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  1. Analysis by the Health Foundation has revealed significant regional variation in COVID-19 deaths among people aged younger than 65 in England. The North West has seen among the highest rates of deaths in this age group (22 deaths per 100,000) - surpassed only by London (25.5 deaths per 100,000) - and over three times as many compared to the South West of the country (6.4 per 100,000). The research, part of the Health Foundation’s COVID-19 impact inquiry, shows a strong relationship between deaths among under 65s and local patterns of poverty and deprivation. People aged younger than 65 in England’s poorest areas were almost four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those in the wealthiest areas, compared to twice as likely for those aged 65 or older. Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley and St Helens were among the local authorities with the highest rates of under 65s deaths from COVID-19 in the country (the second, fifth and twentieth highest, respectively). In the second wave of the pandemic, under 65s mortality in Blackburn with Darwen was three times higher than the England average (52 deaths per 100,000 compared to the England average of 17.7 deaths per 100,000), in Burnley it was 2.7 times higher (47.8 deaths per 100,000) and in St Helens it was twice as high (34.6 deaths per 100,000). These areas have lower life expectancy, lower employment rates, more overcrowded housing, and higher rates of deprivation and child poverty, than the England average. The Health Foundation explains that inequalities in COVID-19 mortality rates among under 65s partly reflect worse underlying health in the most affected areas, which existed prior to the pandemic, as well as higher levels of COVID-19 infections. They say the findings highlight the need for the government’s levelling up strategy to prioritise the nation’s health and narrow the health gap across different areas of the country. Further analysis by the independent charity shows that several areas of the UK where healthy life expectancy is significantly lower than the national average have currently not been identified as priority areas for the government’s Levelling Up Fund. Of the 93 local areas with healthy life expectancy in the lowest 30% for England, only 58 are included in the priority group – in other words, 35 local authority areas with very low healthy life expectancy are not considered a priority for investment via the Levelling Up Fund. In the North West, for example - Salford, Halton and Copeland are not currently considered priorities for levelling up funding despite having below average healthy life expectancy and high levels of deprivation. On average, people in Salford can expect to live 57.9 years in good health, in Halton 59 years, and in Copeland 61.7 years - all below the England average of 63.5 years. Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation, said:
  2. Salford Red Devils player are lining up their defense against Covid-19 by joining the thousands of people getting their vaccine in Salford. Members of the famous Salford team visited the Covid-19 vaccination bus at Salford Quays, based outside the Lowry Theatre. Some players got their first dose and for others it was their second dose. In the sporting world, Covid-19 has affected normal activities considerably and led to the postponement and cancellation of a vast number of national and international events. Therefore, Salford Red Devils is doing their bit to get vaccinated in hope to get sports events back to normal and to keep everyone safe. First team starter 23-year-old Jack Wells who got his first dose at the vaccination bus said: His fellow teammate, international player and first team starter 30-year-old Kallum Watkins said: Tim Sandels, General Practitioner at Salford Red Devil’s club doctor and St Johns Medical Centre said: Another important consideration for young adults to think about is the risk of bringing infections home to family members who might be at higher risk for severe disease. Even though a person may have had the infection previously, they should still receive the vaccine to prevent from getting seriously ill and to prevent having long-term Covid symptoms. All Salford residents over 18 years old, aged 16/17 years old and have an underlying health condition, or a carer either paid or unpaid can book their Covid-19 vaccine appointments here, or attend a walk-in clinic. NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) shares daily updates and details on walk-in clinics on their social media and their Covid-19 vaccine walk-in page. The national booking system is also available for anyone to book or manage their appointment. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/
  3. A teacher who caught Covid-19 more than six months ago is urging eligible people to come forward for their vaccination as she continues to battle the long-lasting impact of Long Covid. Heather Jones (51) lives in Clifton and is a teacher at a secondary school in Bolton. Heather caught Covid-19 back in November 2020 - just at the start of the second national lockdown - when she began to feel very tired before experiencing shivering and feeling hot at the same time. Initially putting it down to being a consequence of working in a school and picking up common bugs, Heather realised it was more serious when she’d lost her sense of smell and tested positive for Covid-19. Four weeks later, Heather did begin to feel the virus was leaving her system – but she was not returning to her usual self and it soon became clear Heather had developed Long Covid, where the effects of Covid-19 continue for weeks or months after the infection has gone. For a long time, Heather struggled to walk far and even short trips across the road from her house would mean her having to come back and sleep to recover. As well as the physical impact, Long Covid has impacted Heather’s mental health, as well as her financial security with having to take time off work. She said: Heather is now attending a Long Covid clinic provided by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, which offers a variety of support to people still suffering the effects of Covid-19 such as physio and mental health support. Fortunately for Heather, with the tools and information she’s received through the Long Covid clinic, she has not had a relapse. Heather said: To find out if you are eligible for your Covid vaccine, please go to www.salfordccg.nhs.uk/covid-vaccine
  4. The UK's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has confirmed the delaying in opening up and relaxation of Covid rules, much to the anger of those in the entertainment and hospitality industry as well as those who were looking forward to weddings and family gatherings. Lockdown has now been extended delaying the roadmap for exit until at least July 19th to prevent up to a predicted 500 deaths per day. The latest move has come about due to findings that the Indian (Delta) variant is up to 80% more transmissible. The PM acknowledged that the virus can not be fully eliminated and that the country must learn to live with it to some degree. The delay will give the NHS a few vital extra weeks to to ensure as many second doses and first doses can be administered. Single doses offer some degree of protection but the all important second dose decreases the possibility of severe illness, hospitalisation and death by a much more robust amount. The PM's statement in full:
  5. Salford has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus infections with its rate as of today standing at 265.4 cases per 100,000 according to latest Public Health England data (a rise of 102%). This now means that Salford has the second highest rate in the region behind Bolton which has seen a 17% drop thanks to increased vaccinations. As of Thursday 10th June, Salford Royal Hospital currently has 28 patients taking up beds due to Covid-19, two of which are being assisted by ventilation. 137,091 residents have been given their first dose of a vaccine, with 93,822 having been administered with the second. There has been a total of 230,913 vaccinations given thus far. The last recorded Covid related death at Salford Royal Hospital was recorded on the 25th of May. There were 131 positive tests recorded today, 687 in the past week, which is a doubling on the previous week. It should be noted that there is usually a delay of up to two weeks before rises in hospitalisations start to increase, as of yet though, hospitalisations remain low. Meanwhile there is talk of up to four-week delay of the June 21st deadline for relaxation of lockdown rules due to the increase in infections as a result of the spread of the Delta (Indian) variant of the virus. The delay would allow for more people to receive their second dose of the vaccine to afford them better protection. Despite increasing infections, hospitalisations and deaths have only increased fractionally, with NHS bosses claiming that their is clear evidence that vaccines have broken the link between rising cases and hospitalisations. Those currently being admitted are generally in younger age groups, or in those who are unvaccinated. Earlier today the vaccine bus took station outside of Morrisons in Eccles, allowing all those eligible (25+) to get their first (Pfizer) jabs, no appointment needed. It is vitally important to have your second vaccine when called up for it, this gives maximum protection. Photo: Salford CCG - Vaccine Bus at Morrisons in Eccles
  6. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has today announced that the COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen meets the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness. The independent Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) has reviewed the MHRA’s decision and endorsed it. Earlier this year, the single-dose vaccine was shown to be 67% effective overall in preventing COVID-19 infection and 85% effective in preventing severe disease or hospitalisation. The vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, between 2 and 8 degrees, making it ideal for distribution to care homes and other locations across the UK. Through the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, 20 million doses of the vaccine have been secured for all 4 nations of the UK and first deliveries are expected to arrive from later this year. The vaccination programme continues at pace and remains on track to offer a jab to all adults by the end of July. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: As with all vaccines, the government is in regular contact with the manufacturers, including exploring how best to optimise supply across the current programme and preparing for a potential booster programme from later this year. Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine is part of the Cov-Boost study to assess its safety and effectiveness as the third dose of a potential booster programme. Alongside this, the government is working with the devolved administrations to ensure the vaccine is deployed fairly across the UK. The Vaccine Taskforce originally secured 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine last year, based on the predicted clinical need at the time. With the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme continuing at an unprecedented scale and pace, the government has decided to amend its original order to 20 million. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will submit updated advice for the Janssen vaccine before doses become available. The company continues to explore a 2-dose regimen of their vaccine. The single-dose regimen has also been authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The government is preparing for a booster programme based on clinical need and will publish further details in due course. The final policy will be informed by advice from the JCVI and take into account the results of clinical trials. Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 symptoms. Vaccinated people are even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it, and there is growing evidence that vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others.
  7. New government-funded clinical trial looking at different COVID-19 ‘booster’ vaccines launches in the UK Initial results trialling seven vaccines expected in September to inform plans for booster programme Clinical trials on agenda for G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting in early June which Health Secretary announces will be hosted in Oxford Announcements come ahead of International Clinical Trials Day (Thursday 20 May 2021) Thousands of volunteers will receive a booster COVID-19 vaccine in a new clinical trial launching today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced. The Cov-Boost study, led by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and backed by £19.3 million of government funding through the Vaccines Taskforce, will trial seven vaccines and will be the first in the world to provide vital data on the impact of a third dose on patients’ immune responses. It will give scientists from around the globe and the experts behind the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme a better idea of the impact of a booster dose of each vaccine in protecting individuals from the virus. The study will take place at 16 NIHR-supported sites across England, and also within Health and Care Research Wales and NHS Research Scotland sites. It will include a total of 2,886 patients and participants are to begin being vaccinated from early June. All participants will be monitored throughout the study for any side effects and will have bloods taken to measure their immune responses at days 28, 84, 308 and 365, with a small number having additional blood tests at other times. All sites will have an electronic diary for all participants that will send alerts to the team in real time if needed and a 24-hour emergency phone to a doctor on the study, who can provide further clinical advice. The initial findings, expected in September, will help inform decisions by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on plans for a booster programme from autumn this year, ensuring the country’s most vulnerable are given the strongest possible protection over the winter period. The Health Secretary has also announced that the 2021 G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting will be held in-person at Oxford University on 3-4 June. As part of the UK’s G7 Presidency, we are bringing together health leaders from the world’s leading democracies to agree life-saving action in the critical areas of clinical trials, global health security, antimicrobial resistance, and digital health to help protect us all from future pandemics. Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: The trial will look at seven different COVID-19 vaccines as potential boosters, given at least 10 to 12 weeks after a second dose as part of the ongoing vaccination programme. One booster will be provided to each volunteer and could be a different brand to the one they were originally vaccinated with. Vaccines being trialled include Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, Valneva, Janssen and Curevac, as well as a control group. The trial has received ethics approval by the NHS Research Ethics Committee, as well as approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The study will open for applications from volunteers shortly via the study’s website and will be recruiting participants through the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry. Participants will be adults aged 30 years or older as these will have been those immunised early on in the vaccination programme - for example, adults aged 75 and over or health and care workers. The trial was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and funded by the Vaccine Taskforce, with the study being undertaken by the Southampton team at sites across the UK as part of the National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium (NISEC). The team leading the trial is committed to including participants from a wide variety of backgrounds, and individuals from ethnic minorities are encouraged to apply to take part. Chief Investigator and Director of NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility Professor Saul Faust said: The government is preparing for a booster programme based on clinical need and will publish further details in due course. The final policy will be informed by advice from the JCVI and take into account the results of clinical trials. Minister for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi said: Earlier this year, the government announced the launch of the ComCov clinical trial, which aims to determine the effects of using different vaccines for the first and second dose - for example, using Oxford/AstraZeneca’s vaccine for the first dose, followed by Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine for the second. Initial results from this trial have shown that mixing the doses slightly increases the frequency of mild-to-moderate symptoms following vaccination, but there were no serious outcomes. Further results from this clinical trial – including on the immune response in people who have two different vaccine doses – are expected over the coming months. Professor Andrew Ustianowski, National Clinical Lead for the UK NIHR COVID-19 Vaccine Research Programme said: Since the launch of the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry, thousands of volunteers have been recruited to key vaccine studies, and we are confident we can call upon our nearly half a million strong community to help recruitment to this important trial.
  8. Salford’s Yemeni community is encouraging eligible friends, family and neighbours to come forward for the COVID-19 vaccine as pop-up vaccination clinics begin to roll out across the city. The Yemeni Community Association in Greater Manchester, based in Eccles, hosted a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic for members of the community who are eligible for the first dose. More than 75 were vaccinated, including Wagdi Hadrian who was vaccinated one year to the day from being in intensive care on a ventilator fighting COVID-19. Wagdi said: The vaccination clinic at the Yemeni Community Association is one of several pop-up clinics being organised by the community, for the community. The pop-up clinics are delivered by the Salford NHS Vaccination Service over the next few weeks working in partnership with various community groups to reach the most vulnerable people living in Salford, including the homeless, people seeking asylum, refugees and other minority communities. Amir Ahmed, community development officer for the Yemeni Community Association, said: As well as the vaccinations, people are provided with COVID-19 testing kits and the opportunity for a health check, including assessing how at risk they are from serious illness if they were to catch COVID-19. Homeless clients are also being offered an opportunity to register with a GP. Dr Van Selvaraasan, clinical lead for the Salford NHS Vaccination Service, said, People currently eligible for the vaccine through the Salford NHS vaccination service include the over-50s, people aged 16+ who have underlying health conditions, and carers, both paid and unpaid. People aged 45-49 can also book their vaccine through the national booking site. For more information, please go to www.salfordccg.nhs.uk/covid-vaccine
  9. It's time for Salford to head out and get haircuts, hit the gym and enjoy a swift pint in the pubs today as further lockdown restrictions have been eased. The second step along the roadmap to lockdown is effective from today (Monday 12 April) and sees further easing of restrictions. It seems like an eternity, especially for Greater Manchester, where pubs and non-essential shops have been closed since Monday 12 October 2020. The changes include: · All non-essential shops, attractions, gyms and retail to open. · Domestic overnight stays (household) and self-contained accommodation can open · Wakes, weddings and receptions can now include up to 15 people · Working from home where possible is still encouraged · Pubs can open outdoors (table service only) Masks will still be a requirement in shops and social distancing is still necessary. The number of people you can meet up with outside hasn't changed and the regulations still state that you can continue to meet outdoors in groups of up to six or from a maximum of two other households, but you still cannot mix with other households indoors. Each step along the roadmap is subject to a number of factors being met in order for the easing's to take place, including keeping the infection rates below a level that could put pressure on the NHS. This has been achieved by everyone doing their bit to stop the spread of the virus and making this next step possible. Superintendent Chris Hill said:
  10. Last week step one of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions took place on Monday 8 March, which included the reopening of schools and two people from different households being able to meet outdoors. This slight change in the restrictions does not mean we are out of lockdown and all other Government led regulations still apply, including meeting people in large groups. Over the weekend GMP has issued 135 fixed penalty notices with many being issued to people meeting up indoors or meeting in groups of 15 or more people. Many calls are made in to the police from the public with reports of breaches and we will respond to them due to the ongoing lockdown rules and to support the NHS in their fight against this virus. We have also had to issue a number of fines to people who have travelled to Manchester Airport to wave a friend or relative off. Under the current regulations this is not allowed as having more people in the terminal is risking the health of others. Superintendent Chris Downey said: Number of FPNs given Indoor gathering of two or more people - 90 Public of more than two people - 14 Airport - 3 House party of over 15 people - 23 Failure to self-isolate after international travel - 2 Out of place of home without a valid reason - 3
  11. Salford Council have reported what it says to be an isolated case of the new strain of the 'Kent' coronavirus which has been circulating in parts of Manchester for some time. The incident happened earlier in the year after a person reportedly became unwell and later tested positive for the virus, upon testing it was determined that the person had been infected with the new 'Kent' strain. The person had already self isolated and local test and tracing were able to identify those people that they had come into contacted with. Director of public health Dr Muna Abdel Aziz said the the incident had happened 'earlier in the year' and was reported within the national system. She said: Councillor Gina Reynolds who holds the position of Lead Member for Adult Services and Wellbeing, confirmed the case and said that all the steps were taken to ensure that it was dealt with swiftly and monitoring continues, She said: Dr Aziz, said that work will be stepped up to encourage testing infection rates within the city are not falling fast enough which is causing some concerns as some areas have higher rates than others. The new B.1.1.7 Kent strain is said to be more easily spread but scientists are confident that the current Astrazeneca and Pfizer vaccines being used in the UK are able to provide an adequate defence against it. Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, and Chief Investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said: Testing centres are now located across Salford, more details can be found on the following link: www.salford.gov.uk/people-communities-and-local-information/coronavirus/how-to-get-tested/
  12. 51 of the most vulnerable people suffering from homelessness in Salford were given a Covid Vaccine today as part of Salford continuing efforts to lead the way with its outstanding vaccination drive across the City. Calls to vaccinate the homeless and rough sleepers were made last month by a leading homeless charity after it identified that up to 20% of those on the streets were considered to be at high risk because of the virus. It is the nature of their predicament that they are highly exposed on a daily basis, many of them already suffering from underlying physical as well as mental health issues. As many of us adhere to the stay at home warnings, for them it is much more complex because of the lack of an actual home. If you're experiencing and would like to discuss vaccination, please get in touch on Twitter at (1) SPCT Inclusion Service (@ServiceSpct) / Twitter. If you've been offered it HAVE IT!
  13. The Prime Minister has outlined plans to loosen lockdown for what he hopes will be the final time., starting with socially distanced reopening of all schools and colleges from March 8th. Pupils will be able to return to school, much to the relief of parents who have been struggling to balance home schooling with work, although secondary schools will still be required to wear a mask in classrooms for the foreseeable future unless the 2 metre social distancing rules can be applied. They will still be required to wear them in all communal areas. With infections rates continuing to fall over the past month thanks partly to both the third national lockdown and the effects of vaccinations starting to have an impact, the PM is hopeful that schools can safely return to face to face teaching. Face coverings will still be a requirement in all higher educational environments such as colleges and universities. Scotland has adopted a different approach with a staged return to the classroom over a number of weeks. There are still no plans at present to vaccinate teaching staff but it is thought that could change as more vaccines are administered to at risk groups. This comes despite leading teaching unions calling for the government to take a more cautions approach with a phased return to class in line with the rest of the UK. Some Welsh pupils in the three to seven age group have already returned to class this morning, with the country taking a similar staged approach as Scotland. It is with great irony that Mr Johnson made this announcement on the same day that infection rates have slightly risen by 9% on last Monday for the first time in six weeks but at the same time the death rate has dropped to it's lowest figures since mid December with a figure of 178 more succumbing to the virus.
  14. Research carried out by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) looked closely at the symptoms which were most commonly reported by people who had contracted the new 'Kent' variant (B.1.1.7, formerly VUI-202012/01) of the Covid-19 virus in comparison with those of the old variant and found significant differences in its affects. The variant, which is a version of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes Covid-19, has a series of mutations that change the shape of the spike protein on its outside. The main one is known as N501Y. This appears to make it better able to stick to the cells inside the body and makes it much more likely to cause infection and gives it the ability to spread much faster within the population. A new analysis of the data between November and December has highlighted significant changes in symptoms reported. For instance, the loss of taste and smell which has been widely associated with the infection, may be seen slightly less in those affected with the new strain. Sixteen percent of those affected with the new variant reported a loss of the sense of taste with Fifteen percent reporting a loss of the sense of smell, compared with Eighteen percent of both for those with the old variant. The ONS reported that the symptom of loss of taste and smell was significantly less common in those positive for the new strain. However there was no evidence shown of any differences reported in gastrointestinal symptoms, nor those involving shortness of breath or headaches. A group of around 3,500 people with the new variant were asked to participate in the study, in which 35 percent reported they had a cough, 32 percent had suffered with fatigue and 25 per cent had experienced associated muscle aches and pains. 21.8 percent reported having had suffered from a sore throat. This data was compared with that of a group of 2,500 people suffering from the older variant which saw 28 percent reporting symptoms of a cough and 29 percent which had fatigue. 21 percent of participant reported muscles aches and pains and 19 percent experienced a sore throat. These changes to symptoms are worth being aware of as many who suffer from Covid-19 will have milder symptoms which could be dismissed as colds and milder flu. Those people have the potential to then go on to infect others who will suffer far worse from the effects of the virus. If you are suffering from any of the symptoms then please contact the NHS and arrange a test to be sure.
  15. As vaccinations against coronavirus continue around the city in what is undoubtedly the largest vaccination drive in history, it is revealed that all care home residents in Salford who were willing to get the vaccine have now been given the COVID-19 vaccine, ahead of schedule. The milestone was reached on 22nd January 2021, two days ahead of the national target to vaccinate all residents of Salford’s 34 care homes by 24th January 2021. Dr. Nick Browne, GP at Gill Medical Centre in Walkden and a clinical lead for Salford’s vaccination programme said: Salford Primary Care Together, an organisation which supports GP practices across the city to work more closely together, is running the vaccination service on behalf of the city in partnership with Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). This arrangement is ensuring that GPs in Salford do not have to step down their routine work to staff the vaccination services, as has been the case in other parts of the country. Dr Dawood Anwar, Salford Primary Care Together’s Clinical Lead Urgent Care said: Louise Smith, Practice Manager at Care Homes Medical Practice said: Priority groups for vaccination in this initial phase is determined by the Government following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and starts with care home residents and their carers, people aged 80 years old and over, and frontline health and social care workers. Salford CCG has now also started to vaccinate people over the age of 80 who are living in their own houses and unable to reach a vaccination hub.
  16. Three rapid COVID-19 test centres have opened this week, as part of Salford City Council’s strategy to identify more positive cases and stop the spread the virus. Frontline and key workers in Salford – those who cannot work from home and who have no symptoms of COVID-19 - are encouraged to be tested twice a week using rapid lateral flow tests. These tests are a new kind of technology with results available usually within an hour so can be used to test a higher number of people without COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who tests positive using a rapid lateral flow test will then be advised to self-isolate and book a follow-up lab-based test, which will confirm the result. Eccles Old Town Hall, Beesley Green Community Centre and Wardley Community Centre are the city’s first rapid testing sites to open, with additional sites planned across Salford opening over the next few weeks. Appointments must be booked via www.salford.gov.uk/rapidcoronavirustest. To help launch the roll-out of rapid targeted testing, Salford is one of a number of localities to get support from military personnel, helping get the testing sites up and running and training local staff how to do the tests. City Mayor Paul Dennett said: Dr Muna Abdel Aziz, Director of Public Health for Salford, said: Only people who have to leave home to go to work and without COVID-19 symptoms should book a rapid test. Anyone with symptoms that may be the coronavirus must self-isolate and book the lab-based test via www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test, or by calling 119 as usual.
  17. Plans to relax the Covid-19 rules for 5 days over the Christmas period have been scrapped for much of the South of the country and limited to Christmas Day in the rest of England as London, Kent, Essex and Bedfordshire are all plunged into a new Tier 4 from midnight. Those within Tier 4 can not mix with anyone outside of their household with stay at home orders issued except for those travelling to work or education. The restrictions will be reviewed on the 30th December. This follows from announcement made earlier in the week that suggests that a new strain of the Coronavirus which is more easily transmissible is spreading rapidly through the country. Prof Chris Whitty said that there had been a "dramatic increase" in the proportion of cases that come from the new variant in certain areas, blaming the new variant for the increase in hospitalisations in parts of the country - a 36% increase in eastern England, 34% in London, and 28% in south-eastern England. In the North West, North East, and Yorkshire, Witty says, there has been no increase in the hospitalisation rate - and that matches lower rates of the new variant. However, there is a very real chance that the Northwest will be plunged into Tier 4 should that change. In Yorkshire and the Humber, he says, the new variant amounts to just 5% of cases. The new variant seems to be more dominant in London but is increasingly starting to spread into other parts of the UK. Johnson said during the press conference that Christmas can not go ahead as planned, promising that things will be radically different by Easter. As the pandemic drags on, more people are starting to tire of what they are increasingly seeing as incompetent handling of the crisis by the government. As another in a long line of beacons of hope, the prime minister announced 350,000 people had been vaccinated so far in the first two weeks of the programme and that in the coming weeks that number should increase six-fold, but even with an increase it will still take many months to inoculate those who are most at risk and there are valid concerns about the country having enough of the vaccine to go around. Speaking to those who will be affected by the new rules, Mr Johnson said that the government will do everything it can to look after jobs, businesses and livelihoods. Meanwhile, the whole of Wales has announced it is going into lockdown from midnight. All of Wales will be placed into the highest level of lockdown - Level 4 - with all but essential shops closed, and people being told to "stay home" to save lives.
  18. The health secretary dashed any hopes of a tier reduction for Salford this morning after opting to keep Greater Manchester firmly within Tier 3 restrictions. Earlier this week, NHS chiefs urged the government not to drop parts of the country already in Tier 3 to Tier 2, even as infection rates dropped in some areas. Greater Manchester Metro Mayor, Andy Burnham said on Wednesday that there was a clear case for restrictions to be lowered across the region, however, the health secretary and government have disagreed as rates have started to rise once more in some areas. Whilst addressing parliament this morning, Mr Hancock confirmed that Greater Manchester would remain in Tier 3, with the only places set to move down to Tier 2 being Bristol and North Somerset and additionally Herefordshire which will move to Tier 1 after successfully bringing its rate of infection to just 45 in 100,000 and still falling. Meanwhile case rates in other parts of the South have increased by 46% this week, prompting the government to move London and other areas into Tier 3. 'We must be vigilant and keep this virus under control,' Mr Hancock told MPs. 'We've come so far, we mustn't blow it now.' He added: 'This is a moment when we act with caution.' This now means that the country has 38 million people or 68% of the population living under Tier 3 restrictions from Saturday 19th December. The news will come as a blow to many businesses in the region who were counting on relaxed restrictions to allow them to open during the lucrative Christmas period. The hospitality industry taking the largest hit, with many restaurants and pubs looking at never recovering and being closed for good.
  19. Salford City Council has confirmed that the small-scale trial of Direct LAMP saliva testing has ended and that it is now one of 93 areas which have signed up to roll out locally led testing using lateral flow technology. Thousands of these lateral flow tests will be made available to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic people in Salford. Since September the cases of COVID-19 increased rapidly within Salford and across the region as well as nationwide, meaning that Salford City Council has focused resources on managing outbreaks and containment of the virus. Lateral flow antigen tests are a new kind of technology that can be used to test a high proportion of asymptomatic people, better enabling local authorities to identify and isolate more people who are infectious and at high likelihood of spreading the virus. Swabbing and processing of these tests is conducted on-site by trained staff – making it more suited to targeted and more widely available community testing. The use of Lateral Flow testing is being explored by all Greater Manchester authorities working together where appropriate. Salford has remained committed to increasing community testing to reduce transmission of the virus for the future. The Department of Health and Social Care has expressed thanks to Salford City Council for being early adopters of one of NHS Test and Trace’s mass testing pilots. The small-scale saliva testing pilot work in Salford increased understanding of the use of direct LAMP in asymptomatic testing. City Mayor Paul Dennett said
  20. A man and woman have been given £10,000 fixed penalty notices after officers closed down a wedding party in Salford and a house party in Bolton. At around 7.45pm last night (Tuesday 3 November 2020) police were called to a report of a large gathering at a warehouse on Great Clowes Street, Salford. Officers arrived and dispersed a group of around 200 people who were attending an organised wedding party which had catering, musicians, a MC and sound equipment. Screens had also been put up in an attempt to prevent the event being seen from outside. Following the dispersal of this wedding party, a man, believed to be the organiser, was issued with a £10,000 fine for the breach of coronavirus legislation. The previous night (Monday 2 November 2020) at around 10.40pm, police were called to reports of a party at an address on Morris Green Lane, Bolton. Officers arrived and dispersed a group of around 40 people. Following the dispersal of this party, a woman, believed to be the organiser, was issued with a £10,000 fine for the breach of coronavirus legislation. Superintendent Andrew Sidebotham, of Greater Manchester Police, said: Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, Salford City Council said he was shocked and disgusted at such irresponsible behaviour.
  21. The hospitality sector has taken some of the largest financial hits during the past 8 months, with national lockdown and enforced closures having massive impacts on the pub industry in particular. Some pubs have already succumbed to their financial strains and others are at the brink of closure as local lockdown restrictions placed upon them are drastically cutting into the precious profits they need to survive. With the second wave spread of the virus showing no signs of slowing, Greene King who operate a number of pubs & restaurants within Salford have announced that one third or 79 of their venues will have to close permanently with up to 800 job losses. Although none of the closures have been identified in Salford as yet, it still paints a stark picture of the problems that publicans are facing, and with the spectre of a second national lockdown at some point in the not too distant future, the outlook for Salford's hospitality industry is looking grim to say the least. Greene King operates a number of pubs and restaurants within Salford. From the Bridgewater and John Gilbert in Worsley to the White Horse in Swinton, Barley Farm in Eccles, the Royal Sovereign in Weaste and The Moorings in Boothstown. Although no announcement has been made on which venues will close, it has left those reliant on the jobs and income they provide extremely anxious and worried for their futures. The owners and operators have done all they can to ensure the safety of the public and it was just over a month ago that the Government message was to get out and support them, now it seems that they are being abandoned to the wind and left to fend for themselves. One landlord we spoke to who wishes to remain anonymous told us that he had staked his life savings and home on renovations to his pub, only for lockdown to decimate his earnings and leave him in the heart breaking situation in which he stands to loose everything as the banks move in. Kier Starmer and the Labour Party have challenged the governments stances on local lockdowns which are by the evidence, clearly not working as infection rates increase. The hospitality industry is an easy target to blame for the rises but it can not be helped but be noticed in the data that the infection rates have increased side by side with the new college and university terms, most of the major hot spots are focused around university areas and the majority of those who are becoming infected at the moment are of the younger age groups. It is time for a reality check and another look at the evidence in the data. The hospitality sector operated for months whilst maintaining low infection rates in most areas in the country and yet they seem to be taking the brunt of the blame for the recent spiking spread. Manchester's universities have recently had to put all learning online for the foreseeable future in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus across its campuses. Over 500 students and faculty at Manchester Met alone have tested positive for the virus and it is feared that it is just the tip of a very large iceberg. However, the blame can not be put blame on the students who were promised and have paid for an education and the university experience, which clearly they are not getting. It is just common sense in that when you place so many people into close proximities with each other, the routes for the virus to spread multiply and those newly infected people will then go on to add to the exponential spread. This is very much a failure to understand the simple mechanisms which allow infection rates to exponentially grow. Whatever the outcome in the coming weeks, for some in the hospitality industry their fate is sealed, they will lose jobs, lose their income, be forced to find alternative work in an already diminishing job market and ultimately many face being forced on to benefits. It is predicted that more job losses in the sector will follow, with pub Chain Fullers admitting that they could be looking at 500+ job losses at some point soon unless their is a radical change and support from the government. The virus may have the potential to kill but it is also killing jobs and local economies just as much so.
  22. Manchester Council has revealed that Guided by public health advice, Manchester’s universities are set to move to online learning only for most courses to help fight the rising rate of Covid infection which has caused unprecedented spikes within the city, mainly centred around its educational districts. The decision was made by Director of Public Health David Regan and Manchester City Council’s chief executive, Joanne Roney OBE, working with the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, and Public Health England as part of action to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the city. There was a rise of 2,740 new cases of Covid-19 in the seven days up to Thursday 1 October, with the increase being driven primarily by a rise in numbers in the 17-21 age group. Manchester’s cases are now alarmingly above 500 per 100,000 people. The move is also consistent with Department for Education guidance and means that face-to-face teaching will only happen for accredited and professional programmes, for on-campus laboratory, clinical and practice-based teaching. Online learning will take effect from tomorrow, Wednesday 7 October. This change will be in place until 30 October 2020. David Regan, Director for Public Health, said: However some students have claimed the move as 'A Joke', with one student we spoke to stating that he will be taking on roughly £18,000 in student debt this year for what is essentially a mediocre slap dash online learning course which has been essentially thrown together. Another said that she felt angry at the situation that herself and her fellow students have found themselves in.
  23. Five-hundred Greater Manchester and East Cheshire volunteers will from today be invited to join a leading phase three COVID-19 vaccine study taking place in the region. The study will test the safety and effectiveness of a promising new vaccine, developed by US biotechnology company Novavax, across a broad spectrum of people, including those from a variety age groups and backgrounds. Phase 3 studies involve many thousands of people, giving researchers insights into the effects of a vaccine on a much larger population than phase 1 and 2 studies. Stockport NHS Foundation Trust is among the sites selected to undertake the Novavax study. It will be carried out in a community setting, in cooperation with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) Greater Manchester. Calling on some of the thousands of volunteers who have joined the fight against COVID-19 by signing-up to the NHS Vaccine Registry, the phase three trials are the second to commence in the UK. A total of 10,000 volunteers are needed to take part in the trials which will also be undertaken at a number of NIHR regional sites across the UK, including Lancashire, the Midlands, London, Glasgow and Belfast. At Stockport, 500 volunteers are needed. Volunteers who sign up to the Registry and live in Stockport, East Cheshire and South East Manchester could potentially take part. The Registry was launched in July to help create a database of people who consent to be contacted by the NHS to take part in clinical studies, to help speed up the development of a safe and effective vaccine. More than 250,000 people nationally have now signed up, including 26,785 in the North West and 11,955 in Greater Manchester and East Cheshire. [data on the number of sign-ups in each local authority area is available here]. With several more studies for potential vaccine candidates expected to start before the end of the year, UK researchers are calling for additional volunteers to sign up to take part in research. To better understand the effectiveness of vaccine candidates and help find a vaccine that works for as many people as soon as possible, researchers are particularly seeking more volunteers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as well as those with underlying health conditions and the over 65s. Professor Andrew Ustianowski, NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) national specialty lead for Infection and NIHR CRN Greater Manchester Deputy Clinical Director, said: Dr David Baxter, Principal Investigator for the trial at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, said: Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: The government has secured 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine for the UK, which will be manufactured using FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’s facilities in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees. This will ensure that, once approved by regulators, the vaccine can be supplied as quickly as possible. Professor Paul Heath, Novavax Phase 3 trial Chief Investigator and Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: Chair of the government’s Vaccines Taskforce Kate Bingham said: Gregory M. Glenn, M.D., President of Research & Development at Novavax said: If any of the vaccines are successful in clinical studies, they could start to be delivered to the UK in 2021. It is expected that these vaccines would first be given to priority groups such as frontline health and social care workers, ethnic minorities, adults with underlying health conditions, and the elderly based on JCVI advice. In August this year, the UK government and Valneva made a multi-million-pound joint investment in a vaccine manufacturing facility in Livingston, West Lothian, which will be at the heart of efforts to produce a new Covid-19 vaccine. This is in addition to the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), currently under construction in Oxfordshire, and the new vaccine manufacturing plant in Braintree, Essex recently acquired by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. The UK public can support the national effort to speed up vaccine research and receive more information about volunteering for clinical studies by visiting www.nhs.uk/researchcontact.
  24. Despite Greater Manchester reporting growing numbers of COVID cases, Greater Manchester Police recorded 320 illegal gatherings over the weekend and officers issued 24 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN). Incidents which resulted in FPNs include the third illegal gathering at a property in North Manchester, an illegal gathering of more than 40 people at a property in Stockport, and an illegal gathering of 60-70 people in Tameside. Officers also issued a closure notice at a property in Trafford after receiving multiple reports of an illegal gathering and associated antisocial behaviour. This is in advance of the new national restrictions for England to reduce the spread of Covid-19 which came into place this week. People across England must no longer meet people from other households, socially, in groups of more than six. This applies indoors and outdoors, including in homes and gardens. There are a limited number of exemptions. The new national restrictions, however, do not supersede the varying local restrictions in place in all Greater Manchester boroughs (except Stockport and Wigan). Bolton now has the highest case rate in the country and in response to this, the Government also announced new local restrictions for Bolton which can be found on the Government's website. GMP are urging the people of Greater Manchester to abide by these restrictions in order to prevent the stop of the virus, and report any breaches by using the online reporting tool here: https://www.gmp.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/c19/tell-us-about-possible-breach-coronavirus-measures/ GMP Assistant Chief Constable, Nick Bailey said: Restrictions by borough City of Manchester, Bury, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside and Trafford In addition to the new national restrictions, local restrictions still apply in the City of Manchester, Bury, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside and Trafford: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/north-west-of-england-local-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do Bolton Bolton currently has the highest case rate in the country - 192 cases per 100,000. As a result, in addition to the new national restrictions, the Government has announced additional local restrictions: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bolton-local-restrictions Oldham In addition to the new national restrictions, additional local restrictions still apply in Oldham: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/blackburn-with-darwen-oldham-pendle-local-restrictions Stockport and Wigan Local restrictions no longer apply in Stockport and Wigan. However, the new national restrictions still apply.
  25. Oasis Academy in Ordsall has joined Salford City Academy, Harrop Fold, Buile Hill Academy, Co-op Academy and Ellenbrook Primary in reporting cases of pupils forced to self-isolate, making them the sixth school within Salford to do so. Pupils from within the year-8 group have been told they will need to stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days under government regulations. Pupils will continue their education virtually, online. Across Greater Manchester there have been 65 schools with reported cases. Pupils in other year groups have been told that they should continue to attend the school. Meanwhile there have been a further seven more deaths across the region today as Salford sees another rise in cases which bring the rate to 82.3 per 100,000 people.
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