NHS staff are being forced to stay off work because of coronavirus testing shortages, hospital bosses have warned.
Workers are having to self-isolate rather than work because tests are not available for either them or their family members, taking valuable staff away from the frontline, NHS Providers has warned.
Meanwhile, John Apter, national chairman of the National Police Federation of England and Wales, has called for more guidance over enforcement of the rule of six amid claims people were being asked to “snitch on their neighbours”.
Labour leader only able to access coronavirus test because wife works for NHS
Sir Keir Starmer has said his family was only able to access a coronavirus test on Monday because his wife works in the NHS, political editor Andrew Woodcock reports.
The Labour leader is self-isolating after a member of his family showed symptoms of Covid-19 yesterday morning.
But the symptoms appeared amid shortages of tests across the country, with reports that at times on Monday no tests of any kind were available in the 10 areas with the highest infection rates.
Chiara Giordano15 September 2020 11:46
Doctor who died after contracting coronavirus receives posthumous fellowship
A « very special » doctor who died after contracting coronavirus is to receive what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind posthumous fellowship, PA reports.
Dr Peter Tun was an associate specialist in neurological rehabilitation at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading for more than 21 years, and died in April after contracting Covid-19.
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said it would honour him with a fellowship reserved for « some of the most inspiring and innovative physicians in the world ».
Dr Tun, who died aged 62, first moved to the UK in 1994, having studied and worked as a GP in Myanmar.
He lived first in West Yorkshire before moving to London and later Reading, where he settled with his family.
After his death, his sons said: « Our family is immensely proud of our superhero dad.
« He used to say ‘Treat all your patients like they are your own family’, and this speaks to the type of character that he had.
« To us, he was simply the best human we know and we will miss him every day. »
RCP registrar, Professor Donal O’Donoghue, said it was believed to be the first time someone who died actively in service had been posthumously nominated for the fellowship award.
Chiara Giordano15 September 2020 11:30
Hong Kong relaxes restrictions
Hong Kong will reopen bars, swimming pools and theme parks from Friday as it relaxes coronavirus restrictions after the testing of nearly two million people in a programme organised by the Chinese government found 42 cases.
The announcement by the city’s health secretary, Sophia Chan, comes days after the Chinese special administrative region reopened gyms and entertainment venues and increased the number of people allowed to gather to four.
The ban on gatherings of more than four people remains in place as does a ban on people visiting public beaches as authorities called for vigilance.
Ms Chan appealed to the public “to not be complacent and let down their guard”.
Hong Kong has detected 4,976 cases of the virus that emerged in central China late last year with 101 deaths.
The loosening of curbs comes after a mainland China-led mass testing programme screened 1.8 million people – almost a quarter of Hong Kong’s population – with 42 infections found, including five cases through contact tracing.
New daily cases have dropped to low single or double digits from triple digits in July. No new local cases were reported on Tuesday.
Chiara Giordano15 September 2020 11:11
‘Wrong’ to say coronavirus tests aren’t available
Home secretary Priti Patel has dismissed concerns about the shortage of coronavirus tests in parts of the UK struggling with the recent rise in infections.
The minister said the government was “surging capacity” in areas under local lockdown restrictions – despite reports no tests were available in England’s ten worst-hit hotspots on Monday.
The minister said it was “wrong to say” that there were no tests available in areas under lockdown after she was quizzed about the long delays in trying to book a test in Bolton – the area with England’s single-highest infection rate.
Adam Forrest has more on this below:
Chiara Giordano15 September 2020 10:50
Rome Fiumicino Airport awarded five star Covid safety rating
Rome Fiumicino Airport has become the first airport in the world to be given a five star rating for its Covid-19 protocol by the air transport rating agency Skytrax, Joanna Whitehead reports.
Skytrax praised Rome’s Fiumicino Airport for its effective signage and information systems, as well as its in-house Bio-Safety Team of 40 staff who facilitate social distancing and ensure compliance with face covering usage in high movement areas.
In the wake of coronavirus, Rome Airport has reorganised operations so that check-in and arrivals are assigned to Terminal 3, while Concourse Gates E is dedicated to departure and transfer flights.
Chiara Giordano15 September 2020 10:48
At least 17 Indian MPs infected with coronavirus as cases near 5 million
At least 17 members of the Indian parliament have tested positive for Covid-19 as cases in the country near 5 million.
The politicians were screened ahead of the re-opening of parliament on Monday after six months.
Twelve of the infected MPs were from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, according to a government official, and all 17 were members of the 545-member lower house of parliament.
Coronavirus cases have been surging across India, where 83,809 new infections have been reported today, in the lowest daily jump in a week, bringing the total to 4.93 million.
The death toll has also surpassed 80,000 today after 1,054 more fatalities were recorded in the last 24 hours.
Chiara Giordano15 September 2020 10:34
UK unemployment rises to 4.1 per cent
The number of people in paid employment in the UK has fallen by 695,000 since March when the coronavirus lockdown began, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rate of unemployment increased as another 36,000 jobs fell off payrolls across the country. It warned redundancies had increased “sharply” in July, even as lockdown restrictions eased.
Meanwhile, unemployment increased by 104,000 to 1.4 million for the three months to July. The official quarterly unemployment rate rose marginally to 4.1 per cent – still low by historic standards.
Business correspondent Ben Chapman has more details:
Chiara Giordano15 September 2020 10:21
Priti Patel ‘would call police’ on neighbours breaking rules
Priti Patel has insisted she would call the police to report neighbours she discovered holding parties or flouting the new government restrictions limiting the social gatherings to just six people in England.
The remarks from the home secretary came after policing minister Kit Malthouse said people should “absolutely” consider reporting individuals they suspect of breaking the guidance to a non-emergency phone number.
Chiara Giordano15 September 2020 10:01
Starmer urges PM to replace furlough scheme
Sir Keir Starmer will today offer Boris Johnson cross-party support for a “genuine national plan” to protect millions of jobs as the UK faces a possible resurgence of the coronavirus crisis, political editor Andrew Woodcock reports.
Speaking to the TUC, the Labour leader will repeat the party’s demand for a targeted extension of the government’s job retention scheme to allow workers in sectors hit particularly hard by lockdown to remain on furlough.
And he will call for a ban on “firing and rehiring” practices which have seen some employees made redundant and then taken back on worse pay and conditions.
Chiara Giordano15 September 2020 09:54
Wetherspoon staff test positive but pubs not closed for deep clean
JD Wetherspoon has revealed that 66 staff at its pubs have tested positive for coronavirus, business correspondent Ben Chapman reports.
The chain, which employs 41,000 people insisted that visiting its pubs is safe and pointed out that it had invested £15m in hygiene and social distancing measures. Of the staff members who tested positive, 28 have since returned to work, Wetherspoon said.
Pubs where infected staff work have not been closed for deep cleaning and no list is available of premises that have been affected.
Chiara Giordano15 September 2020 09:36