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2020-07-31T21:05:17.813Z

Captain Sir Tom Moore receives honorary freedom of his home town

Captain Sir Tom Moore has been awarded the freedom of his home town for his outstanding fundraising efforts.

He described becoming an honorary freeman of Keighley, West Yorkshire, as a “privilege”, adding: “I remain truly humbled and grateful for the support I have received from far and wide but the warm reception I have received coming home is particularly special to me.

“It really is great to be back.”

The 100-year-old Second World War veteran, who has raised almost £33 million for the NHS, was greeted by an honour guard from members of the Yorkshire Regiment for the special ceremony at the Town Hall Square in Keighley town centre.

His family also watched as a plaque was unveiled in his honour.

Captain Sir Tom had set out to raise £1,000 by walking 100 laps of his garden in the village of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire before his 100th birthday on April 30.

His efforts struck a chord with national feeling, and praise and donations flooded in with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying he “provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus” and recommended he be knighted.

Becoming an honorary freeman of Keighley is the highest honour the council can bestow on anyone, according to town mayor Peter Corkindale.

2020-07-31T21:02:51.266Z

A number of groups are planning to gather in south London tomorrow:

Police impose restrictions and curfew on Brixton protests this weekend

A curfew and other restrictions have been imposed on demonstrations planned in south London this weekend, Scotland Yard has said.

The force are aiming to stop people blocking main roads or planning illegal music events as numerous groups plan to gather in Brixton on Saturday. 

Crowds will congregate for Afrikan Emancipation Day – including those from Extinction Rebellion – primarily to enjoy a family-friendly, socially distanced day of activities and learning, police said.

2020-07-31T19:47:45.330Z

Curfew and other restrictions imposed on demos planned in Brixton:

A curfew and other restrictions have been imposed on demonstrations planned in south London to stop people blocking main roads or planning illegal music events, Scotland Yard has said.

Numerous groups are planning to gather in Brixton, south London, on Saturday for Afrikan Emancipation Day – including Extinction Rebellion – primarily to enjoy a family-friendly, socially distanced day of activities and learning, police said.

But Extinction Rebellion has said that groups will block the A23 Brixton Road from Max Roach Park to Windrush Square and occupy the area for the day.

It said that it was joining a coalition of groups, including the Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign, Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee, and Rhodes Must Fall Oxford.

The event aims to promote the necessity of stopping the genocide and ecocide of African people and their environments, it added.

But the Metropolitan Police on Friday said that blocking the road will cause “serious disruption” to Brixton and the surrounding area because it is used by hundreds of bus routes and thousands of motorists.

It said that it is imposing a number of conditions on the demonstrations within areas such as Windrush Square, Max Roach Park and outside Brixton Police Station. They must not spill into nearby roads and they must finish by 8pm.

2020-07-31T19:30:15.670Z

A police boss has blasted Boris Johnson’s announcement that officers will enforce the mandatory wearing of face masks as “absolutely bonkers”.

2020-07-31T17:46:20.513Z

More cases confirmed in Ireland as surge continues to grow:

Another 38 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Ireland, the National Public Health Emergency Team said, bringing the total to 26,065.

No new deaths were notified as of midnight on Thursday, leaving the national total at 1,763.

Of the 38 new cases, 22 are male and 16 female while 82% are under the age of 45.

Some 32 cases are located in Dublin or Kildare and 26 are associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of confirmed cases.

Over the past two days a total of 123 cases have been reported. Of these, 84 cases are linked to known outbreaks or are close contacts of other confirmed cases.

At least 19 cases have been identified as community transmission while 20 cases remain under investigation.

2020-07-31T17:31:09.610Z

One in five people in London and the South East who have had coronavirus did not show any symptoms, a new study suggests.

2020-07-31T17:13:42.930Z

Flu jab campaign needed for younger at-risk groups, scientists say:

A flu vaccination campaign is needed to target younger clinical risk groups to combat the risk of coronavirus co-infection in the winter, scientists have warned.

Documents released by the Government’s Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) committee indicate that experts are concerned about the number of people of people in risk groups that do not get the jab.

In a meeting on July 14, Sage recommends ensuring that at risk groups are made aware of the potential impact of Sars-CoV-2 infection.

It notes that the take up of the flu jab in the risk group of those aged 65 and over is good at 71.6%, but not in the younger clinical risk groups, with a 43.1% take up in under 65 years and 42.8% in pregnant women.

In the document, the advisers say: “We recommend with high priority a campaign to target these groups to mitigate the risk of co-infection this winter.

“We also note that the use of the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) in children reduces the incidence of community transmission of influenza virus.

“If there are widespread school closures in a second wave then this will affect uptake of this vaccine.

“Therefore, we recommend with high priority alternative options for delivery of this program are considered and how uptake rates of LAIV can be sustained/maximised.”

In the same paper the Government advisers say that we should expect co-infections and therefore prepare accordingly.

2020-07-31T16:08:59.503Z

Serious disorder could ‘overwhelm’ attempts to control coronavirus, Sage told

Serious public disorder in the coming months could “overwhelm all attempts” to control coronavirus and “catastrophically” undermine recovery plans, scientific advisers have warned.

The current “volatile and highly complex situation” means the UK will face “grave challenges” in maintaining public order, according to a paper considered by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) in July.

The academics warn that tensions resulting from the pandemic have become “inextricably bound” with structural inequalities and international events.

They cited the Black Lives Matter movement that gained traction in May and early June after the death of George Floyd in the United States.

There is an increasing sense of “racial injustice, inequality and discrimination” felt among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, which have been disproportionately affected by the virus.

At the same time, the authors say extreme right-wing groups are mobilising at a scale not seen for a decade, and exploiting fatal stabbing incidents in Reading, London and Glasgow.

The paper, by Professors Cliff Stott and Mark Harrison, reads: “While widespread urban disorder is not inevitable, currently, the situation in the UK is precariously balanced and the smallest error in policing (whether perceived or real, inside or outside the UK) or policy could unleash a dynamic which will make the management of Covid-19 all but impossible.

“Put simply, a serious deterioration of public order could overwhelm all attempts to control contagion, overwhelm hospitals, the criminal justice system and hinder revival of the economy.”

2020-07-31T15:34:09.986Z

Listen to today’s episode of The Leader:

Podcast: What’s going on with the UK’s coronavirus restrictions?

Welcome to the Evening Standard’s daily podcast, The Leader, bringing you exclusive analysis and insight of the events setting the news agenda tonight.

The Leader is inspired by each evening’s Evening Standard’s editorial column, as it focusses on and dissects the day’s major news events across the capital, the country and the world.

2020-07-31T14:22:30.640Z

Pandemic will not be over by Christmas, Mark Drakeford warns

The coronavirus pandemic will not be over by Christmas, the First Minister of Wales has said.

    
Mark Drakeford warned there would be a resurgence of Covid-19 transmissions across the UK during autumn and winter.

    
The comments appeared to reference Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suggestion that there could be a “significant return to normality” in time for Christmas.

    
On Friday, he told the Welsh Government’s press briefing: “We are facing the likelihood of a resurgence of the virus over the autumn and winter. This will not be over by Christmas.

    
“We all have an ongoing responsibility to keep Wales safe. This means maintaining social distancing, washing our hands often and thinking carefully about where we go, what we’re doing and why.”

2020-07-31T14:10:15.950Z

Ronnie Scott’s: ‘It’s been a very tough four months’

Ronnie Scott’s managing director Simon Cooke told the PA news agency: “It’s been a very tough four months. This is just another punch you have to roll with.

   
“It’s another setback. It’s very disappointing and it’s disappointing it had to be done at short notice.

“What we all want is a bit of certainty in the future.”

   
The jazz club had put together three weeks of shows, starting on Saturday.

2020-07-31T13:54:33.833Z

Sturgeon: Decision to advise against all but essential travel to parts of England ‘not taken lightly’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government’s decision to advise against all but essential travel to coronavirus-hit parts of England was not taken “lightly”.

   
She said at a Covid-19 briefing: “The connections between Scotland and the north of England are very strong, they are very important and they are highly valued by people on both sides of the border.”

2020-07-31T13:53:33.520Z

Need for caution more ‘obvious’ than ever, Nicola Sturgeon says

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the need for caution is more “obvious” now than it has been since the outbreak of coronavirus as the country sees a surge in new cases.

    
She said: “Today is the first time we have had 30 new cases in a single day in more than eight weeks.
“We must pay attention to that and I want to assure we are paying close attention to that.”

2020-07-31T13:47:28.403Z

Indoor gigs at grassroots venues won’t realistically return until October ‘at the earliest’, Music Venue Trust warns

2020-07-31T13:29:08.150Z

Music Venue Trust ‘saddened but not surprised’ by postponement of reopening

The Music Venue Trust has said it is “saddened but not surprised” by the announcement that live socially-distanced indoor performances will not be able to resume as planned.

    
The organisation, which represents grassroots venues, said in a statement: “Music Venue Trust and the network of grassroots music venues across the UK are saddened but not surprised to hear that live music events planned from August 1 in response to Government advice must now be cancelled.

    
“Since May 2020, Music Venue Trust has repeatedly informed the Government that live music events in grassroots music venues would be extraordinarily difficult to stage, not economically viable, and at risk of being cancelled at short notice during the current pandemic.

    
“A number of venues across the country have attempted to stage such events based on advice from the Government, incurring substantial costs to make their venues safe.

    
“That expenditure now adds to the growing mountain of debts accrued by those venues working within the Government guidelines.”