Coronavirus: Sandwell traders fear a potential local lockdown could be ‘final nail in the coffin’ | UK News

Market traders in the West Midlands say business was already tough before coronavirus – and now they fear a second wave or local lockdown could be the “final nail in the coffin”.

The borough of Sandwell, which includes West Bromwich, Oldbury, Tipton and Smethwick, is currently in the top 10 of areas in England with the highest rates of infection.

This leaves it in danger of having local restrictions being forced upon it by the government.

Sandwell’s rate of infection rose to 28.1 per 100,000 people in the week up to 27 July, from 26.9 the previous week.

Brett Packer has been selling clothes and home furnishings on the market in West Bromwich for more than 15 years
Brett Packer sells clothes and home furnishings at a market in West Bromwich

Last month, West Bromwich Albion was promoted to football’s Premier League but now the area is climbing a less welcome table.

In the town’s market, trade is only just beginning its return to health after the rigours of lockdown and none of the stall holders or shopkeepers want to see a second wave.

Brett Packer has been selling clothes and home furnishings at the market for more than 15 years.

He said trade was already tough before coronavirus.

“It used to be heaving here on a daily basis, Monday to Saturday,” he said.

“But this could be the final nail in the coffin. And if we get a second wave that could really devastate the whole area.

“If they lock down Sandwell and Smethwick, people will drive to Birmingham, they’ll drive to Merry Hill. They’ve got to do their shopping somewhere.

“And the danger is they might not come back.”

Boris Johnson says people can still go back to the office tomorrow – but some venues won’t reopen and large events will be postponed.

31 July: Boris Johnson delays lockdown easing

The council is trying to forestall the sort of government intervention seen in Leicester, Greater Manchester, Blackburn, Calderdale, Kirklees and Bradford.

It held an emergency meeting on Friday, and has issued amended advice to keep the infection rate down.

The council’s deputy leader Maria Crompton said: “Nationally, the government has advised people who are shielding they could stop shielding from Friday 31 July, but anyone in Sandwell who is shielding is strongly advised to continue to shield to keep themselves safe.

“We know people are looking forward to going out again. However, we are very strongly advising people who are shielding to stay put for now and go out as little as possible.”

The council has issued the following advice:

  • Continue to shield if you are already shielding
  • Do not go inside other people’s houses
  • Get tested and isolate if you have symptoms

The mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has said there are no plans to lock down any boroughs within the region.

But authorities in Sandwell add the caveat that if the new advice is not heeded, more restrictive measures are “highly likely”.

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Coronavirus-shadowed Emmy nominations have the potential to yield some surprises

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Potential Adverse Impacts of Poorly Designed Medication Pricing Policy

As our country
and the world continue to battle the COVID19 pandemic, the need for reliable,
safe, effective, and high-quality diagnostic tests and treatment medications becomes
more urgent every day. As does the need to maintain a safe and secure supply of
technology and raw materials. Our overreliance on non-US sources for critical medical
products and components has undeniably led to critical shortages since the
pandemic first reached our shores.

Clearly, Americans
must never again allow ourselves to be held hostage to geopolitical or offshore
commercial factors that limit our ability to quickly and effectively respond to
national health emergencies.

Men’s Health
Network (MHN) believes that one of the most critical factors in preventing shortages
of important medical products is to develop comprehensive legislation and
regulations to govern medical product pricing and reimbursement. MHN
understands the link between product costs and access and recognizes the need
for governments and private payers to manage those costs in a way that ensures access
to the best technologies.

Several of the medical
product pricing proposals we have reviewed rely on establishing an
International Pricing Index (IPI) that would set US prices of those products
based on the prices charged in about 14 other countries, many of which have
government-run health care and government-subsidized medical product industries.
It would obviously be foolish to set US prices of washing machines, airline
seats, or anything else based on pricing available in countries where those
industries are subsidized. It is just as foolish to use foreign pricing to
determine US pricing of medicine and medical products.

It’s also important
to note that that in many countries, including the UK and Germany, government-set
prices for medications have had disastrous effects, in particular, a marked
decrease in access to needed medications and breakthrough therapies.

We believe that
the IPI approach may underestimate the real value of medical products to
patients and the health care system. Unwise policy will not only restrict
access to advanced technologies but will also hamper the ability of—and incentive
to—medical product manufacturers to innovate and meet surge-supply demands such
as we are observing today in the current COVID pandemic.

Setting US
prices based on the IPI may also inadvertently add fuel to the growing problems
of counterfeit and grey-market medical products. The US is already being
flooded with counterfeit drugs and equipment, which, in addition to costing manufacturers
billions of dollars in revenue, much of which could be used to develop even
more potentially life-saving products, counterfeit drugs may not work as
expected, and, in some cases, may actually be deadly.

The proliferation
of counterfeit products has dramatically increased during the COVID19 pandemic
and is largely driven by irrational pricing and access policies. MHN opposes arbitrary,
non-free market approaches such as IPI to determine for US pricing for medical
products. We urge policymakers to instead rely on market forces to drive down
costs, thereby encouraging research and ensuring widespread patient access to

As we enter the
final phase of the 2020 election cycle, it’s clear that one of the key issues
will be medical product pricing policy. Late last year saw several proposals for
widespread health reform, and new proposals are emerging all the time,
especially those that seek to drive down the costs of prescription medications.

As the leading
non-profit advocacy organization for the health of men, boys, and their
families, Men’s Health Network has been evaluating the merits of some of these

We have established Five Key Principles for Medical Product Legislation that we believe will not only address the issue of product prices but will also strike a critical balance between the needs of patients, the importance of innovation, and ensuring a consistent supply chain for medical products.

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Trudeau cites potential U.S. aluminum tariffs as factor in decision on whether he’ll attend USMCA summit in Washington

OTTAWA —  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday he was still unsure whether he would go to Washington D.C. next week to celebrate a new North American trade treaty, citing concern about possible U.S. tariffs on aluminum.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is due to meet U.S. President Donald Trump next week, has said he would like Trudeau to attend.

“We’re still in discussions with the Americans about whether a trilateral summit next week makes sense,” Trudeau said in a news conference. “We’re obviously concerned about the proposed issue of tariffs on aluminum and steel that the Americans have floated recently.”

U.S. national security tariffs on imported steel and aluminum — including from Canada and Mexico — were a major irritant during negotiations for the United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal, which was reached last year and entered into force on July 1.

But now, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is considering domestic producers’ request to restore the 10 per cent duty on Canadian aluminum to combat a “surge” of imports.

Concern about the “health situation and the coronavirus reality that is still hitting all three of our countries” is another factor in his decision on whether to go to Washington, Trudeau said.

The spread of the novel coronavirus has slowed steadily in Canada over the past eight weeks, but new cases are spiking in many U.S. states.

As of June 2, Canada had recorded a total of 104,772 coronavirus cases, with 68,345 recovered and 8,642 deaths.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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Matt Toomua v Noah Lolesio in potential Wallabies No.10 showdown

Rennie could also look to Lolesio and Harrison, both of whom have starred for the Junior Wallabies, while Force playmaker Jono Lance will want to remind people he hasn’t returned home from overseas just to make up the numbers.

If he gets quick ball and is allowed to flatten up and bring his running game into it, he’s a dangerous player.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar on Matt Toomua

Saturday’s Canberra showdown has an extra dimension given Toomua played 88 of his 99 Super Rugby games with the Brumbies.

In the teams’ round two showdown back in February, it was the young gun who showed up his former teammate.

“[It] was probably one of his better games and, fair play, they outplayed us and he outplayed me that game, he was great,” Toomua said.

“Me being part of the Brumbies for so long and then seeing him develop, you see they develop their players right, particularly in that position.

“He doesn’t play the role where there’s heaps of pressure mounted on him. He has a dominant forward pack, he plays his role very nicely, and he attacks where he needs to. It’s a really good development example for young halves.”

Matt Toomua at Rebels training before the Super Rugby AU opener against the Brumbies.

Matt Toomua at Rebels training before the Super Rugby AU opener against the Brumbies. Credit:Melbourne Rebels

No one is expecting a 47-Test Wallaby to settle for a repeat of February’s 39-26 loss lying down. Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said Toomua’s versatility made him a threat.

“He’s an important player of theirs … he was good for them in their last couple of games against the Highlanders and the Lions in particular,” McKellar said.

“If he gets quick ball and is allowed to flatten up and bring his running game into it, he’s a dangerous player, so we need to make sure we defend well and limit those opportunities.”

Lolesio is the bolter for the prized Test jersey after an assured start to the first Super Rugby iteration.

McKellar was keen to keep a lid on the hype around his 20-year-old playmaker.

“We keep him grounded. He’s had some good publicity and he’s at the start of his career. Great players aren’t made off the back of half a dozen good games,” McKellar said.


“But he keeps himself grounded, he’s got a work ethic and an attitude where he just wants to get better and better. It’s great when any young player comes in and performs at this level, he’s had some learnings as well over the first seven weeks of Super Rugby.

“But he knows he’s just getting his career started. He’s had a good block now to work on his individual game and understand that he belongs at this level and he’ll be ready to step up again.”


The forward battle will determine who has the easier night in Canberra, with the Brumbies fielding an all-Wallaby front row in James Slipper, Folau Fainga’a and Allan Alaalatoa, with a fourth Wallaby, Scott Sio, off the bench. No.8 Pete Samu will also be hoping to reprise his damaging pre-COVID form.

Brumbies (1-15): James Slipper, Folau Fainga’a, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Darcy Swain, Murray Douglas, Rob Valetini, Tom Cusack, Pete Samu, Joe Powell, Noah Lolesio, Tom Wright, Irae Simone, Tevita Kuridrani, Andy Muirhead, Mack Hansen. Res: Connal McInerney, Scott Sio, Tom Ross, Lachlan McCaffrey, Will Miller, Issak Fines, Bayley Kuenzle, Len Ikitau.

Rebels (1-15): Matt Gibbon, Jordan Uelese, Pone Fa’amausili, Matt Philip, Michael Stolberg, Josh Kemeny, Richard Hardwick, Michael Wells, Ryan Louwrens, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete, Billy Meakes, Reece Hodge, Andrew Kellaway, Dane Haylett-Petty (c). Res: Efitusi Maafu, Cameron Orr, Jermaine Ainsley, Trevor Hosea, Esei Haangana, Rob Leota, Frank Lomani, Andrew Deegan.

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Chicago Bulls potential? Perhaps not, but Coco’s basketball video still goes viral

Video of an Angus bull playing basketball in Western Australia’s Midwest has gone viral, registering millions of views across the world.

Since Mitchell Royce posted it to social media, the footage of he and Coco playing has been seen in Europe and even picked up by a US television news channel.

Mr Royce said Coco was a 15-month-old hand-raised bull who lived on his parents’ property at Howatharra, north of Geraldton.

“He was sick as a calf and we raised him up to get him healthy … he kind of just hangs around the house, hangs around the property,” he said.

“That day he was feeling a bit playful, so we were having a bit of a roughhouse, so I decided to get the basketball out and shoot some hoops just to see what he would do.

“He got pretty into it, pretty keen.”

Coco became a bit frustrated towards the end of the game.(Supplied: Mitchell Royce)

Mr Royce said Coco often liked to roughhouse and would give him a nudge to let him know it was time to play.

But he said the bull become frustrated by the end and would not be able to play ball much longer.

“He pushed me around a bit; I probably teased him with the ball a bit too much and he got a bit fed up at the end.

Mr Royce said he was unsure of what the future held for Coco.

“He’s a bit of a celebrity now, he’s earnt a bit of fame, he’s got that golden ticket so he might have to stick around.”

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Coco the bull likes to play(Supplied: Mitchell Royce)

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Giants’ narrow win over Collingwood shows potential for changes in momentum for both teams

When the siren went at Giants Stadium on Friday night, there was more to the players’ reactions than with a usual tight finish.

It was the first meeting between GWS and Collingwood since a preliminary final thriller at the MCG last September.

The result was the same — the Giants won — and the margin was almost identical (four points instead of two).

But while it was a regular-season game rather than a sudden-death encounter, that’s not to say that there was nothing big on the line.

In this shortened season, every match takes on added significance, particularly against a potential rival for the flag.

At 1-2, the Giants were already showing danger signs after poor efforts against the North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.


They came up against the team that was the consensus choice as the early form team of the comp in Collingwood.

The challenge was two-fold — first, avoid going 1-3 in a 17-game season which could blow their season out of the water before it began.

And second, show to the league — and themselves — that they had the game to match it with the Magpies.

The first thing they did right was send tagger Matt de Boer to midfielder Steele Sidebottom rather than skipper Scott Pendlebury.

Sidebottom has been getting off the chain in the early rounds, racking up possessions even in shortened games, as sides seemed leery of trying to shut him down.

Against the Giants, Sidebottom had just 12 disposals (against an average of 28 touches for the first three rounds), 6 tackles and one clearance.

No doubt other sides scouting this game will have noted what happened, and Sidebottom may have to cope with close attention more often from now on.

The other big plus for the Giants was the return of Toby Greene from injury.

Every goal is vital in 16-minute quarters, and Toby Greene made most of his chances count against Collingwood.(AAP: Mark Nolan)


The mercurial forward was typically fierce on the field, putting his body in and being aggressive — sometimes overly so — in trying to bump opposition players.

But just as with Tom Papley for the Swans, Greene is critical for the Giants as a dangerous small forward.

He kicked four for GWS in their opening round win over Geelong, then was ineffective against the Kangaroos, and missed the Bulldogs loss through knee soreness.

Last night, however, Greene reminded everyone why the Giants are so much better when he is there.

He was in the action everywhere, his marking and positioning was excellent and he showed his goal sense with a brilliant snap around the corner from a stoppage near half-time.

There has been an early season phenomenon of taller key forwards struggling to have as much scoreboard impact.

Players like Papley, Greene, Charlie Cameron, Isaac Heeney, Liam Ryan, Chad Wingard and others are kicking the goals.

The exceptions in the top 10 for the Coleman were both playing last night — Collingwood’s Brody Mihocek and the Giants’ Jeremy Cameron.

Both had relatively quiet nights but still ended up with two goals each.

At one stage, Greene marked then handballed off to Cameron less than 25m out to get him into the game, only for the spearhead to kick an ugly point.

But when it counted in the last quarter, Cameron took a big mark near the 50m and his booming set shot just held its line inside the post for what proved to be the vital goal.

Just like last year’s prelim, the Magpies dominated the inside 50s in the final term, and just like last year they could not convert enough chances.

The Giants threw their bodies on the line in the frantic final minutes, and they held on to level their record at 2-2 — and take their recent record against Collingwood to five wins in their last six encounters.

Their reactions at the end showed what the win meant.

GWS is by no means back on track yet — they have to face Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Richmond in the next few weeks.

They may also have to go without defenders Phil Davis and Zac Williams who both failed to finish the game.

But while it could have been all but season over if they lost, now they have the potential to win most or all of their next three if they bring the same level of performance.

Howe a huge loss for the Pies 

An AFL team staffer tests out an injured player as he lies on the ground, grimacing in pain.
It was an unfortunate accident, but Jeremy Howe’s nasty knee injury could have a big impact on the Magpies’s season.(AAP: Mark Nolan)

For the Magpies the result was a painful one for more reasons than one.


High-flying defender Jeremy Howe had already racked up 23 possessions and six marks when he went down in distress after a horrible second-half collision with the Giants’ Jacob Hopper.

If the early calls are right and Howe has injured his medial cruciate ligament and posterior cruciate ligament — while not as bad as an ACL tear — is likely to need extended time to recover.

We are already four games into a shortened season.

While we won’t know anything definitive until the scans come back, the visible reaction of coach Nathan Buckley at last night’s press conference — and his description of a “shattered” Howe in the rooms — suggests the high flyer is no guarantee to return in 2020.

Teams can and do make the argument that it’s all about the system and that the next person will come in and do the role.

The problem is that Howe is rated by some as the league’s top defender, and by most as one of the best.

Not everyone can offer the intercept marking and run off half-back that he does.


Brayden Maynard’s raw numbers are similar, and although he had a tough night on Toby Greene, the Pies defender has had a strong start to the season.

The problem for Collingwood is that Maynard is already in the backline for the Pies — where are they going to get someone else to do the job that Howe has done?

The question is now whether Buckley will have to tweak the Magpies’ game style to cope with the loss.

Another issue is clearances. The Magpies have arguably the best ruckman around in Brodie Grundy, and he won 47 hitouts to the Giants 21 (55-21 overall).

However, Collingwood lost the overall clearances, particularly at stoppages.

The Magpies will want to rebound with a win against Essendon next week, before another tough game against Brisbane, and then a trip to the WA hub to face Geelong first-up.

From one perspective, it’s been a single close loss, and the Pies were less than a kick away from remaining unbeaten.

But depending on results, they could now drop out of the top four by the end of this round.

Then, if they struggle to replace Howe, a couple of losses in a row and a trip west could see us looking back at this match as a turning point in Collingwood’s season.


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Sydney Swans lose Sam Naismith to potential AFL season-ending knee injury

Sydney Swans ruckman Sam Naismith will probably overlook the rest of the AFL season, with scans confirming he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in his ideal knee.

The 27-calendar year-previous sustained the critical knee injuries late in the Swans’ 28-level decline to the Western Bulldogs at the SCG on Thursday night.

It continues Naismith’s horror operate due to the fact injuring the identical knee at coaching in 2018, with the subsequent knee reconstruction and ensuing troubles holding him out for two full seasons.

Thursday night’s match was the first time Naismith experienced performed due to the fact his sister Kristi died from pancreatic most cancers, with the Swans donning a black armband in her memory.


“It [knee injury] is horrible news for Sam and definitely disappointing for the group,” Swans general supervisor of soccer Charlie Gardiner claimed in a assertion.

“He will see a surgeon subsequent 7 days and we will then lay out subsequent ways from there.

Naismith’s comeback was the feel-good story of spherical a single, marking 919 times amongst AFL matches.

But it was limited-lived, as COVID-19 brought the 2020 time crashing to a halt in March and a sore hamstring noticed him held out for the to start with two matches considering the fact that the restart.

“He came again and performed round 1, performed genuinely very well, then in the split he lost his sister. Then he will come back and does his knee,” Swans coach John Longmire stated on Thursday night.

“We have to have to be with him and seem immediately after him. Due to the fact he’s had a awful run, in a amount of methods. We have to have to appear following him.”

Naismith manufactured his AFL debut in 2014 and was a member of the Swans’ grand last squad two many years later when they shed to the Bulldogs in the year decider.


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McLennan wants Force in trans-Tasman comp, reveals potential Cup rival

With the coronavirus still hitting South Africa and Argentina hard – two other SANZAAR partners – there is little certainty around whether they could or would be welcomed into a provincial competition with Australia and New Zealand.

There are a lot of moving parts and McLennan wants to lock down next year sooner than later so Australia and New Zealand can take a product to broadcasters.

“If it’s to happen with New Zealand, we need to decide it all in the next four to six weeks,” McLennan told ABC News on Saturday. “There are a lot of things up in the air because of the pandemic. Our desire is to do something with New Zealand. We’re having some informal conversations with the Kiwis at the moment.

“We think a cross-Tasman competition given the pandemic and the fact we’re lucky to be living in this part of the world … if we can do something between the two countries that would be ideal.”

The issue of how many Australian teams would feature in such a competition has been a topic of hot debate lately.

RA said this week plans to merge the Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels were “not being discussed” despite fears Australia cannot sustain five teams, which would also include the NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds and Western Force.

McLennan has thrown his support behind the Force’s reintroduction after being cut from Super Rugby at the end of 2017 on the assumption Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest continues to prop up the franchise financially.

“The team construct still has to be decided,” McLennan said. “I’d like to think the Western Force could be in there. I think Twiggy Forrest has been terrific to me over the last couple of weeks. I think West Australian representation is really important … so it would be nice if we had five teams but it’s too early to say.”

Meanwhile, McLennan revealed that England and the USA may be potential rivals for Australia’s bid to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

While a decision won’t be made until 2022, Australia is the only major nation to put its hand up at this stage.


The tournament will have been held in the northern hemisphere on three consecutive occasions before 2027 – England 2015, Japan 2019 and France 2023 – which gives Australia an excellent shot at hosting the event for the first time since 2003.

However, McLennan said that while it is not confirmed, there might be some interest from England

“We hear the US and potentially England may have a crack, so we’ll just wait and see but there’s a few months for the other bidders to register their interest,” McLennan said.

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