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Two thirds of the students did not register for online lessons during lockdown

Two-thirds of the children did not participate in online classes during the blockage of the coronavirus, fearing that students may find it difficult to learn at home, while schools remain closed until ‘June at the earliest’.

Schools have offered distance learning to prevent young people from falling behind in their learning process, as Secretary of Education Gavin Williams declined to set a date for them to return to school.

But only 19 percent of state election students and 22 percent of state secretaries have taken daily online classes, according to a survey conducted for the Sutton Trust charity.

However, for privately trained students, they are twice as likely to access online education as peers of the state school. In private schools, 51 percent of primary school age and 57 percent of high school students were taught daily.

About 6,500 teachers and 1,500 parents were surveyed to determine the level of contact between schools and students, and comes up on what would have been the first day of summer after the Easter holidays for most students.

The Department of Education said free laptops and tablets will be given to disadvantaged children across England to help them learn at home.

The move is part of an effort to make remote education accessible to children while schools are closed, and includes a new online academy to offer students online classes.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told the Downing Street daily briefing last night that he was unable to give a date for schools to reopen - despite some ministers pushing for restrictions to be lifted after May 11

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told the Downing Street daily briefing last night that he was unable to give a date for schools to reopen – despite some ministers pushing for restrictions to be lifted after May 11

Williamson said 4G routers will be provided to give underprivileged high school students and caregivers access to the internet where their families do not yet have mobile or broadband internet.

The Oak National Academy kicks off Monday and was created in less than a fortnight by 40 teachers from some of England’s leading schools.

Underprivileged students receive free laptops and tablets for lockdown learning

Children who are disadvantaged across England are given free laptops and tablets to assist them in learning from home during the closure.

The move is part of an effort to make distance learning accessible to learners while their schools are closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, a new online academy is also being launched to offer students 180 online lessons per week.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said 4G routers will also be offered to provide disadvantaged high school students and caregivers access to the internet where those families do not yet have mobile or broadband internet access.

The Oak National Academy kicks off Monday and was created in less than a fortnight by 40 teachers from some of England’s leading schools.

The 180 video lessons per week cover a wide range of topics, including math, art and languages ​​for students aged from reception to year 10.

The 180 video lessons per week cover a wide range of topics, including math, art and languages ​​for students aged from reception to year 10.

Electronic devices will be ordered for learners at the most vital stages of their education for those who receive support from a social worker and caregivers, ”said the Ministry of Education (DfE).

Young people are eligible for the devices if they do not already have one and either have a social worker, or are caretakers, or underprivileged children in year 10, prior to GCSEs next year.

The DfE said that schools and colleges can retain the laptops and tablets as soon as they are reopened.

Last night, Mr. Williamson said, “People would like to know when we are going to ease restrictions. When schools are probably all the way back and opening again. ‘

He refused to give any specific insight into the government’s plans and gave parents no hope of a speedy return to normalcy.

‘I want nothing more than to see schools back, make them normal again, make sure that children sit around and learn and experience the joy of being in school. But I can’t give you a date, ”he added.

If schools open to a limited extent by June, it is likely that primary schoolchildren will be the first to benefit, if the UK follows Denmark’s example.

Mr. Williamson told the daily briefing on Downing Street that he was sorry that children had to suffer from the crisis and that their education was interrupted.

But he said the UK had not yet passed five tests – including increased NHS capacity, widespread testing and a reduction in the threat of a second peak.

“I can’t give you a date. Because before we do that, we have to pass five tests, ”he said.

A new plan could bring the UK back into phases after May 11, with elementary school students, GCSE students and nurseries potentially going back part-time.

Children have started a new term, their two-week break without any idea when they can see their school friends and teachers again in person (file image)

Children have started a new term, their two-week break without any idea when they can see their school friends and teachers again in person (file image)

Children have started a new term, their two-week break without any idea when they can see their school friends and teachers again in person (file image)

Meanwhile, clothing stores and garden centers could be one of the ‘non-essential’ stores given a ‘green light’ to reopen with precautions to protect customers. Rail services would be brought to a normal level, with commuters likely to be urged to wear face masks, and the NHS would continue to conduct non-urgent procedures.

A second “amber” phase later in the summer would revive more of the economy, telling all workers to return to work and allowing some social gatherings.

However, it may be that pubs and restaurants may reopen and sporting events begin later in the year. And people over 70 are faced with ‘red light’ for many months, they may have to wait for a vaccine before they can live normal life again.

The proposals gain momentum amid an increasing backlash in the absence of a clear plan – and as a further 596 UK coronavirus deaths were announced, with griminess marking the lowest daily increase in two weeks. The total number of fatalities is now 16,060 and the number has increased by 5,850 to 120,067.

Some ministers are pushing for a 'traffic light' plan to light up the paralyzing curbs - although Downing Street flatly denies that it has another set plan

Some ministers are pushing for a 'traffic light' plan to light up the paralyzing curbs - although Downing Street flatly denies that it has another set plan

Some ministers are pushing for a ‘traffic light’ plan to light up the paralyzing curbs – although Downing Street flatly denies that it has another set plan

Senior ministers are split between those who want to ‘go hot’, use apparent spare capacity in the NHS to quickly relax social distance, and those who are afraid of acting too early will ramp up the disease, according to the Sunday Times .

After concerns about anger at the heart of power, Boris Johnson prepares to take back the strings of the government and call Checkers ministers where he recovers from his own health anxiety with the disease.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove tried yesterday to dampen insane speculation about easing restrictions, saying that while it was “perfectly understandable” it wanted to know how it would turn out, but it was too early to make such decisions.

When asked if the “traffic light” system was the government’s “exit strategy,” Gove told Sky News, “No, it’s not. It is true that we look at all the evidence. But we’ve put together some tests that have to pass before we can even think about easing the lock. ‘

While emphasizing that no decisions had been made, Mr. Gove did point out the easing, suggesting that pubs and other parts of the hospitality industry are “among the latest” to come back.

Anger is mounting with a sense of anger in government as the prime minister recovers at Checkers.

Friday revealed that the cabinet has asked scientists and medical experts to present options to lift the block in two weeks – suggesting that no formal plan will be revealed before then.

But some senior Tories, along with Labor leader Keir Starmer, are demanding faster decisions amid mounting accusations that the pandemic treatment has been screwed up. Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth accused ministers yesterday of “treating people like children” for refusing to set out options.

Boris Johnson, who is currently recovering from the coronavirus during the rural retreat, has told Downing Street's assistants that he could return next week

Boris Johnson, who is currently recovering from the coronavirus during the rural retreat, has told Downing Street's assistants that he could return next week

Boris Johnson, who is currently recovering from the coronavirus during the rural retreat, has told Downing Street’s assistants that he could return next week

The UK continues to follow the path of other European countries in terms of coronavirus deaths

The UK continues to follow the path of other European countries in terms of coronavirus deaths

The UK continues to follow the path of other European countries in terms of coronavirus deaths

The number of hospitals with coronavirus is falling sharply in London, although there is a revival in the northwest

The number of hospitals with coronavirus is falling sharply in London, although there is a revival in the northwest

The number of hospitals with coronavirus is falling sharply in London, although there is a revival in the northwest

The number of positive tests among key workers and their household increased in the figures released yesterday as more are screened

The number of positive tests among key workers and their household increased in the figures released yesterday as more are screened

The number of positive tests among key workers and their household increased in the figures released yesterday as more are screened

Gove defends PM for ‘skipping’ coronavirus crisis meetings – admitting PPE shares have been sent to China

Michael Gove has defended Boris Johnson for skipping five Cobra crisis meetings in the weeks leading up to the outbreak of Britain, but admitted that the UK has sent a shipment of much needed personal protective equipment to China.

The prime minister has been accused of not responding early to the crisis, despite mounting concerns from scientists about the increasingly rapid health emergency in Wuhan.

This lack of urgency was underlined by his delegation of leadership and vacation in the country, a Downing Street senior adviser told a bomb in the Sunday Times.

It also claimed that Whitehall drew his attention to Brexit and that long-term crisis preparations got off the boat, as key staff were diverted from pandemic contingencies to stamp out a no-deal schedule.

Mr Gove, who is part of the so-called “quad” of ministers driving the government’s response as the prime minister recovers from his own struggle against the disease, called the criticism “off-beam” this morning.

He said it was “grotesque” to claim that Johnson had “skipped” the meetings as Cobra sessions were routinely chaired by other ministers when they focused on specific responsibilities.

Mr Gove confirmed that the government shipped 260,000 personal protective equipment to China, despite doctors’ warning sirens that the UK was woefully inadequate for a pandemic.

But he claimed that the personal protective equipment was not from the UK’s pandemic stock, and that Beijing had since sent back ‘much more’ than had been sent to them.

NHS medics on the frontline have raised the alarm for shortages of personal protective equipment, which insiders say have declined in recent years.

Mr Gove’s comments were despised by Labor’s Jon Ashworth as “possibly the weakest refutation of a detailed account in British political history.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Gove raised hopes of a quick return for Mr. Johnson.

He said the prime minister was already “absolutely aware” while recovering from Checkers after his fear of coronavirus.

Sources told MailOnline last week that Johnson would like to return to Downing Street this week as Parliament returns from Easter break, but pregnant fiancé Carrie Symond and doctors are concerned it will be too soon.

However, he has issued orders to Prime Minister Dominic Raab, who is replacing him.

Mr. Johnson also had a three-hour meeting with the Secretary of State on Friday, along with chief adviser Dominic Cummings and communications director Lee Cain.

“The prime minister is recovering well,” Gove told Sky News.

And he had the opportunity to speak with Dominic Raab, his deputy, the first secretary of state on Friday.

“And the Prime Minister’s instructions to the rest of us in the government were communicated yesterday morning by the Prime Minister of State.”

Insiders pointed out that despite pressure on the NHS, 2,700 intensive care beds were empty last week, and scientists now believe that the reproduction rate – the ‘R’ number – for the virus has fallen below community levels, which means its prevalence is decreasing.

Ministers like Chancellor Rishi Sunak are increasingly alarmed by the blow to the economy, with the OBR watchdog warning that GDP could drop by a third with millions of jobs lost.

However, health secretary Matt Hancock is believed to be one of the senior figures concerned about releasing the handbrake before the government is certain there will be no devastating second spike in cases.

“The debate is now between people who think we should completely suppress the virus and those who think we should be getting really hot, use the spare capacity in the NHS and aim to keep the R number just below one,” said an official Sunday Times.

Another senior insider said, “You have to be clear. Running means more people will die. That is the prime minister’s decision to make. ‘

Mr. Gove said this morning that while coronavirus cases appeared to have “flattened,” scientists were not yet sure that the peak was over and that it was safe to make changes. “It is, of course, completely understandable that there should be a public debate about how we tackle these difficult choices,” he said.

“But the most important thing to do is to ensure that we continue in a scientific way.”

It is estimated that the economic blow from the shutdown and austerity following the massive government financial support for businesses and workers could cause tens of thousands of deaths and leave more than a million people with long-term health problems.

Infectious disease expert Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the government’s Scientific Emergency Group (Sage), said the shutdown “could not last much longer” because it “harmed our entire lives.”

He suggested that measures could be lifted in about three or four weeks if the number of infections and hospital patients dropped “dramatically.”

The director of the Wellcome Trust told Sky News, “I hope they will be there in three to four weeks, because it is clear that the closing will not take much longer.

“The damage it does to all of our health and wellbeing, our mental health … the closure harms business and ultimately harms our entire lives.

“So the lockdowns can’t go on forever, we have to get rid of them as soon as possible, but we can’t get rid of them too soon and we can’t just make random dates.

“It must be driven, I fear, by the data.”

Sir Jeremy added that he thought the UK was past the peak of the ‘first wave’ of the virus, but warned it will come back.

“We should not see this as a separate episode. I think the probability of what we need to plan is that there will be even more waves in the future.

“But for this first wave, I think the number of new infections may have stabilized a week or two ago, the number of hospitalizations may have been a week or so ago … we’ve probably just passed the peak in many parts of this country, as applies in many parts of the world. ‘

Angel Gurria, head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, told the Marr that the damage to the economy would likely be in the short term and that the government was doing the right thing by taking drastic measures to combat outbreaks.

He warned that easing the lockdown would be trial and error. “What I also see is maybe a stop-and-go process, where you have stable numbers of contamination and hospitalizations and even deaths and you start to open gradually and then there may be a return to higher numbers and then you stop again , ‘ he said.

Secretary of State MIchael Gove tried this morning to mitigate the unrestrained speculation about easing restrictions, saying that while it was “perfectly understandable”, people wanted to know how it came out, it was too early to make such decisions. take

“This is not science. It is mainly trial and error.

“It is perfectly legitimate for people to want to reopen, of course we all want to go out, we all want to work, we all want to do what we do every day. However, the cost can be very high if you are wrong, so let’s be careful. ‘

Sources told MailOnline last week that Johnson would like to return to Downing Street this week as Parliament returns from Easter break, but pregnant fiancé Carrie Symond and doctors are concerned it will be too soon.

He has given orders to First Secretary of State Dominic Raab to replace him.

Row as Prince Harry claims the UK’s coronavirus crisis is “better than we think” by the media

Prince Harry has caused anger by claiming that the British Covid-19 crisis is not as bad as the public is told.

In an interview with the Declassifed podcast, the 35-year-old said that things here are “ better than we believe through certain corners of the media. ”

But his comments were labeled “outrageous” by expert Professor Karol Sikora, who asked, “What are his qualifications for making these comments – other than abandoning his country when necessary?”

Harry, who is currently with wife Meghan, 38, in Los Angeles, also praised Captain Tom Moore, 99, who raised £ 23 million for the NHS.

Prince Harry has caused anger by claiming that the British Covid-19 crisis is not as bad as the public is told. Pictured: Harry and Meghan were seen holding arms and hands delivering parcels to residents from the back of their Cadillac XT5 in LA this week

Prince Harry has caused anger by claiming that the British Covid-19 crisis is not as bad as the public is told. Pictured: Harry and Meghan were seen holding arms and hands delivering parcels to residents from the back of their Cadillac XT5 in LA this week

Prince Harry has caused anger by claiming that the British Covid-19 crisis is not as bad as the public is told. Pictured: Harry and Meghan were seen holding arms and hands delivering parcels to residents from the back of their Cadillac XT5 in LA this week

Speaking about the podcast, he said, ‘I think what happened especially in the UK is the very best of the human mind and proves that things are better than we are led to believe through certain corners of the media.

‘Certainly when you are isolated it can be very worrying when you sit there and the only information you get is from certain news channels, but when you are on the road and on the right platforms you really feel that this human mind is at the forefront steps. ‘

Prof. Sikora, who has conducted antibody tests and is a former No10 advisor, told it The sun: “I think these comments are outrageous.

“As for the media, I really don’t understand what Harry’s beef is. Journalists have reported the facts and have done a great job of holding the government to account.

The media has also supported the NHS and has become an important ally of doctors, nurses and key workers. They should be applauded, not vilified. ‘

Nadra Ahmed, of the National Care Association, suggested that Prince Harry “has not seen all the evidence.”

She revealed that health and healthcare workers were suffering from mental anxiety, adding, “Some of the things I’ve heard are harrowing.”

Mr. Johnson also had a three-hour meeting with the Secretary of State on Friday, along with chief adviser Dominic Cummings and communications director Lee Cain, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

Mr Gove sparked hopes for the Prime Minister’s early return, saying that he is “cheerful” and “absolutely on top of things.” “The prime minister is recovering well,” said Gove. And he had the opportunity to speak with Dominic Raab, his deputy, the first secretary of state on Friday.

“And the Prime Minister’s instructions to the rest of us in the government were communicated yesterday morning by the Prime Minister of State.”

It comes after another 888 coronavirus deaths were announced in the UK yesterday, bringing the total to 15,464.

It is not yet known when the prime minister will fully return to office, but a source said to the sun, “I would not be surprised if he returned before the end of next week. Everyone knows that he is the key to selling the end of the poll to voters.

“This is the biggest decision he will ever make and he knows the consequences are huge for millions of families. He will absolutely not be on the sidelines. ‘

A No. 10 spokesman said, “The Prime Minister has been at the helm of the response to this and led this tremendously challenging period for the entire nation.”

However, Mr. Johnson will return to an increasing response to his approach to the early stages of the crisis.

He has been personally criticized for failing to attend five Cobra meetings on the disease, claiming that the government has missed a series of opportunities to try to reduce the impact in February and March.

A Downing Street adviser told the Sunday Times, “There is no way you can go to war if your prime minister is not there.

“And what you learn about Boris was that he didn’t chair meetings. He loved his country vacations. He did not work on weekends.

“It was like working for an old-fashioned director in a local government twenty years ago. There was a real feeling that he was not doing urgent crisis planning. It was exactly as people feared he would be. ‘

The allegations received a sharp response from Mr Gove, who described the allegations that the Prime Minister ignored the dangers “grotesquely.”

He admitted that the UK sent a batch of PPE to China early in the crisis, but insisted that it was not from the main pandemic stock and that much more had been recovered.

“The PPE didn’t come from our pandemic inventory,” he told BBC show Andrew Marr. “We have received much more from China than we have given.”

A new shame revealed that a shipment of PPE from Turkey would not arrive, as Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick boasted earlier this week.

Mr. Jenrick revealed that the “very large shipment” – crucially including 400,000 gowns – was emerging after anger that NHS personnel are told to reuse protective equipment.

However, the 84-tonne cargo is not expected to arrive here yesterday, with the logistics problems blamed on the Turkish side.

A No10 spokesman said, “The government has worked day and night to fight the corona virus and has developed a strategy designed at all times to protect our NHS and save lives.

“Guided by medical and scientific expertise, we have implemented specific measures to reduce the spread of the virus when they are most effective.

“Our response has ensured that the NHS has received all the support necessary to ensure that anyone in need of treatment has received it, and that it protects companies and reassures workers.”

Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association Council, however, underlined fears that NHS personnel did not have PPE due to the speed of the response.

He told Sky News that the BMA had written to the government two weeks ago calling for a massive increase in protective equipment production.

No “certainty” that a coronavirus vaccine can be produced, warns top scientist

It is not “entirely certain” that a coronavirus vaccine can be produced, one of the scientists who attempted to warn the breakthrough yesterday.

The warning from professor Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccology at Oxford University, came when cabinet minister Michael Gove said that people should not assume that such treatments are a “dead cert.”

Prof Gilbert told the BBC Andrew Marr Show: “That’s why we have to do tests to find out. The outlook is very good, but it is clearly not entirely certain. ‘

Prof Gilbert said her team has not immunized anyone yet, but they hope to start clinical trials by the end of next week.

“We are waiting for the final safety tests on the vaccine and final approvals.”

Meanwhile, permission has been given to recruit volunteers, do blood tests, explain the process, and monitor their health status, she said.

“By the time we have all the approvals for the vaccine ready, we should have a good pool of volunteers to draw from and we should be able to get started pretty quickly.”

On the same program, Mr Gove said that vaccines have never been developed for a number of diseases.

“I don’t think anyone should automatically assume a vaccine will be dead anytime soon,” he said.

He said that a large number of contacts were willing to produce equipment, and names of about 70 were passed on to the government.

But Dr. Nagpaul said the contacts hit “against a brick wall” after they had not been followed up.

He told Sky News, “We made it clear weeks ago that we need to address the likelihood of a lack of protective equipment.

He added, “It is even more stressful now that doctors and other health professionals treat their own intensive care colleagues on respirators and tragically, some of them don’t survive.

“This is extremely emotionally stressful and it is taking its toll on healthcare.”

As ministers do their best to get a grip, former Olympic Games chief Lord Deighton is called in to lead a task force that produces the necessary personal protective equipment for distribution across the country.

The Prime Minister previously described Lord Deighton as an “excellent” executive after helping deliver the 2012 Olympics while Mr. Johnson was Mayor of London.

Lord Deighton said of his nomination, “Countries around the world are facing unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment and this requires an equally unprecedented response to domestic production.

“This effort requires exceptional teamwork and I am confident that we will meet this challenge together.”

Michael Gove is also setting up a new unit to advise senior ministers on the widespread economic and social consequences of lockdown to guide a final exit strategy.

It comes after a grand coalition of the country’s top political and business figures called on the government to lift the shutters on the deserted British high streets and plot a route out of the paralyzing Covid-19 fence.

Former cabinet ministers David Davis and Iain Duncan Smith have joined forces with Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer and City bosses to warn that the lack of a clear exit strategy could do lasting damage to the UK economy.

Officials are currently preparing a three-stage “ traffic light ” plan, with some businesses, such as DIY stores and garden centers, reopening and some children returning to school as early as May 11.

There was growing concern that Boris Johnson’s absence on Downing Street hindered exit plans, despite signs that the outbreak is peaking.

Responding to claims of a power vacuum, No. 10 said that a “ quad ” of prime ministers – Health Minister Matt Hancock, Secretary of State Dominic Raab, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove – every weekday at Gathered at 6:00 PM to determine strategy.

Fears like crucial PPE transport ministers said yesterday would arrive has been delayed – with hospitals warning they could run out tonight

A pivotal shipment of 400,000 dresses to the NHS that ministers promised would arrive yesterday has been delayed.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced earlier this week that 84 tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) is coming from Turkey, fearing some hospitals will run out.

But the schedule has been pushed back, despite the fact that the RAF was apparently ready to immediately airlift it.

It comes after some union leaders have warned that confidence in health secretary Matt Hancock is “ draining away ” amid the PPE scandal – with some hospitals fearing that PPE supplies will run out by the end of the weekend.

Mr Hancock has appointed a ‘PPE Tsar’ to address the shortage of stocks at NHS trusts in the UK.

Lord Deighton, 64, has been appointed to get a handle on the situation as thousands of doctors and nurses across the country are forced to work without proper personal protective equipment.

Yesterday, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the daily press conference that the Prime Minister, Mr. Johnson, “rested and recovered from Checkers” and “followed his doctor’s advice.”

De heer Jenrick voegde toe: ‘Hij heeft enig contact gehad met ministers, maar vooral met zijn privékantoor hier in Downing Street.’

De dood van nog eens 888 mensen werd gisteren in het VK aangekondigd, wat het totaal op 15.464 brengt, maar het aantal ziekenhuispatiënten met het virus daalde met 952 tot 17.759, wat de hoop deed toenemen dat het infectiepercentage een plateau heeft bereikt.

Onder de eerste, ‘rode’ fase van het ‘stoplicht’-plan konden bedrijven als tuincentra en kappers heropenen, onder strikte sociale afstandsregelingen.

Ongeveer een vijfde van de kinderen zou ook teruggaan naar school als onderdeel van een gefaseerde terugkeer, hoewel ambtenaren verdeeld zijn over de vraag of ze voorrang moeten geven op basis van jaargroepen, de bezetting van ouders of per regio.

In de ‘amberkleurige’ fase – waarschijnlijk in juni of juli – zouden restaurants opengaan op voorwaarde dat de tafels ver genoeg uit elkaar stonden. De meeste kinderen en kantoormedewerkers zouden ook het isolement verlaten.

De timing van de ‘groene’ fase – een volledige terugkeer naar de normaliteit inclusief de opening van pubs en grote evenementen – zou afhangen van de ontwikkeling van wijdverbreide tests voor Covid-19 en een consistent laag aantal infecties en sterfgevallen.

Ouderen en kwetsbaren blijven ‘afgeschermd’ totdat er een vaccin beschikbaar is, mogelijk tot 18 maanden vanaf nu.

Conservatieve parlementslid David Davis tijdens een tweede lezing van het wetsvoorstel Coronavirus in het Lagerhuis. Hij heeft de krachten gebundeld met Sir Keir Starmer en City-bazen om te waarschuwen dat het ontbreken van een duidelijke exitstrategie blijvende economische schade kan veroorzaken

Conservatieve parlementslid David Davis tijdens een tweede lezing van het wetsvoorstel Coronavirus in het Lagerhuis. Hij heeft de krachten gebundeld met Sir Keir Starmer en City-bazen om te waarschuwen dat het ontbreken van een duidelijke exitstrategie blijvende economische schade kan veroorzaken

Conservatieve parlementslid David Davis tijdens een tweede lezing van het wetsvoorstel Coronavirus in het Lagerhuis. Hij heeft de krachten gebundeld met Sir Keir Starmer en City-bazen om te waarschuwen dat het ontbreken van een duidelijke exitstrategie blijvende economische schade kan veroorzaken

Vakbondsleider Sir Starmer en zijn vrouw Victoria nemen deel aan de nationale 'Klap onze verzorgers'-campagne om dank te betuigen voor het werk van de Britse NHS-medewerkers en de frontlinie van het medisch personeel in het hele land terwijl ze de pandemie van het coronavirus bestrijden

Vakbondsleider Sir Starmer en zijn vrouw Victoria nemen deel aan de nationale 'Klap onze verzorgers'-campagne om dank te betuigen voor het werk van de Britse NHS-medewerkers en de frontlinie van het medisch personeel in het hele land terwijl ze de pandemie van het coronavirus bestrijden

Vakbondsleider Sir Starmer en zijn vrouw Victoria nemen deel aan de nationale ‘Klap onze verzorgers’-campagne om dank te betuigen voor het werk van de Britse NHS-werknemers en de frontlinie van medisch personeel in het hele land terwijl ze de pandemie van het coronavirus bestrijden

Maar tot de frustratie van ‘haviken’ onder leiding van de heer Sunak, zijn kabinetsduiven onder leiding van de heer Hancock terughoudend om een ​​einde te maken aan de afsluiting, terwijl de infectiecijfers nog steeds hoog zijn.

De voormalige Brexit-secretaris, de heer Davis, schreef gisteren in The Mail dat het ‘nu essentieel is dat we de economie afremmen’.

Zijn opmerkingen volgen scherpe voorspellingen dat de Britse economie met wel een derde kan krimpen als de volledige lockdown drie maanden duurt, wat leidt tot een hoge werkloosheid en faillissementen. Mr Davis’s views were echoed by ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith who urged Ministers to stop ‘patronising’ the public and explain their plans to restart the economy and that ‘there is life after lockdown.’

Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer – also writing in this newspaper – says: ‘Now is not the time to lift restrictions. But we do need to have clarity about what is going to happen next.’ The politicians were joined by retail bosses including Julian Dunkerton, the founder of clothing label Superdry, and economist Gerard Lyons, who said: ‘After the current three-week extension, there should be a gradual unlocking of the economy’.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: ‘At all times we have been guided by scientific advice. The current advice is that relaxing any measures could risk damage to public health, our economy, and the sacrifices we have all made. Only when the evidence suggests it is safe to do so will we adjust these measures.’

People shopping at The Range in Plymouth. Under the first, ‘red’, phase of the ‘traffic light’ plan, businesses such as garden centres and hairdressers could reopen, subject to strict social distancing arrangements

People shopping at The Range in Plymouth. Under the first, ‘red’, phase of the ‘traffic light’ plan, businesses such as garden centres and hairdressers could reopen, subject to strict social distancing arrangements

People shopping at The Range in Plymouth. Under the first, ‘red’, phase of the ‘traffic light’ plan, businesses such as garden centres and hairdressers could reopen, subject to strict social distancing arrangements

Call to open garden centres to avoid destroying £200m of seasonal plants

By Helen Cahill, City correspondent for the Mail on Sunday

Britain’s garden centres could reopen almost immediately – with strict social distancing rules – under proposals being considered by Ministers.

Businesses have warned that £200million-worth of seasonal plants will be destroyed if centres are forced to stay closed until June.

That would mean an overall loss of £1.6billion due to the lockdown, so the industry has devised a rescue plan which it sent to officials two weeks ago.

It details how the UK’s 2,000 garden centres could open their doors for the rest of the crucial spring and summer season without putting customers and staff at risk. The three month period between April and June is the equivalent of Christmas for the horticulture industry.

Ready to sell: Plants waiting for gardeners at a centre in Essex. Businesses have warned that £200 million-worth of seasonal plants will be destroyed if centres are forced to stay closed until June

Ready to sell: Plants waiting for gardeners at a centre in Essex. Businesses have warned that £200 million-worth of seasonal plants will be destroyed if centres are forced to stay closed until June

Ready to sell: Plants waiting for gardeners at a centre in Essex. Businesses have warned that £200 million-worth of seasonal plants will be destroyed if centres are forced to stay closed until June

Garden centre bosses insist they could shift stock quickly and start paying suppliers if the Government approves the new arrangements, which would allow the public to buy plants, essential gardening equipment and pet care products that are being sold elsewhere in stores that stayed open.

Restaurants, cafes and areas selling non-plant products in the complexes would remain closed.

Under the plans, customers would only be able to use car parks in limited numbers, with an empty space left between each parked vehicle.

Entry to the centres would be strictly controlled, with one-way walking, one customer for every 1,000 sq ft of floor space and tape marks on the floor to enforce social distancing. Perspex screens would protect staff and trolleys would be disinfected regularly.

Sarah Squire, chairman of major chain Squires, said: ‘The timing could not be worse for our sector. It’s all about the spring for us, and if we can catch a little bit of that, it would make a very big difference.

‘We make 40 per cent of our annual takings from the middle of March to the end of June. So you don’t need a degree in economics to know that for the rest of the year it will be difficult for us.

‘You need to make your profits in the spring to carry the business through the rest of the year.’

Simon Burke, chairman of the country’s second-largest garden chain, Blue Diamond, said: ‘If the summer bedding plants aren’t sold between now and the end of June, they are dead.

‘Obviously there is absolutely no room for compromise on safety. But garden centres are large spaces so customers could come in and keep their distance, much more so than they would in an average food store, where the aisles are not very wide.’

Boyd Douglas Davies, president of the Horticultural Trade Association, warned that unless action was taken promptly, millions of plants would be heading towards compost heaps instead of gardens.

He added: ‘This is a quick and easy way for the Government to give something back to the public. If you’re asking them to stay at home for a long time, give them something to do in their garden.’

A sign in front of closed gates at Squire's Garden Centre in Farnham, Surrey, during the lockdown. Garden centre bosses insist they could shift stock quickly and start paying suppliers if the Government approves the new arrangements (file photo)

A sign in front of closed gates at Squire's Garden Centre in Farnham, Surrey, during the lockdown. Garden centre bosses insist they could shift stock quickly and start paying suppliers if the Government approves the new arrangements (file photo)

A sign in front of closed gates at Squire’s Garden Centre in Farnham, Surrey, during the lockdown. Garden centre bosses insist they could shift stock quickly and start paying suppliers if the Government approves the new arrangements (file photo)

The garden centres have missed out on much of the sales they would normally generate from spring plants but bosses are hopeful that they could avoid more serious financial pain if they are allowed to offload stocks of summer plants.

It is thought that independent nurseries that supply the larger stores could be worst hit, as some of them make up to 80 per cent of their yearly sales at this time.

In signs of a Government strategy shift, B&Q has been allowed to open 14 stores to trial new social distancing measures. Since the lockdown, DIY stores have been allowed only to sell items for emergency repairs through click and collect services.

They have been told to narrow their ranges to stop shoppers from buying items that could let them start a home improvement project or any home decoration.

Shoppers order online and drive to stores, where supplies are loaded into the boot of the car by staff.

But industry representatives said the rules should be relaxed so shoppers could start projects without fear of judgment.

Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the British Independent Retail Association, said: ‘We do know from our members who run hardware stores that there has been a huge demand for DIY products, especially paint, and most of them have chosen to stay open.

‘There is a sense that if you are asking people to stay at home and don’t want them to go stir crazy, then they should be allowed to do something in the house whether it’s DIY, painting or gardening.

‘Some of our members are taking to delivering their stock and people are very happy to receive stuff at home. It helps lift the national spirit to have something to do.’

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said previously that the Government ‘would keep the policy under review and guidance will be updated as required’.

BBC signs up Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker, Manchester City star Sergio Aguero and 1D’s Liam Payne to teach children through huge new homeschooling initiative

by Joanna Crawley for MailOnline

The BBC have signed up a huge host of stars from the world of TV, sport and music to become tutors for its new homeschooling initiative.

Bitesize Daily will feature lessons from Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker, Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero and One Direction’s Liam Payne, to help parents to educate their children at home as the UK lockdown continues.

Content will be available on TV and online from Monday, when pupils would ordinarily return to classrooms after the Easter holidays, and will continue for 14 days.

New role: The BBC have signed up a huge host of stars from the world of TV, sport and music to become tutors for its new homeschooling initiative, including Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker

New role: The BBC have signed up a huge host of stars from the world of TV, sport and music to become tutors for its new homeschooling initiative, including Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker

New role: The BBC have signed up a huge host of stars from the world of TV, sport and music to become tutors for its new homeschooling initiative, including Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker

Sergio Aguero will swap sport for virtual Spanish lessons, while Liam will help children with their reading skills using his own lyrics as part of a Big Read event.

Professor Brian Cox will also contribute while BBC Radio 4 will be offering short history lessons with Horrible Histories’ Greg Jenner as well as introductions to key literary texts from the GCSE and A level syllabuses.

Ageuro said of his new signing: ‘It’s a tough time for children at the moment, and also for parents trying to keep them focussed on their education from home.

‘The BBC are doing brilliant work to help and I’m honoured to be able to play a part.’

Headed to the classroom: Bitesize Daily will feature Spanish lessons from Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero

Headed to the classroom: Bitesize Daily will feature Spanish lessons from Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero

Headed to the classroom: Bitesize Daily will feature Spanish lessons from Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero

Talent: Singer Liam Payne will help children with their reading skills using his own lyrics as part of a Big Read event

Talent: Singer Liam Payne will help children with their reading skills using his own lyrics as part of a Big Read event

Talent: Singer Liam Payne will help children with their reading skills using his own lyrics as part of a Big Read event

Alice Webb, director for BBC Children’s, told The Telegraph: ‘We’re proud that the BBC can bring together so many people and partners to offer such a wide-ranging package of support to help children and parents right across the UK at such a challenging time.

‘It’s vital that every child is able to continue learning, and the lessons we’ve created will make sure they have fun at the same time.’

A host of stars have already been helping parents with homeschooling over the past month.

Joe Wicks has scored thousands of viewers daily for his P.E Lessons – half hour workouts for the whole family which are streamed live on YouTube Monday to Friday.

Meanwhile singer and radio star Myleene Klass has put her musical background to good use, providing twice weekly music classes online as well as a lullaby session for babies.

Skills: Professor Brian Cox will also contribute while BBC Radio 4 will be offering short history lessons with Horrible Histories' Greg Jenner

Skills: Professor Brian Cox will also contribute while BBC Radio 4 will be offering short history lessons with Horrible Histories' Greg Jenner

Skills: Professor Brian Cox will also contribute while BBC Radio 4 will be offering short history lessons with Horrible Histories’ Greg Jenner

When this is over, we must give our most vulnerable the dignity they deserve – AND reward the heroes who give them such devoted care

By Sir Keir Starmer for the Mail on Sunday

Two weeks ago, when I was elected Labour leader, I made a promise to the British people that under my leadership my party will act in the national interest, help steer us through these difficult times and strive for the good of our country. I meant it.

The coronavirus pandemic is the biggest challenge we have faced in a generation. It is a health crisis, an economic crisis and – for many – a personal crisis. Behind every death is a family that has been shaken to its core.

At this time of national crisis, Labour’s duty – my duty – is to support the national effort to save lives and protect livelihoods.

That’s why I supported the Government’s decision to introduce the lockdown and why I backed last week’s decision to extend it for another three weeks.

The lockdown is extremely difficult for all of us. There is no doubt about that. But it is necessary to defeat the coronavirus and the Government can be assured of my support on that.

Equally, my duty is to call the Government out when I believe mistakes are being made, when decisions are being taken too slowly or when the most vulnerable are not being heard. The purpose of this challenge is not to score party political points but to ensure mistakes are rectified and progress is speeded up.

In that spirit, we all have to accept mistakes have been made. I fully accept that any government would find this situation challenging. But the Government was too slow to enter the lockdown. It has been too slow to increase the number of people being tested. It has been too slow in getting NHS staff the critical equipment they need to keep them safe.

We must ensure that these errors are not repeated.

And this week has exposed how the Government has been too slow to respond to the growing emergency in our social care services.

We have all heard the harrowing stories of the virus spreading through care homes, relatives unable to say their last goodbyes and staff poorly paid, equipped and protected to provide essential care. Ministers have promised action – that is welcome – but it needs to go further and faster.

First, our carers need to be kept safe. We have all been struck by the extraordinary service and dedication of our key workers during this pandemic. They are the best of us. These are people who are quite literally putting their lives on the line to care for our loved ones. But too many of them are being left exposed because of shortages of personal protection equipment (PPE).

The Government says it is doing everything it can to supply equipment. I do not doubt its sincerity. However, there is a mismatch between the statements coming out of Downing Street and the realities for staff on the ground. That needs to come to an end, and fast.

Second, we need more information. The crisis in our care homes has gone unheard for too long, in part because we do not know the full scale of the problem. That is why we urgently need Ministers to publish daily figures on the number of deaths in care homes. That is the only way we are going to know who has fallen victim to the virus, how fast it is spreading and the scale of response that is needed.

Third, testing, testing and more testing. Matt Hancock’s announcement that all care home residents and staff with symptoms would be tested is welcome.

But many of us will be asking why on earth was this not done sooner? A council leader I spoke to last week told me that of its 5,000 social care workers, only ten had been tested. That is astonishing.

As other countries have proven, testing is a vital weapon in our armoury to contain the infection and it will be central to any strategy to lift the lockdown.

Ministers promised 25,000 tests a day by mid-April, but that target was missed. Now they are promising 100,000 by the end of the month. They are unlikely to meet that target.

Many care homes are feeling overwhelmed, particularly those with an outbreak of the virus. I have spoken to care workers who are concerned about looking after coronavirus patients who have been discharged from hospital, because of the infection risk. The Government should ensure that where there is capacity at the new NHS Nightingale hospitals, it is made available for those who need it most, including care home residents.

Finally, we need a clear plan for what comes next.

The lockdown has been extended and I support that. But we need to have clarity about what is going to happen next.

Other countries have begun to set out a roadmap to lift restrictions in certain sectors of the economy and for certain services, especially social care, when the time is right. This of course must be done in a careful, considered way with public health, scientific evidence and the safety of workers and families at its heart. But the UK Government should be doing likewise.

We also need to make the case for a better, fairer society. Every week, we stand at our doorsteps to clap for our carers. We do so with pride, gratitude and a deep sense of national unity and purpose.

But, when we get through this – and we will get through this – we cannot return to business as usual. For too long, social care has been neglected. Our care workers left underpaid and undervalued. Our relatives denied the dignity they deserve at the end of their life.

We need a new settlement for social care. We can’t have another decade of this being thought ‘too difficult’ for politicians to solve.

We must go forward with the ambition and determination for a better society that puts dignity and respect at the heart of how we care for the most vulnerable – and how we properly reward our key workers and those who work in our public services.

That is how we can repay the debt we owe to all of those who have sacrificed so much during this crisis. That is how we can rebuild the better society the British people deserve. That is what I am determined to deliver.

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