who lives in Utah said she spent over 40 hours in labour and felt terrified when her daughter was born prematurely 

A single mother who lives in Arizona confessed she had no experience with babies before she gave birth and relied on her father for help

One anonymous mother, from an unknown location, said the first few days after giving birth were rough because she was very sick and unable to see her child for three days 

Another mother, from, an unknown location, revealed she developed postpartum depression after feeling guilty for having a child 

A woman, from an unknown location, who gave birth two months early, said she was worried that her son wouldn’t survive 

Another woman, believed to be from America, spent her first night of being a mother scared after her baby was taken to a children’s hospital 

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Everything That Happened in Outlander’s Season 5 Finale

Season 5 of Outlander has been a roller coaster (still not over Murtagh’s death), but the finale was absolutely devastating. Last week, we saw Claire get abducted from her home by a group of men, and unfortunately the worst happened. While painful and difficult to watch, the events in this episode set the stage for what’s coming in Outlander’s upcoming sixth season. Let’s get right to it, starting with….

Roger and Brianna Aren’t. Going. Anywhere.

Brianna and Roger decided to go back to the future last week, but here’s the thing: They were both thinking of home when they touched those incessantly buzzing stones, and home happens to be on Fraser’s Ridge. In other words, Brianna and Roger aren’t time-traveling into the future anytime soon—though that could change as the Revolutionary War draws ever closer.

Claire Is Abducted by Lionel Brown.

Turns out Lionel Brown is the man behind Claire’s abduction, and apparently he’s furious with her for moonlighting as Dr. Rawlings (and allegedly convincing his wife not to sleep with him). As punishment for encouraging other women to have sexual agency, Lionel and his men take turns raping Claire while she’s tied up by the neck. The scene is obviously really difficult to watch, and is spliced with footage of Claire dreaming about an alternate life in the future with Jamie and their family. The dream sequence offers both Claire and the viewer an escape from her current reality—but as Claire is repeatedly assaulted, her dream becomes more and more disturbing, culminating in Claire imagining that Roger and Brianna have died in a car crash.

Sexual assault is a complicated and delicate subject for a television show to depict, and Claire’s dream sequence was key to Outlander handling this scene with some sensitivity. But even with that added layer, watching Claire go through this wasn’t easy, nor should it be.

Claire Meets Another Time Traveler.

While being held captive by Lionel Brown, Claire meets a man named Wendigo Donner—who immediately notices her go-to catchphrase “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ” and asks if she’s heard of Ringo Starr. You’d think Donner—who traveled to the past with Otter Tooth—would want to help a fellow time-traveler out, but he seems more concerned with getting back to the future than coming to Claire’s aide when she’s assaulted. Donner isn’t seen again in the episode, but something tells me he’ll be a big part of next season.

Marsali Kills Lionel Brown.

Fortunately, Jamie, Roger, Young Ian, and Fergus show up to help Claire, and they kill every single one of Lionel Brown’s men—showing no mercy whatsoever. Only Donner manages to escape, while a badly injured Lionel is brought back to Fraser’s Ridge for questioning. This is a huge emotional test for Claire, who’s vowed to never kill someone—even Lionel, who’s truly the personification of evil. And while Claire, still shaken by the traumatic experience, seems to consider slitting his throat with a scalpel, she ultimately holds onto her values and shows Lionel mercy. Marsali on the other hand? Not so much. She injects Lionel with a syringe full of poison right in the neck while everyone’s out of the room. Honestly, he deserved it.

War with the Browns Is Coming.

We all know the Revolutionary War is looming in the distance, but that’s the least of Claire and Jamie’s problems right now thanks to Richard Brown. Lionel’s brother isn’t exactly surprised when Jamie brings his dead body home, but he does promise revenge—so expect Season 6 to (at least in part) focus on this unfolding drama. Until then, Claire—who’s truly been through more during Outlander than any human should have to endure—is back at home in Jamie’s arms. And the episode ends on touching note: When Jamie asks Claire how she feels, she simply says “safe.”

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Your Exhaustive Guide to All of Ryan Murphy's TV Shows

Ryan Murphy is a powerhouse—alongside frequent collaborators like Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, he’s helped to created numerous TV shows that feature amazing casts, powerful storylines, and just the right amount of campiness. For his efforts, he’s earned 6 Emmy awards, as well as the adoration from millions of fans.

In addition to his shows that are currently streaming/airing on TV and online, including 9-1-1, Murphy is working on three more shows due to premiere within the next year. But before that happens, let’s take a look back at Murphy’s work, from the shows you’ve forgotten about to the ones you can’t stop watching.

Popular

Murphy started his TV career with The WB’s Popular, which premiered in 1999. As one commenter said on YouTube, the show “had the zeitgeist of of the late 90’s and very early 2000’s.” The series followed two girls, one popular and one unpopular, as they’re forced to get along after their parents meet and get married. Unfortunately, the show was unexpectedly canceled after its second season.

Buy it here

Nip/Tuck

The show premiered on FX in 2003, and the timing couldn’t have been better, as the U.S. was in the midst of its plastic surgery obsession. Nip/Tuck was a hit, and during its 7-year run, it earned over 50 award nominations, winning a Golden Globe and an Emmy. And according to a now-archived web page, Nip/Tuck was actually the inspiration for the E! TV show Dr. 90210.

Buy it here

Glee

Everyone’s favorite teen musical series premiered in 2009, and many of the show’s cover songs managed to land on the Billboard Hot 100. Glee also spawned live concert tours by the show’s cast and concert film based on the 2011 tour. The show came to an end after six seasons, shortly after the death of cast member Cory Monteith.

Buy it here

American Horror Story

AHS is the FX show that’s birthed countless seasons, fan theories, and memorable gifs. The anthology series features a different set of characters each season, and the aptly named horror show has included storylines about murder, ghosts, aliens, witches, reincarnation, serial killers, and vampires. Mainstays on the show include Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters—which is why it was so shocking that neither actor appeared on 1984.

Buy it here

The New Normal

Buy it here

Scream Queens

Scream Queens was also a horror-themed show, but it was meant to be more campy and comedic than AHS. The cast included Emma Roberts, Ariana Grande, Billie Lourd, Keke Palmer, and the most famous scream queen of all, Jamie Lee Curtis. But while the show was canceled after two seasons, Murphy hinted that it could come back in an interview with Deadline.

Buy it here

American Crime Story

ACS is also an anthology series; the two seasons of the show so far have focused on O.J. Simpson’s murder trial and Gianni Versace’s murder. The show has been massively successful at award shows, and The People v. O. J. Simpson landed Emmys for Courtney B. Vance, Sarah Paulson, and Sterling K. Brown. The Assassination of Gianni Versace earned an Emmy, a SAG award, and a Golden Globe for lead actor Darren Criss.

The third season of the show will be titled Impeachment, and it will follow the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal.

Buy it here

Feud

Feud‘s first season premiered in 2017, and it followed the infamous rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. A second season was set to follow the marriage and divorce of Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, but it was later scrapped. There aren’t any current plans to bring forth a new season of Feud, and Murphy explained that if another season were to happen, it would be “years down the line.”

Buy it here

9-1-1

The procedural TV show follows a group of first responders as they deal with emergencies in Los Angeles. The show has been both praised and criticized for its wild storylines, but it turns out that most, if not all, of the emergencies seen on the show are actually based in reality. 9-1-1 also got a spinoff, and 9-1-1: Lone Star follows a new group of first responders in Austin.

Buy it here

Pose

Pose is based on the real-lives of Black and Latino LGBTQ+ people in the ’80s and ’90s, and the ballroom culture that they started. The show made history when it hired the largest cast of trans actors ever for a scripted series. A third season of Pose is expected to be released next year.

Buy it here

The Politician

This Netflix show follows Payton Hobart, a student from Santa Barbara, who “has known since age seven that he’s going to be President of the United States. But first he’ll have to navigate the most treacherous political landscape of all: Saint Sebastian High School.” With only 8 episodes in its first season, The Politician captures pretty much everything you’d expect in a Ryan Murphy show—outrageous, but you just can’t seem to turn it off.

The Politician is one of the first drops from Murphy after he signed his giant, $300 million, 5-year contract with Netflix, and it’s already filming its second season.

Watch it here

Hollywood

Ever wondered what 1950’s Hollywood would be like if it was more inclusive, more dramatic, and even more sexual than it already is? Welcome to Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood. Starring Patti LuPone, Darren Criss, Laura Harrier, Dylan McDermott, Jim Parsons, David Corenswet, Jeremy Pope, and Jake Picking, the recently released series follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood as they try to make it in the film industry. Fun fact—Parsons said he’s “never seen that many naked people at once, ever” while filming the Netflix series.

Watch it here

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'Dominant' version of coronavirus causing Europe's outbreak

Coronavirus outbreak in UK and Europe is caused by a newer ‘dominant’ type of the virus which mutated to spread faster and could change shape to avoid the immune system or a vaccine, scientists claim

  • The coronavirus has mutated into a faster spreading form, scientists say 
  • Strain now gripping Europe and North American is different to Chinese virus 
  • The ‘dominant’ strain appears to edge out older version whenever they collide 
  • A structural change may make it better equipped to latch onto human cells
  • But it does not appear to be any deadlier or more likely to cause severe illness 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The version of the coronavirus now gripping the UK and Europe is more infectious  than the one that triggered the pandemic in China, according to scientists.

Researchers in the US and Britain studied the viruses taken from patient samples and found that the West seems to have been hit by a mutated version of the original.

They said the mutated form of the virus appears more infectious and spreads faster but it does not seem to affect how seriously ill someone becomes. 

It also raises the prospect that the virus is able to mutate in a way that could – over time – lead to fundamental chances which reduce the likelihood of natural immunity of the effectiveness of a vaccine.

Believed to have originated in China or Europe the version of the virus, dubbed G614, is now ‘the dominant pandemic form in many countries’, the scientists said. 

They said it was first found in Germany in February and had since become the most common form of the virus in patients worldwide – it appears to force out the older version whenever they clash. 

Viruses mutate naturally all the time and it is not usually cause for alarm but should be studied in case they change so much they become unrecognisable to the body and immunity from a first infection cannot protect against them, as is the case with flu.

The research comes as British scientists today revealed in a Government study that there were at least a dozen different strains circulating in the population in March.   

The newer strain named G614 (blue) appeared later on in the pandemic but, since then, has dominated the older, slower-spreading strain D614 (orange) in most areas of the world. It was the only one recorded in England but all the patients sampled were taken from one city – Sheffield

Most countries outbreaks began with the older D614 strain (shown in orange). In China and Singapore this remained the dominant strain but in most countries worldwide it was edged out in March by the mutated G614 version

The study was done by scientists at the University of Sheffield and Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, and published openly online.

It focused on a mutation of the virus, officially named SARS-CoV-2, which was referred to as D614G. The researchers referred to the viruses without the mutation as D614 and the version with it as G614. 

It is not clear whether they classify as separate strains because the mutation is so small and affects only one tiny part of the virus.  

Looking at samples from around the world they found that D614 appeared to have been the virus’s original state in humans, and the one found in Wuhan.

It made up the vast majority of all COVID-19 infections in China, and Asia as a whole, and also seemed to be the first version of the virus to appear in the countries they studied.

However, the mutated version – G614 – started to appear soon after in Europe and North America in particular, before going on to take over as the dominant virus. 

‘A clear and consistent pattern was observed in almost every place where adequate sampling was available,’ the researchers said.

‘In most countries and states where the COVID-19 epidemic was initiated and where sequences were sampled prior to March 1, the D614 form was the dominant local form early in the epidemic.

‘Wherever G614 entered a population, a rapid rise in its frequency followed, and in many cases G614 became the dominant local form in a matter of only a few weeks.’

They said the G614 mutation may give the virus a ‘selective advantage’ which makes it better able to bind to cells in the airways, or to shed viruses which it uses to reproduce and spread.

It could do this because the D614G mutation appeared to affect the shape of the ‘spike’ protein that the virus uses to attach to a person’s cells and infect them. 

A sample of 447 hospital patients in Sheffield showed that people had a higher viral load when infected with G614, meaning they had a higher quantity of viruses circulating in their body.

This could make them more likely to spread COVID-19 because they could be more likely to show symptoms and have more viruses on their breath, for example.

The researchers wrote: ‘An early April sampling… showed that G614’s frequency was increasing at an alarming pace throughout March, and it was clearly showing an ever-broadening geographic spread.’

And they added: ‘Through March, G614 became increasingly common throughout Europe, and by April it dominated contemporary sampling. 

‘In North America, infections were initiated and established across the continent by the original D614 form, but in early March, the G614 was introduced into both Canada and the USA, and by the end of March it had become the dominant form in both nations.’

The researchers added that the fact that the spike protein is such a key target for vaccines and medication, means that this apparent evidence it can mutate was cause for concern. 

If a vaccine is developed to target the virus by latching onto its spike protein, for example, that would become useless if the protein changed shape.

And the same principle applies to natural immunity – if the body learns to attack viruses with a spike protein that is one shape, it may not recognise or react to a virus with one that takes a different form.

Dr Jonathan Stoye, from The Francis Crick Institute, said: ‘Although the functional significance of the changes observed have yet to be fully characterised, the study shows that SARS-CoV-2 can alter its genetic structure in multiple ways as it spreads around the world, a finding likely to have important implications for vaccine development.’ 

Scientists are still not sure whether people develop long-term immunity after their first bout of COVID-19. 

Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, said it is very unlikely that people would develop total protection after recovering from the illness. 

Although the older D614 strain (orange) managed to remain dominant in Asia for most of the pandemic, it was quickly superseded by the mutated version in Western countries and Africa, which started recording outbreaks later on

The Sheffield research comes as SAGE, the British Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, today published a paper revealing that at least a dozen strains of the coronavirus were circulating in the UK in March.

It is not clear whether G614 is included in this research.

The scientists who did that study used different names for the strains they studied, and the research was done earlier than the G614 study.

In it, leading genetic scientists had analysed the genomes of the killer virus in 260 infected patients from all corners of the UK.

They say they identified 12 unique versions of the virus, one of which has only ever been found in Britain – meaning it mutated on UK soil.

But the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) said the number of strains ‘is very likely substantially higher’ due to under-sampling in the UK.

The scientists say most of the strains were imported from Italy and Spain, the worst-hit countries in the world at the time the research was carried out.

There is no suggestion that any of the strains are any more potent or infectious than another, infectious disease experts say.

Professor Paul Hunter, at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline it is ‘entirely plausible’ this could happen to one of the strains if it continues to evolve.

The report, made public today, was given to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) in March to help them map the outbreak’s spread. 

Other secret documents of scientific evidence that helped shape the Government’s response to the crisis were released today.

There are at least a dozen different strains of coronavirus ravaging the UK. The most common is the B.12.1 strain (pink) and the B.11 strain (green). The researchers did not make clear which strains were imported from other countries, nor did it disclose which one is unique to Britain

New mutation of COVID-19 suggests the disease is weakening 

Scientists have discovered a unique mutation to coronavirus in Arizona – and it’s a pattern that they’ve seen before. 

One of the 382 samples they collected from coronavirus patients in the state was missing a sizeable segment of genetic material. 

In the middle and late stages of the SARS epidemic of 2003, this very same kind of deletion started cropping up in patients around the globe. 

It’s not just any mutation – the change robs the closely related viruses of one of their weapons against the host’s immune response, making the infection weaker. 

As that mutation became widespread, the SARS outbreak wound down. By July – five months after it emerged in Asia in February 23 – there were no new cases, and the outbreak was considered contained. 

Now, Arizona State University experts have only found one person who had a version of the virus with this mutation – but they say if genome sequencing for coronavirus become more common, we may find far more. 

They sequenced the genomes of the virus in 382 nasal swab samples. Like ours, viral genetic material is composed of chemical units known by their letters. 

The human genome consists of three billion DNA ‘letters’. Viral genomes are far simpler than ours, and coronavirus consists of 30,000 letters of RNA. 

In one of the samples they collected, the ASU researchers discovered that a massive 81 letters were missing. And these were a particularly meaningful missing 81 pieces of RNA. 

‘This is something we’ve seen before in the 2003 SARS outbreak during the middle and late phase of the outbreak, the virus acquired large deletions in these SS3 proteins,’ lead study author Dr Efrem Lim told DailyMail.com.  

‘These proteins are not just there to replicate – they are in there to help enhance virulence and suppress the immune system [of the host]. It evolved with a more attenuated from in the late phase of the epidemic.’ 

In other words, the SARS virus changed to be weaker (attenuated viruses are less the less risky, modified versions researchers make in labs as the basis for vaccines) as time went on.  

And now, at least one sample of SARS-CoV-2 had done the same. 

The researchers did not make clear which strains were imported from other countries, nor did it disclose which one is unique to Britain.  

All viruses mutate slightly as they spread through populations, which leads to small changes in their genetic material.

Scientists say the virus does this to overcome immune system resistance in different communities.  

As part of the study, COG-UK researchers analysed patients in Belfast, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield.   

They found 12 unique strains, most of which had been imported from Europe. The report did not specify which countries, but said the majority of cases came from Italy. It found that strains had also come from China, the US and Australia. 

Professor Hunter told MailOnline: ‘There are a number of issues with these strains – are they likely to cause different severity of disease? Are they likely to be more infectious? And are they capable of invalidating vaccines? 

‘The answer to all three of these is  that we have no idea. There is no suggestion from this study – or any other that I have read – that show these strains are more virulent or infectious that one another.

‘But it is plausible that one strain could mutate to the point where people with antibodies to an older strain are no longer immune to it.

‘These are called escape mutants, because they escape from the control of immunity. 

‘It happens with influenza a lot. The current coronavirus does not seem to do this as fast, though, but it is plausible down the line.’

Professor Hunter said the main value of the report was that it helps scientists track the spread of the infection around the UK.

He said this would become crucial when easing out of lockdown.

Professor Hunter added: ‘This enables researchers to continue to track where it’s going and help enforce new rules to stop another outbreak.

‘Say you have a cluster in the north west of England, which is unexpected, and it is the same strain found predominantly in London, then you could see that is must’ve been spread by someone travelling from the capital.

‘You could use this to tell if someone had broken lockdown rules by travelling there, or you could close down a possible transmission passage [a train line, for example].’ 

Sir patrick Vallance told MPs: ‘But a lot of the cases in the UK didn’t come from China and didn’t come from the places you might have expected’

The COG-UK is an innovative partnership of NHS organisations, the four Public Health Agencies of the UK, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and more than 12 academic institutions, including Cambridge University.

It is supported by £20million funding from the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Wellcome Trust. 

Coronavirus has mutated to become deadlier in Europe, Chinese study claims 

There could be as many as 30 different strains of coronavirus, a study of patients in China has claimed.

Zhejiang University scientists studied a small number of patients with the disease and uncovered tens of mutations – 19 of which had never been seen before.

Some mutations boosted the virus’ ability to invade cells in the body, others helped the disease multiply more rapidly. 

The most deadly strains were genetically similar to the ones that spread in Europe and in New York, reported the South China Morning Post. 

Meanwhile, the weaker strains were similar to those found circulating within other parts of the US, such as Washington State. 

The authors say their findings – based on just 11 patients – are the first to show the mutation could affect the severity of illness.

They believe the previously unreported mutations could be the reason behind Europe and New York’s devastating death tolls. 

It is still unclear why the aggressive strain of COVID-19 spread to Europe and the more mild version hit large swathes of the US.

But scientists say viruses are constantly mutating to overcome immune system resistance in different populations.

It comes on the heels of studies that claim the US was hit by two different clusters of the coronavirus, with type A dominating the West Coast and the deadlier type B in New York. 

Experts say the type A outbreak was spread to the US from China, where as the crisis in New York likely came from Europe – which was also rocked by type B.  

For the latest study, published on the pre-print service medRxiv.org, the team analyzed viral strains from 11 Chinese coronavirus patients.

The team, conducted by Professor Li Lanjuan and colleagues, tested how effectively the virus could infect and kill human cells in the laboratory.

Viral load – the amount of the virus – was assessed in all the cells after one, two, four and eight hours, as well as the next day and 48 hours later. 

And the experts also looked at the cytopathic effects – whether the virus structurally changed the cell during infection – up to three days after the experiment. 

The most aggressive strains created up to 270 times as much viral load as the least potent type, according to the results.

And the strains that produced the highest viral load led to a ‘higher cell death ratio’, Professor Li and her team revealed.  

Writing in their paper, the team said: ‘Our results show the observed mutations can have a direct impact on the viral load and CPE.  

‘This finding suggests the observed mutations in our study… can significantly impact the pathogenicity (the ability to cause disease) of SARS-CoV-2.’ 

The team found some of the deadliest mutations in Zhejiang, where the university is located.

These mutations had also been seen in several hard-hit European countries such as Italy and Spain – before spreading to the US epicenter New York. 

However, some of the milder mutations were the varieties largely found in the US, including Washington state, which could be the strain that shut down Wuhan, where the virus originated. 

But the scientists admitted that the ‘full mutational diversity of the virus in Wuhan in the early days is still unknown’.

It comes as damning new figures revealed today that Britain quarantined just 273 out of 18.1million people who arrived in the UK in the three months before the coronavirus lockdown.

The occupants of three flights from the outbreak ground zero in the Chinese city of Wuhan and another bringing home passengers from a cruise ship of Japan were the only ones taken to secure facilities in the UK.  

But millions more entering the UK between the start of 2020 and March 22 were able to enter freely and only advised to self-isolate, according to figures obtained by the Guardian.

It came as it also emerged the UK suffered a ‘big influx’ of coronavirus from arrivals from Italy and Spain who were not quarantined.

Mapping of the Covid-19 genome shows that UK cases come from all over the world, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance told MPs.

But a large number of cases in early March were from Europe and ‘seeded right the way across the country’ because Brits arriving back in the UK were allowed to return home.

Giving evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee this morning, Sir Patrick said that experts on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had advised ministers they would have to be ‘extremely draconian’ in blocking travel from whole countries otherwise ‘it really was not worth trying to do it.’

‘Whether that was people returning from half-term, whether it is business travellers or not, we don’t know,’ he told MPs.

‘But a lot of the cases in the UK didn’t come from China and didn’t come from the places you might have expected.

‘They actually came from European imports and the high level of travel into the UK around that time.’

At the weekend a senior minister finally confirmed visitors to the UK could face time in quarantine as the Government ‘actively’ considers stronger anti-coronavirus measures at the borders.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that new arrivals could also be forced to download a new contract app onto their smartphone as a condition of entry.

New restrictions would make the UK one of the last countries to introduce them, with the country very much an outlier in recent weeks by not halting inbound flights or insisting arrivals are checked.

People arriving are currently advised to self-isolate but there is no enforced testing. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel is  believed to be among those who have demanded tougher rules for foreign visitors and the remaining Brits still abroad who make it home.

But Sir Patrick suggested stopping travel was of limited use unless action was taken against a wide-range of countries.

‘What was very clear, and I think you can see this now in retrospect, is that the idea that you can control this by stopping travel from one place doesn’t work unless it is of course the only source of import,’ he said this morning.

‘We have now in the UK sequenced 13,6000 viral genomes, we got imports from all over the place. 

‘So quite early on the advice Sage gave was ”if you are going to do something on travel you either need to be extremely draconian – stop all travel from all sorts of countries – or it is really not worth trying to do it, trying to stop from one place because you won’t make it happen”.

‘So I think the answer is not, unless the country chose to do that, stopping travel anywhere and to … make sure that as people come back you have appropriate systems to isolate and make sure they are following the same rules as the rest of the country.’

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries, who was also giving evidence, added: ‘There are pros and cons which are not necessarily always obvious I think, between managing influx and outflux of passengers but also goods.

‘If you shut travel routes in, you are also shutting routes for various products which may be essential, not just for our population but all around the world.

‘At the moment most people who are coming back are coming back into the UK back home and they will immediately fall under social distancing regulations anyway.’

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My abusive husband kicked me out so I had to sleep on the street during lockdown

Less than a month ago, I could never have imagined myself sleeping under a bush during a global health emergency. 

It sounds conceited now, but homelessness was something that happened to other people – not me. However, after a drunken row with my emotionally abusive husband during the coronavirus lockdown, this impossible scenario became my reality. 

I first met Neil* at my university freshers’ fair. He was (and still is) the only boy I’d ever kissed. The first time we slept together, he told me sex would allow us to surrender to one another.

At 18, I thought this was passionate and romantic, but the memory now feels like an early example of the ways in which he would manipulate me for the next 17 years.

He proposed the night of my graduation and our married life soon settled into a volatile mix of control and mutual unhappiness, punctuated by the occasional session of missionary sex.

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Although I earn more than he does, he regularly checks my bank statements and mutters snide comments if I go to a business meeting with a male colleague. 

He even confiscated my wallet and house keys after I came home late one night a couple of years ago, which left me trapped inside all weekend.

At some point, I must have convinced myself a bad relationship is better than no relationship

I know I should be angry with Neil for the way my life has turned out, but all I feel is empty and exhausted. I keep trying to remember the exact moment I stopped loving him, but my affection dwindled so slowly it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific incident.

All my rage is instead directed towards myself for not having the courage to end a miserable marriage. Somehow, I must have convinced myself a bad relationship is better than no relationship. 

If I’m grateful to Neil for one thing, it’s his self-centered insistence we never had any children. 

However bad things were between us, I knew he’d never hit me. If Neil is one thing, he’s a coward and would never risk anything that could be proved in court.

Things came to a head a few days into lockdown. We’d cracked open a bottle of vodka and were soon rehashing the same argument we’ve been having for years: he insists I use money to emasculate him and I refuse apologise for my success.

Just after midnight, Neil picked up my handbag and threw it at me before marching me out the house into the pouring rain. I didn’t have a chance to find my phone charger or pick up an umbrella.

Although terrified by the prospect of having nowhere to go, I refused to give him the satisfaction of begging for permission to stay in the home I’d paid for. It was also the moment I finally admitted to myself that my marriage was beyond repair.

Under the coronavirus rules, all the usual avenues for finding a bed hit a stumbling block. I had my wallet, but couldn’t stay in a hotel because the government had ordered them all to close.

With my phone out of charge, I couldn’t call my family and, besides, they’d never liked Neil. Despite my circumstances, I still wasn’t ready to admit they were right.

I desperately needed the loo so squatted in the park undergrowth, which was the lowest moment of my life

I’d heard reports of empty hotels offering rooms to rough sleepers but, without internet access, couldn’t check if this scheme was up and running or if I’d even qualify.

I roamed the city centre terrified the police would stop me to ask if I had a reasonable excuse for being outside. Where would I begin?

As the rain got worse, I bedded down under a bush in the local park. By this point, I desperately needed the loo so squatted in the undergrowth. This was the lowest moment of my life.

Drifting in and out of sleep and cursing my awful marriage, I kept fixating on a previously forgotten encounter with a homeless girl outside Sainsbury’s about 10 years ago. She approached me to ask for money. I murmured that I didn’t have any cash. She followed me to the bus stop, screaming: ‘Don’t look at me like your s**t don’t stink.’ If only that girl could have seen me.

The next morning, I was startled awake at 5am by council workers in fluorescent jackets walking by the park entrance. After a night in the mud, I desperately wanted to get clean. My muscles ached but, emotionally, I felt numb. Perhaps I was too exhausted physically and mentally to allow myself to dwell on the night’s events.

I knew Neil would have sobered up by this point so I skulked home along streets deserted in lockdown. 

When I arrived, he’d hoovered the house and taken a piece of lamb out the freezer. He knew he’d gone too far. He didn’t ask where I’d spent the night and I didn’t volunteer any details. In fact, we made no reference at all to our argument and even had sex that night, perhaps to keep up the pretence nothing had happened between us. I looked at the clock the entire time and silently thanked God Neil rarely lasted more than three minutes.

Things have been tense between us since, but perhaps no more so than for thousands of other couples in self-isolation.

Whatever he says, I know Neil doesn’t love me and I suspect he’s having an affair. A few months ago, I’d woken up one night at three am to the sound of Neil giggling flirtatiously in the bathroom, clearly on his mobile. When I confronted him the next morning, he looked panicked then tried to convince me I must have been dreaming. I know I wasn’t.

He must miss his mistress (whoever she is) during lockdown, I suppose. Not that I care any more.

Like everyone else, I’ve been glued to the daily news briefings. When Home Secretary Priti Patel announced £2million in funding for domestic abuse victims during the pandemic, it seemed like a drop in the ocean. Even Robert Jenrick’s pledge that the government will prioritise domestic violence victims getting housing feels fruitless. How would either have helped me as I was frogmarched into the street?

While most of the UK is focusing on our lockdown exit strategy, I’m preparing my own. I’m siphoning money into a secret bank account, looking for a new job in a different city and hiding a bag of essentials in an airing cupboard. All so I’ll be prepared if anything like this happens again – and so I can leave Neil for good as soon as lockdown is over.

*Name has been changed

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EXO Fans Celebrate the Birth of Chen's Daughter

EXO-Ls around the world are celebrating after it was reported Chen and his wife welcomed their first child, a daughter, into the world. To support the EXO singer and his family, fans wrote kind messages on social media and trended multiple hashtags.

Chen and his wife had a daughter

The news was first reported on April 29 by Financial News. The outlet reported that Chen’s wife gave birth to a girl, and SM Entertainment confirmed the news in a brief statement.

“It is true that their daughter was born today,” the company said.

Chen announced he planned to get married in January

On Jan. 13, SM Entertainment released a statement that Chen planned to marry his fiancée, and confirmed that his fiancée was pregnant.

Chen then published a handwritten letter for EXO fans, writing:

Hello, this is Chen.

I am writing this because I have something to tell our fans. I don’t know how to start this, and I’m very nervous. Although these words are not enough, I’m writing this letter because I want to honestly tell our fans, who gave us so much love, first.

I have a girlfriend I want to spend the rest of my life with. I was worried and concerned about the situations that would arise as a result of this decision, but I had been discussing with the agency and our members because I wanted to announce the news at least a little bit earlier so I wouldn’t surprise you with the sudden news.

Then, a blessing came my way. I am also taken aback, as I cannot do what I had planned with the agency and members, but this blessing has given me more strength.

I couldn’t lose any more time thinking about when or how I should announce this, so I mustered up my courage.

I’m really thankful to my members for genuinely congratulating me after hearing this news, and I deeply thank our fans for sending me so much undeserving love.

I will never forget this feeling of gratitude, do my best in my place without changing, and return the love you have given me.

Thank you always.

EXO fans are celebrating the birth of Chen’s daughter

On Twitter, EXO-Ls trended #WelcomeEXOPrincess and wrote congratulatory messages for Chen with the hashtag #CongratsChen.

“jongdae has always said he wanted to have a girl and now he’s in the hospital holding her close and looking at her with all the love in his heart…. this is all i could ever ask for #CongratsChen,” wrote a fan on Twitter.

“I’m so happy for him. Words aren’t enough to express how happy I am for him. Imagine Jongdae holding his baby for the very first time. That’s pure bliss. Stay safe, healthy and happy with your Family, Chennie. #CongratsChen @weareoneEXO,” one fan tweeted.

“honestly i don’t think i’ll ever be able to get over the fact that jongdae has a baby girl like HIS OWN BABY??? HIS OWN LITTLE ONE??? SHE PROBABLY HAS HIS SMILE AND IS GONNA GROW UP WITH A BEAUTIFUL VOICE JUST LIKE HER DAD #CongratsCHEN,” tweeted a fan.

“congratulations jongdae, i wish nothing but the best for you, your wife and your daughter may your smile be a light to your daughter’s little world too just like what you gave to us. i love you so much #CongratsChen #WelcomEXOPrincess #종대야_축하해 @weareoneEXO,” a fan tweeted.

“jongdae having a daughter and exo-l’s trending #WelcomEXOPrincess all over the world… my heart is too soft for this I think,” wrote a Twitter user.

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Coronavirus nurse who warned of supplies shortage at Kansas hospital dies of Covid 19 just weeks before retirement – The Sun

A NURSE who warned of a supplies shortage in the hospital where she worked has died of Covid-19 just weeks before her retirement.

Celia Yap Banango, a Research Medical Center (RMC) nurse in Kansas City, Missouri, died on Tuesday night after contracting the coronavirus.

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Mrs Banango, who worked her entire career as a nurse, was scheduled to retire this week.

She reportedly was one of the many workers who had been raising alarms over insufficient supplies of personal protective equipment – such as gloves, masks and gowns – at the Kansas hospital.

Charlene Carter, a nurse who worked with Ms Banango for seven years, said in late March they treated a Covid-19 patient but were not wearing N95 masks or any of the equipment used when battling coronavirus.

HERO

Ms Carter, who described her fellow nurse as "funny", told KCUR: "It's horrible to find out she didn't make it.

"I just feel like things may have gone differently had we had the proper protective equipment that we needed to care for our patient that night."

Mrs Banango left the Philippines to move to the US in the 1970s and spent 40 years working as a nurse.

Her husband and two sons called her "a hero" for her efforts during her career – including during the coronavirus pandemic.

They said she wanted to go back to work to help fight the outbreak of Covid-19 and "was prepared to do so".


Her family told 41 Action News: "The world lost a good one, but heaven gained one."

In a statement, spokesperson Christine Hamele wrote that HCA Midwest Health was conserving equipment to prevent shortages, but she denied the hospitals lacked needed safety equipment.

She wrote: “We currently have adequate supplies of PPE, and are doing everything in our power to ensure we continue to have enough to protect our colleagues as they provide care to patients."

However, Pascaline Muhindura, a nurse and union representative who has been treating Covid-19 patients at Research Medical Center, said there have been no significant improvements in the availability of safety supplies in recent weeks.

She said: “We have not seen any difference in the way they were being rationed – N95s, respirators, surgical masks or gowns."

It comes after a top emergency room doctor died by suicide after struggling with seeing patients "die every day from coronavirus", according to her father.

Lorna Breen, 49, medical director of the New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital in Manhattan, died in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she had been staying with her family – after contracting the bug herself.

Her father described her as being "truly in the trenches on the frontline" and said she had found it unbearable watching patients die non-stop.

There are now more than one million coronavirus cases in the US, with over 56,800 deaths reported.


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