UK News Students may have to remain on campus over Christmas amid Covid-19 outbreaks
North East lockdown: 10pm curfew for bars and pubs and ban on household mixing
New local restrictions are being introduced in northeast England - including a 10pm curfew for bars and pubs and a ban on people mixing with others outside their household. Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the measures in a statement to the House of Commons on Thursday morning after the government's talks with North East councils and local MPs.They will come into force from Friday in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.
University students may have to remain on campus over Christmas if there are outbreaks of coronavirus, a Government scientific adviser has said.
Sir Mark Walport, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has warned that students could have to stay in their university accommodation when term ends to ensure the infection does not spread to their parents and grandparents, as well as other parts of the country.
New lockdown restrictions begin in North East as Lancashire expected to follow
People in northeast England will not be able to meet others outside their household from today - as Lancashire is also expected to be placed under tighter restrictions. More than 10 million people across the UK are now in lockdown, after new restrictions in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham began at midnight.Residents in these areas are banned from socialising with others outside their household or bubble, food and drink venues are restricted to table service only and all leisure and entertainment venues must close at 10pm.
His warning came as freshers in Scotland have been told not to go to pubs this weekend as hundreds of students have been forced to self-isolate at halls of residence following a number of Covid-19 outbreaks.
A number of universities across the UK have introduced their own testing centres on campus ahead of the start of term to ensure students and staff can easily access a test if they start showing symptoms.
Earlier this week, the University of Liverpool confirmed there were already 87 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among students and staff on campus before the autumn term had even begun.
Sir Mark told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Universities are very large communities, they bring together people from across the country and they’re far from monastic communities these days.
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“The one thing that we don’t want is for an outbreak of coronavirus in a university to then result in students going home and spreading that infection to other parts of the country and other communities, to their parents, to their grandparents.
“If students are infected when it comes near to the end of term they may have to remain where they are.”
His comments come after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was not ruling out the prospect of asking students to stay on campus over Christmas amid coronavirus clusters in university halls.
Scotland’s Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead has suggested that students across Scotland are not being stigmatised in being told by their universities not to go to pubs this weekend.
Mr Lochhead said the Scottish Government is working with universities and supports the move which was introduced after representatives from the sector met on Thursday.
PM urges Britons to 'summon the discipline' to avoid second lockdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged Britons to "summon the discipline and the resolve" to avoid a second national lockdown after warning there have been "too many breaches" of coronavirus rules.In a televised address to the nation, Mr Johnson called on the public to "get through this winter together" as he set out a series of new COVID-19 restrictions - including earlier closing times for pubs, bars and restaurants.
Universities have also agreed to introduce a “yellow card, red card” system for breaches of student discipline that put students and others at risk, which could result in an end to their studies.
Asked if he can imagine a scenario where students will have to spend Christmas at university, Mr Lochhead said the emphasis was on stopping transmission of the virus on campuses and across Scotland.
He told the Today programme: “So our focus at the moment has to be to suppress the virus, so that we don’t have to take difficult decisions in the future.”
The University of Nottingham is one of a number of institutions which have created their own testing programme for students to try and identify if there is a surge in cases and the need for stricter measures.
Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said universities are “particularly high risk settings” with potential for rapid spread of the virus.
Prof Ball said the testing programme was able to identify a single positive case in an asymptomatic person rapidly and “potentially stop an outbreak before it started”.
Coronavirus: Students they should stay at university over Christmas
The warnings are expected to be published in the latest minutes from meetings of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). Larger outbreaks are expected at the end of the academic term as students move around the country to travel home during their two-week break, reported Inews.'This could pose a risk to both local communities and families, and will require national oversight, monitoring and decision making,' SAGE warned. © Provided by Daily Mail People walk past the entrance to Glasgow University on September 23, 2020.
He said: “If you think about these people aren’t going to have symptoms and yet potentially can spread, then if you’re missing those out of your testing strategy and regime then you’ve got a potential problem.”
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Panto dames demand government help after coronavirus brought industry 'to its knees' .
Panto dames have warned it is too late to save most pantomimes this year, and the future of the industry is in peril. © PA Panto stars are demanding support from the government More than 150 dames and creative workers took part in the panto parade, calling on the government to take action to save "an industry on its knees".The colourful characters marched through theatre-land in London, and down to Parliament Square. The mood was light, but the message could not have been more serious.