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Newcastle chef offers VERY cheeky message to the PM during BBC interview

A Newcastle chef sent Boris Johnson a very cheeky message during a BBC interview – as the North East today woke up to new lockdown restrictions banning people from meeting inside homes. 

Residents of Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Northumberland, Durham and Sunderland have been banned from meeting friends outside their bubble indoors from midnight. 

Local businesses have reacted furiously to the new measures, with Geordie chef Max Gott sending Boris Johnson a cheeky message as he appeared on the BBC to discuss the situation. 

Mr Gott, head chef and co-owner of the Bistro Forty Six in Newcastle, arranged a display of British tits in the background of his Zoom interview and included a picture of the Prime Minister alongside the birds. 

Eagle-eyes viewers were quick to spot the cheeky dig and took to social media to praise the chef after he appeared yesterday. 

On his own Twitter account, Mr Gott has been a frequent critic of the PM, previously writing: ‘Dear Boris Johnson. We are running at 40% capacity. Even if we are full 7 days a week we will not break even. 

‘Its physically not possible for us to make money under current guidance. We need help! You absolute weapon. Much love, Every independent restaurant.’ 

Local business support group NE1 Ltd said the rules ‘threaten the very fabric’ of Newcastle, that business owners had reacted in ‘despair’ to the ‘draconian restrictions’ and deserved financial support to help them cope. 

It comes as data showed there are only narrow margins between parts of the region set to be hit with tighter lockdown rules and those that escape the same fate. 

There are large variations in coronavirus infection rates across the region — which is home to around 2.7million people — and some towns which have been spared from the new rules have cases rising faster than the areas now facing lockdown.

Figures also show coronavirus hospitalisations across the region are at around 20 per cent of the highest levels during the peak of the pandemic and deaths in NHS hospitals have remained remain stable at three per day or lower for 14 weeks.  

Data shows Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees last week saw their cases-per-100,000 rise by 84 per cent and 71 per cent, respectively, but will not be included in the crackdown, while Gateshead, Sunderland and Durham will be locked down despite slower growth. Those areas do, however, have higher overall rates for the most part —although Durham’s (58.6) is lower than Hartlepool’s (75.1). 

Across the country, hospital admissions among Covid-19 patients are rising to levels not seen since June, now with a daily average of 272, while the number of deaths are also creeping up with there now being an average of 30 per day after that figure fell to a low of just seven a day at the beginning of September.

Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Gateshead, Northumberland and North and South Tyneside will all have to face the new rule outlawing socialising indoors from this morning 

Max Gott, head chef and co-owner of the Bistro Forty Six in Newcastle, arranged a display of British tits in the background of his Zoom interview and included a picture of the Prime Minister alongside the birds

Max Gott, head chef and co-owner of the Bistro Forty Six in Newcastle, arranged a display of British tits in the background of his Zoom interview and included a picture of the Prime Minister alongside the birds

Coronavirus infection rates are rising across the North East with the numbers of cases per 100,000 people highest in South Tyneside, Newcastle and Gateshead, while rising fastest in Northumberland over the past week

Coronavirus infection rates are rising across the North East with the numbers of cases per 100,000 people highest in South Tyneside, Newcastle and Gateshead, while rising fastest in Northumberland over the past week

Data shows there have been 491 Covid-19 hospital admissions in the North East in the past month, compared to 361 in the Midlands, 264 in London, 109 in the South East, 72 in the East and 52 in South West. Only the North West of England, with 552 admissions, has had more than the NE during that time. Graphs show how the number of hospital patients with Covid-19 in each different region of England has changed since the pandemic began

Data shows there have been 491 Covid-19 hospital admissions in the North East in the past month, compared to 361 in the Midlands, 264 in London, 109 in the South East, 72 in the East and 52 in South West. Only the North West of England, with 552 admissions, has had more than the NE during that time. Graphs show how the number of hospital patients with Covid-19 in each different region of England has changed since the pandemic began

Revealed: All the areas of England, Scotland and Wales that have been hit by tougher local restrictions because of a spike in Covid-19 cases

Revealed: All the areas of England, Scotland and Wales that have been hit by tougher local restrictions because of a spike in Covid-19 cases 

Seven out of 12 areas in the North East will be affected by tighter social distancing rules from this morning – Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Gateshead, Northumberland and North and South Tyneside.

The remaining five, including Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Redcar and Cleveland will escape the rules, despite Hartlepool and Stockton having faster-rising infections than some included areas.

Infection rates published by Public Health England last week listed Hartlepool as the second highest area on its places of ‘enhanced support and concern’. 

The town in County Durham has an infection rate of 75.1 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people, according to PHE’s most up-to-date data, almost double the 40.8 a week earlier.

Five out of the top six places on PHE’s list of concern are all in the North East – Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington and Redcar and Cleveland fall below Hartlepool. All are receiving ‘enhanced support’ but aren’t yet in lockdown.

All seven areas that will face the new socialising ban are already on the list of ‘intervention’ areas on Public Health England’s list as people have been advised not to socialise with people from outside of their homes. 

South Tyneside is currently the worst affected of them, with an infection rate of 177 cases per 100,000 people, which ranks it second worst in the nation.

Newcastle also places in the top 10, with a rate of 157 per 100,000, and the infection rate there has tripled in a week from just 52.6 on September 18. 

Bolton, in the North West, still retains the worst infection rate in the country with a considerably higher rate of 200 cases per 100,000. 

New lockdown measures risk lumping together areas that have a lot of people with Covid-19 and areas with fewer cases that are included only because they’re nearby. 

Hartlepool escapes the restrictions but its infection rate has risen by a greater margin than that of Durham, Gateshead and Sunderland, which are all part of the lockdown measures. Confusingly, Durham also has a lower total rate than Hartlepool does (75 compared to 59 per 100,000), although Sunderland’s and Gateshead’s are higher. 

WHAT ARE THE NEW LOCKDOWN RULES IN THE NORTH-EAST?

  • From this morning it is illegal to meet indoors with people from outside your household if you are in Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland or Sunderland. The rule includes meeting in pubs, pub gardens or restaurants and breaches are punishable with fines of between £200 and £6,400;
  • People in those seven areas should not meet with anyone they do not live with, or who isn’t in their ‘bubble’, in any home or garden. This is enforceable by law;
  • People must not meet in groups of more than six anywhere, and officials advise that people in those areas don’t meet up with anyone they don’t live with;
  • Residents of the seven affected regions of the North East should only travel outside of the area they live in if it is essential, such as to go to work or education, to get food or medicine or to help a vulnerable person who has no other option;
  • The North East must follow all other national rules, including not meeting up in groups larger than six, wearing face masks on public transport and closing hospitality businesses such as pubs and restaurants by 10pm.

 

The highest rate of week-on-week increase was in Northumberland, where infections rose 255 per cent from 22.5 per 100,000 to 79.9.

The data looks at the average daily rate of positive tests in the week up to September 25, compared to the week to September 18. 

It is not clear whether an increase in testing has led to higher infection rates for some areas – officials insist this is not to blame for cases rising nationally – but data shows that, in Hartlepool, the average number of swab tests being done each day has almost doubled in a month from 111 in late August to 291 in mid-September.

One MP warned last month that it was unfair to impose lockdowns with ‘broad brush’ tactics that could punish people in areas where levels of the virus were actually relatively low.

Speaking about the use of national restrictions more generally, Conservative MP David Jones told MailOnline: ‘I can understand that the Government has to do something, because there is certainly an uptick.

‘But it is not an uptick across the country as a whole. There are some parts of the country such as Devon, Dorset where there is very little virus activity at all.

‘So it does seem to be very broad brush… I would have thought something more concentrated would be better.’

Today commentators reacted to the Prime Minister’s failure to be able to explain the new lockdown rules in the North East, for which he apologised.   

Professor Lucy Yardley, a health psychologist and member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said confusion had become a problem when it came to obeying Covid-19 rules.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think it is a real problem that people are trying to follow top-down rules that are changing all the time and are different in different places and in different organisations.

‘I think we need less rule following and more working together to work out, in your individual situation, what is the best way to minimise the risk to the people around you.’

Prof Yardley said people were starting to make personal adaptions to how far they followed the latest coronavirus laws and guidance, adding: ‘If you ask people are they following the guidance, on the whole they tend to say yes.

‘What they mean is, they’re following it as far as they think is sensible and practical for them and as far as they think is necessary in order to prevent the spread of infection – and sometimes I think they are probably getting it right.’

Meanwhile, Tory MP Steve Baker said Mr Johnson’s bungled intervention was an example of the confusion the lack of debate was causing.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think it was a vivid illustration of the problems you have when a hundred Acts of Parliament are used to put in place 247, I think it is, pieces of delegated legislation … which are subject to repeated amendment and revocation.

‘When you get such a large and shifting body of law, you find even ministers and the Prime Minister cannot keep up with it.

‘What possible hope can the public have? I had one minister say to me yesterday, with terror in his eyes about the disease, we might have to change the law every 24 hours.’ 

How the number of new coronavirus cases announced each day has changed since the first wave of the pandemic, when barely any patients were getting tested for the disease. Top experts believe more than 100,000 cases were actually occurring every day in the spring

There were 2,049 patients being treated for the disease on Sunday, rising from 764 a fortnight ago and 1,319 last week. This figure had been falling for four months straight after peaking at 20,000 in mid-April

There were 2,049 patients being treated for the disease on Sunday, rising from 764 a fortnight ago and 1,319 last week. This figure had been falling for four months straight after peaking at 20,000 in mid-April

Newcastle City Council’s leader, a member of the Labour Party, has hit out at the Government’s decision to impose lockdown rules on the region, apparently without consulting the local authority.

Nick Forbes told local news site Chronicle Live: ‘While we have been in discussions with the Government on potential further restrictions the Secretary of State has once again stood up and announced the changes without telling us he was about to do so.

ANGER OVER LOCAL RESTRICTIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS ‘DISGRACE’ 

Newcastle City Council’s leader, a member of the Labour Party, has hit out at the Government’s decision to impose lockdown rules on the region, apparently without consulting the local authority.

Nick Forbes told local news site Chronicle Live: ‘While we have been in discussions with the Government on potential further restrictions the Secretary of State has once again stood up and announced the changes without telling us he was about to do so.

‘We want to work constructively with the Government but the way these measures are being communicated in the headlines and without detail does nothing for public confidence.

‘We have demanded clarity on the new restrictions, testing and support for those businesses most affected.’

Mr Forbes accused the Government of ‘making it up as they go along’.

And the police and crime commissioner for Northumberland has also expressed her outrage at the suddenness of social distancing laws that her staff will be expected to enforce.

In a tweet today Kim McGuinness said: ‘It is an utter disgrace that myself, local council leaders and our police force found out about the tightening of the North East Covid restrictions on the news…

‘You can’t blame people for being confused when the PM doesn’t know which was is up! The government must do better’. 

Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for public health, Irim Ali, warned yesterday: ‘The continuing rise in cases across Newcastle is alarming, we must all do our bit to prevent the virus spreading further and to flatten the curve,’ Chronicle Live reported. 

Appealing to the public to follow guidance and new laws to stop the spread of Covid-19, she said: ‘I know this is difficult, and many of our communities have already sacrificed so much, but if we do not unify as one city we face the very real risk of the virus taking over.

‘The additional measures that could be introduced as part of a full local lockdown would be catastrophic for our city, our businesses and our communities.’ 

‘We want to work constructively with the Government but the way these measures are being communicated in the headlines and without detail does nothing for public confidence.

‘We have demanded clarity on the new restrictions, testing and support for those businesses most affected.’

Mr Forbes accused the Government of ‘making it up as they go along’.

And the police and crime commissioner for Northumberland has also expressed her outrage at the suddenness of social distancing laws that her staff will be expected to enforce.

In a tweet today Kim McGuinness said: ‘It is an utter disgrace that myself, local council leaders and our police force found out about the tightening of the North East Covid restrictions on the news…

‘You can’t blame people for being confused when the PM doesn’t know which was is up! The government must do better’. 

Adrian Waddell, the chief executive of a business support group in Newcastle, fumed at the rules.

He said: ‘The Government cannot impose such draconian restrictions on businesses without offering immediate and comprehensive financial support.

‘The latest announcement has been met by utter despair from businesses who are starting to question the veracity of the lockdown measures and where the empirical evidence is for closing hospitality venues, which from the Government’s own figures account for a mere 3.2 per cent spread of the virus. These companies are now shouldering 100 per cent of the lockdown burden with no meaningful support to compensate.’

Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for public health, Irim Ali, warned yesterday: ‘The continuing rise in cases across Newcastle is alarming, we must all do our bit to prevent the virus spreading further and to flatten the curve,’ Chronicle Live reported. 

Appealing to the public to follow guidance and new laws to stop the spread of Covid-19, she said: ‘I know this is difficult, and many of our communities have already sacrificed so much, but if we do not unify as one city we face the very real risk of the virus taking over.

‘The additional measures that could be introduced as part of a full local lockdown would be catastrophic for our city, our businesses and our communities.’ 

The Prime Minister faced further backlash after he was unable to clearly explain what the new rules meant for residents of the North East when he was asked on live television this morning. Mr Johnson appeared to become confused when asked whether people would be allowed to meet friends in pub gardens.

The rules mean people will not be able to do this unless the people they are with are part of their own household or support bubble under existing rules.

Mr Johnson was slammed for failing to communicate this and implying the rules would not apply to pub gardens.

Newcastle Council leader Mr Forbes said: ‘You can’t just bluster your way through situations like this – making it up as you go has massive consequences, confuses people and undermines the very public health goals but local and central government are trying to achieve.’    

There are concerns that an influx of more than 60,000 students into the North East could lead to a spike in cases because they tend to live close together in large households, to socialise often and may be less likely to follow social distancing rules.

Durham, Sunderland, Newcastle, Middlesbrough all have universities and thousands of young people will have moved into the area in September.

Some 7,000 freshers have gone to Durham alone, ITV reported, with the university vowing to do whatever it can to minimise outbreaks of the virus. 

Students across the country have reported being locked into their halls of residence, raising concerns about the laws allowing coronavirus rules to be enforced.

In Newcastle and Northumbria, to which some 55,000 students have returned after summer, campuses have warned students could be expelled if they don’t follow social distancing rules.

Professor Chris Day, vice chancellor at Newcastle University, said: ‘[Students who break rules] will be subject to police investigation if it is serious enough,’ Chronicle Live reported.

‘It has been made very clear to them that they will also be subject to university disciplinary procedures,’ he said.

‘That can range from a small fine right through to expulsion. That has been made extremely clear to them.’ 

While cases are the easiest way of measuring how fast an outbreak is growing, statistics also show that the numbers of people dying of Covid-19 in the North East is now among the highest of any region in the country.

There have been 78 fatalities confirmed in NHS hospitals in the North East region in the past month – from August 27 to September 27 – which makes up 23 per cent of the total 342 across England during that time.

This is lower only than the North West, where there were 114 deaths in the same period.

For comparison, 67 people died in the Midlands, 35 in London, 33 in the South East, 11 in the East of England and four in the South West. 

Of only seven hospital trusts in the country that recorded more than 10 deaths during that time, two were in the North East region – in which the NHS includes Yorkshire – Bradford Teaching Hospitals (16) and South Tyneside and Sunderland (11). 

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care, in North West England, is the worst affected NHS trust, and 40 people have died there in the past month.

Official Government data shows that there has been a small spike in deaths in the region but the rolling average appears to have started falling again since the third week of September, when it peaked it three per day on September 20.

There are now an average of two coronavirus deaths per day in the North East, compared to seven in the North West and 3.6 in the West Midlands. England’s national average is 10 per day, meaning the North East makes up a fifth.

Hospital admissions in the North East and Yorkshire are also among the highest in England, according to official figures. 

Around a quarter of all hospitalised Covid-19 patients in the country are in the region, which is home to around an sixth of England’s population.

There are 441 people in hospital in the North East, out of a total of 1,727 across the UK, according to the Department of Health.

And there have been 491 admissions there in the past month, compared to 361 in the Midlands, 264 in London, 109 in the South East, 72 in the East and 52 in South West.

Only the North West of England, with 552 admissions, has had more during that time. 

The number of daily admissions rose steadily from a low point of an average seven per day in August to 70 per day by September 26. 

This puts hospital admissions at about 17 per cent of what they were at the peak of the crisis in April, when a massive 402 people were being admitted each day in the region. 

It has surged from 47 per day the week before and 22 daily the week before that, showing increasing numbers of people are getting seriously ill with Covid-19.

This reflects the national pattern for England, which shows admissions rising from a low point of 38 per day on August 15 to 272 per day by September 23, the most recent data.

BRITAIN’S CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK GREW FASTER THAN SPAIN’S OR FRANCE’S IN SECOND SURGE

Britain’s second wave of coronavirus was growing at a faster rate than either Spain or France’s until cases started to dip again yesterday, according to official data.

Government statistics show the UK was averaging 5,816 new infections per day 20 days after first tipping the 2,000-per-day mark. By contrast, France’s rate after the same number of days was 5,783 while Spain’s was 5,157. Both European countries hit the tipping point over the summer, on August 14 and July 28, respectively.

And the difference in growth speed was the same when the population of each country was taken into account, with Britain recording the equivalent of 87.27 new cases for every million people each day, 20 days after the number rose above 30 per million.

The rate in France 20 days after it surpassed 30 was 86.33, while in Spain it stood at just 72.43. 

Both nations are thought to be several weeks ahead of Britain after witnessing their Covid-19 cases spike again in mid-August. Department of Health statistics show the UK’s second wave didn’t start to snowball until September 7.

Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock had warned earlier this month that they were fearful that a second wave rising in Europe would make its way to the UK.

A fall in the number of daily cases yesterday – when 4,044 were announced – has pushed Britain’s outbreak below France’s, although it continues to grow faster than Spain’s was at the same stage.

Warning that the UK was set to follow in the European nations’ footsteps, Sir Patrick Vallance – the chief scientific officer for the Government – said last week that the country could hit 50,000 cases per day if it didn’t take action. 

Comparing outbreaks in the UK, France and Spain based on the time since cases first passed 30 per 100,000, shows that Britain was briefly at the mercy of an outbreak accelerating faster than Spain's or France's. A downturn in cases yesterday in Britain means it is slower than France's but still faster than Spain's was at the same stage

Comparing outbreaks in the UK, France and Spain based on the time since cases first passed 30 per 100,000, shows that Britain was briefly at the mercy of an outbreak accelerating faster than Spain’s or France’s. A downturn in cases yesterday in Britain means it is slower than France’s but still faster than Spain’s was at the same stage

Leading scientists called Sir Patrick’s doomsday projection ‘implausible’ because 50,000 per day would put the case rate multiple times higher than those. 

Professor David Paton, an industrial economist at the University of Nottingham, said the 50,000 per day would be a rate at least three times higher than currently being seen in Spain or France.

He told MailOnline at the time: ‘It seems a very strange scenario to present. ‘It’s not, as far as I can tell, based on any particular modelling… 

‘It [also] seems odd, to me, to choose to compare against France and Spain. There are other countries they could have looked at, where cases have been doubling every three weeks. Nobody knows what will happen to cases in the UK. Do they really think we’ll have five to six times more cases than France?’

Concerns festered, however, as the numbers of people being diagnosed with Covid-19 in the UK carried on rising in the days after the scientists’ conference.

During the course of the week between September 21 and September 27, the average number of daily new cases surged from 3,929 to 5,816 in Britain.

The numbers have fallen from a second wave peak of 6,874 cases on Friday to 4,044 yesterday, bringing a tentative ray of hope that new lockdown measures are working. And they are nowhere near levels seen during the darkest days of Britain’s Covid-19 crisis in March and April, when top scientists estimate more than 100,000 cases were truly occurring each day but many were never tested.

And the outbreak in Spain also appears to have slowed, with its daily average dropping from a height of 11,314 cases per day by September 23 to 10,920 at the end of last week. The Spanish daily cases for per million people has also fallen from 241 to 233. 

Madrid, at the centre of Spain’s crisis, has had to impose local lockdowns on almost a million people living in the city’s poorest areas. 

Cases are still rising in France, however, with the daily average now at 12,115 and the infection rate per million hitting 182 on Saturday. Average daily cases have risen by 2,000 in just a week there – from 10,116 on September 21, when the infection rate was 155.

In a bid to stem the surging cases Paris, along with 11 other cities, has put a 10pm curfew in place for bars and a 10-person limit on social gatherings.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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