Tory MP Robert Jenrick admits he’s still undecided on whether he’ll hug relatives at Christmas


Conservative MP Robert Jenrick has admitted that he’s still undecided as to whether he will hug relatives at Christmas.

The Housing Secretary appeared on Good Morning as he was grilled on the government’s new tier system.

On Thursday, the government confirmed 99% of people will be in either Tier 2 or Tier 3 – where all indoor social gatherings are banned.

The new arrangements will apply from December 2 after England’s blanket lockdown ends. Restrictions have been tightened after Government scientific advisers warned that previous measures had not been effective enough.




This comes after it was revealed that three households would be able to meet for Christmas in a five-day relaxing of Covid, which is believed to be between between December 23 and December 27.

During last night’s press conference, Professor Chris Whitty warned against “hug or kiss relatives” during the family Christmas relaxation period.







Questioned whether he would hug his elderly relatives, Jenrick said: “I’m having those conversations with my mum and dad – they’re both older people, they’ve both been shielding at different times.

“I have young kids that would find it very difficult to socially distance when they would love to hug and kiss their grandparents.

“So we’re having those conversations deciding what is the right way-“

Host Kate Garraway interjected, saying: “You’re not sure either, then, because that’s the confusing thing for all of us!”

“Well, we’re going to have a conversation coming to our own conclusion,” Jenrick replied. “It might be, that we choose to do something quite different this Christmas.”

*Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV





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Woman banned from visiting mum on death bed after giving her ‘unauthorised’ hug


A woman was banned from visiting her now dead mum without supervision in her care home after giving her an ‘unauthorised’ cuddle.

Distraught Lorna Hammond was told her mum Penny Simson had just hours to live and rushed to her side to comfort her at Sovereign House care home.

But staff kicked the 46-year-old out after they caught her giving Penny, 74, who had Parkinson’s and dementia, a hug in her bed.

They told her that while visiting was allowed, any touching was banned due to restrictions around coronavirus.

The married mum-of-four was told to leave the home in Coventry immediately and later informed she could only see her mum in future for half an hour with supervision.



Penny died in the care home this morning

This morning Penny died.

Lorna, also from Coventry, is a full-time carer for her nine-year-old autistic daughter and dad who is a recovering alcoholic, described the situation as “cruel”.

She said: “I knew it was the end really. I went up to see her and was really emotional anyway.

“I wanted to speak to my mum about something before she died. I didn’t want her to be alone and got into bed with her and gave her a cuddle and kiss.

“I wanted not to be her carer; I wanted to be her daughter. I just wanted her to know what was going on.



Lorna said she wanted her mum to know she was there

“The staff came back in and saw me because I hadn’t locked the door. They asked me to leave and I left straight away.

“Then I got a phone call saying there had been a report to safeguarding meaning I had abused my mum.

“I was devastated, but I would do it again because I wanted my mum to know she isn’t alone.”

Lorna said she was told her mum died this morning.

The moment she was kicked out for the ‘hug’ last Wednesday was the last time she saw her alive.

She added: “I’m devastated I didn’t get to be with her before she died.



Penny was very young when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

“We were too late to be with her.

“Covid took away my rights to be with my mum.

“My heart is broken into pieces.”

Lorna wanted to tell her mum her grandson’s boyfriend was expecting a baby who may not survive a heart condition diagnosed in utero.

Lorna said: “It is so cruel.

“My mum has had Parkinson’s since I was two which is 44 years ago and she was diagnosed with Dementia around eight years ago.

“The situation was taken out of our hands four years ago when I had to move my dad in with me who is a recovering alcoholic.

“I had to move my mum from her care home in Oxfordshire to one near me in Coventry.”

In June Lorna received a call from the home explaining that her mum had just six hours to live.

“We were all round her bed and we weren’t in PPE,” she said.



Penny with her granddaughter Georgia

“We were allowed to be with her and touch her.

“It wasn’t Covid. They thought she was going to die from her worsening Parkinson’s and dementia.

“But on Wednesday (November 4) I got a phone call to say her swallow reflex had gone.

“I went to see her and she had a chest infection on top of that, so she couldn’t speak.”

Lorna said that the only time she goes out is to take her daughter to school and to see her dad.

Speaking before her mum died, Lorna expressed frustration that Penny was alone near the end.

“She should have people with her,” she said.

“I can’t take her home because of what happened to that lady on the news who tried to take her mum home from the care home.

“She took her into the car and was arrested. I feel like doing that but I know I would be arrested and my mum wouldn’t come home.

“It is wrong, so wrong.”

Penny had two children, four great grandchildren and one great granddaughter, but was one of the youngest people in the country to get Parkinson’s when she was 29.

She was a former cub leader who worked in a bank and volunteered in Oxfam shops.

Lorna added: “The care home staff that go to and from the home every day pose a bigger risk that I do.

“I don’t see the amount of people that they do every day.

“The staff have been remarkable. They have given my mum the best care possible.

“This is not about the care home, it is about the government policy that leaves vulnerable people on their own.

“If somebody is dying they deserve the right to be with their family and they deserve to have somebody there.

“They have got the right to be with their family and loved ones. These people are in their 70s.



Lorna is very critical of rules that have stopped her saying a proper goodbye to her mum

“The government has got it wrong if you can’t give them a hug when they’re dying. It is inhumane.

“She was a strong, feisty woman who never gave up on herself or her family.

“Even when she was poorly she has continued to keep her family together.

“I get the rules and follow all the lockdown restrictions, but these people are dying alone and it is just so cruel.

“It is unfair on the residents and their families.

“I understand that there need to be rules but they should be overlooked when someone’s in my mum’s situation so they can be touched by their family.



Penny with her husband Steve

“It is so important for someone at that stage in their life to be touched and held by their loved ones.

“I know I am probably not alone in this.

“I will follow any other restriction. I waited four months to see my granddaughter after she was born when I could have broken the rules by driving down to Salisbury to hold her.

“I know I broke the rules but I would do the same again to see my mum and give her a cuddle.”

A spokesperson for Sovereign House confirmed Penny died this morning but claimed restrictions had to be put in place for the daughter’s visits due to rules being ignored on more than one occasion.



The care home has stopped all end of life visits

They said: “We have had a recent positive Covid test in the home, so we could have stopped all end of life visits under government guidelines, but we are hugely sympathetic to families in such difficult circumstances and we want to be as flexible as possible within the rules.

“This was explained to the family, along with the importance of following guidelines on PPE and social distancing.

“Unfortunately, these rules were ignored and a number of other incidents meant we had to raise safeguarding concerns with social work.

“They were supportive of the plans – including supervised visits – that we were forced to put in place as we have a duty to provide a safe environment for all residents and our staff.

“Penny was a much-loved resident and she’ll be sadly missed by all of our team.”





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AFL Grand Final 2020: Dustin Martin, Damien Hardwick embrace, hug, video | Norm Smith Medal voting


It must feel like there’s a thousand people to hug when the siren blows on a grand final victory – and when you’ve had more to do with that win than anyone else the line of people looking to acknowledge you is longer than the wait for a night grand final to start.

That person was Dustin Martin on Saturday night after the Richmond champion was a unanimous choice for the Norm Smith Medal after kicking four magical goals.

Martin claimed all five three-point votes as the unanimous winner of the best on ground award as Richmond beat Geelong by 31 points in Brisbane.

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The Tigers have now claimed three titles in four years, coming from 22 points down just before halftime to topple the Cats.

But in the decider of a season unlike any other, it appeared the 12.9 (81) to 7.8 (50) win meant more than most.

While there have been plenty of questions over whether the 2020 season would be tarred with an asterisk in the history books, one final eye-catching moment from Martin said it all.

After first hugging Jack Riewoldt and joining a group of teammates in a pack embrace, Martin spotted his coach Damien Hardwick entering the field.

He made a beeline for his mentor, almost brushing off a couple of others who had charged from the sidelines to reach the man who has led him to the highest of heights.

The look on the face of Martin when he embraced Hardwick must have touched the hardest of hearts before he lovingly rested his head on his coach’s shoulder.

After being quarantined in the AFL bubble for nearly 110 days, the emotion was palpable.

media_cameraDustin Martin looked near tears when embracing his coach.

After the medal presentation, Martin still didn’t know what to say.

“It still doesn’t feel real,” he said on Channel 7. “I don’t know what to say. I’m just so grateful to be a part of such an unbelievable group. I’m lost for words to be honest.

“It’s been a tough road. I couldn’t be prouder of the way we faced a bit of adversity this year and the way we stuck at it. That’s why we’re a great club.”

Martin became just the second player behind Barry Cable to have 20 disposals and multiple goals in three Grand Finals, as he booted four majors to go with 21 touches.

The result sees Martin become the first three-time winner of the Norm Smith Medal after a virtuoso performance.

He kicked his first major to get the Tigers back into the game after dropping 22 points behind in the second quarter.

Martin also landed a massive goal to snatch the lead in the third term, before wrapping it up with two late goals in the fourth, kicking from beyond the 50m arc into an empty goalsquare with just under eight minutes left before snapping around the corner to make it a 30-point game with a minute remaining.

Social media went insane for the biggest of big game players as he came up huge again.

2011 Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan said: “There is now clearly no doubt about it now that Dustin is the greatest big game player ever. Him and Jordan sit at the same table.”

Newcastle Herald deputy editor Xavier Mardling tweeted: “Clearly the best of Dusty’s three grand finals, I reckon. Hope (Jordan) De Goey is watching. That’s how you earn big money.”

AAP journalist Michael Ramsey added: “Dusty stamps himself as the player of his generation. Incredible and pretty much the difference between these two teams”.

Dustin Martin — take a bow.
media_cameraDustin Martin — take a bow.

NORM SMITH VOTING

15 – Dustin Martin (Richmond) – 33333

6 – Jayden Short (Richmond) – 222

4 – Shane Edwards (Richmond) – 1111

3 – Mitch Duncan (Geelong) – 21

2 – Nathan Broad (Richmond) – 2

Originally published as Dusty lets guard down, wins hearts





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Australia’s top nurse Alison McMillan says we still can’t hug or handshake


You might have seen people shaking hands or even hugging one another, but they shouldn’t be.

According to chief nursing and midwifery officer Alison McMillan, “we have reached a point at the moment where a handshake is no longer something we should be doing socially”.

Prof McMillan said on Sunday that the traditional greeting has become “very much part of our culture” but is now something “we should avoid at this point in time”.

She said people who live together can still hug one another but “when it comes to the broader community, and hugging others outside of your family unit, then no, we really think at this point in time we need to think of innovative and different ways to show a welcome or a greeting to somebody, but it’s not a hug”.

“At some point perhaps in the future we may reach a point where we will see hugging again, but not at this point in time,” she said.

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Ms McMillan’s comments come as 17 new deaths in Victoria pushed Australia’s death toll past 500.

502 people have now died from COVID-19 in Australia since the nightmare coronavirus pandemic began.

The majority of those deaths (415 total) have been in Victoria, and within the past six weeks as the state was hit with a second wave of infections.

Back in mid-March Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Australians it was no longer safe to handshake.

“No more handshakes,” he said during a live address.

“This is a new thing we’ve moved to, something I will be practising, my cabinet members and others are practising.

“This is not something that was necessarily a key requirement weeks ago but it’s just another step up now.”

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard recommended that people replace hand shaking with other greetings, saying it was “not necessary”.

“It is a very Australian thing to do to put your hand out and shake hands for example,” he said.

“I would be suggesting it is time that Aussies actually gave each other a pat on the back for the time being.

In June, Australia’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth conceded it was “a hard thing to remember” not to hug or shake hands, but was more important than other measures like face masks.

“You’ve got to catch yourself out now when you see your friends and family who you haven’t seen for a long time, but these things are nonetheless important and are arguably far more important then say wearing masks,” he said.

“Importantly as well for those states where restrictions are lifting, that doesn’t imply a lifting of our personal behaviour standards that we’ve become so used to,” Dr Coatsworth said.



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10-year-old’s genius invention to hug grandparents during quarantine


Australia seems – touch wood – to have almost made it out the other side of the coronavirus crisis.

In many Australian states, restrictions are lifting and we’re starting to open our doors and embrace family members again.

But in some parts of the world – especially in the USA – the pandemic is far from over, with many places still in lockdown and people missing their loved ones, especially their grandparents.

We all know that Zoom, Facetime and House Party have been lifesavers when it comes to staying connected, but sometimes nothing beats a good old cuddle, right?

One 10-year-old from California was so desperate to hug her grandparents, she invented a “hug curtain” so she could do just that.

Her mum posted the video of the sweet moment to her Facebook page.

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Paige’s mum, Lindsay, works as a nurse and said she had seen a video of a person who had made a type of blanket to hug their family.

“She put together a list and she designed it so she could hug nana and papa,” Lindsay said, proudly, adding, “This girl is so freaking amazing and we were so happy to be able to hug them!”

To make the curtain, Paige used a shower curtain, disposable plates, glue, and some ziplock bags.

Her grandparents were completely overjoyed by the surprise when they opened the door.

“This is so cool,” her grandma gushed, close to tears at the chance to cuddle her granddaughter after such a long time.

For more stories like this, visit kidspot.com.au

The adorable video has had almost 20k views so far.

“OMG, I have chills!!! So amazing,” one person wrote. And another: “This kid might just save our world … remember her name!!!”

Paige is just another in a long line of kids proving the future really is in good hands by their ingenious response to the pandemic, like these kids who performed a concert for their elderly neighbour who were self-isolating, this pair of children who hand-delivered toilet paper so people wouldn’t go without, and who can forget Hamish Blake’s daughter Rudy Foster-Blake who just wanted everyone to ‘not be naughty’ and stay at home.

So there you go: The world might be a basket case but at least the kids are all right.

This article originally appeared on Kidspot and was reproduced with permission





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Switzerland relaxes coronavirus guidelines allowing children and grandparents to hug


Despite social distancing measures across the globe that cautions people against close contact with others, including kissing, hugging, and shaking hands, Switzerland says children below ten years old and grandparents can hug, emphasizing that children are less likely to transmit the coronavirus.

Swiss authorities say it is safe for children under the age of ten to hug their grandparents, revising its official advice on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The country is now slowly lifting restrictions, with some businesses allowed to open and schools to resume in two weeks.

The country’s lockdown came after there was a sudden surge of infections over the past months. Now, the number of confirmed cases topped 29,500, with 1,737 deaths. Health officials say it is now safe to start reopening establishments, provided precautions are observed.

Image Credit: motioncenter / Shutterstock

Only brief meetings

The coronavirus disease is dangerous to certain vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions, and those whose immune systems are weak. People with medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and cancer are more likely to experience severe disease.

In various studies on the coronavirus pandemic, children are less likely to suffer from severe COVID-19, but they can still contract the virus, causing mild to moderate illness.

The Swiss health ministry’s infectious diseases chief Dr. Daniel Koch said scientists suggested that young children did not transmit the virus, making it safe for them to visit their grandparents, who are vulnerable to COVID-19. However, the health experts said that the contact or meeting should be brief and would not involve babysitting. The children cannot stay with their grandparents for long periods.

Dr. Koch added that when the advice about keeping the distance between children and grandparents was formulated,  there was limited information and data on how the coronavirus was transmitted.

“Children are practically not infected and do not pass on the virus. And most children are infected by their parents. That is why small children pose no risk to high-risk patients or grandparents. So, it is legitimate that grandparents have physical contact with younger children. If the children get older, for example, from the age of 10, the risk increases, then this contact is no longer desirable,” Dr. Koch, head of the infectious diseases unit at the Federal Department of Public Health (FOPH), said.

He added that the recommendation of the country’s health department was based on consultations made with infectious disease experts and pediatricians from major universities in Bern, Zurich, and Geneva. Though the main goal is to protect older adults from the disease, it is not the children who bring danger, but their parents. Hence, they do not recommend that grandparents take care of the children, but short meetings may be allowed.

Note of caution

Now, a top World Health Organization (WHO) says that they are looking into whether grandparents can safely hug children without the risk of getting the deadly virus. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhobe, WHO’s emergency program technical head, made the statement after Switzerland’s recommendation on easing up lockdown measures, including allowing brief meetings between children and the elderly.

However, Germany’s chief virologist Christian Drosten said that there is still limited data to conclude that children could not transmit the virus. Various studies are focusing on children contracting the virus, but it is unclear if they can pass it onto others.

In the United Kingdom and many other European countries, the guideline remains that children should not have contact with their grandparents. The UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock says that though it is important for families to be together, it is more important that vulnerable people continue to be protected.

Globally, the coronavirus pandemic has now infected more than 3.25 million people, while the death toll has surpassed 233,000. The United States remains the country with the highest number of infections, with over one million confirmed cases. Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany have reported high infection tolls, with 213,435, 205,463, 172,481, 167,299, and 163,009 confirmed cases, respectively.





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