NEW rules making it mandatory for Brits to wear face masks in shops have come into force today.
Masks must now be worn in shops and takeaways in a bid to slow down the spread of coronavirus – or customers can be hit by a £100 fine.
However, the police said today the new face mask laws can’t be enforced with John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, saying they “do not have the resources” to do so.
Many shops and cafes across England have already said they won’t enforce the new rules, adding it is not their responsibility to “police” customers.
Today it was also announced that millions of Brits will be offered a free flu jab this winter to protect against the impact of Covid-19.
It comes as the latest coronavirus death toll in the UK stands at 45,677.
Follow all the latest coronavirus news and updates below…
STUDENTS RETURNING HOME ‘MAY RISK SPREADING COVID-19 ACROSS UK’
University students returning home at the end of term could risk the spread of coronavirus across the country if there are outbreaks on campus, SAGE has warned.
Students who go home after falling ill with Covid-19 to avoid having to quarantine alone could also create an “issue” when British universities reopen their campuses in September, they say.
Scientists advising the Government said student migration at the end of the term warrants “more attention” as universities could “act as amplifiers”.
They warned: “If there is an outbreak at a university (even if not widespread transmission), then students returning home could pose a risk for spread across the UK.
“This will be further exacerbated if people return infected but asymptomatic. Students are also more likely to be integrated with the wider community at their home address.”
R NUMBER COULD BE AS HIGH AS 1 IN EVERY REGION OF ENGLAND
The R number, that measures the rate at which the virus is spreading between individuals, could be as high as one across England.
However the Office for National Statistics has warned that cases appear to be on the rise again.
The overall figure across the UK seems to be levelling off at 0.7-0.9 for the UK, and 0.8-1.0 for England for the second week in a row.
If R goes higher than 1 then we will start to see daily case numbers rise.
WHAT IS AN ANTI-VAXXER?
An anti-vaxxer is someone who either refuses to be vaccinated or allow their children to be vaccinated.
Since the pioneering work of Edward Jenner in the late 18th century on developing vaccines for smallpox, people have protested against the treatment for a variety of reasons.
Public debate around vaccine hesitancy has previously included issues relating to the safety of the treatment.
And ethical objections have been made on civil liberties grounds against mandatory vaccination programmes.
But anti-vaccination as an ideology is seen as contradicting the overwhelming medical and scientific consensus and has historically led to deaths from outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
What is the anti-vaxxer movement?
BIRMINGHAM MUSEUMS TRUST TO LOOSE HALF ITS STAFF
Birmingham Museums Trust has placed half of its staff at risk of redundancy as it struggles with the financial weight of coronavirus.
The trust manages nine museums all over Birmingham, including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Thinktank, Birmingham’s Science Museum.
A statement on its website reads: “It is with regret that Birmingham Museums Trust has entered a period of redundancy consultations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Around half of our staff have been placed at risk.
“At this stage we anticipate a considerable drop in visitors and the loss of income from our cafes, shops, tickets and other commercial activity is unsustainable.
“We have been enterprising, secured what funding and support we can, and have reduced our costs, but we now need to cut back further and this is how we have reached the painful decision.”
PM BLASTS ‘NUTS’ ANTI-VAXXERS
The PM slammed people planning not to get vaccined as “nuts” today as the Government launched a huge new drive to try and protect the NHS this winter.
Johnson said: “There’s all these anti-vaxxers now.
“They are nuts, they are nuts.” he told Sky News during a visit to a GP centre yesterday,
The Government is aiming to double its winter flu vaccination programme in England – with free shots for those aged 50 and over and 11-year-olds.
Last year, around 15 million people received a jab against seasonal flu but ministers hope this will rise to 30 million this winter.
There are worries that people could suffer both seasonal flu and Covid-19 at the same time.
Johnson said today: “We want everybody to get a flu jab in the run-up to this winter and that’s why we’re rolling out the biggest-ever programme of flu immunisation.
“And we’re aiming first of all for schoolchildren up to year 7, for pregnant women, for people over 65, for people who are shielded, but then we will be extending it to people who are 50 to 65.”
CHINA OPENS CINEMAS FOR FIRST TIME IN SIX MONTHS
Cinemas in China’s capital city re-opened after being closed for six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However they are not back to pre-coronavirus normal.
Cinemas are now allowed to sell tickets at 30 percent capacity and must adhere to strict social distancing measures.
All moviegoers must undergo a temperature check and show their local health code app in order to enter.
SPANISH HOT SPOTS DESERTED
Top Spanish tourism hot spots and beaches were left barren today as Brits and other tourists worry about getting stranded if the looming lockdown comes into force this week.
Locals had the normally packed beaches of places like Las Palmas, Canary Islands, to themselves (pictured).
Tourism has been very slow to pick up in some regions of Spain as others have been subject to new outbreaks and are at risk of another lockdown in spite of strict mask laws.
HOW DO I UNLOCK MY PHONE WITH A MASK ON?
Although it doesn’t have a 100% pass rate, researchers at Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab discovered that you can technically train Face ID to recognise you with a mask on.
It involves setting up the biometric system while wearing half a mask.
First you’ll need to go to “Settings” and click on “Face ID & Passcode”.
You can either select to “Reset Face ID” or set up your masked face as an “Alternate Appearance”.
Click your choice and then wear your mask but fold it in half so it’s only on one half of your face.
Your phone may give you a “Face Obstructed” message.
If this happens move the mask slowly away from the centre of your face and only just cover the tip of your nose.
You should eventually get a “Move your head slowly to complete the circle” message.
Then you’ll be asked to do two scans of your face.
Your iPhone should then read “Face ID is now set up”.
All you need to do now is put your mask on and test it out.
MASK FASHION SHOW IN KOREA
UK DEATH TOLL HITS 45,667
Coronavirus deaths in the UK have hit 45,667 following 123 more fatalities.
The Department of Health has not confirmed today’s new figures reported by Public Health England – after experts accused the body of bungling the figures.
The Department of Health’s figures come from all settings – including care homes, hospices and the wider community – meaning the current totals could change once the review has concluded.
The number of new cases reported by the Department of Health is 770 – up from from yesterday’s 769.
MAP REVEALS CORONAVIRUS DEATHS ACROSS BRITAIN
GRAMMAR SCHOOL BOSS SAYS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ‘GOOD’ IF 11-PLUS DELAYED SOONER
Speaking following the government’s announcement 11-plus tests will be delayed until late October, Mark Fenton, chief executive of the Grammar School Heads Association, said: “It would have been good if this guidance had been available sooner.
“But we recognise that we live in exceptional times.”
He added: “We hope that local councils will be able to offer parents an extra preference – as the guidance suggests – so that they will feel confident to include grammar schools among their preferences even though the test results may not be available in time for the deadline for applications.”
SCHOOLS TOLD TO DELAY 11-PLUS
Schools have been told to DELAY 11-plus tests until late October at the earliest because of coronavirus.
The Government has finally handed out advice telling grammar schools the exams due to be held in September will be pushed further down the line after SATs, GCSEs and A-levels were cancelled.
The soonest Year 6 students will be able to sit their tests will be late October, according to the guidance.
The advice to schools says: “We strongly advise that tests for grammar and partially selective schools are moved back into late October… or to November if local admission co-ordination processes allow.”
Everyone who visited The Downsman pub in Crawley, West Sussex in an eight day period has been ordered to isolate following a coronavirus outbreak.
Crawley Borough Council said: “We were notified of an outbreak of Covid-19 at The Downsman pub in Crawley earlier this week and since then Public Health England has been organising contact tracing of staff and customers.
“There are 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus with a link to the pub.
“While this is a relatively small number and may not be the definite source of infection for all these cases, we are asking people to take action to ensure the virus does not spread further.
“If you were in The Downsman pub between 9 and 18 July (excluding the 16 July) please self-isolate for 14 days from the date of your last visit.”
EASTERN EUROPE NOW ON AIR BRIDGE LIST
Holidays to Eastern Europe can now return from Tuesday as the Government today added several places to the list of places that people from England no longer have to isolate on their return.
People coming back into England from Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines won’t have to isolate for 14 days.
All travellers, including those from exempt destinations, will still be required to fill out a form which says where they will be staying when they get here.
SPAN NOT REMOVED FROM AIR BRIDGE LIST
Spain remains on the safe list for people to travel to without having to quarantine for 14 days despite a surge in cases, it was confirmed today.
People from England can continue to flock to the sunny beaches despite the country warning of a possible second wave to hit them.
COVID R RATE PUSHING 1 IN EVERY REGION
22 NEW CASES IN SCOTLAND
Scotland has recorded 22 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in a day, according to the latest Scottish Government figures.
A total of 18,520 people have now tested positive for the virus north of the border, after two cases previously classified as positive are now classed as negative.
No deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19 have been recorded for eight consecutive days, meaning the toll remains at 2,491.
16 MORE HOSPITAL DEATHS IN ENGLAND
A further 16 people who tested positive for Coronavirus have died.
The total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England is now 29,247.
Patients were aged between 58 and 104 years old. All had known underlying health conditions.
Their families have been informed.
R RATE ACROSS REGIONS
Here is the R rate across England.
Put simply, if the R rate is greater than zero, and therefore positive, then the disease will grow, and if the growth rate is less than zero, then the disease will shrink.
R RATE STAYS THE SAME
New figures have just been released by the government on the growth rate of coronavirus transmission.
Data released this afternoon reveals the growth rate is now at minus 4% to minus 1% per day, compared with a rate of minus 5% to minus 1% per day, last week.
The reproduction number, referred to as R, remains at 0.7 to 0.9 across the UK.
More on this shortly.
RUSSIA TO RESUME INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS WITH THREE COUNTRIES
Russia will resume flights with three other countries starting from August 1, the government has confirmed.
Air traffic will resume with Britain, Turkey and Tanzania, and Russia is working to expand the list, according to Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova.
Flights will resume in airports in Moscow, the surrounding Moscow region, St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don, a city in southern Russian.
The country halted all international air travel and shut down its borders in March to stem the outbreak, though restrictions are slowly being eased as infection rates fall.
IN PICTURES: NEW MASK RULES
Shoppers across England have been following the new rules and wearing masks in shops.
Some retailers, including supermarkets and coffee shop chains, said they supported the rules and would ask customers to abide by them, but it would not be up to staff to enforce them.
PORTUGAL HITS OUT AT BRIT QUARANTINE RULES
Portugal’s foreign minister has spoken out against Britain’s quarantine rules – with the tourist paradise still off the list.
Augusto Santos Silva said the UK’s decision to continue to maintain a quarantine regime for travellers coming from Portugal is “not backed by facts” in a tweet earlier today.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs regrets that Portugal has not been added to the UK list of countries exempt from quarantine. This decision is not consistent with reality and facts.
— N Estrangeiros PT (@nestrangeiro_pt) July 24, 2020
EXPLAINED: WHAT IS THE IMPERIAL VACCINE?
The Imperial College Vaccine is one of many that are being developed and trialled around the globe.
So far it has been trialled in 92 volunteers who are being closely monitored by clinical teams.
But Imperial’s approach differs from other vaccines, using synthetic strands of genetic code (called RNA), based on the virus’s genetic material.
When injected into muscle, the RNA generates copies of itself and tells the body’s own cells to make copies of the spiky protein found outside of the virus.
Scientists say this should train the immune system to respond to the coronavirus so the body can easily recognise it and defend itself against Covid-19 in future.
And it is hoped that, should trials succeed, the vaccine could be able to deliver effective doses from low volumes.
This will help scale it up for speedy production, manufacturing and distribution – which is key to relaxing lockdown restrictions.