Category Archives: News

UK’s general crime rate drops during coronavirus lockdown

Laws put in place as precaution to the coronavirus outbreak have proven effective in minimising crime within the UK.  

Just over six weeks ago the UK government enforced the lockdown, adding restriction laws; where people may not leave their homes or partake in gatherings.

UK citizens have generally failed to abide by these laws. As stated by the guardian, more than 3,203 fines have been issued at this point in time.

One-third of fines were issued were to those aged 18-24, with another third to those aged 25-34.

Nevertheless, majority of the country have remained at home. This has resulted in a steady drop of the UK’s overall crime rate and more importantly, coronavirus cases.

There have been many claims that Knife crime has surged within recent years and become more and more common. Lockdown has almost brought this to a complete halt.

Police report a massive drop in burglary, rape and assault. However, there have has been a 3% rise in domestic violence and a surge with fraud crimes.

Many online banks recommend customers to be mindful whilst using their emails and the distribution of their personal information. Many have been tricked through fake emails about TV license cancellation.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Thanks to all Londoners for staying home these last six weeks.<br><br>You are all heroes, but we need you to keep it up.<br><br>Please stay home continue to protect the NHS and save lives. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LondonTogether?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LondonTogether</a><br><br>Show your support by sharing this video. Thank you. 💙 <a href=”https://t.co/Sc2cW3vd9D”>pic.twitter.com/Sc2cW3vd9D</a></p>&mdash; Metropolitan Police | #StayHomeSaveLives (@metpoliceuk) <a href=”https://twitter.com/metpoliceuk/status/1256244842511949825?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 1, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js&#8221; charset=”utf-8″></script>

All in all, the UK’s implementation was proven effective in more ways and one and will continue to be so if followed correctly.

(image credit – Barnaby Nerberka)

Hong-Kong police block protective gear give-away

The Construction Site Workers General Union (the Union) set up a street counter to distribute free protective gears against the Coronavirus pandemic on 1 May but was interrupted by the police.

The participants were prosecuted with a fine of 2000 HDK (£200) according to regulations to maintain social distancing. To protest against what it called “selective law enforcement”, the Union organised a similar event at the Hoi Fu Bridge outside the Hong Kong central government complex at noon on 6 May.

Participants are wearing their working outfit at the event to show that they represent the Union – Photograph by Xinyi Huang

What happened on 1 May?

The Union gave out passers-by free facial masks and hand sanitiser at Kwai Fong, Sham Shui Po and Kwun Tong on 1 May. When the volunteers were discharging these materials from cars, some police officers stopped them and checked their ID documents. All three counters were warned that such gathering was against regulations of social distancing. Later, the police blocked the counters with cable ties.

https://www.facebook.com/cswgu/

What happened this time?

Before the street counter was set up, there were already police officers in plain-clothes standing around. When the event started at 11am, organisers were given a written warning of “prohibition of social gathering”. The facial masks and hand sanitisers the Union distributed have phrases such as “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” on it, a popular slogan during last year’s protests. There was also a loudspeaker repeating the Union’s demand for workers’ right and protest-related chanting. When the event finished at 2pm, all participants were prosecuted with a fine of $2000 (£200).

Passers-by getting free protective gears – Photograph by Xinyi Huang
On the bottles of hand sanitizer, it writes “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our time” – Photograph by Xinyi Huang

Is the street counter illegal?

According to the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G), group gathering held for handling supplies or items, that are conducive to the prevention and control of the disease, is exempted from prosecution. The Union, therefore, claimed that their street counters were “absolutely legal”. However, the police argued that slogans on these supplies and what the loudspeaker was playing made the event an illegal social gathering.

The Union further argued that even if the street counters were illegal, the police were not following the principle of equality before law because previously, another pro-Beijing party held a similar event at Sham Shui Po without any interference from the police.

The Regulation does not specify whether there can be other elements with the supplies, so the argument between the two parties remains a grey area.

Why the police?

Hong Kong police have been blamed by local activists for their misconduct during last year’s protests. Tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets were fired by the police to disperse protesters. There were also allegations of arbitrary arrests, brutal beatings and torture in police detention.

Participants’ Voice

Organiser of this event, V, said he was resentful of what the police did.

V said his code name stands for victory: victory of Hong Kong people in liberating the city. Photograph by Xinyi Huang

Kelvin Chan, a volunteer at the event, is a construction worker at West Kowloon and joined the Union last September. He also participated in other street counter events last year during the protests.

Kevin Chan was giving out leaflets to passers-by. Photograph by Xinyi Huang

(image by: Xinyi Huang)

by Xinyi Huang

Coronavirus: Spain update

Spain has experienced one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.

As death tolls and infection rate decreases, Spaniards have been allowed out for the first time after seven weeks.

They are currently lifting the lockdown through phases, phase zero started last Sunday.

 

Image source: Ross Sneddon / Unsplash

By Grace Staley

Coronavirus: UK Live updates

Follow our coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic as we bring you the latest developments from the UK and from our correspondents around the world.

17:45 pm This brings an end to the daily briefing and to our live coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic.

17:40 pm  Diamond says all the data collected shows the importance on social distancing rules and therefore, should not be abandoned.

17:35 pm   Care home deaths is still a huge challenge 

Even though the latest figures show a decline in the number of deaths within care homes, it is still “a significant issue” and therefore, the transmission rate is resulting extremely challenging.

17:28 pm. Changes will be “modest, small and incremental”.

Raab has confirmed that any changes taken place on Monday will be done accordingly to the scientific evidence. All modifications will be carefully monitored.

The government has the option of reversing any changes if necessary.

17:25 pm. The government dashboard has been updated with the daily figures

Image source: Gov.ukScreen Shot 2020-05-07 at 17.24.02

17:23 pm

After having being asked by BBC editor, Laura Kuenssberg, Dominic Raab has confirmed that there is no change to the lockdown rules today. However, the roadmap will be set out on Sunday by the PM.

Raab also confirmed that the PM has spoken to Sturgeon today and is determined to maintain the four- nations approach

17:15 pm   Raab: We can start to think about the next phase 

Raab has warned the public not to abandon the social distancing measures as the virus will grow again at an exponential rate if not followed.

“It will trigger another lockdown” he says.

The next steps the UK will take will be sustainable, but if social distancing rules are eased  and the R level increases, restrictions will be tighten again.

17:09 pm   Daily briefing begins  

  • 86,583 tests carried out today, up by 17,000 from the previous day. It is now the fifth consecutive day, the testing has been below the government’s target.
  • 5,614 increase in cases making the total 206,715.
  • The total death toll now standing at 30,615, an increase of 539 deaths in the UK.
  • R level – rate of infection- is now between 0.5 and 0.9
  • This weekend the PM will set out the roadmap to progress forward into the second phase of the virus.

16:43 pm     Daily UK briefing to be led by Dominic Raab 

16:27 pm      Further 389 deaths recorded in England

Public Health England have announced another 389 new deaths of those who have tested positive for COVID-19. This bringing the total amount of deaths in England to 22,432.

A further 18 people have died in Wales, bringing the total death toll to 1,062. A further 59 deaths have been reported in Scotland, total is now 1,762.

The total death toll for the Uk will be released later on during the daily brief at 5pm GMT.

15:30 pm    There has been an increase in migrant boats making the dangerous crossing of the English Channel, according to the Home Office. 

14:53 pm   Notting Hill carnival will not go ahead this year

As a result of the pandemic organisers of the annual event have been forced to shut down this year.

The carnival which was scheduled to take place over the bank holiday weekend in August will return in 2021.

In a statement released on Twitter, Notting Hill Carnival said they have “no wish to place extra strain on our colleagues St John Ambulance and the NHS.”

“We, of course, work very closely with them for carnival and want to take this opportunity to express our utmost respect, admiration and gratitude for their work.”

They added: “We look forward to welcoming you back to the streets of Notting Hill in 2021.”

14:47 pm   NHS workers deserve a pay rise 

The efforts put in by many of the key workers have been noticed by many, but the pay they receive doesn’t measure up with their recognition. For years and most recently, NHS workers have been crying out for increased pay, most significantly during this tough period.

Read the full piece by Michael Patcha on WNOL.

clap for our carers

Photo credit: clap for our carers

14:15 pm   Latest figures revealed in Scotland’s daily briefing

  • 67,097 people in Scotland have been tested for Coronavirus
  • 54,173 confirmed negative
  • 12,924 were positive
  • 1,762 patients who tested positive have died

Screenshot 2020-05-07 at 14.33.18

Chart from gov.scot

14:00 pm   Lockdown lifting measures next week will be limited

Downing Street has made it clear that any relaxation to social distancing measures set to take course next week will be “very limited”. Boris Johnson insisted “We will advance with maximum caution.”

This statement comes after speculation that Mr Johnson was ready to give the all clear on sunbathing, picnics and unlimited exercise. Until further notice the nation is to adhere to social distancing rules, which include leaving your house for limited activities and maintaining a two metre separation when in public.

Boris Johnson

13:50 pm    Coronavirus leaves a question mark over football summer transfers

The summer transfer window usually opens on July 1st, and the deadline recently got returned from August 8th to August 31st. This was implemented a long time before the lockdown was enforced by nations across Europe and before football seasons across the globe were put on hold alongside other sports.

With most leagues expected to return to action between late May and mid-June, many have questioned what the summer transfer window would look like.

Report by WNOL reporter Michael

Read about how football leagues in England and abroad are handling the pandemic on WNOL.

soccer ball on grass field during daytime

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

13:17 pm   Is this the the new normal?

Approaching the easing of the lockdown, we created a poll to find out how many people wish to return to what we used to know and call it a normal life, or whether they would rather keep some elements of the lockdown.

Results show a large desire to keep some elements of the lockdown.

To find out more in regards to why they would wish to keep some of the elements, we conducted a survey and targeted a rather young adult audience, whom most are students in their first or second year of university.

Report by WNOL reporter Sam Tabahriti

Read Sam Tabahriti’s report on normalcy after lockdown on WNOL.

image-2image-1

Graph 1 & 2 by Sam Tabahriti

13:00 pm   NHS Covid-19 app now available

The NHS Covid-19 app has just been made available to people living on the Isle of Wight. NHSX.HNS.UK have stated that the contact-tracing app will use Bluetooth to connect with other users and track the spread of the virus.

12:42 pm   Students are extremely concerned as they are unaware of what the future holds for them. 

Video by WNOL reporter Grace Staley

12:30 pm   The Scottish government’s daily briefing is due to start. Summary will follow on WNOL.

12:00 pm   Key takeaways and honourable mentions from this morning 

  • The UK fail to meet daily Covid-19 tests, only managing to carry out 57,006, less than half of the 100,000 tests the government anticipated.
  • New ONS report reveals people of ethnic minorities are more at risk of a Covid-19 related death than their White counterparts. The numbers show Black people are four times more likely to die from coronavirus.
  • Residents of the Isle of Wight received a link today enabling them to download the new NHS COVID-19 App.
  • Crime in the UK has decreased since the lockdown was put in place.
  • Today ministers will meet to review lockdown measures, if deemed safe some of the restrictions put in place will be relaxed next Monday. Pinics, park trips and days out will be considered in todays meeting.
  • Honourable mentions:
  • Bank of England warns of deepest recession on record, the bank’s review of the possible impact of the outbreak sees the UK economy shrinking by 14% in 2020.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) shipment flown in from turkey has been impounded by inspectors, who say it is faulty.
  • The government has blamed ‘technical issues’ in labs for its failure to reach test target for four consecutive days.

11:49 am   PM to review lockdown restrictions

Ministers will meet today to consider which measures will be relaxed next Monday. Boris Johnson is expected to address the nation on his plan which may see the UK follow in the footsteps of other European countries such as Spain and Italy. Yesterday evening WHO strongly warned against rushed ends to lockdowns, saying countries emerging from restrictions must proceed “extremely carefully” or risk a rapid rise in new cases. In light of this Twitter users are voicing their opinions using the hashtag ‘KeepTheLockdown’. The question remains, will the UK lift the lockdown on Monday?

Read more about the lockdown on WNOL.

11:24 am   Laws put in place as a precaution to the coronavirus outbreak have proven effective in minimising crime within the UK.

Read more to see how Coronavirus has impacted crime rates on WNOL.

11:11 am   A reminder from No. 10 

10:52 am   Residents of the Isle of Wight will today receive a link enabling them to download the new NHS COVID-19 App which it is hoped will help an easing of lockdown restrictions.

Read more about the pilot scheme on WNOL here.

10:48 am   Black people are four times more likely to die from coronavirus than white people.

The Office for National Statistics published its report on Coronavirus deaths by ethnic groups. Here are the main points.

  • Risk of death involving Coronavirus is significantly higher for some ethnic groups than those who are of white ethnicity.
  • When age is taken into account, Black females are 4.3 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than Black males who are 4.2 times more likely to die from Covid-19. This is higher than White males and females.
  • People of Bangladeshi and Pakistani, Indian and Mixed ethnicities are also more likely to die from Covid-19 compared to those of White ethnicity.
  • Allowance for health factors and social deprivation still puts males and females of Black ethnicity 1.9 times more at risk of a Covid-19 related death.
  • Males in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic group were 1.8 times more likely to have a Covid-19 related death than white males even when health factors and deprivation is considered. Bangladeshi and Pakistani women are 1.6 times more at risk of dying from Covid-19.
  • ONS say that although this report explains some of the differences, a remaining part of the difference is yet to be explained.

Read the full piece by Sam Tabahriti on WNOL.

10:15 am   UK fall short on number of daily Covid-19 tests

Latest figures from 6 May show there have been 1,448,010 tests carried out in total, with the number of people being tested daily standing at 57,006, far less than the government’s target of 100,000 tests per day.

10:11 am   Good morning.

This will be a live blog bringing you updates on Coronavirus from 10 am till 5 pm. Our coverage will keep you up to date on the latest news from the UK. Here is a summary of developing UK news from yesterday evening;

  • Boris Johnson will announce his plan to begin easing lockdown measures on Sunday, with aspects to come into effect on Monday.
  • Rishi Sunak is making preparations to scale back job retention scheme from July as part of the governments plans to gradually ease lockdown measures. It is understood the Treasury is in the process of examining several options including cutting the 80% wage subsidy paid by the state to 60% and lowering the £2,500 cap on monthly payments.
  • The official UK Coronavirus death toll is now 30,076, as another 649 deaths were recorded. This figure represents the number of people that has tested positive and died from Covid-19, therefore the true number could be much higher.
  • Temperature screening of passengers will be introduced at Heathrow airport in an effort to minimise the spread across boarders.
  • And police have made the decision to not take action against Prof Neil Ferguson after he breached lockdown rules. The scientist resigned on Tuesday after it emerged he had broken lockdown measures.

New NHS COVID-19 App launched

Residents of the Isle of Wight will today receive a link enabling them to download the new NHS COVID-19 App which it is hoped will help to ease lockdown restrictions.

Currently being tested and developed by NHSX, the app is designed to trace and track COVID-19 through identifying those who have the virus. 

However, this isn’t to be confused with the current NHS App, which offers a range of services including making appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions and offering advice related to COVID-19. 

So how does it work?

NHSX.HNS.UK have stated that the contact-tracing app will use Bluetooth to connect with other users and track the spread of the virus. 

Once downloaded, the app logs your distance between other users and sends out alerts if you come into significant contact with someone who is infected. 

Users who fall ill can choose to let the app notify the NHS so alerts can be sent out and the necessary advice can be issued. 

The Chief Executive of NHSX, Matthew Gould stated: “By launching the NHS COVID-19 app we can reduce transmission of the virus by alerting people who may have been exposed, so they can take action to protect themselves, the people they care about and the NHS.”https://twitter.com/imcdnzl/status/1257996111266144256

So what about data protection? 

According to Gov.uk, data privacy is a top priority, with National Cyber Security Center involved in the app’s development. 

All data will be anonymous and the only personal information required is the first half of your postcode. 

The use of the app is voluntary and users can delete the app at any time. 

According to NHSX.NHS.UK: “Data will only ever be used for NHS care, management, evaluation and research.”

“This ground-breaking technology, combined with our heroic frontline health and social care staff, and both a nationwide contact tracing testing programme will ensure that we remain in the best position to move toward easing the lockdown,” Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said.

It’s unclear when the app will be made available to the rest of the UK.

To find out more about the NHS COVID-19 App visit the NHS COVID-19 App page.

(Image credit: Pexels)

Mapping the detail of the global pandemic

The Covid-19 virus has spread rapidly around the world since it was first reported in Wuhan, China at the end of last year.

Many are enduring lockdown restrictions as governments work hard to prevent the disease overwhelming their health services.

Our student journalists, now scattered across the globe, are able to report from their home countries.

WNOL correspondents in Asia, Europe and the United Sates are gathering the latest news and features on the pandemic.

Click here to see updates in text and video from our international reporting team around the world

Pandemic causing suicide rates to increase

MORE ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH:

During the month of March, the Disaster Helpline saw 338% increase in call volume compared to February 2020.

The Journal for American Medical Association (JAMA) released a report for the month of March expressing concern for the potential increase of suicide cases. Governments are urged to act now to prevent a bigger risk of suicide. The consequences are likely to appear later and last much longer than the actual pandemic.

Samaritans – Support for distress and despair.

Call 116 123 or email jo@samartains.org

 https://www.samaritans.org/

(Image source: Unsplash/Sasha Freemind)

Coronavirus: Summer 2020 holidays

By Deborah Melchiorre

Our holidays will certainly be unusual, we know it by now. We will tend to favour proximity tourism, both to rediscover our country and because long journeys could be complicated. The keyword will probably continue to be “social distancing”. But how are we going to go on vacation? How will our health be protected? Will we be able to go on holidays? 

Here are some possible scenarios to date, taking into account that the situation is constantly evolving:

Can we go abroad?

As of now, international travel is not permitted. It is difficult to foresee any future summer travels. With what we know, bearing in mind that the situation evolves, this year summer holidays will have to be close to home, fewer trains and no flights planned. One would believe that it is crucial to contribute to the economy of our country.

 

pexels-photo

Image source: Pexels

 

But how will access to the beaches be?

The virus has been proven to be diluted by water. The point, however, is how the beaches will be managed. In the bathing establishments, in fact, the entrances will be limited and the safety distance of at least two to three meters between the umbrellas must be respected, the access to the water will probably be timed. However, the presence of plexiglass seems to have been excluded.

The opening hours will be extended and allowed the delivery of takeaway food under the umbrellas, while in Sardinia it is even been thought to allow the arrival on the island only to tourists with a health passport, or a negative swab test certificate issued from any approved laboratory no later than seven days before the departure date. Apps are also being studied to monitor the entrances to the various facilities.

 

pexels-photo-871060

Image source: Pexels

 

Summer camps: the experts say “no”. Summer centres can be compared, in terms of the danger of contagion, to schools, so reopening them, for infectious disease specialists and virologists, could be risky.

Image source: Vecteezy

The deadly impact of COVID-19 in war-torn Yemen

In the midst of war, Yemen has reported its first two deaths and new cases bringing the total to six. International organizations fear that if the outbreak worsens, the healthcare system will not be able to cope as it has been run down by the ongoing conflict that has led to the worst humanitarian crisis.

(Image source: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

By Karina Corral

Coronavirus limits meat in grocery stores across the US

Meat across US grocery stores are suffering shortages after US President Donald Trump ordered manufacturers to stay open as COVID-19 spreads. 

President Trump issued an Executive Order on the 28th of April to keep meat manufacturing plants open and follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines after many plants had closed due to Coronavirus spreading among its workers in a tight processing factory.

The order states that due to many meat and poultry processors concentrated in close facilities the closure of any of these plants could detrimentally harm the food supply chain in the US and impact farmers. A single large beef manufacturing plant closure could impact just the American diet staple of beef by a loss of over 10 million servings in one day.

Many meat processing plants closed in early April. On the 12th of April, Smithfield Foods closed its factory in South Dakota, one of the largest facilities to produce pork in the US, after reporting 238 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19 of its total 3,700 workers, according to their press release.

Smithfield is not alone in closures. Tyson Foods, Cargill and JBS are just a few more large meat manufacturers that closed their processing plants due to the spread of COVID-19 and will now have to reopen and continue processing meat with enhanced safety precautions due to Trump’s executive order.

Grocery store in United States have empty poultry shelves like this one with household limits. Image: Natalia Jaramillo

Union representatives are speaking out on what the executive order means for the front line workers attempting to pack meat for grocery stores across America.

“With hundreds of thousands of Teamsters working as essential workers in the food supply chain, our members are on the front lines of national efforts to keep grocery stores supplied during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President.

“Our members are proud to keep America running but they shouldn’t be subjected to unsafe working conditions in order to do so.”

Teamsters, a workers union representing over 1.4 million employees across North America wants meatpacking workers to have the highest level of protective gear, ensuring daily testing for workers and their communities.

Social distancing, paid sick leave, emergency premium pay are all considered essential too.

bbq-meet-eating-diner-1105325

Image by Pexels

Across the US grocery store customers can already see meat and poultry shortages on shelves, an impact from before the executive order went into effect and meat processing plants began to close.

“I got to Costco an hour after it opened and there was no more fresh chicken of any kind and all other meats were really low in stock,” Viviana Riveros said, a grocery store customer in Florida. “It was surprising to see how quickly the closing of plants impacted the availability of meat at grocery stores.”

Some agricultural experts predict that the meat shortages could improve by June while others believe that COVID-19 could impact supplies for over a year as meat plants learn to deal with the slower working process due to a decrease in staff infected by Coronavirus.

“I think the average purchaser’s going to notice it,” David Anderson, professor and extension economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University, told Time magazine. “I suspect that consumers will note that in the meat case in their store, there won’t be as much as normal, or as they used to see. You’ll see parts of the meat case where there’s less there, you’ll see parts of the meat case, probably, where they spread out the product — so it looks full.”

Experts believe that grocery store customers could also see a rise in price in meat, particularly popular American favourites such as ground beef and bacon. Price increase at a time when over 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits could mean grocery customers are looking for ways to reduce spending and ease shopping.

The plant-based meat market around the world is set to expand from 2.8 billion pounds ($3.6 billion USD) to 3.35 billion pounds ($4.2 USD) in 2021 with North America bringing in the biggest jump in consumption, according to a Reportlinker press release.

Now more than ever people are trying to stay as healthy as possible to avoid getting sick or infected with COVID-19 so a switch to plant protein instead of meat may be beneficial to Americans trying to cut down on the monetary and health expense of meat.

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