ES News email


Worshippers observe social distancing as they arrive at the Bradford Grand Mosque in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on the first day of Eid, one of the areas where new measures have been implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

(Danny Lawson/PA)


KLM to cut up to 5,000 jobs due to pandemic

Dutch airline KLM said it will cut between 4,500 and 5,000 jobs because of the coronavirus crisis.

The company said in a statement that in addition to 1,500 job losses, some 1,500 temporary contracts will not be renewed and 2,000 jobs will be suppressed via a voluntary departure scheme.

The group also expects “natural attrition through retirement” to help cut an extra 500 jobs.

KLM said it does not expect demand to fully recover before 2023 or 2024 and said further staff reductions are possible “given the high level of uncertainty”.


Champagne industry loses its sparkle as pandemic hits demand

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt the champagne industry a blow with lockdown curbs on weddings, eating out and parties all affecting the market.

Producers in France’s eastern Champagne region, headquarters of the global industry, say they have lost an estimated 1.7 billion euros in sales for this year, as turnover fell by a third.

They expect about 100 million bottles to be languishing unsold in their cellars by the end of the year.

“We are experiencing a crisis that we evaluate to be even worse than the Great Depression of 1929,” said Thibaut Le Mailloux of the Champagne Committee, which represents some 16,000 winemakers.


Police could use roadblocks and cordons to prevent repeat of packed beach scenes in Bournemouth


Hancock denies lockdown action was being aimed at curtailing Eid celebrations

Matt Hancock denied that the action taken was being aimed at curtailing Eid celebrations.

Asked on BBC’s Today programme whether the measures were announced late on Thursday night to stop Eid celebrations from taking place, he said: “No, my heart goes out to the Muslim communities in these areas because I know how important the Eid celebrations are.

“I’m very grateful to the local Muslim leaders, the imams in fact, across the country who’ve been working so hard to find a way to have Covid-secure celebrations.

“For instance celebrating Eid in parks where there’s more space available and of course outdoors is safer than indoors.”


Rail union urges people not to crowd onto trains this weekend

Rail union officials have urged passengers to avoid crowding onto trains this weekend amid fears that unofficial Pride events and the hot weather may compromise social distancing.

The official Brighton Pride has been cancelled due to the virus pandemic, but the RMT union said a combination of unofficial events and other attractions on a hot weekend have sparked concerns among its members.

Assistant general secretary Mick Lynch said: “RMT has a strong history of supporting Brighton Pride and the organisers took the correct decision to postpone it this year in light of the pandemic to ensure everyone’s safety.

“However, we have been made aware that unofficial events have been organised this weekend which, combined with other attractions could lead to a surge of passengers that ‎compromises social distancing and safety measures and it’s important that is not allowed to happen.”


Second wave ‘not yet’ happening in UK, Hancock says

Matt Hancock said a second wave of coronavirus was “not yet” happening in the UK, adding: “These measures are very much being taken to prevent a second wave – we can see that second wave in Europe.

“We’re absolutely determined to keep people safe.”

Asked about the Islamic celebration of Eid which begins today, Mr Hancock told the BBC: “Unfortunately this change does mean that people won’t be able to get together in their houses, in their gardens.

“But we are allowing mosques and other religious places to stay open because they’ve done so much work to allow for Covid-secure celebration and worship.”


Manchester MP ‘inundated’ with questions about new lockdown rules

Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell said she has been “inundated” with questions which she did not know the answers to from her constituents about the new lockdown restrictions.

Sharing examples with Times Radio, she said they included people questioning whether they are able to visit elderly relatives they are looking after who live outside of the restricted area, and whether they can go on holiday with another household elsewhere.

“I’ve been inundated with questions that I don’t know the answers to them,” she said.


Most virus transmission is happening between households in northern England, Hancock says

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said test and trace data has shown “most of the transmission is happening between households” and between people visiting family and friends.

He told BBC Breakfast: “Whenever anybody tests positive, the vast majority of them we manage to speak to, and we ask which contacts they’ve had, and that’s shown that the vast majority of contact of people who have the virus, other than people in their own household… is from households visiting and then visiting friends and relatives.

“One of the terrible things about this virus is it thrives on the sort of social contact that makes life worth living and that is a serious problem with the virus.”


Hancock: Measures had to be applied across Manchester as virus was spreading more widely

Matt Hancock said the Government had to apply measures across all 10 Greater Manchester boroughs as the virus was spreading more widely than in the local areas where specific action had already been taken.

He told Sky News: “We absolutely looked at what was the right geography for this decision.

“Unfortunately we have seen an increase in the number of cases in Trafford and we also work with the local authority, and local authorities within Greater Manchester including the mayor, and took the decision to apply this across the whole of Greater Manchester.

“The reason for that is we’ve seen these increases across the board in Greater Manchester as well as the other areas that are affected.

“And also the problem was that we had taken more targeted, more specific local action, for instance in Oldham and Blackburn.

“But we could see that it was spreading more widely than that so we had to take the action that we did.”


   center no-repeat #999999;cursor:pointer;top:-8px; border-radius: 2px;”>↵

Calls for clarity amid criticism of new northern England lockdown… but Government insists rules are ‘crystal clear’


‘We have some of the lowest figures in the country’ – Lancashire council leader

Alyson Barnes, leader of Rossendale Borough Council in Lancashire, told BBC Breakfast that the “semi-rural area” had no cases of coronavirus last Thursday, which rose to one case last Friday, and the “figures were then seen to have doubled” putting them in a “red category”.

She said: “The reality is we have some of the lowest figures in the country.

“We’re having to absorb these new instructions this morning, it doesn’t make any sense to me.”

She said Rossendale had been “mopped up” in the lockdown for geographic reasons, adding the Government should introduce a “more nuanced approach”.

She added: “I think people in our area have been very compliant…but I think they will struggle to see sense in some of this when they know the figures locally are low.”


Labour MP Lucy Powell describes the lockdown announcement as a ‘disaster’

Shadow business minister Lucy Powell described the way in which the Government had announced the new coronavirus restrictions on parts of northern England as a “disaster”.

Speaking on Times Radio, the MP for Manchester Central said: “I mean announcing them two hours before they come into effect is a bit of a bolt out of the blue.

“With no one around to be able to answer some of the basic questions, I really think is not the way to build confidence and to take people with you and maximise compliance with these steps.”


Andy Burnham: Ministers should have detail of lockdown changes when they go in front of cameras

Andy Burnham said that ministers should have the detail of any changes in lockdown measures at the same time they go in front of the cameras.

The Greater Manchester Mayor told Sky News: “I understand how hard this is for Government ministers having been one myself.

“I think at the moment they’re adopting (what) feels like a new strategy of the minute they see something they are taking decisive action, and I think that’s probably the right way to do.

“But here’s the one caveat I would place on it – they have a habit of saying something and then it being a few hours until the detail emerges.

“And that certainly was the case last night, and later on last night a lot of people I think felt very uncertain about what exactly was being announced.

“So what I would say to them (ministers) is I understand the need to make announcements, I understand the need for decisive action, but when ministers go in front of the cameras, make sure you’ve got the detail ready to go exactly at the same time.”


Government was right to take action in north of England, Manchester mayor Andy Burnham says

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said the Government was right to take action in the north of England after it became clear that the picture on Covid-19 cases had changed.

He told Sky News: “On the substance, we do accept that these steps are needed. They’re modest steps.
“We’re asking people not to have visitors at home, if they go to the pub to stick within their own household – steps that hopefully will prevent much more severe restrictions if we take firm action at this time.

“And the reason for it is the picture changed in Greater Manchester over the last week. We’re watching the data very, very closely, like the Government is.

“So when the Government contacted me to say, ‘look we think something is happening here’, I could already see that it was and it wasn’t just in one locality, there was a change across all of our boroughs and that’s why we said to the Government they were right to take quick action.”


Our top story this morning: Indoor household visits banned across swathes of northern England in major coronavirus crackdown


A council area which is being subject to tighter lockdown restrictions is “getting mopped up with the broader area” and has low rates of coronavirus, a council leader has claimed.

Rossendale in Lancashire was among a number of areas where new rules have been introduced preventing households from meeting each other inside their homes or in gardens following a spike in virus cases.

But figures from Public Health England on the Government’s coronavirus online dashboard show Rossendale had a rate of new cases in the seven days to July 27 of 4.2, compared to 60.2 in Leicester and 54.3 in Oldham which have also been placed under restrictions.

The 4.2 figure puts Rossendale 153rd on the list of 315 local authority areas on that measure, and Alyson Barnes tweeted to say: “Levels of CV19 in Rossendale v low!

“Our figures are some of the lowest in the country, we are just getting mopped up with broader area!”

Nearby Preston, which is not included in the new restrictions, had the 16th highest rate of new cases in the seven days to July 27 at 21.2, the same as Salford which has been included.


Pubs, cafes and restaurants can reopen in Leicester from Monday after the announcement lockdown measures would be eased.

Liz Kendall, Labour MP for Leicester West, said that despite an “unbelievably difficult period” for the city, the hard work and sacrifice of residents had paid off.

The Department for Health and Social Care said hairdressers, cinemas and museums would also be able to open, but social gathering restrictions would remain in place for the city and leisure centres, gyms and public swimming pools would also remain closed.

Mosques and other places of worship will be allowed to reopen from Monday, with Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth urging Muslims to celebrate Eid al Adha from Thursday “with your own household at home”.

All restrictions in neighbouring Oadby and Wigston will be lifted, the department added.

Stricter lockdown restrictions were put in place in Leicester and other nearby areas by Health Secretary Matt Hancock on June 29 after a spike in Covid-19 infections.


Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said announcing the lockdown measures late at night on Twitter was a “new low” for the government’s communication.

He said there was now a need for “urgent clarity” on the move.

Sir Keir tweeted: “No one would argue with putting in place local action to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.

“But announcing measures affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter is a new low for the government’s communications during this crisis.

“When the government ended the daily press conferences, they said they would hold them for ‘significant announcements,’ including local lockdowns. It’s hard to imagine what could be more significant than this.

“For all the bluster, government has failed to deliver a functioning track and trace system that would spot local flare ups like these.

“The people of Greater Manchester now need urgent clarity and explanation from the government – and there must be proper support for those businesses and people affected by any lockdown.”