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India’s dramatic fall in virus cases leaves experts stumped

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By KRUTIKA PATHI and ANIRUDDHA GHOSAL, Associated Press – Associated Press – 16 February 2021

NEW DELHI (AP) — When the coronavirus pandemic took hold in India, there were fears it would sink the fragile health system of the world’s second-most populous country. Infections climbed dramatically for months and at one point India looked like it might overtake the United States as the country with the highest case toll.

But infections began to plummet in September, and now the country is reporting about 11,000 new cases a day, compared to a peak of nearly 100,000, leaving experts perplexed.

They have suggested many possible explanations for the sudden drop — seen in almost every region — including that some areas of the country may have reached herd immunity or that Indians may have some preexisting protection from the virus.

The Indian government has also partly attributed the dip in cases to mask-wearing, which is mandatory in public in India and violations draw hefty fines in some cities. But experts have noted the situation is more complicated since the decline is uniform even though mask compliance is flagging in some areas.

It’s more than just an intriguing puzzle; determining what’s behind the drop in infections could help authorities control the virus in the country, which has reported nearly 11 million cases and over 155,000 deaths. Some 2.4 million people have died worldwide.

“If we don’t know the reason, you could unknowingly be doing things that could lead to a flare-up,” said Dr. Shahid Jameel, who studies viruses at India’s Ashoka University.

India, like other countries, misses many infections, and there are questions about how it’s counting virus deaths. But the strain on the country’s hospitals has also declined in recent weeks, a further indication the virus’s spread is slowing. When recorded cases crossed 9 million in November, official figures showed nearly 90% of all critical care beds with ventilators in New Delhi were full. On Thursday, 16% of these beds were occupied.

That success can’t be attributed to vaccinations since India only began administering shots in January — but as more people get a vaccine, the outlook should look even better, though experts are also concerned about variants identified in many countries that appear to be more contagious and render some treatments and vaccines less effective.

Among the possible explanations for the fall in cases is that some large areas have reached herd immunity — the threshold at which enough people have developed immunity to the virus, by falling sick or being vaccinated, that the spread begins to slacken, said Vineeta Bal, who studies immune systems at India’s National Institute of Immunology.

But experts have cautioned that even if herd immunity in some places is partially responsible for the decline, the population as a whole remains vulnerable — and must continue to take precautions.

This is especially true because new research suggests that people who got sick with one form of the virus may be able to get infected again with a new version. Bal, for instance, pointed to a recent survey in Manaus, Brazil, that estimated that over 75% of people there had antibodies for the virus in October — before cases surged again in January.

“I don’t think anyone has the final answer,” she said.

And, in India, the data is not as dramatic. A nationwide screening for antibodies by Indian health agencies estimated that about 270 million, or one in five Indians, had been infected by the virus before vaccinations started — that’s far below the rate of 70% or higher than experts say might be the threshold for the coronavirus, though even that is not certain.

“The message is that a large proportion of the population remains vulnerable,” said Dr. Balram Bhargava, who heads India’s premier medical research body, the Indian Council of Medical Research.

But the survey offered other insight into why India’s infections might be falling. It showed that more people had been infected in India’s cities than in its villages and that the virus was moving more slowly through the rural hinterland.

“Rural areas have lesser crowd density, people work in open spaces more and homes are much more ventilated,” said Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India.

If some urban areas are moving closer to herd immunity — wherever that threshold lies — and are also limiting transmission through masks and physical distancing and thus are seeing falling cases, then maybe the low speed at which the virus is passing through rural India can help explain sinking numbers, suggested Reddy.

Another possibility is that many Indians are exposed to a variety of diseases throughout their lives — cholera, typhoid, and tuberculosis, for instance, are prevalent — and this exposure can prime the body to mount a stronger, initial immune response to a new virus.

“If the COVID virus can be controlled in the nose and throat, before it reaches the lungs, it doesn’t become as serious. Innate immunity works at this level, by trying to reduce the viral infection and stop it from getting to the lungs,” said Jameel, of Ashoka University.

Despite the good news in India, the rise of new variants has added another challenge to efforts here and around the globe to bring the pandemic under control. Scientists have identified several variants in India, including some that have been blamed for causing new infections in people who already had an earlier version of the virus. But they are still studying the public health implications.

Experts are considering if variants may be driving a surge in cases in the southern state of Kerala, which had previously been hailed as a blueprint for tackling the virus. Kerala now accounts for nearly half of India’s current COVID-19 cases. Government-funded research has suggested that a more contagious version of the virus could be at play, and efforts to sequence its genome are ongoing.

With the reasons behind India’s success unclear, experts are concerned that people will let down their guard. Large parts of India have already returned to normal life. In many cities, markets are heaving, roads are crowded and restaurants nearly full.

“With the reducing numbers, I feel that the worst of COVID is over,” said M. B. Ravikumar, an architect who was hospitalized last year and recovered. “And we can all breathe a sigh of relief.”

Maybe not yet, said Jishnu Das, a health economist at Georgetown University who advises the West Bengal state on handling the pandemic.

“We don’t know if this will come back after three to four months,” he warned.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Pandemic schooling at home is not homeschooling – this is why lesson failures are OK

Trying to force parents, children, and teachers to replicate traditional education online in the home is both punishing and pointless

TMR: Right from the beginning, we ask how does this might apply to Montserrat? How is the consultation, or the discussion or the action, not getting it right! How many of our parents and children in little Montserrat are facing this situation. Who thinks about it? What was done when it was discovered that not all had computers at home? What does that say when instead of engaging the media appropriately, with a complete lack of understanding of the important role of proper and beneficial ‘communication’?

by Victoria Bennett – The Independent – 03 February 2021

A special message from Microsoft News UK: With so many young people grappling with the challenges of lockdown and homeschooling, mental health problems are on the rise. Help us get them the vital support they need. Our appeal, in partnership with The Children’s Society, connects the vulnerable to professional services. Join us or donate here.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

When the schools closed in 2020, friends said to me, “You’re ok, it’s normal for you”. To some extent this was true. My husband and I work online from home and our 13-year-old son has always been home-educated. What we were experiencing though was not normal, particularly as our child is medically vulnerable.

Our normal home-learning includes trips to museums, meet-ups with friends, swimming, cinema outings, family travel, and more. It’s enriching for all of us. Now, we keep hearing about the “lost generation” and “long-term damage” of being out of school. My son feels angry. He wants to know if that’s how the world sees him, as a home-educated child? He’s furious at having his future written off so casually. Learning at home does not mean your life is ruined and this language reveals a lot about how homeschooling is perceived.

I’ve grown used to children assuming my son can’t read or write because he doesn’t go to school. They’re often surprised to hear that whilst education is compulsory, school is not. I’ve learned to accept the inevitable “What about socialisation? What about GCSEs?” questions. It seems the general perception of regular homeschooling children is that they spend their days locked away, destined for a life of illiterate delinquency. The reality, of course, is far from this. My son is a voracious reader, is interested in subjects from chemistry to engineering to art, plays piano and guitar, and is confident in social situations. As to whether he will do GCSEs? He might choose to, or he might make different choices. His route is not fixed.

Mother working from home with a kid: Quarantine mode

But these are not normal times for any of us and pandemic schooling at home is not the same as homeschooling. Trying to force parents, children, and teachers to replicate traditional education online in the home is both punishing and pointless. Author and educator John Holt said: “What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn’t a school at all.”

These are, as we frequently hear, unprecedented times. Why then, is the Department for Education insisting teachers, students, and parents try to replicate school at home? Holt pioneered the term “radical unschooling”, which assumes that all children are curious learners and every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. This can be challenging to trust but maybe it’s what we need right now?

When my son was seven, we spent a year caring for my mother. It was exhausting and traumatic yet, when nurses asked my son what he was learning, I felt guilty. I wasn’t managing formal lessons. I was a bad mother. The guiltier I felt, the harder I tried. One day, after yet another failed maths lesson (it isn’t my strongest subject) my son and I, sat crying on the floor. This way wasn’t going to work, for either of us. I put away the maths books, got out the paints, and, for the next three hours, we painted the garden shed, path, and ourselves until everything was a mess of colour. We ended the day laughing and the shed, though worn now, still makes people smile.

At the end of that year, my son’s life was not ruined. What did he learn? Playing Minecraft online gave him excellent keyboard skills and a strong sense of digital citizenship. Witnessing end-of-life care gave him the opportunity to learn about resilience and compassion. Being there when my mother died helped him learn how to process loss. Learning that it was okay to listen to his needs helped him articulate his feelings. We both grew, and we never returned to formal lessons.

Right now, our priority is learning how to live through extraordinary times. To do so, we need to be flexible, not rigid. Maybe, instead of worrying about algebra, we need to learn how to slow down and give time to our needs. Instead of testing, maybe we need to reflect on our collective grief and fear as we live through it. In place of Zoom classes, maybe we can develop skills in sustaining joyful human connections in a rapidly changing digital world?

This is a time for simple acts of radical gentleness. In the end, it is about loving ourselves, and each other, enough to get through this in one piece, even if that means playing hooky once in a while. The world won’t end if you do. It will be okay.

Victoria Bennett is a writer, creative producer, and full-time home educating mother to a teenage son

Read : Going back to ‘normal’ will be a process, not an event – we must learn to live with Covid

10 years in prison if you hide trip to ‘red zone’ country, says Hancock Welcome to Hancock Travel – check out early and the next 10 years are free

Travel quarantine policy is now deemed so crucial to containing the spread of coronavirus that breaking the rules is as serious as ABH
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/covid-travel-rules-prison-hotel-quarantine-b1799733.html

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COVID chart Jan 20 2021

Ministry of Health, Montserrat investigages suspected COVID-19 cases

COVID, Ministry of Health & Social Services, News / 6th February 2021

The following is a release which says that Montserrat’s Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) is currently investigating possible cases of COVID-19 on the island.

The Ministry has started the contact tracing process while they await the results from tests conducted.

A further update on this will be issued tomorrow, Saturday February 6, 2021, following the results of the tests.  

In the meantime, the Ministry of Health is encouraging persons to practice the recommended social distancing and safety protocols:

  1. Wear a face-covering or mask in business places and on transportation services;
  2. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizing gel;
  3. When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your flexed elbow dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands;
  4. Avoid close contact with anyone who has coughing and fever;
  5. Practice social distancing.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services will continue to update the public as new information is received.

Unconfirmed response to inquiries as to whether to suspicions are of a person or persons already living on the island, or recent visitors, is that its the latter.

There has not been a positive case since July 2020. It is still puzzling why some of these protocols have been criminalised with heavy fines of $1,000.00 and there is no official advice as to what the public should do to immunise their bodies or how to immediately deal with early symptoms.

It would not be surprising should we see a panic reaction from the ‘authorities’ who have not demonstrated that they in fact have acted with reasonable understanding and hands-on practice with the pandemic.

Visit the Facebook page for information in that regard at: https://www.facebook.com/themontserratreporter/

see the latest chart:

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The world is ‘on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure’ by failing to get vaccines to poorer countries, the WHO warns

BUSINESS
INSIDER

Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce

nigeria covid-19
Bidemi Aye receives a pre-paid debit card for cash and food provided by World Food Programme (WFP) in a makeshift home in the Makoko riverine slum settlement in Lagos, Nigeria on November 27, 2020. Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images
  • The world was “on the brink of catastrophic moral failure,’ over vaccine distribution, the head of the World Health Organization said Monday.
  • Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries.
  • “A me-first approach leaves the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at risk, it’s also self-defeating,” Ghebreyesus said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The world is “on the brink of catastrophic moral failure” by failing to give vaccines to poorer countries, the head of the World Health Organization said Monday.

“It is not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general at the WHO, said during an executive board session.

Governments naturally want to prioritize their own health workers and older people — but they need to come together to prioritize those most at risk of severe diseases and death around the world, he said. 

“More than 39 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries, but just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country,” Tedros said. 

A “me-first approach” was “self-defeating”, ultimately prolonging the pandemic, as well as the restrictions needed to contain it and both the human and economic suffering, he said.

Research from Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center predicted that it could take years to roll out vaccines in poorer countries due to vaccine cost and availability, as well as a lack of infrastructure to transport, store, and distribute the shots.

Tedros said that countries and companies had promised equitable access by signing up to COVAX, a voluntary scheme to ensure vaccine distribution worldwide launched. COVAX was launched by the WHO, Gavi vaccine alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

But certain countries and companies have gone around COVAX, he said, putting themselves first and in doing so driving up prices.

Manufacturers had also prioritized regulatory approval in rich countries where profits are highest, he added. 

He did not name any specific countries or companies.

He urged countries that had circumnavigated COVAX – and that have control of supply – to be transparent about their contracts, and share any excess vaccines.

“My challenge to all member states is to ensure that by […] April 7, COVID-19 vaccines are being administered in every country, as a symbol of hope for overcoming both the pandemic and the inequalities that lie at the root of so many global health challenges,” he said.

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If you have a story about the coronavirus pandemic you’d like to share, email us at covidtips@businessinsider.com.

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Three England areas with massive week-on-week Covid infection spikes – see full list

In today’s update of the latest Covid-19 case rates for every local authority area in England, 98% have seen cases rise while three are highlighted as having seen infections more double and even triple

By Ian JonesJoseph Wilkes Reporter – 5 JAN 2021

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/three-england-areas-massive-week-23267328

Three areas in England have seen their coronavirus case rates double and even triple week-on-week.

In the latest case rate figures out today from Public Health England, 98% of England is shown to have seen a rise in case rates.

Of the 315 local areas in England, 310 have seen a rise and just five (2%) have seen a fall.

In today’s update of the latest Covid-19 case rates for every local authority area in England, the rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

The areas recording the biggest week-on-week jumps are Carlisle (up from 349.7 to 932.1 with 1,013 new cases); Rushmoor in Hampshire (up from 657.5 to 1,229.4 with 1,163 new cases); and the Isle of Wight (up from 215.8 to 785.8, with 1,114 new cases).

The percentage testing positive in the community for the new variant in English regions
Do you agree with a third lockdown? Have your say on England’s new Covid rules

Barking & Dagenham in London continues to have

Barking & Dagenham in London continues to have the highest rate in England, with 3,216 new cases recorded in the seven days to January 1 – the equivalent of 1,510.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Scroll through the list below to see where your area ranks in the latest figures

This is up from 976.5 in the seven days to December 25.

Thurrock in Essex has the second-highest rate, up from 1,217.2 to 1,471.8, with 2,566 new cases.

Castle Point, also in Essex, is in third place, where the rate has increased from 1,083.3 to 1,419.6 with 1,283 new cases.

Shoppers on the High Street in Newport, Isle of Wight, as the island begins to be hit as hard as anywhere by the pandemic (Image: PA)
Boris Johnson announces Covid-19 vaccine has been given to 1.3m people in UK

The latest figures come as England begins its third national lockdown as daily recorded coronavirus cases smashing previous records, exceeding 60,000 in today’s release from the Department of Health and exceeding 50,000 eight days in a row.

And today, a further 830 people died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.

With the new mutant coronavirus strain now said to be ripping through areas outside of England’s southeast, the government’s top medical advisor Chris Whitty today warned hospitalisations across England were “rising very rapidly and, of course, we are still in the middle of winter”.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Professor Whitty said there would “inevitably” be an increase in deaths in January.

Aldershot town centre in Rushmoor (Image: Aldershot News and Mail)

He added that one in 50 people being estimated to have coronavirus across the UK in the days following Christmas is “really quite a large number indeed”.

Highlighting recent infection figures, Boris Johnson said: “It was clear that we got to a situation where Tier 4 on its own couldn’t be relied upon to get the virus under control and that’s without really going the whole way and asking people to stay at home and, sadly, to close schools as well.

“That’s why we took the step that we did.”

Here is the list in full.

Carlisle city centre picture in June (Image: Stuart Walker / SWNS)

The figures, for the seven days to January 1, are based on tests carried out in laboratories (pillar one of the Government’s testing programme) and in the wider community (pillar two).
The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Data for the most recent four days (January 2-5) has been excluded as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.

The list is based on Public Health England data published on January 5 on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.

The list in full

Here is the list in full. From left to right, it reads: name of local authority; rate of new cases in the seven days to January 1; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to January 1; rate of new cases in the seven days to December 25; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to December 25.

Barking and Dagenham, 1510.5, (3216), 976.5, (2079)
Thurrock, 1471.8, (2566), 1217.2, (2122)
Castle Point, 1419.6, (1283), 1083.3, (979)
Redbridge, 1416.0, (4322), 1072.3, (3273)
Epping Forest, 1381.3, (1819), 1297.8, (1709)
Broxbourne, 1355.9, (1319), 1071.1, (1042)
Brentwood, 1352.9, (1042), 1342.5, (1034)
Harlow, 1341.5, (1168), 949.8, (827)
Newham, 1290.7, (4558), 913.8, (3227)
Havering, 1247.9, (3239), 1111.9, (2886)
Rushmoor, 1229.4, (1163), 657.5, (622)
Dartford, 1215.7, (1369), 895.2, (1008)
Gravesham, 1198.8, (1282), 883.7, (945)
Enfield, 1197.1, (3996), 970.4, (3239)
Bexley, 1197.0, (2972), 1025.8, (2547)
Basildon, 1192.8, (2233), 985.0, (1844)
Tower Hamlets, 1166.5, (3788), 935.2, (3037)
Southend-on-Sea, 1136.4, (2081), 974.2, (1784)
Braintree, 1124.5, (1716), 780.5, (1191)
Medway, 1106.1, (3081), 862.3, (2402)
Waltham Forest, 1105.1, (3061), 874.1, (2421)
Sutton, 1090.9, (2251), 748.7, (1545)
Bromley, 1089.0, (3619), 843.1, (2802)
Hounslow, 1086.1, (2949), 713.4, (1937)
Rochford, 1072.5, (937), 948.9, (829)
Chelmsford, 1058.4, (1888), 811.7, (1448)
Greenwich, 1026.6, (2956), 711.9, (2050)
Merton, 1024.5, (2116), 777.5, (1606)
Hertsmere, 1021.7, (1072), 896.9, (941)
Haringey, 1012.1, (2719), 805.5, (2164)
Slough, 1011.8, (1513), 654.0, (978)
South Bucks, 1008.0, (706), 673.9, (472)
Croydon, 1006.7, (3893), 787.4, (3045)
Barnet, 1001.8, (3966), 746.7, (2956)
Watford, 995.1, (961), 793.1, (766)
Maldon, 985.7, (640), 670.0, (435)
Brent, 977.3, (3223), 646.5, (2132)
Hillingdon, 954.1, (2928), 755.4, (2318)
Three Rivers, 951.5, (888), 794.0, (741)
Harrow, 942.4, (2367), 731.0, (1836)
Lewisham, 935.1, (2860), 706.6, (2161)
Carlisle, 932.1, (1013), 349.7, (380)
Milton Keynes, 923.3, (2488), 782.7, (2109)
Crawley, 914.5, (1028), 470.6, (529)
Ealing, 906.9, (3100), 628.4, (2148)
Spelthorne, 890.4, (889), 640.0, (639)
Southwark, 880.4, (2807), 688.5, (2195)
Hackney and City of London, 878.8, (2556), 760.9, (2213)
Hastings, 860.1, (797), 941.1, (872)
Uttlesford, 852.3, (778), 539.0, (492)
Lambeth, 840.4, (2740), 701.5, (2287)
Bracknell Forest, 839.7, (1029), 536.1, (657)
Epsom and Ewell, 835.9, (674), 626.3, (505)
Tendring, 835.8, (1225), 345.2, (506)
Kingston upon Thames, 833.2, (1479), 596.6, (1059)
Maidstone, 831.7, (1429), 679.8, (1168)
Reigate and Banstead, 824.9, (1227), 521.7, (776)
Tandridge, 822.7, (725), 625.2, (551)
Ashford, 822.1, (1069), 742.9, (966)
Bedford, 815.4, (1413), 612.3, (1061)
Colchester, 815.1, (1587), 363.1, (707)
Surrey Heath, 808.5, (722), 491.6, (439)
Stevenage, 808.2, (710), 512.3, (450)
Welwyn Hatfield, 786.7, (968), 489.3, (602)
Isle of Wight, 785.8, (1114), 215.8, (306)
Swale, 784.9, (1178), 665.6, (999)
Sevenoaks, 781.0, (943), 667.5, (806)
Folkestone and Hythe, 777.0, (878), 620.4, (701)
Burnley, 773.7, (688), 478.0, (425)
Wolverhampton, 772.3, (2034), 419.6, (1105)
Eastbourne, 772.1, (801), 473.3, (491)
Elmbridge, 769.8, (1053), 592.9, (811)
Tonbridge and Malling, 762.8, (1008), 616.7, (815)
Wandsworth, 760.4, (2507), 688.9, (2271)
Cherwell, 756.1, (1138), 431.9, (650)
Islington, 751.4, (1822), 604.6, (1466)
Hartlepool, 749.5, (702), 388.6, (364)
St Albans, 745.7, (1107), 541.6, (804)
Woking, 740.1, (746), 518.9, (523)
Hart, 724.2, (703), 309.0, (300)
East Hertfordshire, 723.2, (1083), 542.2, (812)
Hammersmith and Fulham, 721.1, (1335), 593.1, (1098)
Arun, 715.4, (1150), 305.4, (491)
Windsor and Maidenhead, 715.2, (1083), 493.3, (747)
Luton, 708.7, (1510), 498.0, (1061)
Halton, 694.7, (899), 200.1, (259)
Northampton, 693.6, (1558), 370.9, (833)
Dacorum, 691.4, (1070), 511.1, (791)
Eden, 681.7, (363), 460.1, (245)
Sandwell, 678.9, (2230), 343.4, (1128)
Waverley, 676.8, (855), 331.7, (419)
Rother, 674.4, (648), 625.5, (601)
Havant, 666.3, (841), 456.3, (576)
Thanet, 661.6, (939), 489.0, (694)
Wycombe, 660.2, (1153), 448.9, (784)
Richmond upon Thames, 656.0, (1299), 597.9, (1184)
Runnymede, 652.0, (583), 437.2, (391)
Camden, 640.3, (1729), 489.6, (1322)
Wealden, 637.3, (1029), 398.8, (644)
Lewes, 632.3, (653), 397.0, (410)
Brighton and Hove, 628.1, (1827), 314.2, (914)
Central Bedfordshire, 625.0, (1804), 468.4, (1352)
Kensington and Chelsea, 621.3, (970), 486.1, (759)
Worthing, 619.5, (685), 261.4, (289)
Walsall, 619.3, (1768), 301.6, (861)
Portsmouth, 617.9, (1328), 420.2, (903)
Aylesbury Vale, 617.7, (1232), 507.9, (1013)
Southampton, 613.0, (1548), 319.6, (807)
Wirral, 606.5, (1965), 213.9, (693)
Pendle, 603.6, (556), 393.0, (362)
Knowsley, 597.2, (901), 184.9, (279)
Reading, 595.3, (963), 436.4, (706)
Blackburn with Darwen, 593.2, (888), 328.0, (491)
Mid Sussex, 592.6, (895), 354.9, (536)
Corby, 588.5, (425), 203.6, (147)
Ipswich, 585.8, (802), 278.3, (381)
Guildford, 581.9, (867), 416.1, (620)
Adur, 581.6, (374), 332.8, (214)
Wokingham, 575.6, (985), 401.5, (687)
Warrington, 569.5, (1196), 254.3, (534)
Babergh, 566.1, (521), 334.7, (308)
Birmingham, 560.5, (6400), 319.8, (3651)
Dudley, 560.3, (1802), 288.6, (928)
Mole Valley, 559.3, (488), 408.0, (356)
South Northamptonshire, 558.8, (528), 358.8, (339)
Dover, 556.2, (657), 545.2, (644)
South Staffordshire, 553.2, (622), 287.3, (323)
Ribble Valley, 551.8, (336), 321.9, (196)
Great Yarmouth, 551.7, (548), 213.4, (212)
Westminster, 549.9, (1437), 487.9, (1275)
Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole, 547.9, (2166), 217.3, (859)
South Oxfordshire, 538.5, (765), 300.6, (427)
Canterbury, 535.1, (885), 529.6, (876)
East Staffordshire, 532.8, (638), 323.2, (387)
Horsham, 531.3, (764), 241.3, (347)
Ashfield, 530.0, (678), 251.7, (322)
Chiltern, 527.5, (506), 370.1, (355)
Sefton, 524.9, (1451), 178.4, (493)
Swindon, 523.4, (1163), 239.0, (531)
Oadby and Wigston, 520.9, (297), 349.0, (199)
Cannock Chase, 520.0, (524), 281.9, (284)
Fareham, 519.6, (604), 265.8, (309)
Hyndburn, 519.5, (421), 259.1, (210)
Tunbridge Wells, 518.0, (615), 471.7, (560)
Daventry, 510.8, (439), 264.1, (227)
Cambridge, 508.0, (634), 266.0, (332)
Derby, 508.0, (1307), 251.8, (648)
Cheshire West and Chester, 507.8, (1742), 254.8, (874)
Huntingdonshire, 500.1, (890), 206.8, (368)
South Norfolk, 499.0, (703), 261.9, (369)
Broadland, 497.8, (651), 283.7, (371)
York, 496.6, (1046), 236.4, (498)
South Tyneside, 495.4, (748), 225.2, (340)
Eastleigh, 494.8, (661), 219.3, (293)
Gloucester, 494.1, (638), 272.6, (352)
Liverpool, 492.1, (2451), 195.6, (974)
Bromsgrove, 491.6, (491), 279.3, (279)
Amber Valley, 490.8, (629), 326.2, (418)
North Hertfordshire, 482.1, (644), 340.6, (455)
Sedgemoor, 479.8, (591), 273.6, (337)
Sunderland, 478.6, (1329), 195.9, (544)
Winchester, 478.1, (597), 252.3, (315)
Norwich, 474.5, (667), 276.0, (388)
Peterborough, 469.2, (949), 367.4, (743)
Oxford, 469.0, (715), 341.1, (520)
Middlesbrough, 465.3, (656), 224.9, (317)
Richmondshire, 465.3, (250), 180.5, (97)
Test Valley, 461.3, (582), 230.7, (291)
South Cambridgeshire, 458.2, (729), 232.0, (369)
Solihull, 456.6, (988), 254.2, (550)
Rugby, 456.2, (497), 284.6, (310)
King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, 454.5, (688), 257.6, (390)
Breckland, 454.4, (636), 231.5, (324)
Nuneaton and Bedworth, 454.3, (590), 260.2, (338)
Chichester, 450.8, (546), 221.3, (268)
Leicester, 450.3, (1595), 297.0, (1052)
Worcester, 449.5, (455), 181.8, (184)
Allerdale, 449.1, (439), 181.1, (177)
County Durham, 448.4, (2377), 250.7, (1329)
Somerset West and Taunton, 446.8, (693), 242.4, (376)
East Cambridgeshire, 443.0, (398), 220.4, (198)
Redditch, 438.7, (374), 211.1, (180)
Harborough, 438.1, (411), 227.1, (213)
Cheshire East, 429.8, (1651), 227.8, (875)
Wellingborough, 427.8, (341), 269.7, (215)
Coventry, 419.6, (1559), 242.8, (902)
Lichfield, 416.2, (436), 248.2, (260)
East Hampshire, 414.5, (507), 273.1, (334)
Mansfield, 414.4, (453), 246.1, (269)
South Kesteven, 412.9, (588), 309.6, (441)
Wyre Forest, 409.7, (415), 188.6, (191)
Basingstoke and Deane, 408.3, (721), 255.4, (451)
West Suffolk, 408.3, (731), 232.9, (417)
Kettering, 407.8, (415), 218.1, (222)
West Berkshire, 403.9, (640), 322.5, (511)
Gateshead, 403.9, (816), 249.9, (505)
West Oxfordshire, 403.1, (446), 227.8, (252)
Fenland, 402.6, (410), 181.6, (185)
Darlington, 401.7, (429), 239.7, (256)
North Warwickshire, 401.4, (262), 174.7, (114)
Gosport, 400.8, (340), 200.4, (170)
Forest of Dean, 395.2, (343), 223.5, (194)
Stockton-on-Tees, 393.2, (776), 226.5, (447)
St. Helens, 390.4, (705), 187.2, (338)
Gedling, 387.6, (457), 246.0, (290)
Vale of White Horse, 387.5, (527), 250.7, (341)
East Suffolk, 383.6, (957), 166.0, (414)
West Lancashire, 383.2, (438), 205.6, (235)
North Norfolk, 381.5, (400), 213.7, (224)
South Gloucestershire, 381.3, (1087), 174.0, (496)
Hambleton, 381.0, (349), 248.9, (228)
Mid Suffolk, 380.2, (395), 173.3, (180)
South Derbyshire, 378.5, (406), 248.9, (267)
Stafford, 377.3, (518), 254.2, (349)
Craven, 374.5, (214), 131.3, (75)
Bristol, 373.1, (1729), 176.3, (817)
Tamworth, 372.9, (286), 186.5, (143)
Blaby, 370.3, (376), 230.5, (234)
Trafford, 364.0, (864), 233.8, (555)
Bolsover, 361.2, (291), 206.1, (166)
North Somerset, 359.4, (773), 198.6, (427)
Nottingham, 359.0, (1195), 202.5, (674)
Rossendale, 358.1, (256), 207.0, (148)
Wigan, 354.8, (1166), 182.3, (599)
Bury, 353.9, (676), 234.6, (448)
Warwick, 353.4, (508), 219.1, (315)
Scarborough, 351.2, (382), 212.4, (231)
Stockport, 350.3, (1028), 212.0, (622)
Lincoln, 349.4, (347), 348.4, (346)
Northumberland, 345.2, (1113), 193.5, (624)
Wychavon, 342.3, (443), 214.8, (278)
East Northamptonshire, 341.7, (323), 223.2, (211)
Erewash, 338.9, (391), 169.0, (195)
Selby, 338.8, (307), 150.1, (136)
Lancaster, 336.9, (492), 208.8, (305)
North East Derbyshire, 336.1, (341), 184.3, (187)
North West Leicestershire, 335.9, (348), 200.8, (208)
Wyre, 335.4, (376), 166.8, (187)
Stoke-on-Trent, 335.1, (859), 248.1, (636)
Barrow-in-Furness, 332.6, (223), 95.5, (64)


Broxtowe, 331.5, (378), 176.3, (201)
Telford and Wrekin, 328.6, (591), 141.2, (254)
Doncaster, 327.0, (1020), 202.6, (632)
Manchester, 325.2, (1798), 184.9, (1022)
Rushcliffe, 324.7, (387), 204.7, (244)
South Ribble, 324.0, (359), 165.2, (183)
Stratford-on-Avon, 322.1, (419), 180.6, (235)
New Forest, 321.5, (579), 149.4, (269)
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, 319.5, (1827), 96.9, (554)
Preston, 316.5, (453), 213.8, (306)
Ryedale, 314.2, (174), 153.5, (85)
Redcar and Cleveland, 312.8, (429), 116.7, (160)
Rochdale, 312.5, (695), 206.8, (460)
Hull, 309.5, (804), 227.9, (592)
Bath and North East Somerset, 308.4, (596), 149.5, (289)
Herefordshire, 308.1, (594), 182.1, (351)
Chorley, 304.5, (360), 218.2, (258)
North Kesteven, 301.1, (352), 255.7, (299)
Bassetlaw, 299.7, (352), 221.4, (260)
Melton, 298.8, (153), 228.5, (117)
Harrogate, 298.4, (480), 115.6, (186)
Salford, 298.3, (772), 197.8, (512)
Newcastle-under-Lyme, 297.4, (385), 213.2, (276)
Newark and Sherwood, 297.3, (364), 200.9, (246)
Oldham, 291.8, (692), 180.5, (428)
Charnwood, 290.6, (540), 207.2, (385)
Hinckley and Bosworth, 289.9, (328), 213.0, (241)
Leeds, 288.9, (2291), 182.8, (1450)
Shropshire, 288.7, (933), 98.7, (319)
Tameside, 287.0, (650), 168.2, (381)
Barnsley, 286.0, (706), 189.6, (468)
Rotherham, 284.1, (754), 197.4, (524)
Wiltshire, 283.2, (1416), 150.4, (752)
Tewkesbury, 283.1, (269), 175.8, (167)
Dorset, 281.9, (1067), 120.7, (457)
Cotswold, 281.5, (253), 198.1, (178)
Copeland, 275.7, (188), 80.7, (55)
South Holland, 273.6, (260), 204.2, (194)
South Lakeland, 273.1, (287), 163.7, (172)
Calderdale, 270.5, (572), 167.4, (354)
Wakefield, 267.0, (930), 167.7, (584)
South Somerset, 263.2, (443), 165.1, (278)
Mendip, 262.1, (303), 178.2, (206)
Blackpool, 261.8, (365), 162.1, (226)
Chesterfield, 260.2, (273), 157.3, (165)
Bolton, 260.1, (748), 157.2, (452)
Stroud, 258.4, (310), 190.9, (229)
Fylde, 256.3, (207), 153.5, (124)
Staffordshire Moorlands, 253.0, (249), 224.5, (221)
Cheltenham, 248.5, (289), 145.3, (169)
High Peak, 248.2, (230), 136.0, (126)
North Tyneside, 247.7, (515), 158.7, (330)
West Lindsey, 246.7, (236), 269.7, (258)

Kirklees, 243.8, (1072), 162.6, (715)
Rutland, 242.9, (97), 185.3, (74)
Sheffield, 239.7, (1402), 165.3, (967)
Boston, 238.0, (167), 295.0, (207)
Malvern Hills, 233.8, (184), 118.2, (93)
Bradford, 232.3, (1254), 169.9, (917)
North Lincolnshire, 228.1, (393), 156.1, (269)
Exeter, 226.8, (298), 140.8, (185)
Derbyshire Dales, 225.4, (163), 150.7, (109)
Mid Devon, 222.3, (183), 126.4, (104)
East Riding of Yorkshire, 220.1, (751), 162.4, (554)
Newcastle upon Tyne, 215.0, (651), 132.1, (400)
Plymouth, 206.0, (540), 174.7, (458)
East Lindsey, 175.0, (248), 112.2, (159)
South Hams, 172.4, (150), 90.8, (79)
East Devon, 168.2, (246), 138.1, (202)
North East Lincolnshire, 168.0, (268), 102.8, (164)
Teignbridge, 155.8, (209), 128.2, (172)
North Devon, 131.8, (128), 141.0, (137)
West Devon, 130.8, (73), 206.1, (115)
Torbay, 121.8, (166), 56.5, (77)
Torridge, 112.8, (77), 86.4, (59)

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

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Boris Johnson update: When is Boris giving his next Covid lockdown announcement?

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The transparent face mask that puts a smile on everyone’s face is finally here!

BORIS JOHNSON is expected to potentially announce Tier 5 lockdown restrictions this week, but when is the Prime Minister due to give his next Covid lockdown announcement?

By Kaisha Langton – Dec 29, 2020

Vaccine: Robert Jenrick addresses government’s ‘priority’

Boris Johnson update: The PM
Boris Johnson update: Tier 5 restrictions could be rolled out across the UK (Image: GETTY)

Boris Johnson has been warned by leading scientists that stricter measures are required to bring the rampantly rising rate of coronavirus under control. A new “Tier 5” lockdown is being considered for regions of England in a bid to tackle the steep increase in Covid cases. But when exactly is the Prime Minister expected to give his next Covid lockdown announcement?

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Tier 5 restrictions could be rolled out across large parts of England in the coming days as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise.ADVERTISING

Hospitals and ambulance services across the UK are coming under increasing pressure as the new coronavirus variant fuels a rise in infections according to health experts.

Saturday was described as one of London Ambulance Service’s busiest in history amid the rapid spread of a new variant.

On Sunday, 30,501 new infections and 316 deaths were confirmed in the UK.

In addition, there were 21,286 people in hospitals with coronavirus across the UK on December 22, which is the last day for which data is available, according to official government figures.

Each area of England has been placed into one of four tiers depending on the rate of transmission of Covid-19 in each area.

As of Saturday, December 26, almost 18 people are now living under Tier 4 rules.

The following areas were moved into Tier 4 as of 12.01 a.m. GMT on Boxing Day:

  • Sussex
  • Oxfordshire
  • Suffolk
  • Norfolk
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Parts of Essex, which were not already in Tier 4
  • Waverley in Surrey
  • Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton, but excluding the New Forest.
Boris Johnson update: Tiers

Boris Johnson update: England’s four-tier system currently in force across the country (Image: EXPRESS.CO.UK)

Leading scientists have warned the Prime Minister that stricter measures are needed to curb the rising rates of Covid-19.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) told Mr. Johnson due to the new variant, the R-rate would surge above 1 in January.

A senior Whitehall source warned England could see tighter restrictions in the coming days as cases continue to soar.

The source added new measures, “adding another level onto Tier 4, so like a Tier 5.”

They said: “We are ruling nothing out, the new strain is of serious concern. Tier 4 appears to not be strong enough.”

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Boris Johnson update: Mr Johnson

Boris Johnson update: Almost 18m people went into Tier 4 on Boxing Day (Image: GETTY)

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Hospitals across Wales, Scotland, and England are facing increased pressure as a result of rising numbers of coronavirus infections. The president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Dr. Katherine Henderson said there was a “great deal of difficulty” getting patients into wards.

She told BBC Breakfast: “The chances are that we will cope, but we cope at a cost – the cost is not doing what we had hoped, which is being able to keep non-Covid activities going.

“It is always challenging in winter, nobody would say that it wasn’t, but at the moment the level of patient need is incredibly high.”

Boris Johnson update: The PM

Boris Johnson update: Hospitals across the country are facing increased pressure as a result of rising rates of Covid (Image: GETTY)

When is Boris Johnson giving his next Covid lockdown announcement?

The Government is due to review the lockdown tiers on Wednesday, December 30.

Therefore, a Government minister, potentially Mr. Jonhson, is likely to address the nation about these measures during a Covid lockdown briefing at that time.

Almost 18 million people were put into Tier 4 on Boxing Day, but officials state several more regions in England could be placed under tougher restrictions in the coming days.

Tier 5 lockdown rules have never been openly discussed by the Government, however, experts claim the restrictions would be equivalent to those seen during the first lockdown in March.

At that time, schools were forced to close and children were instead taught by their parents or online.

A number of backbenchers are understood to have urged Boris Johnson to him to keep schools open in the event of another national lockdown.

READ MORE: EU SHAME MACRON: France attacked by bloc for going against Brussels

Related articles

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove has refused to rule out tougher measures including all of England being placed in Tier 4.

He told BBC Breakfast: “We review which tiers parts of the country should be in on the basis of scientific evidence.”

Mr. Gove added: “It is our intention to make sure we can get children back to school as early as possible.

“We are talking to teachers and headteachers in order to make sure we can deliver effectively. But we all know that there are trade-offs.

“As a country, we have decided – and I think this is the right thing to do – that we prioritise children returning to school.

“But we have a new strain and it is also the case that we have also had, albeit in a very limited way, Christmas mixing, so we do have to remain vigilant.”

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Posted in COVID-19, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

MailOnline - news, sport, celebrity, science and health stories

Brexit deal is DONE: Boris Johnson SEALS historic Brexit deal with EU as UK claims to have won TWICE as many concessions as Brussels and von der Leyen laments ‘parting is such sweet sorrow’

MailOnline - news, sport, celebrity, science and health stories

Thursday, Dec 24, 2020 3 P.M.

  • Boris Johnson has finally confirmed that a post-Brexit trade deal has been agreed with the European Union
  • Downing Street insists the pact will ‘take back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and fishing waters’ 
  • The PM and Ursula von der Leyen are understood to have held regular secret phone calls in the last 48 hours
  • Briefing wars about who has won are already ramping up as sides prepare to sell the agreement to their voters

By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline and David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent

Boris Johnson today declared that a Brexit deal has been done after four years of desperate wrangling – with a furious propaganda war already underway.

The PM has made history by sealing future trade terms to avert a chaotic split when the transition period ends on January 1, after Lord Frost and Michel Barnier thrashed out a 2,000-page text.

Downing Street said the agreement was ‘fantastic news’ – with Mr. Johnson now set to hold a press conference. 


What happens next? 

After a Brexit deal text was finalised, the next step is ratification by both sides – and there is not much time before the end of the transition period on January 1. 

Next week 

MPs will need to pass legislation putting the deal on the statute book 

With Christmas Day tomorrow, this is likely to happen next week. The Commons will be recalled from its festive break and potentially consider all the stages of a Bill in one day.

The package is virtually guaranteed to be approved, as Boris Johnson has an 80-strong majority and Labour has indicated it will at least abstain – if not support the deal. 

Monday? 

Meanwhile, Brussels will short-cut its own processes, with the EU Council of member states expected to grant ‘provisional’ implementation before the deadline, rather than the European Parliament approving it in advance.

This has angered many MEPs, as they will be under massive pressure to sign off the deal if it has already come into effect.

January 1

The new trade terms – or WTO terms if something has gone wrong with the deal – come into effect.  

A senior No10 source said: ‘Everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal.

‘We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade, and our fishing waters.

‘The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK. We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that have ever been achieved with the EU.’

Ursula von der Leyen told her own briefing in Brussels that the terms were ‘balanced’. ‘We have finally found an agreement. It was a long and winding road but we’ve got a good deal to show for it,’ she said.

She said the EU had protected its single market and achieved ‘five-and-a-half years of predictability for our fishing communities and strong tools to incentivise’ for access to continue afterward. 

Ms von der Leyen said her overriding feeling was relief. ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow,’ she added.

Referencing one of his mantras from the talks, Mr. Barnier said: ‘The clock is no longer ticking.’ 

No10 said the terms meant the UK will not be in the ‘lunar pull of the EU’. ‘We are not bound by EU rules, there is no role for the European Court of Justice and all of our key red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved,’ the source said. 

‘It means that we will have full political and economic independence on 1st January, 2021.’ 

The confirmation had been repeatedly put back as the sides argue ‘fish by fish’ over the rules, with Ireland warning of a ‘hitch’, even though UK sources insisted there are ‘no major issues’.  

But the battle to sell the package to voters and Tory MPs is in full swing, as Mr. Johnson rings round restive backbenchers.

An internal government assessment insisted that the UK ‘won’ on 43 percent of the major issues in the £660billion package, compared to 17 percent where the EU came out on top. 

There will be zero-tariff, zero-quota access to the EU single market – and Mr. Johnson has maintained the ability to diverge from Brussels standards, with no role for the European Court of Justice. 

The document boasts that concessions were secured on rules of origin for goods, customs streamlining, and ‘trusted trader’ schemes, while the financial services sector has been ‘insulated’.  

A deal will also avoid huge disruption on top of the coronavirus crisis. 

However, the UK looks to have given ground on fishing rights, and secured little succour for the services sector.

For its part, France has started boasting that Mr. Johnson made ‘huge concessions’ on fishing in the last stages as the mutant coronavirus variant underlined the vulnerability of UK borders.     

The challenge the PM faces was underlined as Tory Brexiteers vowed to put together a ‘Star Chamber’ of experts to scrutinize the documents over Christmas.

MailOnline understands that Mr. Johnson was ‘very straightforward’ and did not try to give a ‘hard sell’ in his call with senior MPs.

One MP said subject to seeing the full text the outline was ‘what we hoped’. ‘Maybe it will be a happier Christmas after all,’ they suggested.  

Nigel Farage accused Mr. Johnson of ‘dropping the ball’, although he also stressed that it was ‘progress’ and the Brexit ‘war is over’. There are fears that political ‘landmines’ in the text will inevitably be uncovered. 

The FTSE 100 rose 20 points to 6,516 – 0.3 percent – on opening amid optimism about a deal. The pound had already gained around 0.6 percent against the dollar, and 0.4 percent against the euro overnight.   

Boris Johnson (pictured speaking to Ursula von der Leyen by video link today) said the UK could now take advantages of the benefits of Brexit

Boris Johnson (pictured speaking to Ursula von der Leyen by video link today) said the UK could now take advantages of the benefits of Brexit

Ursula von der Leyen told her own briefing in Brussels (right) that the terms were ‘fair and balanced’

In more evidence that Mr Johnson is bracing to sell a deal to voters, a leaked internal government document claims that the UK 'won' on 43 per cent of the major issues - compared to 17 per cent where the EU came out on top

In more evidence that Mr. Johnson is bracing to sell a deal to voters, a leaked internal government document claims that the UK ‘won’ on 43 percent of the major issues – compared to 17 percent where the EU came out on top

Some experts cast doubt on the assessments in the UK document, pointing out that many of the 'wins' for the EU were in the crucial services sector of the economy. There is no deep provision for financial services from January 1

Some experts cast doubt on the assessments in the UK document, pointing out that many of the ‘wins’ for the EU were in the crucial services sector of the economy. There is no deep provision for financial services from January 1

+21

The UK government assessment said it had 'insulated financial services from cross-retaliation' in disputes about other areas of the agreement

The UK government assessment said it had ‘insulated financial services from cross-retaliation’ in disputes about other areas of the agreement

Nigel Farage was condemning the post-Brexit trade deal before it had even been announced this evening

Nigel Farage was condemning the post-Brexit trade deal before it had even been announced this evening 

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What were the sticking points in Brexit talks? 

FISHING

The UK insisted throughout that it would take back control of its coastal waters from the end of the transition period.

But the EU was demanding its fleets maintain previous levels of access – with Emmanuel Macron under particular pressure from the French fishing industry.   

Initially, the UK said it wanted to reclaim 80 percent of the EU quotas from January 1.

However, Brussels suggested that only 18 percent should be restored.

The two sides are thought to have found a ‘landing zone’ that includes a figure between those and a transition period.

If reports are right that the UK is reclaiming just 25 percent of the EU’s fishing quota, phased in over five and a half years, that would look to be closer to the EU position.

However, Downing Street will insist that means the UK can be catching two-thirds of fish in our waters by the year 2026.

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD 

The EU insisted the UK should commit to ‘level playing field’ provisions, guaranteeing that it will not undercut businesses with lower environmental standards and regulations.

State aid has emerged as a particular issue, especially as coronavirus makes swathes of the economy unviable. 

But the UK said it must regain sovereign powers to decide on rules, even though it has no plans to lower standards or warp competition by subsidising the private sector. 

It appeared this area was close to resolution before France reportedly laid down a series of extra conditions including huge punishments for breaking the rules.

Although the UK is happy with ‘non-regression’ – meaning current standards are accepted as a baseline – it took issue with swingeing unilateral penalties and complained the proposals were ‘asymmetrical’ as the EU would be freer to prop up industries. 

GOVERNANCE

The enforcement of any deal, and who decides whether rules are broken, has been one of the flashpoints from the start.

Breaking free of the European Court of Justice was among the biggest demands of Brexiteers from the referendum. 

But the EU was pushing to keep control of the governance, as well as insisting on tough fines and punitive tariffs for breaches.

The situation was inflamed by the row over the UK’s Internal Market Bill, which gave ministers the power to override the previous Brexit divorce terms to prevent blockages between Britain and Northern Ireland.

The resolution of that spat is thought to have been critical in hammering out a wider trade deal. 

Hopes had been growing all yesterday after it was claimed the difference between Lord Frost and Mr. Barnier had come down to fish worth the equivalent of a Premier League footballer’s transfer fee.

But the final touches required more input from the political leadership of Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen. 

As the propaganda war gets underway, an internal UK government document laid out 65 key issues during the talks – and claimed that Lord Frost had won on 28 of them.

By contrast, the EU was said to have come out on top in just 11. 

The remaining 26 were classified as ‘mutual compromises’ – including the critical area of fishing rights. 

Notably, the assessment states that the package delivers ‘on all the objectives set out by Vote Leave’. 

A senior Tory source told MailOnline the document, leaked to the Guido Fawkes blog, was authentic. However, it is understood Cabinet ministers have not been shown it yet.

However, some experts cast doubt on the assessments, pointing out that many of the ‘wins’ for the EU were in the crucial services sector of the economy. There is no deep provision for financial services from January 1.   

JPMorgan said it looked like the EU had secured a deal retaining nearly all of its advantages from trade with the UK, but with the ability to use regulations to ‘cherry-pick’ among sectors where Britain previously had advantages – such as services. 

Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney said there appeared to be ‘some sort of last-minute hitch’ in the talks – although he said he expected it to be overcome.

Mr. Coveney told RTE Radio the delay related to a section of a fisheries agreement.

‘I had hoped to be talking to you this morning in parallel with big announcements happening in both London and Brussels, but we still expect those later on today,’ he said. 

Brexiteers have already been voicing caution about the terms before they are announced.

Although Labour has already indicated it will not block any agreement – meaning it is effectively guaranteed to pass through Parliament – having to rely on Keir Starmer would be hugely damaging for Mr. Johnson. 

The Tory Eurosceptic ERG group chairman Mark Francois and vice-chair David Jones said: ‘Assuming a deal between the UK and the EU is officially confirmed tonight, the ERG will tomorrow reconvene the panel of legal experts, chaired by Sir Bill Cash, to examine the details and legal text.’ 

Senior Tory MP Bernard Jenkin added: ‘Amid the expectation of an EU-UK agreement, ERG MPs will want to wait until we have seen a legal text and we understand what it means if our opinion is to have any credibility.’ 

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage did not wait for the terms to emerge, accusing the UK side of ‘dropping the ball’.

‘It sounds like the British team has dropped the ball before the line. No wonder they want a Christmas Eve announcement to hide the fisheries sell-out,’ he tweeted. 

But one No10 aide told Politico that the UK had secured a good deal on fishing. ‘Even before the end of the transition period we will take back control of 130,000 tonnes a year, enough to stretch to the South Pole and back,’ they said. 

‘After that, we can fish and eat every damn fish in our waters.’ 

Climate minister Lord Goldsmith – a close ally of Mr. Johnson and strong Eurosceptic – warned that there is a ‘very large constituency of people who are absolutely longing to trash the deal – and will do so irrespective of its merits’. 

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds warned that the expected deal would still result in a ‘major negative impact’ on GDP.

She said: ‘Indications a deal is imminent mean many businesses are breathing a sigh of relief.

‘Yet early indications suggest this thin deal will have a major negative impact on GDP.

‘With key industries subject to substantial barriers, these are not the promised ‘exact same benefits’.’

Posting a photo of pizza boxes on Twitter last night, Mr. Mamer said: ‘Pizza has arrived… Is it Frutti di mare? Or Bismarck? Or good old 4 stagione? Suspense…’ 

Downing Street released images of Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen giving their final approval for the trade agreement

Downing Street released images of Mr. Johnson and Ms von der Leyen giving their final approval for the trade agreement

The Treasury’s OBR watchdog had warned that No Deal would inflict a further two percent hit on the already struggling economy.  

And Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey suggested the long-term harm to the economy would have been greater than from Covid-19. 

Mr. Johnson conceded that the initial phase of No Deal would be ‘difficult’ – but had insisted the UK would ‘prosper mightily’ whatever happened. 

Chairman of Barclays UK Sir Ian Cheshire said a trade deal with the EU would bring clarity to business.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘This was pure politics. It was always the last minute sort of rabbit from the hat.

‘And I’m very glad that it appears we can carry on with… our most important trading relationship.

‘And business can plan. I think that’s been the overriding issue for businesses over the last two years. They are occasionally accused of not being ready, and the question is – ready for what?

‘At least now we have got clarity and we can get on.’ 

Mr. Johnson’s decision to take personal charge of the negotiations at the weekend is believed to have been critical in breaking the deadlock.

‘He knew where his red lines were because he set them – he was completely across the detail,’ one source told the Mail. ‘When it was all over, von der Leyen asked ‘Do we have a deal?’ He replied simply ‘Yes’.’

A last-minute protest by French president Emmanuel Macron – long seen as the biggest obstacle to an agreement, with his demands on fishing rights – is regarded as the one remaining threat. 

The government assessment listed a series of UK wins - although some experts suggested they were rose-tinted

The government assessment listed a series of UK wins – although some experts suggested they were rose-tinted

Downing Street was bustling today as the world awaited confirmation of a post-Brexit trade agreement

Downing Street was bustling today as the world awaited confirmation of a post-Brexit trade agreement

Boris Johnson joined a virtual call with British Military personnel from around the globe last night to thank them for their services and to wish them a Merry Christmas

Boris Johnson joined a virtual call with British Military personnel from around the globe last night to thank them for their services and to wish them a Merry Christmas

Ms von der Leyen's spokesman posted a picture of his pizza dinner on Twitter, joking about the 'suspense' over whether it might be topped with seafood

Ms von der Leyen’s spokesman posted a picture of his pizza dinner on Twitter, joking about the ‘suspense’ over whether it might be topped with seafood

He then followed up his tweet by recommending Brexit-waters 'grab some sleep', with work continuing throughout the night

He then followed up his tweet by recommending Brexit-waters ‘grab some sleep’, with work continuing throughout the night

Below: A member of the British delegation loads a soup cauldron into a van outside the UK Mission to the EU in Brussels last night – while pizza was delivered to the EU commission building

A member of the British delegation loads a soup cauldron into a van outside the UK Mission to the EU in Brussels tonight
Pizza was delivered to the EU commission building
The Daily Mail
The Times
The Sun
The Mirror

News of the breakthrough was carried on all the front pages today – even though the final haggling is still going on

Shares and pound edge up amid Brexit deal hopes

The London stock market crept up today as investors were buoyed by the UK and European Union being on the threshold of striking a post-Brexit trade deal. 

The FTSE 100 index rose by 0.48 percent or 31 points to 6,527 in early trading this morning, while the pound was up 0.57 percent against the dollar at $1.3584. 

But gains on the markets were tempered by concerns over another new strain of Covid-19, with the UK implementing a travel ban on South Africa and millions more people set to be under the toughest coronavirus restrictions from Boxing Day.   

The pound has strengthened 1.4 percent versus the dollar since 1.30 pm yesterday when Reuters first quoted sources saying that a Brexit deal appeared imminent.

The currency is now heading back towards the two-and-a-half-year high of $1.3625 which was hit last week. Against the euro, the pound was up 0.54 percent at €1.1137. 

Mr. Macron, who faces elections in 2022, has been desperate to keep his powerful fishing industry onside.

His possible challenger in the polls, Marine Le Pen, of the far-Right National Rally, picked up large numbers of votes in 2017.

Tensions rose between London and Paris at the weekend when the French government decided to shut its borders for 48 hours after the emergence of a newer, more infectious strain of coronavirus.

Tory MPs and Downing Street aides speculated that Mr. Macron’s decision was, in part, a means of punishing Britain over its decision to leave the European Union.

But sources close to the French president, a sworn Europhile, angrily denied those suggestions in conversations with the Mail this week.

They said Mr. Johnson’s own dramatic messaging had triggered panic among European governments who simply wanted to stop the spread of the virus.

Diplomats in Brussels said Germany was most concerned about Britain trying to undercut and outcompete European firms after Brexit.

The EU will short-cut its own processes, with the Council of member states granting ‘provisional’ implementation before the deadline, rather than the European Parliament approving it in advance.

But EU leaders have to agree the deal unanimously. 

And the curtailed process has angered many MEPs, as they will be under massive pressure to rubber-stamp the deal if it has already come into effect.  

The agreement covers vast areas of the UK’s relationship with the EU, including trade, security, and travel. 

Despite hopes of confirmation coming last night, the EU and UK teams dug in for a lengthy shift, with pizzas being delivered to the Berlaymont HQ in Brussels. 

Ms von der Leyen’s spokesman Eric Mamer posted a picture of the takeaway on Twitter, joking about the ‘suspense’ over whether it was topped with seafood.   

Ministers hope the news will boost morale in what looks set to be the toughest of winters. The pound rose sharply yesterday on the back of mounting speculation that agreement was near.

The breakthrough came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that a surge of Covid cases would put much of the country under heavy restrictions, probably for months. 

In an emergency statement, he announced that another eight million people would be placed under Tier Four restrictions on Boxing Day. 

That will put the entire South East and much of East Anglia under virtual lockdown.

Mr. Hancock also revealed mounting concern about a new ‘super-strain’ of the virus which has reached the UK from South Africa. 

Government sources said the EU deal would see British fishermen able to land roughly two-thirds of fish in UK waters by the middle of the decade. 

UK gets ‘listed status’ to export animal products to EU – but seed potatoes are out 

Exports of meat, fish, and dairy products to the European Union will be able to continue beyond January 1 after the United Kingdom was granted ‘national listed status’.

The measure means live animals and products of animal origin can be supplied to the EU after Brussels confirmed the UK met health and biosecurity standards.

The EU has also agreed to the exports of many plants and plant products can continue being exported to the bloc and Northern Ireland.

But seed potatoes – an important Scottish export – will be banned, leading Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to condemn the ‘disastrous’ outcome.

UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: ‘Third country listed status demonstrates our very high standards of biosecurity and animal health which we will continue to maintain after the end of the transition period.’

Businesses in the £5 billion animal export market will face some red tape in order to continue exporting, including the need for a health certificate.

While potatoes destined for European dinner plates can continue to be exported, those used as seed crops cannot be.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it will not be possible to export seed potatoes to the EU or Northern Ireland from January 1 but officials were working with the European Commission on the issue.

Ms Sturgeon said it was a ‘disastrous Brexit outcome for Scottish farmers’ and ‘like all other aspects of Brexit, foisted on Scotland against our will’.

But a senior Tory predicted the agreement would ‘land badly’ with Eurosceptic MPs. It is understood to involve the EU handing back only 25 percent of its share of quota from UK waters, with the cuts phased in over five and a half years.

MPs are set to be recalled to Parliament to vote the deal through in time for the end of the transition on December 31. The agreement came after days of frantic negotiation. 

Sources claim it was almost derailed when the EU proposed measures they say would have crippled Britain’s drive to become a world leader in electric cars.

‘We have got it to a place we are happy with,’ a source said. ‘It upholds all the principles we said we would not compromise on. Yes, we have made compromises in some areas, but we have not compromised on the fundamentals of taking back control.’

Another senior Tory said the deal would ensure ‘zero tariff, zero quota access to European markets’ alongside security co-operation. ‘There will be no European Court of Justice messing us around,’ the source said.

However, the Prime Minister is braced for accusations of betrayal from Eurosceptic Tories, some of whom had urged the PM to walk away rather than compromise.

The last push for a deal revolved around a compromise over the sensitive issue of fishing in UK waters, with reports suggesting that they could be down to catches worth £60million. 

To put that figure into context, it is considerably less than the £89million that took midfielder Paul Pogba from Juventus to Manchester United in 2016, which remains the record transfer for a player moving to the top flight in England. 

Fishing rights were the most intractable part of the negotiations. Boris Johnson made clear that Britain would be an independent coastal state in charge of access to its own waters – with UK fishermen able to catch a far greater proportion of the available fish than their EU competitors.

Brussels had demanded unfettered access to Britain’s waters for a decade. The UK had offered a three-year transition period.

According to reports, the UK has ended up reclaiming 25 percent of the EU’s fishing quota – with changes phased in over five-and-a-half years.

Downing Street insists this will mean UK fleets catching two-thirds of the fish in domestic waters by 2026, but the compromise appears nearer the EU’s starting position.

Tory MP Robert Halfon joked that he would support a Brexit deal if it forced people to eat Christmas pudding every day

Tory MP Robert Halfon joked that he would support a Brexit deal if it forced people to eat Christmas pudding every day 

Angela Merkel is a key powerplayer in the EU
Emmanuel Macron (pictured taking a Cabinet meeting from coronavirus self-isolation) was seen as the biggest obstacle to a deal

Angela Merkel (pictured left) is a key powerplayer in the EU. Emmanuel Macron (pictured right taking a Cabinet meeting from coronavirus self-isolation) was seen as the biggest obstacle to a Brexit trade deal

Who is Ursula von der Leyen, the EU chief who was once tipped as Angela Merkel’s successor?

Ursula von der Leyen took over as President of the European Commission from Jean-Claude Juncker in December 2019. 

Since then, the start of her five-year term in office has been dominated by two issues: Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 62-year-old is a staunch defender of the EU project and has previously called for a ‘United States of Europe’ with its own army. 

She previously served as defence secretary in Germany and was once viewed as a potential successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The mother-of-seven has experienced a rapid political rise, only entering politics in her 40s. 

She has a medical degree and studied at the London School of Economics as well as Stanford in the US.

The qualified gynaecologist regularly emerged in opinion polls as one of Germany’s most popular politicians before she made the switch to Brussels. 

She is the daughter of Brussels-born Eurocrat Ernst Albrecht, a senior German politician who worked in the EU Commission in the 1950s. 

She revealed last year that she spent a year in London in the 1970s hiding from notorious German communist terrorists.

She spent 12 months in the ‘seething, international, colourful city’ to avoid the baader-Meinhof Gang, a hard-Left group that carried out a string of bomb attacks and assassinations. 

She came to London after attending university in the German city of Gottingen, with police advising her father, who was PM of Lower Saxony, to move her away. 

Exports of meat, fish, and dairy products to the EU will be able to continue beyond January 1 after the UK was granted ‘national listed status’.

The measure means live animals and products of animal origin can be supplied to the EU after Brussels confirmed the UK met health and biosecurity standards.

The EU has also agreed to the exports of many plants and plant products can continue being exported to the bloc and Northern Ireland.

But seed potatoes – an important Scottish export – will be banned, leading Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to condemn the ‘disastrous’ outcome.

UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: ‘Third country listed status demonstrates our very high standards of biosecurity and animal health which we will continue to maintain after the end of the transition period.’

Businesses in the £5billion animal export market will face some red tape in order to continue exporting, including the need for a health certificate.

While potatoes destined for European dinner plates can continue to be exported, those used as seed crops cannot be.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it will not be possible to export seed potatoes to the EU or Northern Ireland from January 1 but officials were working with the European Commission on the issue.

Ms. Sturgeon said it was a ‘disastrous Brexit outcome for Scottish farmers’ and ‘like all other aspects of Brexit, foisted on Scotland against our will’.

Crucially for the breakthrough, Ms von der Leyen is said to have established back channels to German Chancellor Angela Merkel – the EU’s powerbroker – and Mr. Macron

Diplomatic sources said Mr. Barnier had not even been aware of the content of secret talks between the Prime Minister and Mrs von der Leyen on Monday night – suggesting he had become increasingly sidelined in the final days of negotiations.

However, Mr. Barnier has insisted it is ‘normal’ that high-level politicians must make the final moves in such a negotiation. 

The Labour chair of the Commons Brexit Committee Hilary Benn said he has ‘no doubt’ Parliament will approve legislation for a deal if one is brokered before January 31.

The Remain-backing MP told BBC Breakfast: ‘The alternative is no-deal and that really doesn’t bear contemplation at all because of the damage it would do to the economy.

‘What any deal is going to do is to make the consequences of Brexit for business less bad than they would otherwise be.

‘Remember this is the first trade deal in history where one party has gone in knowing it will come out with worse arrangements than it went in with.’

He added: ‘I think not just over the next week but over the next few months, as Brexit actually happens… there are going to be big changes anyway from January 1 whether there is an agreement or not and regardless of what’s in the agreement…

‘Over time we will become more aware of what we can’t now do because we’ve taken it for granted.’

As the crunch point neared, French Europe minister Clement Beaune said a no-deal situation would be ‘catastrophic’ for the UK and suggested the EU should hold out.

‘We should not put ourselves, Europeans, under time pressure to finish by this hour or that day. Otherwise, we would be put ourselves in a situation to make bad concessions.’

But Mrs. von der Leyen is said to have leaned on Mr. Macron and the leaders of other coastal states to accept the deal.

Mr. Barnier told MEPs at a briefing earlier this week that a compromise on fishing would have to be decided by political leaders.

‘We haven’t reached an agreement on fisheries, despite the talks,’ he said. ‘There are subjects that I can’t resolve – only a few which are very political and very sensitive matters – but I can’t resolve them at my level.

‘It is normal at this stage that there are subjects that need to be dealt with by President von der Leyen at her level with Boris Johnson.’

The Prime Minister has admitted to allies that he has made significant compromises in recent days, including on fishing. 

But he warned that he would not go further without movement from the EU. 

Differences also needed to be bridged over state subsidies, where the EU was pushing demands which British negotiators describe as ‘unbalanced’. 

Brussels wanted the right to penalise the UK if it uses subsidies to enable British firms to undercut EU rivals. 

Reports claimed that the latest British offer on fishing would involve the EU sacrificing around 25 percent of its share of quota in UK waters over a five-year period.

It is a big compromise on Lord Frost’s original demand that the EU hand back 60 percent over three years. But it is much more than Mr. Barnier’s offer to hand back just 15 percent over ten years.

It would mean the UK keeping two-thirds of fish in its waters, and quotas are expected to be negotiated annually rather than over a longer period as Brussels had wanted. 

So what’s in Boris’s Brexit deal? PM gives ground to Brussels over UK fish but claims victory over competition rules and EU laws, with an agreement to maintain counter-terror and crime-fighting partnerships 

It’s the document the (political) world has been waiting for – and it’s feared to be no fewer than 2,000 pages long.

This morning EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart Lord Frost were still combing through the Brexit trade deal, line by line.  

Talks in Brussels were focused on the details of fishing rights but both sides have indicated a Christmas Eve deal will be announced, bringing an end to months of wrangling just a week before current trading arrangements expire.

Some feared it would never materialise. But the world could soon finally see the agreement – which will shape every aspect of Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

Analysis of the deal-in waiting by the UK Government suggests it ‘won’ in talks on 43 percent of the ‘key issues’ in the talks. It labels a further 40 percent at compromises for both sides, with just 17 percent down as ‘EU wins’.

Almost a year in the making, the deal has involved hundreds of officials working round the clock to agree its terms. So, what are the key areas – and what will we be signing up to?

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (third from left) and his British counterpart Lord Frost were still combing through the Brexit trade deal
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (third from left) and his British counterpart Lord Frost were still combing through the Brexit trade deal

FISHING

Last night it appeared that Britain had given ground on this major sticking point to get a deal done.

Fishing rights have been the most intractable part of the negotiations. Boris Johnson made clear that Britain would be an independent coastal state in charge of access to its own waters – with UK fishermen able to catch a far greater proportion of the available fish than their EU competitors.

Brussels had demanded unfettered access to Britain’s waters for a decade. The UK had offered a three-year transition period.

According to early reports, what we have ended up taking back is 25 percent of the EU’s fishing quota – with changes phased in over five-and-a-half years.

Downing Street says this will mean we are catching two-thirds of the fish in our waters by 2026 – but there is no doubt that this compromise appears nearer the EU’s starting position than ours, at least in the short term.

The Government document, seen by the Guido Fawkes website, insists that the situation is a mutual compromise – the UK gave ground on the size of the quotas, the EU gave ground on how long they have access for.

However, perhaps in a bid to save face, French sources suggested the situation was a win for the EU. A French government source said UK negotiators had made ‘huge concessions’ on fisheries.  

But the sides were still said to be arguing ‘fish by fish’ over the rules this morning, with Ireland warning of a ‘hitch’, even though UK sources insisted there are ‘no major issues’. 

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

Another bone of contention has been Brussels’ fear that Britain could take advantage of leaving the bloc by lowering standards to make its firms more competitive. 

The EU was also worried that the UK could give more financial help to its own firms. 

As a result, it demanded a ‘level playing field’ to avoid a race to the bottom on issues such as workers’ rights and environmental regulation. 

It also wanted Britain to continue to accept a slew of EU rules.

The UK said this would pose an ‘existential threat’ to its sovereignty. Britain said it would settle for No Deal rather than face being tied to EU rules after Brexit.

Last night it appeared that Britain had given ground on this major sticking point to get a deal done. Pictured: Boris Johnson with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the steps of No10 Downing Street earlier this year
Last night it appeared that Britain had given ground on this major sticking point to get a deal done. Pictured: Boris Johnson with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the steps of No10 Downing Street earlier this year

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9085263/UK-EU-haggling-fish-despite-deal-DONE.html#v-3703796533080378766

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In the end, both parties appear to have agreed a common baseline of regulations on some issues, below which neither side will plunge.

However, the EU has also been insisting that if one side raised standards and the other did not, the latter should be penalised if failure to keep up resulted in unfair competition.

Instead, it is likely the two sides have agreed an independent mechanism to resolve matters if one side diverges too far from common standards. This would ultimately make rulings on retaliatory tariffs in the event of a dispute.

The Government claims it ‘won’ five of the eight key sticking points in this part of negotiations, including EU law, the ability of the UK to set its own subsidy rates, competition, and tax rules.

OVERSIGHT

A related– and thorny – issue is that of the European Court of Justice. British sources indicated that the ECJ will have no say in the resolution of any rows.

This had been a key demand from Westminster, to avoid the erosion of British sovereignty.

Brussels conceded that it could not have the unilateral right to impose penalties on Britain – although it did push hard for a strong and independent arbitration system.

The EU had hoped to punish Britain for ‘breaking rules’ in one area by hitting back in another – allowing them to impose tariffs or taxes in an unrelated sector to inflict the most damage possible. 

TARIFFS

In the end, Britain and the EU appear to have agreed on a zero-tariff and zero-quota regime – a significant victory for Mr. Johnson. Trade with the EU, accounts for 43 percent of the UK’s exports and 51 percent of its imports.

Another bone of contention has been Brussels’ fear that Britain could take advantage of leaving the bloc by lowering standards to make its firms more competitive. Pictured: European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier

Another bone of contention has been Brussels’ fear that Britain could take advantage of leaving the bloc by lowering standards to make its firms more competitive.
Pictured: European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier

The prospect of No Deal – and trading with Brussels on World Trade Organization terms, as Australia does – prompted fears of massive extra costs for businesses, which would have been passed on to the public.

As talks reached the sharp end, ministers accepted that No Deal would lead to many staple food items costing more at the supermarket. 

Farmers warned however that they would still face non-tariff costs on exports.

Farmers’ Union of Wales president Glyn Roberts welcomed the EU’s formal listing of the UK as a ‘third country’ – a move which is essential in terms of allowing Welsh food exports to the EU.

‘However, our access to the EU market, which is the destination for three-quarters of Welsh food and drink exports, will still face significant barriers after December 31, with non-tariff barrier costs expected to rise by 4 percent to 8 percent,’ he said.

Mr. Roberts said the full text of an agreement would have to be scrutinised in order to assess the full impacts and benefits, and a number of concerns existed including in terms of seed potato exports.

‘Nevertheless, the Welsh farming industry, like others the length and breadth of Great Britain, will be celebrating Christmas having breathed a huge sigh of relief that a deal seems close to being agreed,’ he added. 

POLICING AND SECURITY

Sources say there has been some level of agreement on the key issue of security co-operation. 

Britain had wanted to maintain the same access to shared databases that it has now – only for the EU to claim this was not an option for non-members.  

Ultimately, the UK appears to have secured greater access than it would have received in a No Deal Brexit.

The UK Government document says the agreement ‘provides for fast and effective exchange of criminal records data between UK and EUMS through shared technical infrastructure (European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS)).’

There will also be a ‘fast and effective exchange of national DNA, fingerprint, and vehicle registration data’.

The UK also appears to have been given greater access to Europol than other non-EU countries because of its past contribution to the crime agency. There is also a fast-track agreement on extradition. 

HOLIDAYS AND HEALTHCARE

striking a deal means Britons will find it easier to travel to the continent than they would have if talks had failed.

It is also hoped that tourists will have access to hospital treatment when traveling abroad. 

The UK has argued that the European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC, should also continue to be valid after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31 – sparing tourists the ordeal of arranging their own insurance.

DOWN TO THE WIRE: TIMELINE OF THE BREXIT SAGA 

Boris Johnson and the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have agreed that a ‘firm decision’ about the future of Brexit negotiations should be made by Sunday.

As the clock ticks towards the deadline for agreement on a trade deal, here is a look at the key moments in the saga:

January 23, 2013 – Under intense pressure from many of his own MPs and with the rise of Ukip, prime minister David Cameron promises an in-out referendum on EU membership if the Conservatives win the 2015 general election.

May 7, 2015 – The Tories unexpectedly make sweeping gains over Ed Miliband’s Labour Party and secure a majority in the Commons. Mr. Cameron vows to deliver his manifesto pledge of an EU referendum.

June 23, 2016 – The UK votes to leave the EU in a shock result that sees 52% of the public support Brexit and Mr. Cameron quickly resigns as prime minister.

July 13, 2016 – Theresa May takes over as prime minister. Despite having backed Remain, she promises to ‘rise to the challenge’ of negotiating the UK’s exit.

November 10, 2016 – The High Court rules against the Government and says Parliament must hold a vote to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the mechanism that begins the exit from the EU. Mrs. May says the ruling will not stop her from invoking the legislation by April 2017.

March 29, 2017 – Mrs. May triggers Article 50. European Council President Donald Tusk says it is not a happy occasion, telling a Brussels press conference his message to the UK is: ‘We already miss you. Thank you and goodbye.’

April 18, 2017 – Mrs May announces a snap general election to be held on June 8.

June 8, 2017 – There is humiliation for Mrs .as she loses her Commons majority after her election gamble backfires. She becomes head of a minority Conservative administration propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party.

September 22, 2017 – In a crucial Brexit speech in Florence, Mrs. May sends a message to EU leaders by saying: ‘We want to be your strongest friend and partner as the EU and UK thrive side by side.’ She says she is proposing an ‘implementation period’ of ‘around two years’ after Brexit when existing market access arrangements will apply.

March 19, 2018 – The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, says he and Brexit secretary David Davis have taken a ‘decisive step’ towards agreeing a joint legal text on the UK’s EU withdrawal but warns there are still outstanding issues relating to the Irish border.

July 6, 2018 – A crunch Cabinet meeting at Chequers agrees with Mrs. May’s new Brexit plans, including the creation of a new UK-EU free trade area for goods. But not all who attend are happy with the compromises.

July 8 and July 9, 2018 – Mr. Davis resigns from the Government in protest while the following day Boris Johnson quits as foreign secretary, claiming the plans mean ‘we are truly headed for the status of colony’ of the EU.

November 14, 2018 – In a statement outside 10 Downing Street after a five-hour Cabinet meeting, Mrs. May says that Cabinet has agreed the draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

November 15, 2018 – Dominic Raab resigns as Brexit secretary, saying he ‘cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU’. Other resignations follow.

November 25, 2018 – The 27 EU leaders endorse the Brexit deal.

December 12, 2018 – Mrs May survives an attempt to oust her with a vote of no confidence as Tory MPs vote by 200 to 117 in the secret ballot in Westminster.

January 15, 2019 – MPs reject Mrs. May’s Brexit plans by an emphatic 432 to 202 in an historic vote which throws the future of her administration and the nature of the UK’s EU withdrawal into doubt.

March 20, 2019 – Mrs. May tells the House of Commons that she has written to Mr. Tusk to request an extension to Article 50 Brexit negotiations to June 30.

March 29, 2019 – MPs reject Mrs. May’s Withdrawal Agreement for a third time – by 286 votes to 344 – on the day the UK was due to leave the EU.

April 10, 2019 – The EU agrees a ‘flexible extension’ to Brexit until October 31. Mrs May says the ‘choices we now face are stark and the timetable is clear’.

May 23, 2019 – Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party comes out on top in the European elections, while the pro-EU Liberal Democrats also make gains.

May 24, 2019 – Mrs May announces she is standing down as Tory Party leader on June 7. She says: ‘It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.’

July 23, 2019 – Mr Johnson is elected as leader of the Conservative Party and becomes the UK’s new Prime Minister after defeating Jeremy Hunt.

August 20, 2019 – The new Prime Minister is rebuffed by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker after demanding major changes to Irish border arrangements in a new Brexit deal.

August 28, 2019 – The Queen is dragged into the Brexit row as Mr. Johnson requests the prorogation of Parliament from early September to mid-October.

September 4, 2019 – MPs vote to approve legislation aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit. Mr. Johnson orders a purge of rebel Tories who opposed the Government including former chancellors Philip Hammond and Sir Kenneth Clarke.

The Prime Minister attempts to trigger an early general election but fails to get the required support of two-thirds of MPs.

September 24, 2019 – The Supreme Court rules that the PM’s advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament until October 14 was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating Parliament.

October 2, 2019 – Mr Johnson puts forward his formal Brexit plan to the EU, revealing his blueprint to solve the Irish border issue.

October 10, 2019 – Mr Johnson and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar say they can see a ‘pathway to a deal’, in a joint statement after key talks at a luxury hotel in Cheshire.

October 17, 2019 – After intense negotiations, the Prime Minister announces the UK has reached a ‘great deal’ with the EU which ‘takes back control’ and means that ‘the UK can come out of the EU as one United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, together’.

October 19, 2019 – In the first Saturday sitting of the Commons in 37 years, Mr. Johnson seeks the support of MPs in a ‘meaningful vote’ on his new deal but instead they back an amendment forcing him to seek a delay.

October 22, 2019 – The Prime Minister mounts an attempt to fast-track his Brexit deal through Parliament but puts the plans on ice after MPs vote against his foreshortened timetable.

October 28, 2019 – EU leaders agree to a second Brexit ‘flex tension’ until January 31 unless Parliament ratifies the deal sooner.

October 29, 2019 – Mr. Johnson finally succeeds at the fourth attempt in winning Commons support for a general election on December 12.

December 12, 2019 – Having campaigned on a promise to ‘get Brexit done’, Mr Johnson secures a landslide win at the election and with an 80-seat majority.

January 8, 2020 – New European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen visits No 10 to warn Mr. Johnson the timetable for a post-Brexit trade deal is ‘very, very tight’. The Prime Minister is clear however there will be no extension to the transition period, which expires at the end of 2020.

January 9, 2020 – Mr. Johnson gets his Brexit deal through the Commons as the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill is given a third reading with a majority of 99.

January 31, 2020 – A clock projected on the walls of Downing Street counts down the moments to the UK’s departure from the EU at 11 pm.

March 2, 2020 – Mr. Barnier and Mr. Johnson’s chief EU adviser David Frost open formal talks in Brussels on Britain’s future relationship with the bloc, including a free trade agreement.

March 12, 2020 – The two sides announce they are suspending face-to-face talks due to the coronavirus pandemic and will explore the options for continuing the negotiations by video conferencing.

June 12, 2020 – Cabinet office minister Michael Gove formally tells the EU the UK will not sign up to an extension to the transition period, but he backtracks on plans to immediately introduce full border checks with the bloc on January 1.

September 10, 2020 – The European Commission threatens the UK with legal action after ministers announce plans for legislation enabling them to override provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland in breach of international law.

October 16, 2020 – Mr. Johnson says he is halting talks on a trade deal accusing EU leaders meeting for a summit in Brussels of seeking to impose ‘unacceptable’ demands.

November 7, 2020 – Mr. Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen agree to ‘redouble’ their efforts to get a deal while acknowledging that significant differences remain over fisheries and the so-called ‘level playing field’ for state aid rules.

December 4, 2020 – Lord Frost and Mr. Barnier announce in a joint statement the conditions for an agreement had still not been met and negotiations will be put on ‘pause’ to allow political leaders to take stock, with Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Von der Leyen to engage in emergency talks.

December 7, 2020 – In a key move to ease tensions, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and EU counterpart Maroš Šefčovič settle the row over the Withdrawal Agreement, meaning planned clauses that would have overridden the divorce terms are dropped.    

December 9, 2020 – Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Von der Leyen dine at the European Commission, with talks between the two leaders lasting around three hours.

They warned ‘very large gaps’ remain, but authorised further discussions between the negotiating teams, with a ‘firm decision’ due on Sunday.

December 10, 2020 – Ms von der Leyen pushes the button on the EU’s No Deal contingency plans. Mr. Johnson warns No Deal is now a strong possibility. 

December 11, 2020 – Mr. Johnson says No Deal is ‘very very likely’ and the most probable outcome from the standoff.

December 16, 2020 – At the last PMQs of the year, Mr Johnson insists the UK will ‘prosper mightily’ whatever the result of the talks.

December 17, 2020 – MPs are sent home for Christmas with a warning that they will be recalled if a Brexit deal needs to be passed into law before January 1. 

December 19, 2020 – Mr Johnson announces that a mutant version of coronavirus has been identified in the UK. A host of countries impose travel restrictions, with France saying no freight will be allowed in for 48 hours. It sparks fears over supermarket shortages, although Brexiteers complain it is partly strong arm tactics in the negotiations. 

11 p.m. December 31, 2020 – The Brexit transition period will end and the UK will be under new trade – or WTO – terms. 

Read more:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9086051/Boris-Johnson-hails-historic-Canada-style-trade-deal-EU.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ico=taboola_feed_desktop_news

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UK and EU ‘are haggling over every fish’ despite deal all-but DONE

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Culture, Featured, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, TOURISM, UK - Brexit0 Comments

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From: THE HILL

Chinese COVID-19 vaccine test results delayed until January

TheHill.com

http://Chinese COVID-19 vaccine test results delayed until January Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac will reportedly delay releasing the results from its various COVID-19 vaccine trials until January.

Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac will reportedly delay releasing the results from its various COVID-19 vaccine trials until January. According to reports Sinovac’s vaccine, CoronaVac, had recently reached Phase 3 trials in Brazil, where it had been shown to be more than 50 percent effective at preventing the coronavirus. However, Sinovac asked the Butantan Institute, the Brazilian research center that has been testing the vaccine, to delay releasing results for another 15 days as it compiles data from other trials in Indonesia and Turkey.

Migrant family deportations in 2020 top combined total for Trump’s first three years: ICE

The Trump administration deported more migrant family members in 2020’s fiscal year than in the preceding three years combined, according to a new analysis.

Migrant family deportations in 2020 top combined total for Trump's first three years: ICE
thehill.comMigrant family deportations in 2020 top combined total for Trump’s first three years: ICEThe agency reported some 14,500 family members were deported in the fiscal year, compared to over 10,700 parents and children in the three fiscal years before
Migrant family deportations in 2020 top combined total for Trump's first three years: ICE
The federal government deported more migrant family members in fiscal 2020 than in the preceding three years combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data.

CNN’s John Berman on Trump pardons: ‘Good night to be a corrupt Republican congressman’

“It’s a good night to be a corrupt Republican congressman or a confessed liar from the Russia probe or a convicted murderer of Iraqi civilians,” CNN’s John Berman said, lashing out over a slate of pardons that President Trump issued this week for three former GOP lawmakers and several security contractors, among others.

Trump administration advances bomb sale to Saudis.

Trump administration advances bomb sale to Saudis

Trump administration advances bomb sale to Saudis
Trump has made arms sales to the Kingdom an integral part of his foreign policy, arguing they are necessary to counter Iran and to boost jobs at U.S. weapons makers.

The administration is moving ahead with approving the license for the sale of precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia in the waning days of President Trump’s tenure over the objection of Democratic lawmakers. The license would allow Raytheon to directly sell Saudi Arabia 7,500 of its Paveway air-to-ground “smart” bombs at an estimated value of $478 million.

Biden under pressure to revamp the judiciary

Biden under pressure to revamp the judiciary
Biden under pressure to revamp the judiciary
Progressives argue that appointing more jurists who have spent their careers as public interest or civil rights advocates would help level the playing field

Activists who watched President Trump fill the courts with conservative judges for four years are pushing President-elect Joe Biden to prioritize judicial confirmations and to bring more professional diversity to a judiciary dominated by former prosecutors and corporate lawyers. Progressives argue that appointing more jurists who have spent their careers as public interest or civil rights advocates would help level the playing field in a legal system that favors the wealthy and powerful, which has been heavily shaped by Trump and Republicans over the past four years.“President-elect Biden has an opportunity to begin to undo that damage by appointing diverse judges who understand the challenges real people face in our legal system because they have spent their careers representing them.”

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Elections, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

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Ministers mull ‘Tier 4’ crackdown after Christmas with commuting banned, non-essential shops shut and schools closed an extra week – after Boris Johnson plunged 38 million into Tier 3 AND warned No Deal is ‘very likely’

MailOnline - news, sport, celebrity, science and health stories

Friday, Dec 18 2020

6 AM 11°C 9 AM 11°C 5-Day Forecast

  • Tier Three restrictions extended yesterday, plunging 38 million people into the new year under the toughest curbs
  • Swathes of the Home Counties will join London in Tier 3 tomorrow along with Manchester and the North East
  • Experts fear decisions will not be enough to avert more draconian measures due to Covid surging in England
  • It comes as Boris Johnson warned a No Deal Brexit is ‘very likely’ if the EU does not budge overfishing rules 

By James Robinson for MailOnline and Jason Groves And Claire Ellicott For The Daily Mail and James Tapsfield Political Editor For Mailonline and Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline

Ministers are mulling over a ‘Tier 4’ crackdown after Christmas, with commuting banned, non-essential shops shut and schools closed an extra week, as officials search for new plans to keep Covid case numbers under control.

Tier Three restrictions were extended yesterday so that two thirds of homes in England ¿ and 38million people ¿ can now expect to go into the new year under the toughest curbs. Pictured: Boris Johnson yesterday speaking with Ursula von der Leyen
Pictured: Boris Johnson yesterday speaking with Ursula von der Leyen. Tier Three restrictions were extended yesterday so that two-thirds of homes in England – and 38 million people – can now expect to go into the new year under the toughest curbs.

As Boris Johnson last night gave the green light to plunge large swathes of England’s Home Counties into Tier 3 – bringing the number of people living under the toughest restrictions to 38 million – Government officials revealed even tougher measures could be on the way. 

The areas of southern England will join London in the highest tier tomorrow, while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases. 

Tory MP Rob Butler said yesterday’s tier moves heralded ‘the bleakest of midwinters, especially for hospitality businesses’.

His comments came as Prime Minister last night warned a No Deal Brexit is ‘very likely’ unless the EU gives ground on trade talks. 

Despite yesterday’s announcement of increasing restrictions on large parts of the country, experts fear the decisions will not be enough to avert more draconian measures because Covid is surging nationally.   

A Whitehall official told the Times: ‘There is a case for going further than Tier 3 and it is getting stronger.

‘[That could mean] closure of non-essential retail, stay-at-home orders. That would have to be actively considered in conversation with the local authority.’

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has previously endorsed a ‘Tier 4’ as a way of tightening restrictions in order to control the virus.

Wales meanwhile is going into another lockdown on December 28 and Northern Ireland last night backed plans for a six-week shutdown starting on Boxing Day.

Scottish leaders said that tougher virus restrictions after Christmas – including a lockdown – were a ‘possibility’. 

Teachers were last night told that they will have to help mass test millions of secondary school pupils – while in other developments:

Pictured: A map of England’s tiers: Swathes of the Home Counties will join London in the highest tier tomorrow while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases.
  • Rishi Sunak extended until May the £5billion-a-month furlough scheme amid fears that tough virus restrictions could extend beyond Easter;
  • Fears of a third wave mounted as daily Covid cases jumped again to 35,383, although this included 11,000 from Wales which were not recorded earlier this month because of a computer glitch;
  • London emerged as the new Covid hotspot with 319.3 cases per 100,000 people in the week to December 13, up more than 50 percent from 199.9 in the previous week;
  • Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned that the combined impact of Covid and lockdowns would have a ‘substantial’ impact on health, education, and poverty for years;
  • Mr. Johnson warned that Brexit talks were now in a ‘serious situation’ following a phone call with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen – although fishing rights now seem to be the only major sticking point;
  • Priti Patel urged families to cancel Christmas plans that involve traveling long distances, as Labour called for the five-day festive amnesty to be axed altogether;
  • Matt Hancock said the situation in Kent had become so dire that everyone in the county should now ‘behave as if they have the virus and are trying not to pass it on to somebody else’;
  • Former minister Tobias Ellwood apologised after Downing Street criticised him for breaching Covid restrictions by speaking at a Christmas dinner attended by 27 people.

Read full click here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9065485/Boris-Johnson-warns-No-Deal-likely-plunging-38-million-Tier-3-lockdown-misery.html?ito=push-notification&ci=61134&si=21848963

And, BREXIT update: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9064869/Boris-Johnson-Ursula-von-der-Leyen-set-Brexit-call-tonight.html?ito=push-notification&ci=61071&si=21848963

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Featured, Health, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

Receiving-Vaccine

Covid vaccine: How does a vaccine get approved?

Receiving The Vaccine

– BBC News

The NHS is carrying out the biggest mass vaccination campaign in its history with a jab that protects against Covid-19. Some people have been surprised to learn how a process which usually takes at least ten years could have been done in less than one.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, COVID-19, Featured, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

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