UK coronavirus LIVE: ‘Difficult New Year’ ahead as hospital staff face Covid ‘burnout’

B

ritons face a challenging start to 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic continues to “run rampant in our communities,” the UK’s chief medical officers have warned. Yesterday saw a new record high of 55,892 daily Covid-19 cases across Britain – the highest since mass testing began in late May – as the official death toll rose by 964. Meanwhile, a senior medic has warned emergency healthcare staff working at Covid “battle stations” are at serious risk of “burnout”.

Key Points

  • Senior medic warns of burnout fears for NHS staff at Covid ‘battle stations’
  • Metropolitan Police attended calls to 58 unlicensed music events and parties in breach of Tier 4 rules across London overnight
  • Norway lifts UK’s Covid-19 travel ban from Saturday
  • Sir Tom Jones reveals he has received the vaccine

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Turkey identifies 15 people with mutant virus

Turkey has identified 15 people infected with a highly contagious coronavirus variant that was discovered in the United Kingdom, the country’s health minister said.

In a statement, health minister Fahrettin Koca said the strain was found in travellers arriving from the UK. They are in quarantine, along with people they had been in contact with, he said. The minister said the strain was not identified in passengers from elsewhere.

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11 deaths from Covid-19 in Ireland

There have been 11 deaths related to Covid-19 in Ireland and an additional 1,754 cases reported in the past 24 hours.

As of 2pm on Friday, 504 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, of which 47 are in ICU. There have been 46 additional hospital admissions in the past 24 hours. Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has warned that the health service will be unable to cope with the level of cases.

He said: “The most concerning trend at present is the rapidly increasing number of people being admitted to hospital – we are now admitting between 50-70 people a day to our hospital system.”

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Graffiti in Northern Ireland warns people to wear a mask

A man wearing a face covering walks past graffiti on the Lower Newtownards Road in Belfast with a message reading ‘Wear a mask, it hasn’t gone away you know’. 

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420 deaths in England with Covid-19

A further 420 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 50,668, NHS England said on Friday. Patients were aged between eight and 100. All except 12, aged between 55 and 90, had known underlying health conditions.

The deaths were between November 24 and December 31. There were 39 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

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‘Paramedics should be vaccine priority’

David Davis, a spokesman for the College of Paramedics, said ambulance workers should be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine. He told BBC Radio 4’s PM: “The bit that is really worrying for us is that quite often these paramedics and other ambulance staff are in the back of these ambulances with patients with Covid, with very high levels of viral load, and the risk to them is also extremely high.

“We need to protect the staff we’ve got and that’s why the college is calling on the Government to make sure we can access vaccination for ambulance service staff who are there at the front line in those ambulances with patients who are terribly poorly with Covid. “We’re very hopeful that with the AstraZeneca vaccine being made available, that this can start on Monday and that we can get through this really important group of staff as soon as possible.”

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Graph shows spike in UK Covid-19 cases

People need to follow guidance on hand washing, social distancing and face coverings to stop the “entirely preventable” spread of coronavirus, a senior medic has warned. Adrian Boyle, vice-president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said staff are tired, feel helpless and at risk of burnout.

Dr Boyle said: “We are worried about staff burnout, staff are tired, they have worked really hard over the summer, they have put up with a lot of disruption. “This time people are frustrated, this is now an entirely preventable disease, we know what we did in spring made a lot of this go away. There’s also now a vaccine.”

UK coronavirus LIVE: ‘Difficult New Year’ ahead as hospital staff face Covid ‘burnout’( Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK. / PA )1609516274

613 more UK deaths reported with Covid-19

The United Kingdom recorded a further 53,285 cases of COVID-19 the fourth day running that it has topped 50,000, and 613 deaths, official data showed.

The rise in cases compares with the 55,892 that were reported on Thursday, while the death tally marks a fall from the 964 reported the day before. Last Friday just 32,725 people tested positive with 570 deaths recorded.

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Irish police raid unlicenced drinking den with pool table

A suspected illegal “shebeen” was raided by Irish police on New Year’s Eve. Gardai executed a search warrant on the suspected shebeen premises operating close to Kildare Town at around 8.30pm on Thursday night.

During their search, gardai found approximately 15 people who were socialising in a shed at the rear end of a house, in contravention of coronavirus guidelines. Pictures of the alleged shebeen showed a pool table, a gambling machine, beer kegs and a tap. Police confiscated the alcohol and have reported the premises to local prosecutors.

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Scotland update: Sturgeon’s concern over ‘worryingly high’ coronavirus cases on first day of 2021

Nicola Sturgeon has raised concern over Scotland’s coronavirus figures being “worryingly high again” on the first day of 2021.

Today’s 2,539 new coronavirus cases come after three consecutive days of Scotland having its highest number of new cases since the pandemic began. The daily Scottish Government figures reported 2,622 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, with 2,045 infections on Wednesday and 1,895 people testing positive on Tuesday. Despite all of mainland Scotland being in the highest tier of restrictions – and warnings to stay at home amid the rising number of cases – police still had to deal with Hogmanay revellers at landmarks including Edinburgh Castle.

In response to the latest figures, the First Minister tweeted: “Today’s case numbers are worryingly high again. The new variant is accelerating spread. “PLEASE do not visit other people’s homes just now, even today – if you first foot someone today, or hug/kiss/handshake them HNY, you are putting yourself, others & the NHS at risk.

“The vaccine cavalry is on way, offering real hope for 2021 – but with this new variant, the next few weeks may be the most dangerous we’ve faced since Mar/April. “We must act together to suppress it, to save lives and protect the NHS. stick with it.” No further deaths were recorded today as the Scottish Government noted register offices were closed over the public holidays, but 68 fatalities were reported yesterday.

That figure brought the death toll in Scotland under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 4,578. Seven Covid-19 deaths had also been recorded between Friday December 25 and Tuesday December 29 – a figure delayed again because of public holiday closures – with a further 43 fatalities reported on Wednesday. As of December 30, there were 1,174 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, with 70 in intensive care.

UK coronavirus LIVE: ‘Difficult New Year’ ahead as hospital staff face Covid ‘burnout’( People watch fireworks on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill / PA )1609511364

More than 10million tuned in for London’s NY fireworks

An average audience of 10.75 million tuned in for last night’s 10-minute display.

That’s slightly down on the 11.18 million viewers who watched the previous year’s extravaganza. 

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