Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the vast majority of people who went out on ‘Super Saturday’ were “doing the right thing” and following social distancing, despite contradictory reports from the Police Federation.
“I think that from what I’ve seen, although there’s some pictures to the contrary, very, very largely people have acted responsibly,” Mr Hancock told Sky News, adding that he was pleased with how the nation reacted as restrictions were eased on Saturday.
“It was really good to see people out and about and largely, very largely social distancing,” he said.
However, the chairman of the Police Federation has said it was “crystal clear” revellers would not adhere to the one metre plus rule after pubs and restaurants were allowed to reopen on Saturday.
Mr Apter, who was on shift in Southampton said he dealt with “naked men, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks.”
Pub-goers were also pictured shown crowding the streets of London’s Soho, Newcastle and Leeds. While several pubs in north Nottinghamshire decided to close after alcohol related anti-social behaviour.
Follow the latest updates below.
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Britain weighs vouchers to boost spending in virus-hit sectors
Rishi Sunak is considering plans to hand out vouchers of 500 pounds for adults, and 250 pounds for children, to spend in sectors of the economy hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis.
The proposals were drawn up by the Resolution Foundation think tank, which recently held talks with the Treasury the Guardian reported on Sunday.
The vouchers are to be spent only in sectors such as hospitality and “face to face” retail, as opposed to online buying, it added.
The Chancellor is set to make an announcement in a few days on the government’s job support schemes and its plans to steer the economy through the pandemic.
India to reopen Taj Mahal with social distancing
Visitors to the Taj Mahal will have to wear masks at all times, keep their distance and not touch its glistening marble surfaces when the monument reopens on Monday after a three-month Covid-19 shutdown.
Only 5,000 tourists will be allowed in a day, split into two groups, a far cry from peak levels of 80,000 who would swarm the mausoleum built in the northern city of Agra by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his late wife.
“All centrally protected monuments & sites shall be bound by the protocols like sanitization, social distancing & other health protocols,” the federal tourism ministry said in a tweet.
Authorities are reopening the Taj and other monuments, such as New Delhi’s historic Red Fort, just as India’s coronavirus infections are rising at the fastest pace in three months.
On Sunday, the health ministry reported a record single-day spike of 24,850 new cases and more than 600 deaths, pushing the overall case tally to 673,165, closing in on Russia, the third-most affected country globally.
South Africa’s daily rise surpasses 10,000
For the first time, South Africa is reporting more than 10,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases in a single day.
That brings the country’s total confirmed cases to more than 187,977, by far the most of any country in Africa.
South Africa also has surpassed 3,000 deaths in this outbreak.
Cases continue to rise in Gauteng province, home of Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, which now has close to one-third of the country’s infections.
Officials have said beds in public hospitals are filling up, and nurses have expressed alarm.
The African continent overall has nearly 450,000 confirmed cases.
Employment practices in Leicester clothing factories a concern: Hancock
Matt Hancock said that he has “quite significant concerns” about employment practices in clothing factories in Leicester.
Speaking on Sky’s Ridge On Sunday, the Health Secretary said:
“Well we’ve seen outbreaks in food factories and in clothing factories. There is some quite significant concerns about some of the employment practices in some of the clothing factories in Leicester.
“They are important problems to deal with, but the number one problem that we’ve got to deal with is getting this virus under control.”
Mr Hancock added that “very significant fines that can be levied if it (employment practices) are broken”, but when pushed, did not answer how many fines have been handed out so far.
He said: “We also have the authority to be able to shut down a business if it doesn’t follow that guidance. So there is significant enforcement.”
Asked if anywhere has been shut down yet, Mr Hancock said: “Yes and that has happened. Absolutely. Normally it’s happened in consultation with and working with the employer with the business in question, but we do have that power, absolutely.”
Hancock side steps question on NHS pay rises
The Health Secretary was also grilled on the subject of pay rises for NHS workers on Sky News this morning.
Side-stepped the question, Matt Hancock said: “We absolutely want to reward NHS staff for what they have done.”
Today marks 72 years since the NHS and social care system was established. Last night, Number 10 was lit up in blue to mark the eve of its anniversary:
‘Enjoy the new freedoms, but do so safely’ says Hancock
Matt Hancock has said that the Government’s message to the public is “enjoy the new freedoms, but do so safely”.
“Yes, go out there and enjoy summer and get out and enjoy the things that we love, that we’ve been able to lift the restrictions on, but do so safely,” Mr Hancock told Sky News, after much of the lockdown restrictions were lifted across England yesterday.
The Health Secretary was also asked when the Government should begin learning lessons from its response to the pandemic.
“Well we are learning all of that all of the time, looking at what works and what needs improvement,” he said, adding:
“My overriding message to people is yes, enjoy the new freedoms, but do so safely following social distancing. It is so important, and even the basics like washing you hands.
“We have got this virus getting right under control, the number of new infections is under 600 on the last data, so it is really coming down in terms of the number of positive cases that we’re finding and that is good news, but we’ve just got to have the resilience and resolve to stick at it and to be very careful in how we enjoy those new freedoms.”
Teachers told to watch for signs of abuse when pupils return
Teachers should be extra vigilant for signs of neglect and abuse when schools reopen, the UK’s leading children’s charity has said, as ministers draw up plans for a post-coronavirus child recovery strategy.
The NSPCC has urged the Government to give school staff a crash course over the summer holidays in how to handle disclosures from pupils and how to spot red flags.
The advice comes amid concerns that when children return to the classroom, teachers may be the first front-line professionals they have seen in up to six months.
Read more on this story here.
‘Young people have seen their futures crumble – no wonder they’re lashing out’
With no school or sports clubs, it’s unsurprising that Britain’s children are seeking out illegal raves, writes Harriet Sergeant:
There has been outrage over the explosion of crime and disorder in London and around the country – illegal raves, police attacked, packed beaches and parks and social distancing a distant memory. But the fact is lockdown has been a disaster for young people.
Papyrus, a helpline for the prevention of young suicide, has warned of a “longer-term problem of emotional distress” for young people following a surge in calls for help in recent months. 90 per cent of calls, emails and texts to its helpline since lockdown have referenced the pandemic, with children and young adults concerned for their own mental health or about the wellbeing and livelihood of loved ones.
Activities that provided a framework and gave meaning and pleasure to life have all gone. Schools, colleges, sports and after schools’ clubs are all but closed down. Every young person is a NEET (‘Not in Education, Employment, or Training’) now. Little thought has been given to how they are feeling or will react.
The coronavirus has closed off the paths that lead into a successful adulthood. It has made it hard to get the grades or earn a wage. There is no furlough scheme for thwarted ambitions or lost dreams. Young people see their future shrivelling up in front of them and it is scary. Can we be surprised if, as one young man said to me recently at his family barbecue, “We are all kicking off now.”
Read more here.
Roadblocks seal off neighbouhoods in Pakistan’s ‘smart lockdowns’
Mohammad Alim Khan ducked under a cordon and stepped out of his sealed neighbourhood into temporary freedom, after managing to persuade a policeman his errand was a legitimate emergency.
For the past three days the security guard had found himself locked down and hemmed in by roadblocks after streets around his home near Mohammadi Chowk were declared a coronavirus hotspot.
Dozens of such locales have been declared sealed across Pakistan in recent weeks as the world’s sixth most populous country has tried to switch tactics against its covid-19 outbreak.
Having found a nationwide lockdown in the early days of the pandemic too costly, officials are instead trying more targeted “smart lockdowns”: aiming at virus hotbeds, while allowing most of the economy to resume work.
Ben Farmer reports from Rawalpindi. Read more here.
Call for deprived communities to be front of line for vaccine
Deprived communities should join healthcare workers at the top of the queue for a vaccine as “wealth is the best shielding strategy” to protect against the coronavirus, according to a leading expert.
Prof Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, told The Telegraph that there is a consensus that all healthcare staff – from hospital cleaners and porters to intensive care unit (ICU) doctors and care home nurses – must be protected first.
Who comes next is debated. But inoculating deprived communities would protect many of the groups most at risk of catching Covid-19, Prof Sridhar said. Far from being the “great leveller”, the pandemic has disproportionately affected the poorest in society.
Read the full story
Super Saturday in pictures
Watchdog’s warning as Sunak piles on the debt
The head of the UK’s fiscal watchdog has warned Rishi Sunak over the risks of piling on debt as he finalises coronavirus recovery measures to be announced this week.
The intervention by Robert Chote, chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility, comes as unprecedented state support – of over £132bn so far – pushes the nation’s debt as a share of the economy to its highest level in nearly six decades. The borrowing binge has been fuelled by cheap credit, as interest rates have crashed to record lows.
But in a Sunday Telegraph interview Mr Chote warned: “A sensible government is not merely going to look at how cheap it is for governments to borrow today [but] what difficulties will be created if it became more expensive.”
Read the full story
Applause for 72 years of the NHS
A nationwide round of applause is set to take place on Sunday evening to mark the 72nd anniversary of the National Health Service.
On the eve of the event, Britons observed a minute’s silence and lit a candle in memory of those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic.
Boris Johnson took part, with Downing Street lit up in blue on Saturday night as a candle burned at the Prime Minister’s official residence at 9pm.
Mr Johnson will meet NHS workers in the Number 10 garden on Sunday afternoon.
“I can only express my warmest appreciation for the resilience and fortitude shown by those in hospitality.”
As hotels, pubs and restaurants begin to re-open, The Prince has recorded a message in recognition of challenges the hospitality sector has faced in recent months. pic.twitter.com/q3yVYkgBMx
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) July 4, 2020
The Prince of Wales and Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer also have paid tribute to the NHS.
READ MORE: Nationwide applause to pay tribute to 72 years of NHS
Untested Covid victims ‘abandoned’
Coronavirus patients suffering long-term illness feel “abandoned” by GPs because they were never tested and have no proof of infection, it has emerged.
Growsing numbers are voicing concern that despite experiencing debilitating symptoms – many up to 20 weeks on – they have been left to “fend for themselves”.
They include large swathes who fell ill at the height of the pandemic, when testing was limited, who say that they are now struggling to be taken seriously by medical staff and are unable to access clinical support due to a lack of awareness about the virus.
READ MORE: Untested Covid victims say they feel abandoned by doctors
Ministers missed warnings that staff could spread virus between care homes
Ministers and Public Health England were warned in early April that staff working in multiple care homes could be unwittingly spreading coronavirus among the elderly – five weeks before the Government finally issued guidance restricting workers to one institution.
The Telegraph can reveal that the warnings were repeated by government advisers over the following weeks as data showed that three quarters of one home’s residents were infected with the virus, despite its managers having identified only two cases.
An official study conducted in mid-April found that symptomatic staff were self-isolating and being replaced by “bank” staff who worked at multiple homes.
Read the full story by our Sunday Political Editor, EDWARD MALNICK, here.
How will you get home?
The public has been urged to have a plan for returning home after Super Saturday.
Police said those visiting Central London should realise that the night tube will not be working and public transport capacity remains limited and requires a face covering to be worn – including in taxis.
Police warnings ignored as hundreds flock to illegal rave
Police have broken up an illegal rave in the Eston area, with more than 200 people rocking up to the event – despite warnings to stay away.
Cleveland Police said on Sunday morning that officers – with the assistance of the National Police Air Service – were forced to disperse the crowd that attended the illegal party in a wooded area in Eston.
Superintendent Emily Harrison said the rave was unacceptable and would not be tolerated.
She said those who attended “pose potential safety concerns”.
“Attending places an unnecessary burden on our NHS colleagues who have been working hard to keep us all safe,” Supt Harrison said.
Cleveland Police issued a warning on social media on Saturday night about the illegal rave.
“Police have been made aware of a potential illegal rave in the Eston area and are reminding members of the public that this is illegal under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act,” they tweeted.
“Officers would urge people not to attend and would ask parents and guardians to check on the whereabouts of their children.
“Enquiries are ongoing and anyone found to be breaking the law will be dealt with appropriately.”
Pubs call it an early night after violence
Pubs shut their doors to the public on their first day of trading in months after violence escalated on Saturday night.
Nottinghamshire Police arrested four people after reports of antisocial behaviour at “a small number of pubs north of the county”.
“Following the incidents, three pubs in Mansfield and Sutton in Ashfield plus two premises in Arnold and Newark have chosen to close their own premises,” police said.
Inspector Craig Berry said “no pubs have been closed by the police”.
“Officers were quickly on the scene to deal with a number of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour reports including a smashed window and minor assault. As a result four arrests were made by officers and we supported licensees who chose to close their own premises,” he said.
“We’d like to thank the majority of the public who have acted responsibly throughout Saturday, especially whilst watching the much-anticipated Derby versus Forest match.
“There will be a large number of uniformed officers on duty across our communities overnight to ensure people are safe, as well as engaging, educating and encouraging people to stick to the government guidelines.”
‘We’re asking Londoners to support and protect the NHS’
London Ambulance Service’s Gold Commander, Darren Farmer, has asked people heading out to consider the extra pressure on health services this weekend and play their part to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“We are expecting to be busy this weekend as some of the government’s coronavirus restrictions are eased,” he said.
“We are urging Londoners to use our service wisely: enjoy yourself but please be careful, responsible and sensible. Covid-19 has not gone away. You must still maintain social distancing.”
Gold Commander Farmer said the public had been supportive during the pandemic and protected the NHS by staying home during the lockdown.
“Now we’re asking Londoners to support and protect the NHS by acting responsibly.
“This weekend we mark 72 years of the National Health Service. Show your appreciation by acting sensibly, which will reduce pressure on our Service and on A&E departments.
“Please drink sensibly if you’re drinking alcohol. Have soft drinks like water in between alcoholic drinks and eat before you start drinking. Look after your friends.”
Please drink sensibly if you’re heading to enjoy the open pubs and bars tonight and look after your friends.
For urgent medical advice and support go to NHS 111 online or speak to your GP or pharmacist. In a serious medical emergency call 999.
Help your NHS this weekend.
— London Ambulance Service (@Ldn_Ambulance) July 4, 2020
Medication stolen from ambulance
Cleveland Police launched an appeal on Saturday night after a bag with “potentially dangerous” medication was stolen in Billingham.
The bag was stolen when an ambulance attended a medical incident on Cotswold Crescent about 10pm on Friday.
“Following this, a member of the public handed the bag of medication to a male driving a grey Alfa Romeo, which had a 07 registration plate, who said that he would return the bag to paramedics who were parked in an ambulance nearby,” police said.
“Ambulance service colleagues did not receive the bag and reported the medication as stolen.
“If taken by someone who is not prescribed the medication, it could be very dangerous.”
Anyone with information about the stolen medication is asked to contact police.
Virus? People forget to keep their distance on first night out
Social distancing seem to be ignored by many who made the most of their first proper night out in months as part of “Super Saturday”.
Writing for The Telegraph, Home Secretary Priti Patel issued a warning to the public not to “jeopardise the hard work and sacrifices we have all made” by engaging in “irresponsible behaviour and carelessness” after lockdown ends.
Video emerged on social media of areas filling with people, apparently unconcerned about the threat of spreading coronavirus after months in lockdown.
And in the middle of it all, a homeless man lying on the pavement. People seemingly oblivious to his presence as the party just continues around him pic.twitter.com/seIkLLNdRR
— Ivor Bennett (@IvorBennett) July 4, 2020
London Ambulance Service was among health authorities urging people to remember the dangers of Covid-19 when heading out this weekend.
“Please drink sensibly if you’re going to the pub tonight. Enjoy yourself, but please be careful and responsible,” the service tweeted.
“Covid-19 has not gone away. You must still follow advice on social distancing.”
The Metropolitan Police said “the virus hasn’t called time” and warned people on Saturday of the dangers of ignoring rules aimed at keeping everyone safe.
“Businesses have worked hard to re-open in these difficult times, but will undoubtedly look and feel different,” police said.
“If you are out today, please be responsible, stay safe and follow social distancing and other guidance that has been put in place.”
Businesses have worked hard to re-open in these difficult times, but will undoubtedly look and feel different.
If you are out today, please be responsible, stay safe and follow social distancing and other guidance that has been put in place. pic.twitter.com/ojPjCQg9LH
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) July 4, 2020