Sport F1 confident of working around fresh COVID-19 lockdown rules
England's Covid-19 R rate DROPS for second week
The UK's chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance said in a TV briefing today that social distancing and lockdown rules are keeping the R rate lower than it was in the spring outbreak.But the Government's chief scientific adviser warned that the epidemic is 'growing everywhere' and that more action must be taken to bring down the R rate, which is somewhere between 1.3 and 1.5 for the UK meaning cases will continue to surge exponentially.
Formula 1 teams are confident they can adapt to work around the fresh COVID-19 lockdowns announced across Europe this week.
Following the re-introduction of national lockdowns in France and Germany earlier this week, the British government is set to shortly announce a full lockdown will return next Thursday.
The previous lockdown in the UK began in March, with strict measures staying in place until July in a bid to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, resulting in a drop in both positive cases and deaths.
But record case figures and projections of a far higher death toll in the UK have prompted a re-introduction of many measures, which is set to be effective from Thursday and lasting until 2 December.
Covid-19 deaths in Britain could have been HALVED by an early lockdown
Professor Andrew Harvey, an emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge, calculated the death toll could have been halved if Britain went into lockdown on March 19, rather than March 26.The UK went into full lockdown on March 23, when 36 people were dying of Covid-19 per day on average.
Manufacturing industries will be encouraged to continue, and although most international travel will be banned, it is due to be permitted for work purposes.
During the initial UK lockdown, a number of F1 teams furloughed staff and shut down their factories in a bid to cut costs before the season managed to begin in early July.
It is understood that F1 officials remain confident the series will function as normal despite incoming measures thanks to the exemptions those working in the paddock are granted.
Asked by Autosport about the challenges a second lockdown will bring, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff felt F1 would be able to work around it.
"The lockdowns that we see in Europe now are very different to the lockdowns in spring," Wolff said.
Just 13% of English 'fully understand' Covid-19 lockdown rules
Only 51% of people in England felt they understand the 'majority' of Covid-19 rules - up from 45% in July but down from 90% in lockdown - with just 13 per cent 'fully understanding' them.That falls to only five per cent of people under 30 in England and Wales, according to the ongoing University College London (UCL) Covid-19 Social Study.
"Back in spring, it was a complete shutdown of any activity, going to work, being on the street.
"I think this time, at least from what we can see from France and Germany, access to pubs, restaurants and leisure places has been stopped or has been curfewed, but going to work is still permitted for the ones that need to go to work.
"It will impact our lives, that's for sure. It will heavily impact some industries. But I think we can find a way of working around it."
F1 still has four more stops on the 2020 calendar in Turkey, Bahrain (double-header) and Abu Dhabi, all of which are set to be held behind closed doors.
Wolff said it was up to the individual health authorities in these countries to decide on measures, but was confident F1 posed little risk by staging races thanks to its stringent testing protocols.
"It's in the hands of the health authorities in the countries that we are visiting to accept motor racing and host us," Wolff said.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford snaps at criticism of 'firebreak'
Mark Drakeford could not hide his frustration as he was repeatedly questioned on the restrictions, which come into force from 6pm for 17 days. He insisted they were 'fair' and crucial to stop the spread of the virus. But when he was challenged over whether it was 'essential' for parents to buy new school trousers if their children ripped them, Mr Drakeford moaned: 'It is just the wrong way to approach this whole business.'We are back to the ''how do you we get round the rules'' approach to coronavirus.' He added tetchily: 'There is a bigger prize at stake here than whether you need to buy a candle or not.
"These guys decide if it's too much of a risk, then obviously we can't race there.
"I believe that Formula 1 has done really a great job, the FIA, FOM and the teams, in running a championship, contrary to many other championships that are either run in a much reduced way or totally confined in some area.
"We've been travelling from country to country, we've kept in our bubbles, we've had very few positive COVID cases.
"That's why I don't think we're really providing a risk to any country that we are visiting, because we are probably the safest group of people out there."
The formal COVID-19 screening completed by F1 and the FIA has resulted in more than 60,000 tests being completed, 54 of which have returned positive, according to F1's figures.
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl echoed Wolff's confidence in F1's protocols, and was hopeful of adjusting to any new circumstances the British contingent of teams faced.
"With all the protocols, and things we have in place here for F1, for our own little world, I think we are still quite feeling quite safe," Seidl said.
'Critical stage' with 96,000 a day getting COVID as tougher action needed, experts say
The COVID-19 epidemic has reached a "critical stage" with almost 100,000 people a day in England being infected as the spread of the coronavirus rapidly increases, scientists have warned. Researchers from Imperial College London say existing measures to control the virus aren't working.And they argue more stringent action is needed nationwide "sooner rather than later".The latest round of testing for the widely-respected REACT-1 study suggests one in 78 people across England has the virus. And the epidemic is doubling in size every nine days.
"The health and safety for our people is, is protected, which is the most important thing. But of course, we see what's going on in the world and it's also clear that we are all not immune, despite all the efforts we are making regarding this pandemic.
"The situation is quite dynamic at the moment. There is no change in any of the plans, we still plan to go ahead with all the races coming. And I think we simply have to take it like that."
Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson felt it was "difficult to know" what impact of a second UK lockdown would have on teams, but was optimistic the season would be completed.
"With everything we've got in place, I think we've got a good chance of seeing [the season] out but inevitably when we get back home, and even just doing the travel to and from the venues, we're increasingly at risk as the general population are," Robson said.
"Cases are rising, so it's hard to say. I think we've done and are doing everything we can, but it could get difficult quite quickly.
"At the moment, it's worked out probably way better than we thought it would back in the spring, but it is definitely going to be very challenging for the final few races.
"The only thing I can say is it is definitely going to be hard."
London market packed on first weekend of new lockdown restrictions .
Londoners flocked to Broadway Market for drinks and food this afternoon, despite the second England-wide coronavirus lockdown. People were pictured queuing up for pints.Londoners flocked to Broadway Market for drinks and food this afternoon, despite the new guidance to stay at home as much as possible.