The Times - UK (2020-10-14)

(Antfer) #1

6 2GM Wednesday October 14 2020 | the times


Intensive care units at Liverpool’s main

hospitals are at 95 per cent capacity as

a rebellion against the lockdown by

local businesses grows.

Sources have told The Times that the

number of Covid-19 patients across all

beds is expected to surpass its April

peak in the next seven to ten days.

About half of the intensive care beds

across the Liverpool University

Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have

been taken by patients with the virus,

according to the Financial Times.

On Monday Steve Warburton, the

trust’s chief executive, told staff in a

memo that it had reached a “critical

point”. The trust was “taking a phased

approach to reducing our elective pro-

gramme, while exploring options with

other providers to maintain some of this

work in alternative locations”, he said.

Today the entire city moves into the

“very high” coronavirus alert level as

part of the three-tier lockdown system.

New restrictions include the closures of

bars, pubs, gyms, casinos and betting

shops. Opposition to the measures in

the region is gathering pace, with many

businesses arguing against closures.

The Empowered Fit gym on the

Wirral said that it was planning to defy

the new laws and stay open. “We are not

staying open for financial gain but more

for our members’ mental and physical

wellbeing,” its Facebook page said.

Chris Ellerby-Hemmings, one of the

owners, told The Times that he was

aware of about 40 gyms across Mersey-

side that would be doing the same.

“Obviously there might be some en-

forcement that happens, maybe the

council will come, and the police will

come,” he said. “We would have a dis-

cussion and explain that we’re doing

this to make a stand — and ask the

council leaders to give us evidence to

prove why gyms should be closed.”

The Pure Gym chain, which has

seven gyms in the area, has expressed

disappointment and warned that it may

take legal action over the closures.

Joe Anderson, the Labour mayor of

Liverpool, said that he had asked the

government to keep gyms open. Steve

Rotheram, the Labour mayor for the

city region, called on residents to

“blame the mess” of new restrictions on

the government. He also tweeted: “Lots

of people concerned gyms are closing

in our area. Neither I nor any of our

Sadiq Khan has warned that London is
days away from tougher lockdown
measures and could be “sleepwalking”
into three months of strict restrictions
unless action is taken.
The mayor of London said that it was
inevitable the city would pass a “trigger
point” in the next few days and a tier-
two lockdown would need to be
However, Whitehall sources said
that they did not expect London to be
raised from tier one this week.
Under tier two the nine million
people living in the capital would be
banned from mixing with other
households indoors, including in pubs.
London is on the lowest level of the
government’s three-tier system of local
alerts, which formally come into force
today. The city remains subject to the
present restrictions of the “rule of six”

London is days away from

second stage, warns mayor

and a 10pm venue curfew. However, Mr
Khan warned that the capital would
have to move up to “high” — tier two —
within days if things did not improve.
“All the indicators I have are all going
the wrong direction,” he told Sky News.
“Which means, I’m afraid, it’s inevita-
ble over the course of the next few days
London will have passed a trigger point
to be in the second tier.”
London appears to have lower infec-
tion rates than other areas in tier two.
Estimates by Carl Baker, of the House
of Commons library, suggest that tier
two has a “de facto cut off” of about 150
cases per 100,000 but that can depend
on outbreaks in surrounding areas.
Mr Khan backed a circuit breaker in
London “for two or three weeks” as
half-term approaches and insisted the
whole city would be rated as one tier.
Essex county council bosses also said
they wanted stricter restrictions amid a
rise in cases.

Katie Gibbons, Chris Smyth

More than 100 deaths from Covid-

were reported in the UK yesterday for

the first time since June, as official

figures showed fatalities doubling in a


The government announced that

there had been 143 deaths from corona-

virus within 28 days of a positive test.

While Tuesday figures are often higher

because of delays to reporting over the

weekend, the figure has not been over

100 since June 17, when 110 deaths were


Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director

at Public Health England, said: “The

trend in Covid-related deaths is start-

ing to rise quickly, which is hugely con-

cerning. We have seen cases increasing

especially in older age groups, which is

leading to more hospital admissions.

This is a stark reminder for us to follow

the guidelines. Importantly, do not mix

with others when unwell.

“We must all do our part to help con-

trol the virus by following the restric-

tions in our areas, maintaining social
distance, wearing a face covering in en-
closed spaces and washing our hands
The Office for National Statistics
(ONS) reported 321 deaths from Covid-
19 in England and Wales in the week
ending October 2, up from 215 the week
before and 139 the week before that.
The ONS figures include any death
with Covid-19 mentioned on the death
certificate, regardless of whether the

Deaths at highest level since June

Kat Lay Health Correspondent person ever tested positive. They are
thus considered among the most relia-
ble trackers of deaths caused by the
pandemic, but delays in death registra-
tion means they are less up to date than
the government’s daily figures.
The latest figures show that the
biggest increase in deaths from corona-
virus was seen in the over-80s, who
accounted for 57 per cent.
Everywhere except the West Mid-
lands and southwest saw increased
numbers of deaths from the virus. In
England, the northwest reported the
largest number of deaths involving
Covid-19, with 106 deaths, accounting
for 8.1 per cent of deaths in the area.
Deaths from any cause are running
above the five-year average by just over
4 per cent, with 9,945 registered in
England and Wales in the week to
October 2, up 311 on the week before.
In the UK as a whole there were 11,
deaths registered in the week ending
October 2, 591 deaths above the five-
year average and 583 above the week
before. Some 343 involved Covid-19.






Weekly deaths

Jul 10Jul 24Aug 7Aug 21Sept 4Sept 18Oct 2

In England and Wales Source: ONS

News Coronavirus

Hospitals in Liverpool about to

leaders closed gyms or asked for them
to be. That decision was government’s
alone.” He added that he would be
“working to make government let them
open as soon as possible”.
One video posted on Facebook by a
local boxer called on thousands to pro-
test outside the houses of Mr Anderson
and Mr Rotheram.
Mr Anderson said that restrictions
had been “a question of when” because
of the pressing situation in hospitals.
He has consistently argued that
measures must be accompanied with
full financial packages for anyone
affected, and conversations over
funding are believed to be continuing.
Any suggestion that Liverpool
leaders had not spoken up enough for
businesses was untrue, he said at an
online event yesterday. “The very idea
that I would go into a debate or discus-
sion with the Tory government and not
protect and fight for the businesses that
I’ve fought for, for the last ten years, is
quite frankly not acceptable or true.”
In a meeting yesterday all leaders in
Greater Manchester agreed that tier
two was sufficient for the area, with no
further restrictions on hospitality. Sir
Richard Leese, the Labour leader of
Manchester city council, said that the
government had asked for proposals,
which had been submitted on Sunday,
but had yet to respond. These included
a request for further localisation of
test and trace and the ability to take en-
forcement action against any premises
that flouted guidance.
“What we’ve argued for is instead of
blanket measures, which frankly haven’t
been working, are targeted, rapidly
deployable measures, which we think
have far more chance of working,” Sir
Richard told The Times.
Bolton reopened its hospitality
industry only at the start of the month
after weeks of closures, and many pubs
and bars are in a precarious position.
David Greenhalgh, the council’s Tory
leader, said: “We don’t think it’s an
accurate picture to just once again
return to hospitality and make them
the scapegoat.”
A No 10 spokesman said that ministers
were negotiating with leaders in the
northwest, northeast and Yorkshire and
the Humber about moving their areas
into tier three. He said that the govern-
ment had the power to unilaterally “im-
pose measures if that’s what’s considered
necessary to reduce transmission, safe-
guard the NHS and save lives”.
Leading article, page 29

Charlotte Wace

Northern Correspondent

Eleni Courea

Britain faces one of the biggest
challenges in western Europe in
controlling the coronavirus but
has “immense capacity” to tackle
it, a World Health Organisation
expert said yesterday.
David Nabarro, the WHO
special envoy on Covid-19, said
that the UK may need to
reorganise its test and trace system
to respond to outbreaks better.
Speaking to the World at One on
BBC Radio 4, Dr Nabarro said: “I
think the UK has one particular
challenge and that is for various
reasons there is quite a lot of the
virus around in the country.
“The scale of the challenge now
may well be one of the biggest in
western Europe. But at the same
time the UK has immense internal
capacity in local government as
well as in national government. It
also has the ability to re-organise
the test and tracing system so that
it can respond to local needs.
“We are massively inspired by
what the UK is doing, and we
believe that it can move to a point
where it is able to get ahead of this
Documents released on Monday
by the Scientific Advisory Group
for Emergencies recommended a
“circuit breaker” lockdown to stem
the spread of the disease.
Dr Nabarro said the UK was not
the only country where scientific
opinion was pushing for a stronger
response than the government felt
ready to implement.
“I can understand why the
scientific community is saying
‘This is scary, the only way to deal
with this is some kind of time-
limited widespread movement
restrictions’. These kinds of
decisions represent what we would
call the last resort.
“Even though the UK is a
relatively prosperous country
there are people whose lives are
really badly affected by these
lockdowns,” he said.

UK ‘equipped

to beat virus’

Kat Lay

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