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New nurse uploads pictures to show toll of treating coronavirus patients

A new nurse has revealed the punishing toll of treating coronavirus patients after uploading pictures of herself eight months apart.

In the pre-pandemic snap, the 27-year-old healthcare worker – known only as Kathryn – looks fresh-faced before she graduated, next to recent image of her face scarred by PPE (personal protective equipment) during a weekend shift.

It has since been shared 52,000 times on Twitter, with many saying the photo highlights the strains doctors and nurses battling Covid-19 are facing.

Kathryn, who works at a hospital in the US state of Tennessee, says the worst scar – the wound on her nose – normally disappears just in time for her to begin the next 12-and-a-half-hour shift.

She said: "On Saturday night I was in the middle of a shift, had just come out of a patient's room, and had just taken all my PPE off.

"I had the image in my head of the graduation, and I wanted to show the difference a couple of months can make, and the reality of being a nurse in the pandemic.

"Generally most of the marks fade within a few hours, but the one of my nose disappears just in time for the start of my next shift."

  • Boris Johnson warns Christmas is the season to be 'jolly careful' despite vaccine hopes

The nurse said the hospital experience a surge of coronavirus cases in July, and is now in the middle of another spike.

Kathryn predicts things will get worse around Thanksgiving and Christmas as families and friends meet up, increasing the rate of infection.

She said: "I've resigned myself to the fact that things are going to be at their worst yet in a few weeks, but I just want it to happen now, so we can get it over with.

"We've kind of been in disaster mode, the entire time I've been a nurse. I've no idea what it's like to be a nurse under normal circumstances.

"There’s an antagonism now between doctors, nurses and the general public that there hasn’t been before."

There have been 4,220 deaths in the state of Tennessee and 257,000 deaths in the USA. The worldwide death toll stands at 1.4 million people.

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Boris says Brits could get ‘freedom pass to live normal life’ with Covid test

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The Prime Minister said Brits could get a "freedom pass" for a more "normal life" if they take a coronavirus test and it comes back negative.

Boris Johnson gave given millions of people hope last night and said Brits in Covid-19 hotspots could be allowed to meet with family and friends with the freedom pass.

A mass testing programme will initially be carried out in Tier 3 areas in a bid to tackle the disease and move towards a more normal lifestyle.

If the testing is successful, Brits may be back to normal by Easter, according to The Sun.

Speaking about the coronavirus winter plan, the PM said: “This system is untried. There are many unknowns.

“But if it works, we should be able to offer people who test negative the prospect of greater freedoms – to meet up in certain contexts with others who have tested negative.

“We will give support to those who have tested positive, to help them with isolation.

“But they will know that at the end of their isolation they too will have the prospect of greater freedoms.”

However, despite the announcement, Downing Street advisors say the programme will take time and the plan is still some "way off."

Brits would be given electronic documents to prove they tested negative for the bug.

Using a 15-minute rapid-results test, which is currently being mass-tested in Liverpool, Brits can get swabbed and return to normal life.

Earlier this month it was reported mass testing for coronavirus in Liverpool is having a positive impact after just one day of testing experts suggested.

Liverpool was the first area in England to be plunged into the third tier of the government’s alert levels in the fight against the virus.

Since the tier three order on October 14, the whole of England has been put back into lockdown – with new restrictions blanketing the country since Thursday 5 November.

  • Boris Johnson
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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Boris Johnson CUTS OUT during Covid live stream: MPs mock PM ‘have you pressed the button’

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One MP was left asking if the Prime Minister had “paid the electric” as his connection with the House of Commons cut off on Monday.

It came during the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons as Boris Johnson set out the next stages of the Government’s fight against coronavirus.

The Prime Minister is currently working from home after coming into contact with a colleague who tested positive for the virus.

This is a breaking story…more to follow

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Nicola Sturgeon closes Scottish border to the rest of the UK in Covid-19 battle

Scotland's borders have been closed to people from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Eire.

The extreme measures have been taken by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who has plunged the country in to strict multiple-tiered lockdown measures in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Non-residents will only be allowed in to the country – and vice versa – with a 'reasonable excuse'.

The new rules came into effect from 6pm on Friday and also made it illegal for people from tier three and four areas to leave their local authority unless it is for essential reasons.

Edinburgh Live reports that Scots also aren't allowed to travel to other parts of the UK under the news rules, which could see Brits illegally coming in and out of Scotland hit with a £60 fine.

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The new travel guidance reads: "Under current Scottish regulations, given the state of the epidemic in these countries, unless you have a reasonable excuse (see exceptions) you must not travel between Scotland and England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales.

"This applies to people who live in Scotland and to people who live in any of these countries who are thinking of coming to Scotland."

  • Boris Johnson to unveil Christmas Covid rules tomorrow in TV address

Miss Sturgeon has also encouraged Scots not to take a holiday this year, making it illegal for people to travel out of their tier three or four local authority to travel to an airport.

She said: "I know people have been asking why are we making it against the law depending on where you live to travel to an airport, but not against the law to fly to another country.

  • Child, 2, dies after suffering 'serious injuries' at block of flats as man, 40, arrested

"Just because it's not against the law… does not mean we think it's ok to do it right now.

"This is a global pandemic and it's for that reason that we have in recent months repeatedly advised people not to travel overseas unless its for an essential purpose."

Last month, she plunged Scotland in to a two-week 'circuit breaker' lockdown that banned pubs from opening between 6pm and 6am.

It coincided with the school half-term, and was intended to "apply a brake to the virus for 16 days from Saturday 10 to Sunday 25 October across Scotland".

With Christmas approaching, it is expected that Sturgeon will work alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson to agree to a plan that will allow families to spend time together, even if just for a few days.

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Boris Johnson will reveal government’s Christmas coronavirus plan on TV tomorrow

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Boris Johnson will appear live on television tomorrow to reveal new coronavirus rules for Christmas.

A tougher tier system will be introduced and explained for when England comes out of a national lockdown on December 2 in an attempt to limit Covid-19 infections.

Following months of speculation, the Prime Minister will outline what Brits can and cannot do over the festive period with regards to where we can go and who we can meet.

A so-called four-nation 'truce' will reportedly place those living in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland under the same rules of celebrating with family and friends.

Scientists warned last week that for every day of eased restrictions, it would take up to five days of tough lockdown measures to make up for it.

But Mr Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have emphasised the need to return to a "functioning economy", and a source said: "We've got to get normality back."

The Prime Minister will deliver his speech about a winter plan on Monday via a video link as he continues to self-isolate after being exposed to someone who later tested positive for Covid-19.

The former three-tier structure is likely to be revised and toughened up. It is likely to last until the spring when it is hoped at least one coronavirus vaccine will have been fully rolled out.

His announcement will dash Brits' hopes of a "normal" Christmas this year with the announcement of a tougher tier system from December 2.

As part of the changes, the 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants could be scrapped in England when the coronavirus lockdown is lifted on December 2.

In an attempt to boost the hospitality industry, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is understood to be extend opening hours by another hour, giving punters until 11pm before boozers have to clear out.

  • Boris Johnson
  • Christmas
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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Boris Johnson to ‘kill off normal Christmas hopes’ with new tougher tier system

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to dash Brits' hopes of a "normal" Christmas this year with the announcement of a tougher tier system from December 2.

England will enter a strengthened three-tiered system of local restrictions when the second national lockdown ends on December 2, Downing Street has said.

Boris Johnson is expected to detail his plan for winter, which includes details on how families can see their loved ones at Christmas, to MPs on Monday.

The "Covid winter plan" is expected to place more areas into the higher tiers to keep the virus under control to ensure further restrictions are not needed, No 10 said.

And while some local measures will be the same as those in the previous system, some tiers will be strengthened to safeguard the gains made during the national lockdown.

The Cabinet is expected to discuss and sign off the plan on Sunday before Mr Johnson announces it to Parliament the following day.

This plan will set out how people will be able to spend their Christmas, but ministers have made clear that the festive season will be different to normal, with some restrictions expected to remain in place.

Ministers will set out what tier each area will be placed into on Thursday and MPs are expected to be given the vote to approve the new tiering system, as promised by Mr Johnson, in the days before it comes into force on December 2.

  • Police arrest 24 anti-lockdown protesters chanting 'freedom' as clashes break out

They are optimistic that restrictions can be gradually reduced in the run-up to spring, providing vaccines are approved by regulators, allowing a plan for the rollout to begin next month before a wider programme in the new year.

The plans emerged as the Government announced a further 341 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, bringing the UK total to 54,626.

Labour has so far been supportive of the need for restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19, and a full-scale Commons defeat on the plan is unlikely.

  • Party-goers hit the town in Wales after 'firebreak' lockdown ends as England misses out

But shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds, in a speech ahead of the Downing Street announcement, said the nation could not be allowed to return "to the shambles we had before this lockdown" in calling for "clarity" on economic support.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: "Everyone's efforts during the current national restrictions have helped bring the virus back under control, slowed its spread and eased pressures on the NHS.

"But the Prime Minister and his scientific advisers are clear the virus is still present – and without regional restrictions, it could quickly run out of control again before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect.

"That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made, and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS."

A Labour spokesman said "we will look closely at any proposals the Government brings forward" but called for "proper packages of support" for businesses that are unable to fully reopen.

"The previous system was failing – simply returning to it without other measures in place will not work," he added.

  • Christmas
  • Boris Johnson
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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U.K.’s Boris Johnson criticized after calling Scotland’s political powers a ‘disaster’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called the devolution of powers to Scotland “a disaster”, a comment that played into the hands of Scottish nationalists as recent polls show a majority of Scots now support independence.

The bonds holding the United Kingdom together have been severely strained over the last five years by Brexit, the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and repeated calls by the Scottish National Party (SNP) for a new referendum on independence.

In a video call on Friday with northern English lawmakers from his Conservative Party, Johnson said that devolution, which was introduced by Tony Blair, had been the former Labour prime minister’s “biggest mistake” and “a disaster”, media reported.

He also said he saw no case for giving Scotland’s semi-autonomous government and parliament, which are dominated by the SNP, any further powers in addition to the ones they hold now.

Asked about the comments on Tuesday, Johnson’s spokesman did not deny them but said: “The PM has always fully supported devolution and this government continues to put the union in the heart of everything that we do.

“He will always stand against those trying to separate the United Kingdom. He is very clear that he rejects the SNP’s call to break up the UK.”

But Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, said Johnson’s comments to the lawmakers showed the Conservatives’ public statements of support for devolution were duplicitous.

“Worth bookmarking these PM comments for the next time Tories (Conservatives) say they’re not a threat to the powers of the Scottish Parliament – or, even more incredibly, that they support devolving more powers,” she said on Twitter.

Independence is the only way to protect and strengthen the Scottish parliament, she added.

In a sign of the nervousness that Johnson’s comments caused among Scots who support staying part of the United Kingdom, the Conservative leader in Scotland, Douglas Ross, immediately contradicted the prime minister.

“Devolution has not been a disaster,” he said on Twitter. “The SNP’s non-stop obsession with another referendum – above jobs, schools and everything else – has been a disaster.”

2nd referendum?

Scottish voters rejected independence by 55 to 45 percent in a 2014 referendum, but since then the SNP have become stronger, winning all elections in Scotland by huge margins. They are expected to perform strongly in elections to the Scottish parliament in May. Sturgeon is pushing for a second referendum.

In the 2016 Brexit referendum, England and Wales voted to leave the European Union but Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. Due to the much greater size of England’s population, the overall result was a win for Brexit.

This was galling for many Scots as one of the central arguments put forward in favour of remaining in the United Kingdom in their own 2014 referendum was that it was the only way for Scotland to remain part of the European bloc.

In an attempt to defuse the row caused by Johnson’s comments, housing minister Robert Jenrick said it was not realistic to demand a second referendum.

“Any politician who wanted to hold a referendum on a topic like this, at this moment in time, is frankly mad,” he said, accusing the SNP of prioritising their cause above the fight against COVID-19 and the economic damage it has caused.

However, polls suggest that Scots have a more favourable view of how Sturgeon and her administration have handled the pandemic than the rest of the country has of how Johnson’s government has performed.

SNP lawmaker Drew Henry said Johnson’s comments showed his and his party’s “contempt” for the people of Scotland.

“Effectively what they are saying is it’s alright for Scotland to have devolution as long as they vote for the Westminster party we want them to,” he told the BBC.

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Boris Johnson claims he’s ‘bursting with antibodies’ while in coronavirus self-isolation

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is following through on an order to self-isolate despite being “bursting with antibodies” after recovering from the coronavirus earlier this year.

Johnson, who was seriously ill with the virus in April, insisted in a Twitter video that he feels as “fit as a butcher’s dog” after being contacted by the national test-and-trace system.

Johnson met with a group of Conservative MPs for about 35 minutes on Thursday. One, Lee Anderson, later developed coronavirus symptoms and tested positive.

In the video, Johnson said he had been “pinged” by the test-and-trace network, which has come under scrutiny for its accuracy in alerting infected people’s contacts. Johnson said his notification was evidence the system was working.

He suggested his past COVID-19 diagnosis puts him at a lower risk of catching it again.

“Actually, it doesn’t matter that I’ve had the disease and I’m bursting with antibodies,” he said. “We’ve got to interrupt the spread of the disease and one of the ways we can do that now is by self-isolating when contacted by test and trace.”

While there is a growing body of research suggesting COVID-19 antibodies can be present for months after infection, the World Health Organization and scientists from around the globe have stressed that their presence does not equal immunity to reinfection.

At this point, experts believe known incidences of reinfection to be rare, though there are some examples in the United States and Europe.

Johnson spent about a week in hospital with the disease in April, including three nights in intensive care.

The prime minister’s 14-day self-isolation comes at a difficult moment for his government.

Johnson is due to lead meetings to decide next steps in Britain’s response to the pandemic. This is also a pivotal week for Brexit, as negotiations with the EU reach their final phase.

Britain has recorded nearly 52,000 deaths of people who tested positive for the virus — the highest toll in Europe. As of Nov. 16, there have been more than 1,372,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.K., according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University.

— with files from the Associated Press

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Four coronavirus lockdown options the government could implement for Christmas

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Brits will be desperately thinking ahead to Christmas now as lockdown grips the country.

Restrictions are currently in place stopping millions of households from mixing indoors or out.

The shutdown lasts until December 2, when Boris Johnson plans to return England to the three tier system.

But what will the festive period look like this year?

Government scientists have released modelling that suggests some kind of restrictions will need to be in place throughout December.

And whilst that may seem obvious, the question remains about how stringent these rules will be, Birmingham Mail reports.

Boris Johnson has previously assured the nation that he will try to have Christmas “as normal as possible”.

But without restrictions, Sage warned that coronavirus will spread quickly and infections will peak at the levels we saw in September.

Their report said: “If this is sustained until 2 December, the number of hospital admissions and deaths would be expected to fall until at least the second week of December. The longer-term outlook depends on both the nature of [restrictions] that are implemented in England after 2 December and policies over the festive period."

It adds: “If England returns to the same application of the tiering system in place before 5 November, then transmission will return to the same rate of increase as today.”

Rule of six lifted

One option being touted in the papers is that the rule of six could be lifted on Christmas Day to allow families to spend time together.

A source told The Sun on Sunday: “The PM is anxious to avoid being portrayed as Scrooge.

“He’s fully aware that millions of people are making big sacrifices to defeat this virus and is considering ways to allow them to experience the joy of Christmas for at last part of the holiday season.”

But this would likely have opposition from some scientists as household mixing is a major source of infection spread.

Tiers

It is highly likely that England will be returned to some form of tiered system as it was previously in.

Whether the tiers are exactly the same, or stricter, remains to be seen.

Professor Chris Whitty said previously that the tiers could be more stringent.

He told MPs: “I think that the Prime Minister would probably want us to look at whether there should be variations on exactly the same tiering system, rather than just assuming we would just revert to an absolutely identical one.”

  • England 'to use on-off regional circuit breaker lockdowns' to 'pump the breaks' on Covid

Lockdown

Britons will be hoping that there is not another extension to the lockdown – and legally, it would require another vote.

If the R rate is not sufficiently reversed, there will be questions about whether lockdown needs to be made longer.

MPs in the Commons will have to vote on whether lockdown is extended again. Last time, Boris Johnson’s plan was pushed through by a strong majority as Labour supported it.

However, there were a handful of Tory rebels who believed that a full lockdown was not the answer – so it might be that a third attempt faces a stronger opposition.

Uniform rules

The four nations of the UK all have different rules, despite many people having family across borders.

The four administrations are now planning to look at a joint approach to the Christmas period.

They met in a COBRA meeting on Monday morning, in which they “agreed on the importance of coordinating public messaging, in particular on travel both within the UK and abroad.”

A Cabinet Office spokesman added: “Officials from across the UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive will work together on a joint approach to the Christmas period.”

  • Boris Johnson
  • Christmas
  • Family
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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U.K.’s Boris Johnson self-isolating after contact with coronavirus case

LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuters) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, a fresh setback after infighting among his top advisers plunged Downing Street into chaos last week.

Johnson, who was admitted to intensive care in a London hospital earlier this year with the novel coronavirus, is well and does not have any symptoms, a spokesman for the prime minister said on Sunday.

“He will carry on working from Downing Street, including on leading the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” the spokesman said. “The prime minister will follow the rules and is self-isolating.”

Johnson met lawmakers in Downing Street on Thursday, including Lee Anderson, a Conservative Party member who subsequently developed COVID-19 symptoms and tested positive.

The British leader had been hoping to seize back the initiative after last week’s drama in Downing Street.

Johnson’s office said on Friday that Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s most powerful adviser and a fellow veteran of the Brexit referendum, would stop working for him next month.

Weekend newspapers were full of reports of bitter rows between rival factions in Downing Street that painted a picture of a government in chaos.

In an attempt to show he was not letting the upheaval distract him, his office said Johnson would make a string of “critical announcements” over the next two weeks on issues from green policy to a return to regional COVID-19 rules from Dec. 2.

Johnson has come under pressure from within his party not to extend the economically damaging, four-week coronavirus lockdown that he ordered for England this month.

Downing Street said the prime minister would remain firm in the finale of talks with the European Union over a post-Brexit trade deal and reiterated that he was ready to end Britain’s transition period on Dec. 31 without a trade deal if necessary.

Johnson will agree a one-year public spending plan with his finance minister, Rishi Sunak – to be announced on Nov. 25 – and he will publish this week a plan setting out steps for a “green industrial revolution” to boost green jobs as Britain aims for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the statement said.

(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Timothy Heritage, Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney)

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