Coronavirus: Police threat of fines falls on deaf ears as large groups in fancy dress descend on Nottingham | UK News

Large groups of young people in fancy dress drank alcohol and chanted near police vehicles on the streets of Nottingham last night – hours before the toughest coronavirus restrictions were imposed on the city.

The gatherings came despite police warning that they would have “no hesitation” in fining those who deliberately flout the rules.

Nottingham officially moved into Tier 3 at 12.01am today, and new rules will include a ban on buying alcohol from shops after 9pm.

A police officer moves on crowds after pubs and bars shut
Large crowds of young people were seen on the streets of Nottingham last night
Some groups were seen chanting near police vehicles

Some of the youngsters appeared to be celebrating Halloween two days early. A few police vehicles were present in the city centre, as well as an ambulance.

Earlier on Thursday, Assistant Chief Constable Kate Meynell said: “Sadly there has been a minority of people who think the legislation doesn’t apply to them and we have been forced to take action, and in some cases hand out fines.

“In the last week we have given £10,000 fines to four people who organised parties with more than 30 people present as well as numerous £200 fines to people who wantonly broke the law.”

She added that people who break the rules “with no regard for the impact their actions have on families and frontline key workers” will be fined.

Kay Cutts, the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said the 9pm alcohol ban had been requested to stop students partying.

She told reporters: “That’s something which has been blighting a bit of Nottinghamshire… younger people don’t ever think they are going to catch anything.”

Large crowds of young people were seen on the streets of Nottingham last night
The youngsters – some in fancy dress – appeared to be celebrating Halloween early
Large crowds of young people were seen on the streets of Nottingham last night
Several police cars and an ambulance were present in the city centre

Similar scenes were seen on the streets of Liverpool the night before Tier 3 restrictions were imposed there in mid-October.

After footage of large crowds in Concert Square were circulated on social media, intensive care doctors told Sky News they were “disgusted” by what had happened, adding: “They don’t care that people are dying from this disease, it is heart-breaking to watch.”

Nottinghamshire’s public health director, Jonathan Gribbin, has said that the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the county is now 40% higher than the peak of the first wave in April.

He warned that “even a well-organised NHS and care system will struggle to cope” with the sharp rise in patients.

As of 27 October, 361 beds across the county were occupied by people suffering from COVID-19 – but this rose to 413 just one day later.

“I think straight away it gives you an indication of how quickly it’s increasing,” he said.

Measures under Tiers 1, 2 and 3 of England's lockdown system

Several cancer operations have had to be postponed in Nottinghamshire because of “pressure on intensive care units”.

With Nottinghamshire entering Tier 3 – and West Yorkshire set to follow suit on Monday – 11 million will now be living in the highest level of coronavirus restrictions. That’s 19.6% of the population.

The Tees Valley and the West Midlands could also be moved to Tier 3, meaning millions more could soon be under the strictest level of lockdown in England.

Meanwhile, data from NHS England shows the number of beds occupied by confirmed coronavirus patients has more than doubled in two weeks – from 4,105 on 13 October to 8,595 on Tuesday.

There were also 743 COVID-19 patients in mechanical ventilation beds on Tuesday, up from 560 a week earlier.

The NHS Test and Trace system has also recorded its highest-ever weekly number of positive cases, while a study by Imperial College London has found that almost 100,000 people are catching COVID-19 on a daily basis.

With France entering a second lockdown from today, and Germany imposing a partial four-week lockdown, the UK government is coming under pressure to adopt a more national approach to tackle surging infection rates.

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Patel refuses to rule out national lockdown

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said the government has not ruled anything out.

On Thursday, government figures showed that there have been 23,065 more lab-confirmed cases in the UK, and a further 280 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19.

The Department of Health and Social Care also said more than a dozen regions will move from the lowest to the middle tier of restrictions on Saturday.

These include East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston-upon-Hull, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, Dudley, Staffordshire, Telford, the Wrekin, Amber Valley, Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales, Derby City, South Derbyshire, the whole of High Peak, Charnwood, Luton and Oxford.

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New Banksy artwork appears in Nottingham

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |

October 18, 2020 12:35:26 pm

The artist claimed the work was his in a recent Instagram post. (Source: Instagram/@banksy)

In what was ‘suspected’ as an artwork created by anonymous street artist Banksy in Nottingham in England, was confirmed by the artist two days later in a social media post.

“Amazing,” the artist wrote on Instagram, with a picture of a young girl hula-hooping with the wheel of a bicycle, next to an actual bicycle that is missing a back wheel. The graffiti is located on Ilkeston Road in Radford, just outside a beauty salon, which is believed to be a popular residential area for students.

According to a BBC report, after Banksy’s confirmation, people began to throng the place to have their photographs taken with the artwork, with as many as 30 people there at one point, along with some police officers.

The report mentions that a Banksy expert by the name of Prof Paul Gough, from Arts University Bournemouth, was initially doubtful if it was the “real deal”, but later said he was “really pleased” the work was done by the artist.

“It is curious. The last four or five [of Banksy’s works] have all related to Covid or something in the news. This is much more whimsical and much more of the moment. It is someone enjoying themselves. Perhaps that is the message: ‘we are in difficult times, let’s try to make the most of it and get some fun out of something which is broken’. The hoop is holistic. The circle is a positive and life-affirming. Even with a knackered bicycle, she is finding something she can play with,” he told BBC.

ALSO READ | Banksy’s oil painting expected to fetch £5m at London auction

Banksy’s artworks have been hailed for being topical and socially relevant. He has, in the past, made political statements of the current climate through his work. The identity of the famous artist, however, remains unknown.

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Coronavirus: East Midlands COVID surge as Nottingham records highest case rate in England | UK News

There has been a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in the East Midlands over the past two weeks, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England (PHE).

The rate of new COVID-19 infections in the region has jumped from 48.8 cases per 100,000 people to 164.1 in the space of two weeks.

It follows warnings from chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance that cases are rising across England – and not just in the North West and North East.

PHE said there have been “notable increases in incidence and positivity” in the East Midlands in the two weeks from 28 September to 11 October.

During this period, the percentage of people receiving a positive result after taking a COVID-19 test has risen from 2.8% to 8.9%.

Nottingham continues to have the highest rate of new cases in England, reporting around 3,070 new cases in the seven days to 11 October – equating to 922.2 cases per 100,000 people.

It is believed the uptick in cases is at least partially linked to a large outbreak at the University of Nottingham.

There are currently over 1,000 active coronavirus cases at the university, according to the latest data.

The city has been moved to Tier 2 restrictions, meaning that different households are not allowed to meet indoors – although it has so far avoided the toughest restrictions.

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Towns under lockdown due to a nearby city

A meeting between Nottingham MPs and government ministers – which some believed was to discuss moving into Tier 3 – was cancelled on Friday, Nottinghamshire Live reported.

The PHE report also suggests London is facing a significant problem.

While infections in the capital appear relatively low compared to regions in the North, the highest hospital admission rates have been seen in London and the North West.

This could be due to a drop in testing in the capital, meaning that infections are likely much higher than the available data suggests.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has repeatedly criticised the testing system, saying: “We need an immediate increase in testing capacity so that London’s testing rates can increase to the national average.”

Meanwhile, schools and universities are still accounting for the highest proportion of reported coronavirus outbreaks across the UK.

In the week up to 11 October, 336 suspected outbreaks were reported to PHE by educational settings in the UK.

In 279 cases, at least one person tested positive for COVID-19.

Care homes accounted for the second highest number of suspected outbreaks, with 321 reports. At least one person tested positive for COVID-19 in 214 cases.

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The latest local lockdown rules in Liverpool, Nottingham and Sheffield

Boris Johnson has unveiled tough new local lockdowns that will see millions of households banned from mixing with each other indoors and hundreds of pubs in Liverpool shut their doors for four weeks from Wednesday.

The Prime Minister announced the measures alongside a three-tier Covid alert level system, which will see different parts of the country placed in different categories dependent on rates of infection, with areas in the highest level facing the toughest restrictions.

The first alert level, which is medium, covers most of the country and consists of the current national measures, such as the rule of six and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.

The second alert level, which is high, “reflects the interventions in many local areas at the moment”, the Prime Minister said. This level bans the mixing of households or support bubbles in any indoor setting, however separate households can meet outdoors and in private gardens providing that the rule of six is followed.

Areas already under restrictions will automatically move into the high alert level, and as a result of increasing infection rates, Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak will also move into the high alert level. 

According to a list released by Number 10, the Greater Manchester, Warrington, Derbyshire, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, North East, Tees Valley, West Midlands and Leicester areas all fall under Tier 2. 

The very high alert level – the most severe on the system – will “apply where transmission rates are rising most rapidly and where the NHS could soon be under unbearable pressure without further restrictions”. In these areas, social mixing indoors and in private gardens will be banned and pubs and bars will be closed.

“We want to create the maximum possible local consensus behind this more severe local action,” Boris Johnson said. “So in each area we will work with local government leaders on the additional measures which should be taken. This could lead to further restrictions on the hospitality, leisure, entertainment or personal care sectors.” 

However, retail, schools and universities will remain open in these areas.

Mr Johnson confirmed that local authorities in the Liverpool City region will move into the very high alert level from Wednesday, and pubs and bars will also be closed. Gyms and leisure centres, betting shops, adult game centres and casinos will also close. 

Negotiations between the Government and local leaders are currently underway to put further areas in the North West, North East and Yorkshire the Humber into Tier 3. 

MPs will debate and vote on the measures on Tuesday and the new tiered system will come into effect on Wednesday.

It comes after data presented on Monday morning by England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam and NHS England’s Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis, showed that cases in the North West and North East are continuing to rise at levels faster than the rest of England. 

However, Prof Van-Tam said that it is of “significant concern” that “in a matter of days” cases have increased across the country as a whole and are “reaching down into a further land mass and to the South of England”, and to the elderly.

There are also currently more patients in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK now than there were when a full lockdown was announced in March, data showed. 

The North West and North East and Yorkshire are seeing the fastest rise in hospital cases, with Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust experiencing the steepest increase. The Trust now has more than 250 Covid-19 patients in its beds. 

Prof Powis added that the Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate have been asked to “mobilise in the next few weeks” to be ready to accept patients if necessary. Regular testing for NHS staff in high-risk areas will also be introduced, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own devolved governments and separate health systems. Pubs across central Scotland closed for just over two weeks to try to cut close-contact transmission, and there is a ban on hosting other households indoors across the country. 

Here’s everything we know about the local lockdown restrictions. 

What is the three-tier system?

Local lockdowns are to be automatically triggered by a three-tier Covid alert level system, which divides the country into different areas based on local infection rates, which will dictate the severity of local lockdowns.

It will work alongside the NHS Test and Trace app, where people scan a special QR code to enter and exit pubs, restaurants and bars. The app will send a message to the user about lockdown conditions when the coronavirus risk profile changes.

In England, there are currently zero areas in the UK that are considered low risk by the new app.

England will be divided into one of three tiers, each of which will have predetermined restrictions.

Tier one, or medium alert level, covers most of the country and consists of the current national measures, such as the rule of six and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.

Tier two, or high alert level, bans households or support bubbles from meeting each other indoors. However separate households can meet outdoors and in public gardens providing that the rule of six is followed.

Tier three, or very high alert level, bans social mixing indoors and in private gardens altogether, and bars and pubs will be closed as a baseline. However, the Government will decide with local authorities on whether further measures, including further restrictions on the hospitality, leisure, entertainment and personal care sectors. Retail, schools and universities will still remain open in these areas.

Read more: The new three tier lockdown rules, explained

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