Wittily headlined: LES MISÉRABLES, Politico’s London Playbook predict a stampede home this morning as all arrivals from France — where around 500,000 people from the UK are currently thought to be on holiday — will have to isolate for 14 days or face a fine from 4am on Saturday morning.
Find out what you can do if you’ve already booked a break across the Channel. Meanwhile, the mayor of Calais has told Boris Johnson to “calm down” amid suggestions Britain could send warships to patrol French waters for illegal migrants.
More than 1.3m coronavirus tests have been removed from England’s official data because of double counting, raising concerns about the accuracy of the testing figures. The change was announced quietly in the government’s daily coronavirus update on Wednesday, saying that it had reduced the number of “tests made available” by 1,308,071, or about 10%. The changes were made after it was discovered fewer tests had been done outside hospitals than originally reported. Two top economists have warned that easing Covid-19 restrictions too early could trigger a higher death toll and a double-dip recession. Nearly 300 workers at a factory in Northampton that makes sandwiches for M&S have tested positive for the virus.
The exams regulator “must remove bias” from the process used to standardise A-level results in England, the equalities watchdog has warned, after an outcry over figures showing that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were worst hit while private school pupils benefited the most. Ofequal has also been told to allow students to appeal if they feel their grades were unfairly reduced. Education secretary Gavin Williamson admitted that the effect of the algorithm used by Ofequal to assess grades in the absence of exams mean that an “exceptionally high-performing child in a low-performing school” would not get their expected grades. There was also concern that top universities were not being flexible enough in allowing for the impact of downgrades.
Lockdown Lite continues to lightened further across England from Saturday. So those high-tailing it back from France can relax once they’re here at the beauticians and barbers can go ahead. They could even get themselves a facial tattoos, attend a small wedding receptions, a live indoor performances and some small sports events. Bowling alleys, skating rinks, casinos and soft-play centers will also be allowed to open. Who needs France, asks Politico?
But prime minister Boris Johnson is pairing the velvet glove with the iron fist: there are to be tougher punishments for those who flout the rules. In a statement overnight, he said Brits “cannot be complacent,” and laid out harsher penalties for repeat offenders. The maximum fine for refusing to wear a mask will be doubled to £3,200, while those who organise illegal raves face a £10,000 sanction.
Encouraging signs that the continued lightening of lockdown has not had the knock-on effects on virus-spread that was feared. In an overnight press release, the government said previous indications about an increase in infections “now appears to have levelled off.”
We can see that for ourselves when the ONS release their infection rate survey here at midday. Meanwhile, the latest coronavirus surveillance report from Public Health England will be released this afternoon.
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