GP claims delaying second dose of Pfizer vaccine beyond three weeks is an ‘unlicensed trial’ 


A GP has claimed delaying second doses of the Pfizer jab beyond three weeks is an ‘unregulated and unlicensed trial’ – but a Government vaccine expert says the move could save ‘thousands of lives’. 

Dr Rosie Shire, a member of the Doctors’ Association UK, raised concerns that studies of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine only show two doses three weeks apart to deliver 90 per cent immunity.

But Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said there is ‘no real evidence’ that a quicker follow-up dose was more effective.

To accelerate the rollout of the vaccine, the Government has opted to extend the gap between the first and second jab to 12 weeks to allow it to be administered to a greater number of people.

But the moved has proved controversial, with Matt Hancock forced to defend the delay, calling it ‘essential’ to save more lives more quickly. 

Dr Shire said: ‘What really concerns us is we don’t know what happens if you don’t give that second dose of vaccination after three weeks.

‘The fact is that people are being vaccinated now and being put into what is effectively an unregulated unlicensed trial, whereby they’re receiving this vaccination on the understanding that they don’t know what’s going on.’ 

The GP said that it was ‘really hard’ to explain to people they were vaccinating with the Pfizer vaccination that they would get ‘some immunity’ but that after three weeks it was unclear how much.

She added that it was difficult to obtain ‘informed consent’ from patients when doctors did not have the full information to give to them. 

But Professor Harnden said the extended gap may provide better protection in the long run.

He said: ‘We do believe you should have a second dose but we do believe that that can be delayed.’

Dr Rosie Shire, of the Doctors’ Association UK, raised concerns studies of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine only show two doses three weeks apart to deliver 90 per cent immunity

Prof Harden cited data from a study of the Moderna vaccine – which uses a similar technology to the Pfizer vaccine – which showed 1,000 people had 90 per cent immunity two months after receiving one dose.

‘If you look at the AstraZeneca data – which I accept is a different technology – it may be that the longer you leave the second dose the better protection you have,’ he said.

‘Hopefully not only will this strategy get more people immunised and protect the vulnerable elderly and save thousands and thousands of lives, it may in the end give protection to the population as a whole.’ 

But Professor Anthony Harnden (pictured), deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said there is 'no real evidence' that a quicker follow-up dose was more effective

But Professor Anthony Harnden (pictured), deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said there is ‘no real evidence’ that a quicker follow-up dose was more effective

Earlier today, when asked about the gap between doses, Mr Hancock told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: ‘We do know this policy is going to save lives.

‘So long as there is decent efficacy after the first dose, and we have a high degree of confidence that that’s the case, then in a situation where there is a limited supply… you want to get as many people to have as much protection as possible as quickly as possible.

‘If you have grandparents who are both in their 70s or 80s you obviously would want each of them to have one dose when you know that one dose is effective, rather than one to have the full two doses and one to have no protection at all.’ 

Yesterday Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty told colleagues The Guardian’s report that only a third of people who have received one injection were protected was ‘total nonsense’ which could threaten the uptake of the jab.

The newspaper quoted ‘Israeli experts’ but No 10’s vaccine advisers say the real figure is 89 per cent, starting 14 days after the first jab.

It was reported yesterday that a single shot of the Pfizer vaccine had led to a ‘major presence’ of antibodies in 91 per cent of doctors and nurses who received it in Israel within 21 days. 

Professor Harnden (pictured) said the extended gap may provide better protection in the long run

Professor Harnden (pictured) said the extended gap may provide better protection in the long run 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the Government's decision to delay the time between vaccine doses

Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the Government’s decision to delay the time between vaccine doses

The report quoted Israeli Covid commissioner Professor Nachman Ash as saying that a single dose of Pfizer appeared ‘less effective than we had thought’, once cases of asymptomatic infection were included, although those who had received their second dose had a six- to 12-fold increase in antibodies.

Later in the week, the paper reported that Israel’s health ministry had ‘moved to row back on comments’ by Professor Ash’s suggestion that single doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine had not given as much protection against the disease as had been hoped.

It quoted the Israeli Ministry of Health as saying that the ‘full protective impact of the vaccine’ had not yet been seen.

The Guardian said last night that it had reported both Professor Ash’s ‘initial comments’ and subsequent comments from Israel’s health ministry: ‘The Guardian’s independent readers’ editor has not received any complaints about either article.’

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‘He asked us to’: Trump supporters’ words could be his downfall at impeachment trial – National


The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection.

At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden’s election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It’s the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office.

“I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there,” Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station.

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Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8: Schumer

Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump.

Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all `patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers.

Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump’s term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment.

 

Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on.

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For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden’s win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill.

“We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”

Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard.

Read more:
McConnell wants to push Trump impeachment trial to February

Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.”

Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial.

“Bringing in those people’s statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them,” said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri.

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A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump’s speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers.

 

Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue.”

More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming.

Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters.

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Biden will let Congress determine next steps of Trump’s impeachment, White House says

Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — have condemned Trump’s words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him.

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“While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager’s case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump’s first impeachment hearings in 2019.

“They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise,” Gerhardt said.




© 2021 The Canadian Press



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Beny Steinmetz, a Mining Magnate, Found Guilty in Swiss Corruption Trial


GENEVA — A Swiss court on Friday convicted the French-Israeli mining magnate Beny Steinmetz on charges of corrupting foreign public officials and forging documents, in a trial over his successful bid to reap lavish iron ore resources in the West African nation of Guinea.

Mr. Steinmetz, one of the richest people in Israel, was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay a $56.5 million fine.

The case centered on alleged payouts of millions of dollars to a former wife of an ex-president of Guinea, Lansana Conté, who died in 2008. The trial exposed the shady and complex world of deal-making and cutthroat competition in the lucrative mining business.

His defense lawyer, Marc Bonnant, said he would “immediately” appeal the ruling. Mr. Bonnant said his client had not given “a single dollar” to any official of the Guinea regime during Mr. Conté’s presidency.

The prosecutor, Yves Bertossa, told reporters he was “satisfied” with the verdict, and the Swiss transparency group Public Eye hailed a “landmark ruling.”

“This conviction of a high-profile business figure not only sends a strong signal to the commodities sector as a whole, but also demonstrates the vital need for Switzerland to finally remedy the legal loopholes that allow such predatory practices,” it said.

Mr. Steinmetz, 64, denied the charges, which date to the mid-2000s and involved his company, BSG Resources, squeezing out a rival for mining rights to vast iron ore deposits in the Simandou region of Guinea.

The Geneva prosecutor’s office alleged that Mr. Steinmetz and two other defendants engaged in corruption of foreign officials and falsification of documents to hide from authorities and banks the paying of bribes. Some of the funds allegedly transited through Switzerland — and the case has been investigated in Europe, Africa and the United States.

The Swiss prosecutor’s office said Mr. Steinmetz, starting in 2005, crafted a pact of corruption with Mr. Conté, who ruled the West African country from 1984 until his death, and his fourth wife, Mamadie Touré, involving the payment of nearly $10 million.

In its court filing, the prosecutor’s office said BSG Resources won exploration and exploitation licenses in Guinea between 2006 and 2010 in the Simandou region, and that its competitor — the Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto — was deprived of the concessions it had held until then in that region.

In 2014, the Guinean government, after a review launched by the democratically elected president, Alpha Condé, accused Mr. Steinmetz’s company of corruption, paying millions of dollars through a representative to Ms. Touré.

Civil society organizations have lobbied for proposals that would add accountability for businesses headquartered in Switzerland for their actions abroad. One such proposal, which would have held companies based in Switzerland liable for human rights violations and environmental damage committed by subsidiaries abroad, failed in a referendum last year.

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Donald Trump: Impeachment trial set to start next week | US News


The impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump will be triggered next week, US Democrats have said.

Articles of impeachment are to sent to the Senate by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday, meaning the upper house can launch formal proceedings against Mr Trump on a charge of insurrection over the Capitol riots earlier in the month.

Chuck Schumer, the new Senate majority leader, announced the move on Friday, saying: “There will be a trial.”

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Mr Trump was the first president to be impeached by the House of Representatives twice and will be the first to face a trial after his term in office.

If found guilty by the Senate, which is now controlled by the Democrats, Mr Trump will be unable to run for political office again and could lose access to other benefits – such as his pension and his travel allowance.

The leader of the Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, had previously said the trial should be pushed back by a couple of weeks, to allow the former president to prepare his case.

He said: “Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake.”

However, House Democrats have suggested a full reckoning should take place sooner rather than later, in order to allow the country, Congress and new President Joe Biden to move forward.

Mr Trump, who left office earlier this week, was impeached for a second time, after being accused of inciting the attack on the US Capitol in Washington DC on 6 January.

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He told supporters at a rally to “fight like hell” against the ratification of the election results that was taking place in the building at the time.

After that, a mob of thousands of people marched to the US Capitol, with many of them storming the building.

Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died in the riots.

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NCA bombing murder accused Domenic Perre stands trial charged with murder of Geoffrey Bowen


Severely injured lawyer Peter Wallis repeatedly asked “is Bowie OK?” moments after a bomb detonated in an office at the National Crime Authority’s Adelaide headquarters in 1994, the Supreme Court has heard.

Domenic Perre is accused of murdering Detective Sergeant Geoffrey “Bowie” Bowen and injuring Mr Wallis by sending a parcel bomb to the NCA building on Waymouth Street on March 2, 1994.

The 63-year-old accused has pleaded not guilty to the offences.

After decades of investigation and months of pre-trial argument, the six-month trial started in the South Australian Supreme Court today.

Former NCA personnel officer Joanne Taskas told the court that she had just made a coffee and was heading back to her desk when the bomb went off.

“As I turned the corner, I saw [others] pushing on the door of Peter Wallis’s office.

“They eventually got into the room, we could hear Peter screaming and somebody was yelling to call triple-0 and get an ambulance.”

Geoffrey Bowen was killed in the blast at the NCA office in March 1994.

Ms Taskas said she raced to the kitchen to get a first-aid kit and that, when she got back, other NCA staff were “walking Peter Wallis out”.

“Peter was burnt from the waist up … his face was unrecognisable. I wouldn’t have known it was Peter except for his voice,” she said.

“Throughout this time, Peter was asking me about Bowie. ‘Is Bowie OK?’ Then he asked me about his girlfriend, who works on the 11th floor. I told him they were all OK.

“He did repeat a number of times, ‘A bomb, a bomb’.”

Post office worker gives evidence

Ms Taskas told Justice Kevin Nicholson — who will determine the case in the absence of a jury — that she noticed a package sitting near security when she walked into work that day.

She added that she had never seen a package like it mailed to the NCA.

Former Australia Post staffer Wendy Den Hartog also gave evidence today, telling the court she handled the package before it was given to the NCA on March 2, 1994.

A black and white photo showing Adelaide's CBD.
The alleged location of the car of NCA bombing suspect Domenic Perre in Adelaide’s CBD.(Supplied: SA Supreme Court)

Ms Den Hartog also told the court that a week before the blast, a man of Italian or Greek heritage had asked her questions about whether the mail had been delivered to the NCA.

But she said police did not note that in her statement at the time.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Perre’s hatred for the NCA and Sergeant Bowen started when Northern Territory police found a $20 million cannabis crop at Hidden Valley Station in August 1993.

In documents released by the court last October, which will form part of the prosecution case, it was revealed that the NCA had received references from each state and the Commonwealth to target Italian organised crime, and that Sergeant Bowen was working on the “Cerebus reference”.

The documents also stated that Perre had sent a letter in the months before the 1994 bombing, which stated the NCA had “double standards” and Australia was heading towards a “totalitarian system”.

“It is the prosecution case that this was the beginning of a hatred towards law enforcement and intimately the NCA and Bowen, in particular,” the document stated.

The trial continues.

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GWS Giants AFLW player Brid Stack released from hospital after neck injury in trial game



Greater Western Sydney’s Irish import Brid Stack has been released from hospital after suffering a fractured vertebra in an AFLW practice match in Adelaide.

Play was stopped in the fourth quarter of the game at Norwood Oval on Sunday after a collision.

They were fears Stack may have severely injured her spine after she was stretchered off the field.

The 34-year-old player was taken to hospital by paramedics after spinal protocols were enacted.

But in a statement released on Monday, the Giants said scans revealed Stack had a stable fracture of the C7 vertebra and no injury to surrounding nerves.

She will be required to wear a neck brace but will not be required to undergo surgery.

Stack was released from hospital late on Sunday night and will re-join the Giants squad in Adelaide for her rehabilitation.

“Bríd and her family have made incredible sacrifices to come to Australia to play in the AFL Women’s competition and we will be supporting them all the way through her recovery.”

Stack is entering her first AFLW season after a successful career in Gaelic football.

The 11-time All-Ireland winner for Cork joined the Giants last year and has been living in Australia with her husband and one-year-old son.

She spent Christmas in hotel quarantine in Perth with her family before joining her new teammates in Sydney.

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Judges seek recusal as major Italian mafia trial kicks off



Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri stands outside during a pause in a trial against more than 320 suspected ‘Ndrangheta mafia mobsters and their associates, accused of an array of charges, in Lamezia Terme, Italy, January 13, 2021. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

January 13, 2021

By Yara Nardi and Gabriele Pileri

LAMEZIA TERME, Italy (Reuters) – One of Italy’s largest-ever mafia trials kicked off on Wednesday with more than 330 suspected mobsters and their associates facing an array of charges, including extortion, drug trafficking and theft.

The case targets the ‘Ndrangheta clan, which is based in Calabria, the toe of Italy’s boot, and is considered by prosecutors to be the most powerful mafia group in the country, easily eclipsing the more famous Cosa Nostra gang in Sicily.

The trial is being held in a converted call-centre in the Calabrian city of Lamezia Terme, with metal cages installed for the defendants and rows of desks set up for the hundreds of lawyers, prosecutors and spectators expected to attend.

But the initial hearing hit an immediate snag after the three judges assigned to the case asked to be recused, saying they had been involved in earlier aspects of the investigation.

Their request will be reviewed by a separate court, which will delay proceedings for several days, lawyers said.

Many of the accused are white-collar workers, including lawyers, accountants, business people, local politicians and policemen, who chief prosecutor Nicola Gratteri says willingly aided the ‘Ndrangheta in building its crime empire.

Speaking to reporters as he entered the courthouse, Gratteri said the investigation had encouraged locals to speak out.

“In the last two years we have seen a surge in lawsuits from oppressed entrepreneurs and citizens, victims of usury, people who for years have lived under the threats of the ‘Ndrangheta,” said the prosecutor, who has spent more than 30 years fighting the mob.

The state will call on 913 witnesses and draw on 24,000 hours of intercepted conversations to support the myriad charges. Gratteri said he expected the trial would take a year to complete, with the court due to sit six days a week.

Another 92 suspects have opted for a fast-track trial in the same case, with their hearings due to start later in January, while a much smaller group of defendants will stand trial in February over five murders – including the killing of a mafia hitman who was shot dead because he was gay, prosecutors say.

The last time Italy tried hundreds of alleged mafiosi simultaneously was in 1986 in Palermo in a case that represented a turning point in the fight against Cosa Nostra, marking the beginning of the group’s sharp decline.

That trial had a huge impact because it targeted numerous mob families. The Calabrian trial focuses primarily on just one group – the Mancuso clan from the province of Vibo Valentia – leaving much of the ‘Ndrangheta’s top hierarchy untouched.

“The road ahead is still very long, but we mustn’t give up because there are thousands of people who believe in us. We can’t let them down,” Gratteri told Reuters.

(Reporting and writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Mike Collett-White)



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Covid UK: Britons who have received their jab ‘will be offered a vaccine passport’ in trial


How the Government’s vaccine plan breaks down 

PHASE 1 (FEB 15 TARGET)

CARE HOME RESIDENTS – 300,000

CARE HOME WORKERS – 500,000

AGE 80+ – 3,300,000

HEALTHCARE WORKERS – 2,400,000

SOCIAL CARE WORKERS – 1,400,000

AGE 75-79 – 2,300,000

AGE 70-74 – 3,200,000

CLINICALLY EXTREMELY VULNERABLE (UNDER 70) – 1,200,000

PHASE 2 (SPRING)

65-69 2,900,000

AT-RISK UNDER 65 7,300,000

60-64 1,800,000

55-59 2,400,000

50-54 2,800,000

PHASE 3 (AUTUMN)

REST OF ADULT POPULATION 21,000,000 

Thousands of Britons who have already received their coronavirus jab will be offered a vaccine passport in a trial taking place this month after ministers flip-flopped over the controversial policy.

The passport, created by biometrics firm iProov and cybersecurity firm Mvine, will be issued as a free app and will allow users to prove digitally if they have had their first or second jab – or no jab at all. 

Though the Department of Health said there were ‘no plans’ to introduce vaccine passports, the Government’s own science and research funding agency Innovate UK has already pumped £75,000 into the project.  

Mvine director Frank Joshi said the company, which had started working on the passports to demonstrate test results, later acquired more funding to switch into vaccination passporting. 

The Government-backed trial will be overseen by two directors of public health in local authorities and is expected to last until March – right through the third national lockdown. 

However, the locations have yet to be agreed, according to the Telegraph.

The trial is expected to show how the passports can be used to help the NHS keep track of the number of people that have received their first or second jab. 

iProov boss Andrew Bud told the paper: ‘We’re talking about a piece of remarkable technology that can be brought to bear and can be readily integrated with the NHS.’

Both companies added that if the vaccine passports prove successful, the project could be rolled out to millions of people across the country.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: ‘As large numbers of people from at risk groups are vaccinated, we will be able to gather the evidence to prove the impact on infection rates, hospitalisation and reduced deaths. If successful, this should in time lead to a reassessment of current restrictions.’

The Government has contradicted itself on the implementation of vaccine passports, with Michael Gove saying they were ‘not the plan’ while Boris Johnson’s vaccine tsar Nadhim Zahawi said they were ‘looking at the technology’. 

Mr Zahawi later told a Westminster Hall debate on Covid-19 inoculation there were ‘absolutely no plans for vaccine passporting’ and said ‘mandating vaccinations is discriminatory and completely wrong’. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week also denied plans to implement passporting, telling the Spectator: ‘It’s not an area that we’re looking at.’ 

The policy has sparked concern that the passports could discriminate against people who must not be vaccinated, such as pregnant women. Others fear it could keep non-vaccinated Britons under house arrest until they have a jab. 

It comes as No10 considers tightening the third national lockdown by imposing Chinese-style curfews, outdoor mask mandates and 10ft social distancing – as well as the closure of nurseries and limits on exercise. 

In other coronavirus developments:

  • Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey warned furlough is masking unemployment and the true rate could be 6.5 per cent not 4.9 per cent;
  • The government is facing more pressure to make the vaccination programme 24-hours and start giving more frontline workers jabs;
  • Matt Hancock has denied there is a national oxygen shortage as the strain on the NHS increases but admitted patients might have to be moved to where there are supplies; 
  • One in every three deaths in England and Wales was linked to coronavirus in the final days of 2020, official figures revealed today as a separate analysis claimed the virus was behind the sharpest rise in fatalities since 1940;
  • Downing Street has admitted pictures of the random contents in some free school meal food parcels are ‘completely unacceptable’ after the issue was highlighted by Marcus Rashford;  
  • Seven vaccination hubs have come into use, including London’s ExCeL and Birmingham’s Millennium Point;
  • Derbyshire Police has cancelled £200 fines for two women penalised for driving five miles to go for a walk;
  • Nearly a quarter of care home residents have received their first shot of Covid vaccine, with nearly 2.7million doses now administered across the UK;
  • Hospitals started rationing oxygen as it emerged that one in four coronavirus patients is under 55.

Moira Edwards receives an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine mass vaccination centre that has been set up in Epsom Race Course in Surrey

The Government has contradicted itself on the implementation of vaccine passports, with Michael Gove saying they were 'not the plan' while Boris Johnson's vaccine tsar Nadhim Zahawi (pictured in Parliament) said they were 'looking at the technology'

The Government has contradicted itself on the implementation of vaccine passports, with Michael Gove saying they were ‘not the plan’ while Boris Johnson’s vaccine tsar Nadhim Zahawi (pictured in Parliament) said they were ‘looking at the technology’

 

Mvine director and founder Frank Joshi

iProov boss Andrew Bud

Mvine director and founder Frank Joshi (left) said the company started working on the passports to demonstrate test results but acquired more funding to switch into vaccination passports. iProov boss Andrew Bud (right) said: ‘We’re talking about a piece of remarkable technology that can be brought to bear and can be readily integrated with the NHS.’

How could Boris Johnson tighten the lockdown rules in England?

Boris Johnson is said to be considering tightening the coronavirus lockdown rules in England amid a surge in cases. 

Here are some of the options Mr Johnson could consider: 

Curbs on click and collect

At the moment non-essential shops are allowed to offer click and collect services but there are concerns that this still results in too much interaction between different households. The Government could opt to ban non-essential shops from offering click and collect services, restricting it to just supermarkets and other essential shops. Nicola Sturgeon said today she is considering such a move in Scotland. 

Takeaways

Restaurants are not allowed to physically open during lockdown but they are allowed to offer takeaway food. However, there are rising worries that picking up takeaway food is also leading to too many households mixing while they wait for food to be prepared. Rules could therefore be tightened to stop people waiting inside restaurants. Ms Sturgeon also said this is under consideration in Scotland.  

Closing more work places

All workers who can work from home have already been instructed to do so. But rising case rates could prompt ministers to close workplaces which cannot shift to home working. It is thought estate agents and construction sites could be targeted with orders to shut down in a move which could have devastating consequences for jobs and the economy.

Bigger fines

The Government is stepping up its efforts to enforce the current rules, with the police now more likely than ever before to hand out fines to rule breakers. The value of the fine could be increased to act as a bigger deterrent.

Meanwhile, another 165,000 vaccines were rolled out yesterday, according to official figures that come amid mounting pressure on No10 to adopt a 24/7 roll-out. 

With the successful roll-out of a jab the Government’s only hope of ever easing the endless cycle of lockdowns, pressure is mounting on Mr Johnson to pull out all the stops to make sure the NHS operation works.

And the inoculation drive – the biggest in British history – has already started to pick up pace, following the approval of Oxford’s game-changing jab. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel today revealed 2.43million people have now had their first dose, up from 2.29m yesterday. Another 20,000 second doses were also added onto the cumulative total, with 2.8million shots administered in total. 

But the daily vaccination figure needs to double if the Prime Minister has any chance of delivering on his pledge to vaccinate all 13.9million Britons in the top four priority groups by February 15.

With just 34 days left to deliver on his lockdown-ending promise, around 11.5million over-70s, NHS workers, care home residents and workers, and adults with underlying conditions still need to be vaccinated — the equivalent of around 340,000 a day.

Pressure is mounting on the Government to dish out coronavirus vaccines 24/7, with Labour saying No10 ‘must deliver for the British people’ because the public ‘have sacrificed so much’. 

Ministers have claimed there was ‘no clamour’ for appointments beyond 8pm. But Nicola Sturgeon today hinted Scotland could adopt a round-the-clock programme, if it would ‘help us get through them faster’.

Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the Commons today that military personnel can ‘do more to assist’, as he suggested that the hold-up was due to a lack of stock and problems in the supply chain.

He added: ‘I could deploy all 100,000 soldiers tomorrow ready to vaccinate but if the stock isn’t there then we’ll have people not… we could employ them better off.

‘We are very, very clear that we can do more to assist, the Prime Minister knows that and the Prime Minister has indicated that we will be called on as the NHS requires it.’

Announcing the new vaccine figures in tonight’s Downing Street press conference, Ms Patel said vaccination centres are following Covid-secure guidelines to ensure they are safe for staff and visitors receiving jabs.

She said: ‘Cubicles are spaced out and we’re working with PHE and following all the guidance in terms of the safety and protective measures that are required for the staff in those centres but also for the individuals coming in for immunisation.’

Dr Vin Diwakar, medical director for the NHS in London, added: ‘We have absolutely rigid standards of infection prevention control in all of these vaccine centres.’

Ms Patel also said the Government is looking at prioritising frontline workers for the coronavirus vaccine once the most vulnerable groups have received the jab.

She added: ‘We are looking at those who are on the front line such as police officers, teachers and others who are naturally at occupational risk of coming in contact with the virus. 

‘We are absolutely working to make sure that we can get the vaccine to them but that means working with the JCVI.’

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner today piled more pressure on Downing Street to make the vaccination scheme operate round-the-clock.

Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed 2.43million people have now had their first dose, up from 2.29m yesterday. Another 20,000 second doses were also added onto the cumulative total

Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed 2.43million people have now had their first dose, up from 2.29m yesterday. Another 20,000 second doses were also added onto the cumulative total 

Nicola Sturgeon once again beat Mr Johnson to the punch by announcing Scotland was drawing up plans to dispense vaccines day and night, but she conceded that supplies were still 'relatively limited'.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the Army can 'do more to assist'

Nicola Sturgeon once again beat Mr Johnson to the punch by announcing Scotland was drawing up plans to dispense vaccines day and night, but she conceded that supplies were still ‘relatively limited’.  Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the Army can ‘do more to assist’

Members of the public arrive to receive their injection of a Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at the Centre for Life in Times Square, Newcastle

Members of the public arrive to receive their injection of a Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre that has been set up at the Centre for Life in Times Square, Newcastle

Pensioners ‘are being asked to travel from Greater Manchester to Birmingham, Telford and Newcastle for their vaccinations’

Pensioners are being told to travel from Greater Manchester to vaccine sites in Telford, Macclesfield, Halifax and Newcastle to get their Covid jabs, according to local reports.  

Some of the most vulnerable people who are eligible to receive the vaccine have been referred to hubs outside of Greater Manchester as Britain’s mass inoculation drive continues.   

Numerous people have told the Manchester Evening News that they have been invited to travel across the country in order to receive it. 

In some cases patients have received two invitations – one from their local healthcare provider and one from teams rolling out the jab at one of seven national vaccination centres.

NHS bosses said people do not need to accept invitations to be vaccinated at the larger centres and ‘can instead be jabbed at one of their local vaccination centres in the coming weeks’. 

She said: ‘The British people have sacrificed so much, now the Government must deliver for the British people. The Prime Minister needs to use this lockdown to develop a round-the-clock vaccine programme, 24-hours a day, 7 days-a-week.’ 

The aim is for every Brit over the age of 50 to be offered a Covid jab by the end of April. 

But doubts have been raised about the target with numbers standing at around 2.8million as of yesterday, and there are also calls for frontline workers such as teachers and police officers to be pushed up the priority list.  

Ms Sturgeon was asked about implementing a 24-hour vaccination programme today as she confirmed that by Monday a total of 175,942 had received their first dose of vaccine.

She said: ‘We will look at anything and everything that allows us to get this vaccination programme done as quickly as possible’. 

Ms Sturgeon said supplies of the vaccine were still ‘relatively limited’, and that with the focus currently on getting jabs to care home residents and those aged over 80, these groups did ‘not lend themselves to out-of-hours vaccination’. 

Responding to John Healey, the Defence Secretary told the Commons: ‘We are of course, as he knows, incredibly keen and eager to offer whatever assistance we can.’

Mr Wallace added: ‘And of course, all members of the armed forces personnel are able to help the Government in its resilience and its defence – that is obviously the purpose of their job.’

On vaccinations, he continued: ‘Of course, I could deploy all 100,000 soldiers tomorrow ready to vaccinate but if the stock isn’t there then we’ll have people not… we could employ them better off.

‘So we are very, very keen in the Government, the Prime Minister is determined, to make sure that we match both the pace of stock delivery but also the pace of delivery into people’s arms – the jabbing.  

‘And we are very, very clear that we can do more to assist, the Prime Minister knows that and the Prime Minister has indicated that we will be called on as the NHS requires it.’

It came after desperate shift workers and teachers came forward today to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine. 

Upset workers took to social media to blast the Prime Minister’s claim there was ‘no clamour’ for nighttime jabs.

One wrote: ‘I work shifts. I’m awake when most of the country is asleep. So, happy to have my vaccine anytime.’  

Desperate shift workers and teachers have come forward to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine after Boris Johnson insisted there is no 'clamour' for appointments after 8pm

Desperate shift workers and teachers have come forward to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine after Boris Johnson insisted there is no ‘clamour’ for appointments after 8pm

An aerial drone shows Tennis and Football Centre at the Etihad campus in Manchester, which is being used as a mass Covid vaccination centre

An aerial drone shows Tennis and Football Centre at the Etihad campus in Manchester, which is being used as a mass Covid vaccination centre

Dozens of elderly people queue outside Hornchurch library in the London Borough of Havering for their Covid-19 vaccine

Dozens of elderly people queue outside Hornchurch library in the London Borough of Havering for their Covid-19 vaccine

Minister have promised o dish out 2million jabs a week by the end of January through 2,700 centres dotted across the country. The map shows the sites that are currently up and running, including seven mass centres (green), more than 100 hospitals (blue), as well as GP practices and pharmacies (purple)

Minister have promised o dish out 2million jabs a week by the end of January through 2,700 centres dotted across the country. The map shows the sites that are currently up and running, including seven mass centres (green), more than 100 hospitals (blue), as well as GP practices and pharmacies (purple)

Desperate teachers and shift workers say they would ‘come day or night’ to get vaccine

Desperate shift workers and teachers have come forward to say they would happily come day or night to get the coronavirus vaccine after Boris Johnson insisted there is no ‘clamour’ for appointments after 8pm.  

Mr Johnson is facing growing pressure to launch round-the-clock vaccinations as ministers ‘race against time’ to get jabs in arms.

Labour has demanded the Government ‘sorts out’ a 24/7 operation despite No10’s claims there is no demand for evening appointments.  

Upset workers took to social media to blast the Prime Minister’s claim.

One wrote: ‘I work shifts. I’m awake when most of the country is asleep. So, happy to have my vaccine anytime.’ 

Another user, a teacher, said: ‘If this would speed things up and I’d not be taking a vaccine from someone more vulnerable I’d happily go anytime of day or night.

‘I’m a 60-year-old teacher working in school and scared for myself and my older vulnerable husband. Of course I’d go!’ 

Another Twitter user said: ‘I’d clamour at anytime of night! As a teacher I’m still in school during the day looking after key worker children so would love a vaccine and after 8pm would be perfect!

‘I’m pretty sure the rest of staff would agree. Sign us up!’

And another wrote: ‘They are doing this in New York and my teacher friends who are the same age as me (35) got their vaccine today. I’m a teacher also and absolutely no sign of a vaccine for me yet. 

‘I would take any vaccine at anytime to get back into the classroom!’ 

Tory MPs are urging ministers to ‘look carefully’ at whether the hours can be extended while some have said there is ‘no excuse why it shouldn’t be 24/7’.

The PM has promised that around 13million of the most vulnerable Britons will be vaccinated by mid-February.  

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘I work shifts so 9-5 time isn’t good for me, I would have the vaccine anytime.’ 

Another user, a teacher, said: ‘If this would speed things up and I’d not be taking a vaccine from someone more vulnerable I’d happily go anytime of day or night.

‘I’m a 60-year-old teacher working in school and scared for myself and my older vulnerable husband. Of course I’d go!’ 

Another Twitter user said: ‘I’d clamour at anytime of night! As a teacher I’m still in school during the day looking after key worker children so would love a vaccine and after 8pm would be perfect!

‘I’m pretty sure the rest of staff would agree. Sign us up!’

And another wrote: ‘They are doing this in New York and my teacher friends who are the same age as me (35) got their vaccine today. I’m a teacher also and absolutely no sign of a vaccine for me yet. 

‘I would take any vaccine at anytime to get back into the classroom!’ 

Tory MPs are urging ministers to ‘look carefully’ at whether the hours can be extended while some have said there is ‘no excuse why it shouldn’t be 24/7’. 

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘I work shifts so 9-5 time isn’t good for me, I would have the vaccine anytime.’

But while Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last night that the NHS will would do ‘whatever it takes’, he played down the prospect of a round-the clock operation, saying people will prefer to get jabs in the day.

And in the Commons, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said it will not happen in the first phase, where the four most vulnerable groups are being targeted, because staff would end up ‘standing around waiting’. 

‘If we were to go to a 24-hour regime, it would be much harder to target the vaccine at those four cohorts,’ he said. 

‘Obviously, when we have limited vaccine volume, we do not want staff standing around waiting for people in centres that are open 24 hours. 

‘Also, many of those people are over 80, and we are going into care homes to vaccinate the residents of those homes. 

‘The decision to go from 8am to 8pm was made because we want to ensure that there is an even spread and very close targeting.’  

Former minister Steve Baker, a leader of the lockdown-sceptic CRG group of Tory MPs, told MailOnline the Government must ‘look carefully’ at extending the hours.

‘The sooner the vulnerable are vaccinated, the sooner we can end these destructive cycles of lockdowns and restrictions,’ he said. 

‘So the Government should look closely at all the practical problems of 24/7 operation and press forward with it if it would help meet necessary goals.’ 

Tory MP Henry Smith said the vaccine rollout seemed to be going well so far, adding: ‘There is no excuse why it shouldn’t be 24/7. This is a national emergency and every hour lost is damaging to our economy and our future and our finances and our health. 

‘We cannot lose a moment. I steer away from making international comparisons… but the fact that Israel has been able to vaccinate most of the population – it could be done faster.’ 

Another Tory MP suggested to MailOnline that the Government should soon look at extending opening hours to 6am and 10pm to increase the daily number of jabs.  

But they said ‘supply isn’t coming from the manufacturers in the quantities needed yet’ to move to extended opening hours. 

At a Downing Street briefing last night, Mr Hancock was asked about comments from the Prime Minister’s spokesman that there was not a ‘clamour’ for a 24/7 vaccination model.

He said: ‘We’ll do this if it’s needed, absolutely we will do whatever it takes to get this vaccine rolled out as fast as possible.

‘The thing is that if both the person doing the vaccination and the person being vaccinated would both prefer for that to happen in the middle of the day, rather than the middle of the night, then that’s probably when we should do it.’

He said there would be some groups where a 24/7 model may be the best approach but added: ‘Our attitude on the vaccine rollout is whatever it takes to do this as fast and safely possible.’

NHS England’s Professor Stephen Powis said that working through the day was the ‘most efficient’ use of staff and volunteers. 

Professor Powis added: ‘I’m sure for the vast majority of people they would prefer to have their vaccine during the day.

‘And the best use of our staff and volunteers… working through the day is the most efficient way of delivering the most vaccine.’

Mask flouters on tubes, buses and trains WILL be fined: Police chief’s warning – as Priti Patel warns of get-tough regime with lock-down rule breakers

Police tonight warned that people caught not wearing a face mask on public transport will be fined as Priti Patel backed an even tougher  crackdown on lockdown rule-breakers. 

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said officers would no longer ‘waste time’ trying to reason with lockdown sceptics as deaths from the latest deadly wave of coronavirus continue to soar. 

Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, he gave examples of shocking ‘irresponsible behaviour’ from people not heeding warnings – even with more than 1,200 people dying every day.

They included a £30-per-head boat party in Hertfordshire with more than 40 people, a Surrey house party whose host tried to claim it was a business event and a minibus full of people from different households caught travelling from Cheltenham into Wales for a walk.

Standing beside Mr Hewitt, the Home Secretary said a minority of the public are ‘putting the health of the nation at risk’ as she backed the tougher police approach to lockdown rules.

She warned that officers are moving more quickly to issuing fines where people are clearly breaching coronavirus regulations, with nearly 45,000 fixed penalty notices issued across the UK since March. 

It comes as No10 considers imposing Chinese-style outdoor mask mandates, curfews and 10ft social distancing to tighten up the shutdown amid pressure from scientists and Sir Keir Starmer to clamp down harder.  

Mr Hewitt said: ‘Organising parties or other large gatherings is dangerous, selfish and totally irresponsible in light of the current threat that we face. Organisers will be fined. But so too will the people who choose to attend.

‘Not wearing a face covering on a bus or a train is dangerous. It risks the lives of other travellers including those critical workers who must continue to use public transport to do their important work. So on those systems, unless you are exempt, you can expect a fine.’

He urged people to take personal responsibility for their actions, adding: ‘We will talk to people and we will explain. But I think the rules are clear enough for people to understand, we are 10 months into this process.’ 

Ms Patel said ‘far too often’ police officers were risking their health and lives by ‘coming into close contact with people, including those who deny the very existence of coronavirus, to keep us all safe’. She added: ‘We are now at a critical stage in our battle against this virus.

‘To protect those that you care about, and the capacity of our hospitals to protect us all, please stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.’ 

Ms Patel insisted the coronavirus rules that people need to follow are clear.

Asked why the regulations were not as tough as the first lockdown despite the parlous situation faced by the NHS, the Home Secretary told a Downing Street press conference: ‘The rules are actually very simple and clear.

‘We are meant to stay at home and only leave home for a very, very limited number of reasons.’

Outdoor recreation was permitted ‘in a very, very restricted and limited way, staying local’. She added that police had set out ‘the type of egregious breaches that we will clamp down on’. 

Priti Patel backed a tough crackdown on rule-breakers during the third national lockdown

National Police Chiefs' Council chairman Martin Hewitt blasted rule-breakers who have 'no regard' for the safety of others as he outlined some of the situations cops have had to face

Priti Patel backed a tough crackdown on rule-breakers during the third national lockdown. Police chief Martin Hewitt blasted rule-breakers who have ‘no regard’ for the safety of others as he outlined some of the situations cops have had to face

Boris Johnson (pictured taking Cabinet today) is under pressure from members of the Sage scientific advisory panel to increase the social distancing gap

Boris Johnson (pictured taking Cabinet today) is under pressure from members of the Sage scientific advisory panel to increase the social distancing gap

Armed police were on duty at Waterloo Station today as the government considers tightening the lockdown rules again

Armed police were on duty at Waterloo Station today as the government considers tightening the lockdown rules again

What supermarket regulations are now in place and when did they change?

Sainsbury’s

Facemasks are mandatory in store, unless the shopper is medically exempt from wearing them. Guards at the entrance enforce the rules. 

There are also plastic safety screens, hand sanitiser and signs urging customers to socially distance.

The store also has specially-timed slots for elderly or vulnerable people to buy their goods.

Today the store told MailOnline insisted that guards had been present throughout the pandemic but more had been sent to stores that ‘needed extra help’. 

Morrisons 

Morrisons have told guards to refuse entry to shoppers who have no medical reason for not wearing a facemask. 

Some stores have had guards throughout the pandemic but these were rolled out to all locations as of today.  

They also have a specialist next-day delivery service for those who cannot get to a shop in person.

The shop also has an NHS priority time the key workers can go in to buy food. 

Tesco 

Tesco today joined Sainsbury’s and Morrisons in banning customers without masks and bringing in security guards to enforce the rules. 

Today the store told MailOnline security guards had attended stores throughout the pandemic but more had now been recruited. 

It also has priority hours for key workers as well as limits on some items for delivery.

Marks & Spencer

M&S has hand sanitising as well as one-way systems in place and a facemask rule.

Larger shops have restricted the purchase of non-essential goods.

There is also a booking process to let people reserve a slot instore to go shopping. MailOnline has contacted M&S, and all the stores listed below, for their current arrangements as well as if and when they changed. 

Asda

Asda, like others, has a rule for facemasks unless there is a medical exemption announced by the customer.

They also have an app that lets shoppers wait in a digital queue in their cars for a slot to go instore. 

Asda also say they have put a protective film on basket and trolley grips that kills bacteria.

Waitrose

Waitrose says facemasks must be worn in its stores unless a person is exempted from not wearing one.

Marshals are at the entrances to its stores to check people are wearing mask and are shopping alone.

Floor-markers help customers to follow social distancing while people are asked to keep two metres in queues. 

Earlier Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick today insisted officers would come to the aid of supermarket staff if shoppers became ‘aggressive’ after being told to wear a mask after police warned they did not have enough manpower to enforce the rules. 

Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and M&S have now reintroduced bouncers at the door in all stores to ensure customers are wearing face coverings and socially distancing. 

Meanwhile, John Lewis today announced it would scrap click and collect for new orders from tomorrow, although it will still run at Waitrose for food orders.  

West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Brian Booth this morning warned that there were not enough officers to ‘stand in every store’ and it was up to the supermarkets themselves to enforce the rules. 

But speaking later, Dame Cressida said her officers would be prepared to assist supermarket staff if customers became ‘obstructive and aggressive’ when they were told they must wear a face covering. She also said it was ‘preposterous’ people couldn’t know rules as vowed to continue wider crackdown. 

Bouncers were in place at the start of the first lockdown in March to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face coverings, but began to vanish as the threat posed by Covid-19 waned during the summer, leading to an increasingly ‘lax’ attitude from shoppers who were increasingly seen maskless. 

But as alarm bells were sounded by Downing Street and scientists warned that shops were contributing to the rise in cases, the Big Four supermarkets today returned to the previous, stricter arrangement.     

Mr Booth said officers would only intervene if ‘other offences were committed’, such as when the customer refusing to wear a mask became violent or abusive. 

‘If there is an ongoing crime, an assault or danger to someone that must be the priority but we just don’t have the resources to stand at every supermarket,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. 

It came as Boris Johnson gathered his Cabinet after warning he could further strengthen the restrictions if people continued flouting the law – as ministers defended his controversial decision to go cycling in the Olympic Park, seven miles from Downing Street. 

Meanwhile, today’s mask crackdown ran into problems as some shoppers continued refusing to follow the rules, despite the vast majority complying with them. 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted today: ‘Don’t get caught out when you’re at the supermarket — remember always to take a face mask with you when you’re leaving your home. Wear it on the way to the shop and in the queue as well. We need to be doing everything we can to slow the spread of the virus.’

Shoppers arriving at Morrisons in Peckham, south London were greeted by a security guard instructing them to put on their masks or they would not be allowed in.

One woman who came without her mask was warned that if she did not put it on, she would not be allowed to continue with her shop.

The woman, who only gave her first name of Gladys said: ‘I had a mask with me but simply forgot. I’ve come into the supermarket lots of times before and not put it on, but I think it’s a good thing that they are enforcing this.’

But after putting on her mask, Gladys then lowered it below her mouth as she continued with her shop. She said: ‘I find them too uncomfortable. I don’t see what the fuss is, I’ve got a mask on, it’s just not covering my nose and mouth at the moment.’

As Gladys shopped in the store, she was not challenged about how she was wearing her mask.  

Shoppers were pictured without face masks today at a series of supermarkets, including Asda, Morrisons and Tesco in London, Leeds and Swindon. 

Supermarkets may be the most common place where people in England are exposed to the coronavirus, official data suggests. 

When asked about the crackdown, a shopper at a Morrisons in Peckham, south-east London said: ‘It’s about time. 

A maskless shopper seen today in a Morrisons in Peckham, south-east London. The woman, who only gave her first name of Gladys, said: 'I had a mask with me but simply forgot'

A maskless shopper seen today in a Morrisons in Peckham, south-east London. The woman, who only gave her first name of Gladys, said: ‘I had a mask with me but simply forgot’

A shopper in Morrisons in Leeds not wearing a mask

A shopper in Morrisons in Leeds not wearing a mask (left) and another at an Asda in Swindon (right). It is not clear if the customers pictured have valid medical exemptions

Customers not wearing masks at an Asda in Swindon. It is not clear if the customer on the pictured had a medical exemption

Customers not wearing masks at an Asda in Swindon

Customers not wearing masks at an Asda in Swindon. There are various exemptions from having to wear a face mask – it is unclear if any of these apply to the customer seen on the left 

A Morrisons customer posted on social media to complain about being allowed into a store in Colwyn Bay for failing to wear a mask

A customer leaving a store in London

A Morrisons customer posted on social media to complain about being allowed into a store in Colwyn Bay for failing to wear a mask (left). Pictured on the right is a customer leaving a store in London 

‘A lot of people are going to supermarkets and simply ignoring the rules. I don’t know why it’s taken Morrisons this long to start enforcing this rule.

‘We’re living in very difficult times and we’ve all got to pull together to beat this virus.’

A second, who refused to give her name, did not have a mask covering her nose. She said: ‘What’s the problem I’ve got a mask on haven’t I?

‘I find it difficult to breathe when I’ve got a mask on and sometimes get a rash.

‘I think it’s good to enforce the rule but they’ve got to understand that for some people, masks are very uncomfortable.’ 

The store’s security guard, who did not want to give his name, said: ‘We’ve been given strict instructions about masks. If you’ve not got one on, you’re not getting in. It’s as simple as that.’

The security guard added that until today, they had not been challenging customers who were without masks.

He added: ‘It wasn’t our responsibility to enforce it and we were told to call the police, which we never did. 

‘This is going to create more problems for us because my concern is that some people will not want to wear a mask and will fight with us over it. So far, we’ve not had many problems.’

Despite several instances of rule-breaking, most shoppers at supermarkets visited by MailOnline today were wearing masks. 

During the first shutdown, supermarkets installed bouncers at store entrances to challenge rule-breakers and created in-store one-way systems to help people socially distance. 

MailOnline has asked all major supermarkets if they plan to follow Sainsbury’s and Morrisons in reintroducing bouncers.   

Shoppers at a Tesco Extra in south-east London this morning. Rules state that masks must be worn over the nose and mouth

Shoppers at a Tesco Extra in south-east London this morning. Rules state that masks must be worn over the nose and mouth 

A security guard on duty today at the entrance to a Morrisons in Leeds, where most customers were following the face mask guidance

A security guard on duty today at the entrance to a Morrisons in Leeds, where most customers were following the face mask guidance 

A security guard speaks to customers entering a Sainsbury's store in Swindon today on day one of the new mask crackdown

A security guard speaks to customers entering a Sainsbury’s store in Swindon today on day one of the new mask crackdown 

Sainsbury's CEO Simon Roberts sent this email to all customers this morning to inform them about the new enforcement measures

Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts sent this email to all customers this morning to inform them about the new enforcement measures 

The distance was set at two metres in March after experts said coronavirus was up to ten times more transmissible at one metre than at two. Now experts want the public to maintain the distance on public transport, in supermarket lines and while out and about

The distance was set at two metres in March after experts said coronavirus was up to ten times more transmissible at one metre than at two. Now experts want the public to maintain the distance on public transport, in supermarket lines and while out and about

What are the government’s rules on taking exercise? 

You should minimise time spent outside your home, but you can leave your home to exercise. 

This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with
  • with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
  • or, when on your own, with one person from another household

This includes but is not limited to running, cycling, walking, and swimming. 

Personal training can continue one-on-one unless everyone is within the same household or support bubble.

Public outdoor places include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • the grounds of a heritage site
  • playgrounds

Britain’s policing minister Kit Malthouse this morning said police would intervene in serious breaches of Covid rules in shops, but measures imposed and enforced by owners would be effective in most cases.

Brian Booth, chair of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said officers would only intervene if ‘other offences were committed’, such as when the customer refusing to wear a mask became violent or abusive. 

‘If there is an ongoing crime, an assault or danger to someone that must be the priority but we just don’t have the resources to stand at every supermarket,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. 

Mr Booth also criticised the current regulations as ‘woolly’, saying they left too many ‘loose ends’ which ‘cheesed-off’ officers had to interpret for themselves. 

He suggested that the much-publicised fining of two walkers in Derbyshire was correct according to the guidance. 

‘An officer issued a ticket in the spirit it was written,’ told the Today programme. Normally in law, when you have a new law it is disputed and goes to the court where it is argued and becomes case law. 

‘But we don’t have time for that, so what we need is a sound basis in law and we need it now, rather than leaving loose ends.’ 

It came as Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said it was ‘preposterous’ that people would not know the Covid rules, and vowed to continue fining lawbreakers.

Writing in the Times today, Dame Cressida said: ‘It is preposterous to me that anyone could be unaware of our duty to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus. 

‘We have been clear that those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly likely to face fines.

‘We will still be engaging, explaining and encouraging but those who break the rules or refuse to comply where they should without good reason will find officers moving much more quickly to enforcement action.’ 

Ms Dick said today that police will move ‘swiftly’ to fine people who blatantly ignore coronavirus lockdown rules and said officers in London had issued more than 300 fixed penalty notices in the space of 24 hours for ‘flagrant’ violations of the regulations.

Dame Cressida said her officers would be prepared to assist supermarket staff if customers became ‘obstructive and aggressive’ when they were told they must wear a face covering. 

And in a veiled criticism of the PM’s Olympic Park bike ride Dame Cressida Dick said: ‘For me, a reasonable interpretation of that is that if you can go for your exercise from your front door and come back to your front door’, adding: ‘The public are looking to all of us as role models’. 

Ministers have warned that tougher lockdown rules could be introduced to stem a rise in cases.  

Britons can go on 70 mile bike rides but only sit on park benches ‘for a short pause’, should think carefully about meeting a friend for a coffee while walking and must never go to the supermarket without a mask, they said today.

Mr Malthouse also accused the public of ‘searching for the loopholes in the law’ by flouting the third national lockdown – comparing it to pubs serving scotch eggs to stay open last year – and insisted that it is the police’s job to scrutinise where people are going and who they are meeting outdoors.

Amid widespread confusion about whether people are allowed to sit on park benches during their daily exercise, No10 sources also told MailOnline a ‘short pause’ during the course of exercise would be ‘reasonable’. However, they stressed it would be unlawful to go out ‘just to sit in public’. 

Carrie Symonds ‘is definitely behind’ Boris’s outburst against the ‘demented’ Chinese’: Tories rage against PM’s fiancée – who has campaigned against selling Pangolin ‘sex aid’ meat – after Johnson said it was to blame for Covid 

Former Tory aides told MailOnline that Carrie was 'definitely' behind Mr Johnson's conservation push, pointing out he rarely talked about such issues before they were linked

Former Tory aides told MailOnline that Carrie was ‘definitely’ behind Mr Johnson’s conservation push, pointing out he rarely talked about such issues before they were linked

Boris Johnson has come under fire from his own party for publicly shaming China’s use of traditional medicine and blaming the ‘demented’ practice of harvesting pangolin scales for causing coronavirus.

Conservative insiders detected the Prime Minister’s fiancée Carrie Symonds’ influence in his incendiary remarks, which has sparked a furious row with Beijing.

In an environmental speech to world leaders yesterday Mr Johnson tore into people who ‘grind up the scales of a pangolin’ in a bid to become more ‘potent’ – a thinly veiled attack on Chinese remedies. 

Ms Symonds has been vocal in her opposition to wet markets, where the animals are sold, gaining praise from Peta as it announced her as one of its most influential activists of 2020

Former Tory aides told MailOnline she was ‘definitely’ behind Mr Johnson’s conservation push and are growing concerned that her enthusiasm for such issues are eating up too much of the Government’s bandwidth at the expense of other policy areas.

One Tory insider said: ‘When the f*** was he talking about the environment before he got with her? I’ve never seen Boris talk about the environment. 

‘It’s also a tangential issue. It is completely lacking any political antennae. it is not mission critical. This government should be about the public’s agenda, not Carrie’s agenda.’ 

The Tory said there was a ‘time and a place’ to talk about conservation issues, and this was ‘not it’.   

Mr Johnson made the remarks in a virtual speech to the One Planet Summit, hosted by France’s President Macron, citing the illegal trade in the scaly anteater-like creatures.

They are widely used in Chinese medicine and their trafficking has been blamed for transmitting the virus from bats found in the wild to humans.

The first documented cases of the Covid-19 were in the Chinese city of Wuhan, with a wet market trading in exotic animals being seen as the probable source. 

Mr Johnson’s attack on China was followed today by a broadside by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab over the treatment of the Uighur minority.  

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Millionaire French hotel owner to testify in kidnap trial



Jacqueline Veyrac, 80, will give evidence in France over a botched attempt to kidnap her for ransom.

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“Stingray Technology” Used To Locate Child-Trafficking Associate Eluding Capture

An associate of Jeffrey Epstein – who is facing child trafficking charges – Ms Ghislaine Maxwell, was tracked down by the FBI using the data from her mobile phone.

Shortly, the 58-year-old woman was arrested in her secluded mansion in New Hampshire on July 2 during a raid. The operation happened a day after a request was made for a search warrant “to determine with precision the Target Cellular Device’s location”.

However, upon arrest, she pleaded not guilty in helping Epstein recruit and groom underage girls for sex, and not guilty to perjury for having denied involvement under oath.

As first reported by The Daily Beast, the newly unsealed document revealed that Ms Maxwell was located using GPS and “stingray” technology to pinpoint a phone she had registered under the name “G Max”. This phone had been used to call her lawyer, sister and husband.

Ms Maxwell had been hiding out in the $1.3 million home following the arrest and subsequent death in prison of Epstein, with whom she had a relationship with in the 1990s. Currently, she is being held in detention in New York City ahead of her trial, which is set to begin in July.

In the court documents disclosed, details of her arrest including the request of a “GPS warrant” to locate Ms Maxwell were revealed, which allowed them to track Ms Maxwell’s whereabouts to an area of about 2.5 square kilometres.

Another warrant was requested for the use of a “stingray” device to narrow the search.

According to the second application, “The location data is insufficiently specific to allow the FBI to identify the particular building in which the Target Cellular Device is currently located.”

The device used to trace Ms Maxwell’s exact location inside her mansion is defined in the warrant as a device “capable of broadcasting signals … in some respects like a cellular tower”.

In addition, prosecutors said Ms Maxwell had used her New Hampshire home, which officials said she purchased in December 2019 in cash, as a hideout.

Her husband, on the other hand, whose name was redacted from court papers, argued that Ms Maxwell moved there to protect her safety and escape the media frenzy, not to dodge from capture.

Her record shows that she was denied bail twice, most recently on December 29 on a judge ruling as Ms Maxwell posed a “flight risk” despite her proposed $37.5 million bail package.

As predicted, Ms Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted at her scheduled trial in July 2021.

(Image source: ABC News)