World News

Price of NHS dental treatments to rise by up to £13 post-lockdown

Dental treatments like crowns and root canals look set to be made more expensive as prices are hiked by £13.

Standard operations such as dentures and removing teeth will be made more expensive as NHS dental charges are set to surge by 5%.

The changes were set to be enforced on April 1 but were pushed back due to the pandemic, The Sun reported.

But the increases will take hold from December 14 meaning patients have just two weeks to avoid the extra charge.

Experts estimate that nearly 19 million dental appointments have been missed this year due to coronavirus.

Under the new prices, a routine check-up will increase by £1.10 from £22.70 to £23.80.

Treatments such as root canals or removing teeth will rise by £3.10 from £62.10 to £65.20.

Meanwhile, more complex procedures like crowns, dentures and bridges rise by £13.50 from £269.30 to £282.80.

Dentists have since fumed that health professionals are "not tax collectors" as they fear expensive procedures will put patients on.

  • Police break up illegal rave after 20 revellers found partying inside locked nightclub

Speaking To The Sun, Dave Cottam, Chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice, said: "This inflation-busting hike won’t put an extra penny into a service in crisis, or help millions currently unable to get an appointment.

"We’ve appealed to the government for support to bring down the backlogs. Sadly this short-sighted approach will only give lower-income, higher-risk patients more reasons not to attend."

It comes after the BDA warned that practices are operating at a fraction of their usual capacity.

  • Nearly 2,500 coronavirus deaths in 1 week in England and Wales – highest since May

Hundreds of dentists could be forced to close in the next year without extra support, according to reports, as patients avoid sitting in the chair.

Coronavirus regulations mean dentists have had to reduce the numbers they treat in order to clean the surgery between patients to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus.

NHS data shows 19 million fewer treatments – which includes both appointments for emergency treatment and check-ups – were offered in England between March and October in 2020, compared to 2019.

The BDA previously warned that the reduction in the number of patients seen, paired with the closing of dentists, could have a dramatic impact on patients' oral health.

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World News

Thirteen schools close after ‘super-spreader’ parties cause rise in Covid cases

More than a dozen schools are being forced to close following a number of "super-spreading" parties.

Council bosses fumed home to parents that a “significant” number of positive coronavirus cases had developed in Cadigan, Wales.

And a “very high" number of contacts are now waiting for test results after developing symptoms, Wales Online reported.

According to a letter sent home, Meinir Ebbsworth, chief education officer at Ceredigion Council, said she was “extremely concerned” at soaring numbers.

As a result of super-spraying parties and gatherings 13 schools will have to close to contain the virus.

Cases were described as the result of "actions of the community" and not those of local schools.

Council bosses begged residents to follow the rules to stop the virus from ravaging through the area.

The joint letter, written by Ms Ebbsworth and local headteacher Donna Hanley, said: "Schools have worked tirelessly to keep your children safe. These cases are linked to the actions of the community and not to the actions of local schools.

"There is overwhelming evidence that the speed and spread of the virus in the Cardigan area means that immediate action is needed."

  • Time of Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement – and what he may say about Christmas

All schools in Cardigan will now close for two weeks due to the rocketing numbers.

The council said in a statement: “We are now seeing the virus spreading in our communities, several of which can be traced back to super spreader events such as parties and social gatherings.

“This kind of behaviour is totally irresponsible and is putting the health of our loved ones at risk, is having a direct impact on the education of our children and is putting pressure on the NHS.”

According to the latest figures released on Sunday, November 22, Ceredigion had 100.4 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 population in the week to November 19.

That's compared with the figure released seven days previously which was 70.2, a total that was falling at the time.

Council bosses have closed seven schools in Cardigan, and a further five in Pembrokeshire, according to reports.

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World News

Covid-fearing mum ‘threatened with court’ after taking daughter out of school

A "terrified" mum has reportedly been threatened with a court appearance after she removed her daughter from class due to coronavirus.

Jennie O'Neill, 32, does not believe her daughter's school, Kingswood Academy, is safe from Covid-19 and pulled the 12-year-old out of class after she was sent to detention with other pupils who are not in her Year Seven bubble.

Miss O'Neill claims a teacher accused her of depriving her daughter Olivia of "an education" in a phone row where she was also threatened with court action.

She told HullLive her daughter had "started panicking" after she was in "detention with three other year groups".

Jennie said: "I took her out on Monday, simply because the week before my daughter had brought it up to me that she didn’t feel safe.

"She’s not one to panic but she started panicking as she was in detention with three other year groups.

"The school rang me up, spouting off loads of stuff. They said they were in the same room, but because it's huge they do not go near each other, and socially distance. I don’t know the exact rules but I don’t think they should even be in the same area."

During the tense phone call, the school said they would like Olivia to be in their care from 7.30am to 3pm every weekday and Jennie says she has been "bombarded" with visits from an "attendance officer" ever since.

She said: "I said on Friday: 'I do not want to send her back to school, I don’t think you’re protecting her, you chuck them all out at 3pm so they all leave together and they all arrive together, it's mixing bubbles.'

"They said they would like Olivia back. They said by law Olivia should be in their care from 7.30am until 3pm every day, and because she’s not, I’m depriving her of an education, even though I've done nothing but ask for work.

"She was being very forceful and speaking to me like I was stupid, told me I’m depriving my child of an education even though I asked her if my daughter could have work sent daily and they’ve refused totally."

  • Gyms, hairdressers and beauty salons set to reopen in England from December 2

A member of staff also allegedly told Jennie she will be fined and could even face prosecution if Olivia does not return to school.

She said: "She repeated herself that there will be fines, possibly prosecution. I said 'what do you mean?' and she said 'you will end up in court'.

"I said 'well since as we're in Hull, with the highest rates of coronavirus with lots of parents doing the same thing, that will be a lot of paperwork for the court won't it?

"The attendance officer turns up at your house every day.

"I knew the school did that in normal circumstances, but I didn't think they would after telling them that we want to isolate and don’t want to be bothered. He didn't even have a mask on."

Jennie said she has been made to "feel bad" for protecting her child and fears the virus could even be passed along to her down syndrome brother.

She added: "And when I said we don't want people at our door. We don't leave the house. She said 'well how do you get your shopping?'. I said 'delivered by Asda every week, not that it's any of your business'.

"I've never felt so bad for trying to protect my child.

"I said what if Covid gets passed to my down syndrome brother and he ends up with it and passes away? You still gonna tell me the school's safe?"

The Daily Star has approached Kingswood Academy for comment.

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World News

Christmas shopping saved as ‘all stores to reopen regardless of tier’ in 10 days

Christmas shopping in England looks like being saved as all stores will be allowed to open December 2 no matter what coronavirus lockdown tier they are place into.

England will enter a new three-tiered system of local coronavirus measure when the national lockdown ends which is set to be even stricter than the previous one.

Despite tougher restrictions, the Prime Minister is expected to announce that all shops can now remain open, the Mail on Sunday reports.

During England's lockdown which kicked in on November 5, non-essential businesses have been forced shut but it is looking like all will be able to open their doors next month.

The news will give a welcome boost to traders who have already missed out on early Christmas gift shopping, as it will for the parents to fill stockings.

However, in areas with the highest infection rates, bookmakers and so-called 'wet pubs' that do not serve food may be required to remain closed.

Boris Johnson is set to announce the revised three-tier system for Christmas coronavirus restrictions.

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.

He is expected to announce the winter plan which will reveal how people celebrate Christmas with their loved ones.

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."

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World News

Two wedding venues fined and shut down for hosting illegal parties in lockdown

Two London venues have been fined and ordered to close for three months after hosting illegal weddings during lockdown.

The Milan Palace and Tudor Rose in Southall have both had their licenses suspended after a hearing in front of the Ealing License Committee.

Both venues, which neighbour each other in the west London suburb, were brought before the committee following joint action by Ealing Council and the Metropolitan Police.

The committee heard that in September and October both venues flouted the UK's coronavirus social distancing restrictions by continuing to host events as normal.

Both have now been ordered to close down entirely for the next three months.

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The Tudor Rose was fined £1,000 for one breach, while the Milan Palace was fined approximately £7,000 for three separate breaches. These took place between Friday, September 25 and Sunday, October 18.

One of the events at the Milan Palace had as many as 150 people in attendance. Police were filmed breaking up the party and the footage was posted to social media.

Meanwhile, more than 60 people attended an illegal gathering at the Tudor Rose.

Chief Superintendent Pete Gardner, West Area policing commander, said: "The brazen actions of these neighbouring venues were completely selfish – they deserve to have their license temporarily stripped for putting their community at risk.

"Likewise, their attempts to ignore the rules shows utter contempt for the thousands of legitimate businesses across London who have made excellent efforts to keep their business Covid secure.

"This action alongside Ealing Council should be seen as a warning to those other businesses who flout the rules. Repeated breaches will result in escalated enforcement, which could potentially see licenses being revoked."

Police Sergeant Guy Rooney said: "I visited both these venues on multiple occasions to warn them that their actions were in breach of the regulations and could result in enforcement.

"However, they took blatant steps to ignore my instructions, continuing to hold weddings and other ceremonies.

"It is deeply frustrating to see such a total disregard for the rules, which the vast majority of businesses and Londoners are following to help keep this deadly virus at bay."

Councillor Joanna Camadoo-Rothwell, Ealing Council cabinet member for community safety and inclusion, said: "Enforcement action will be taken against businesses that do not follow the restrictions placed on them.

"We all have a responsibility for ensuring we follow the Covid-19 restrictions and work together to ensure the safety of ourselves and others. We will not hesitate in taking appropriate action against those that flout the regulations."

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World News

Covid rules stop angry dad buying tiramisu after 8pm as it contains booze

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A dad-of-two has been left fuming after he was stopped from buying a tiramisu after 8pm due to coronavirus rules, because it contains booze.

Gavin Ferris from Belfast attempted to purchase the dessert at a Lidl store on Wednesday, when he was told he couldn't.

The dad went to the store to pick up some bits for his family and decided to get the treat.

However, when he got to the till, he was told it could not be sold to him because it was after 8pm and it contained alcohol.

The current coronavirus restrictions in Northern Ireland ban supermarkets from selling alcohol after 8pm, reports Belfast Live.

Speaking to Belfast Live, the dad-of-two said it was a "very weird" situation and he was left perplexed when he was told why he couldn't buy his favourite treat.

"I was just getting the usual stuff and thought I would treat myself, I just had a hankering for one and threw it in," said Gavin, an instrumental guitar player who is part of the band String Ninjas.

"I didn't think anything of it, it is something so silly I would never have expected to be told I couldn't buy it.

"The woman at the till, her face kind of fell and she had to tell me she couldn't put it through. She said they can't sell liqueur chocolates either."

A traditional tiramisu is made with sweet Marsala wine, some use liquors such as Baileys, Tia Maria or Disaronno, and according to a 2018 study by vehicle leasing firm All Car Leasing, eating two family sized tiramisus could put you over the drink driving limit.

  • Gin Christmas crackers now exist so you can toast festivities with a G&T

"I just said what's next, stopping people buying stew that has red wine? I doubt you'll get people running in to get their red wine stew and tiramisu for a party," he said.

"It was just so strange.

"Apparently their tills are set up that at 8pm, whatever way it works, it automatically changes over and you cannot buy [those items]," added Gavin, whose band String Ninjas has started a podcast of the same name on Patreon while live gigging is banned under the current restrictions.

On October 16, Stormont brought in new restrictions across Northern Ireland as part of a circuit breaker to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The restrictions also included banning supermarkets from selling alcohol after 8pm.

It is not clear when the restriction on supermarkets selling alcohol will be lifted.

In a statement, Lidl said: "At Lidl Northern Ireland, the health and safety of our customers and communities is of the utmost importance to us and we continue to follow the advice of the Northern Ireland Executive in this regard.

"We are aware of an issue in which a customer was unable to purchase a dessert product containing alcohol in one of our Belfast stores on 18/11/2020 after 8pm. We are currently looking into this and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

"During these unprecedented times, Lidl Northern Ireland is working hard to continually adapt our processes in line with changing public health guidelines and we thank our customers for their continued patience and understanding."

  • Coronavirus
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World News

Police can issue £10k Covid ‘super fines’ again amid fears of court challenges

Police forces can return to handing out £10,000 "super fines" to lockdown rule-breakers after an apparent U-turn.

Confusion mounted after the penalties for people who broke the rules on gatherings were briefly suspended by police chiefs in England and Wales last Friday.

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) reportedly issued guidance recommending officers issue court summons instead of a fixed penalty notice (FPN).

This was because of the potential disparity in punishment between people who accept the notice compared to those who challenged them in court.

The fines are means-tested in court, meaning people can end up paying a lot less than those who accept the FPN and agree to hand over the full amount within 28 days.

But the fact the fines – introduced in September to punish organisers of raves and other mass gatherings of more than 30 people – had been halted only emerged on Tuesday.

Labour's West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson blasted the situation as "deeply embarrassing".

He accused the Government of failing to provide the police with "workable Covid legislation".

The NPCC said in a statement on Tuesday it was "working urgently" with ministers to solve the issue.

  • Coronavirus death toll in UK rises by 598 in biggest jump since May

Within two hours, the Home Office said it anticipated all forces would start handing out super-fines again by Wednesday.

The Home Office said it was "working with forces to ensure people are fully aware of their options when faced with a fixed penalty notice".

A spokesman added: "If someone chooses not to pay their fixed penalty notice, the matter may be considered by a court and the individual could be subject to a criminal conviction."

The NPCC said it had resolved the issue by agreeing anyone issued with the super fine notice will be made fully aware of the right to fight it in court "to ensure fairness".

West Midlands' chief constable David Thompson, the NPCC’s finance lead, said it was the £10,000 amount that had sparked concern among police bosses.

He said the force had employed a "very tight policy" around issuing the "substantial" super-fines, with 13 handed out so far.

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World News

Schoolgirl banned from wearing jumper as school opens all windows in pandemic

A chilly schoolgirl has been banned from wearing a jumper at school despite new coronavirus prevention measures seeing all the windows left open.

Stoke Damerel Community College now regularly keeps its windows and doors open to keep air circulating freely in class to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

One mum says her daughter Mia was left feeling cold all the time so provided her child with a long sleeved pain black jumper to wear.

Unfortunately, that’s against the school’s uniform regulations.

The college’s executive principal, Anita Frier, explained that Mia had other options when it came to keeping warm.

She told Plymouth Live : "Our college has a school uniform policy, which includes a short sleeved shirt or long sleeved shirt, sleeveless jumper and a blazer. The student has chosen to wear a short-sleeved shirt.

"She chooses not to wear her blazer on some days. When she attended school wearing a jumper which was not part of the school uniform, she was asked not to wear it. We suggested she could wear a garment beneath her shirt and advised her to wear her blazer if she felt cold.

“[on November 11] the student asked our Head of Year 11 what would happen if she refused to remove the jumper, and was advised that ignoring instruction is against the school’s behaviour policies."

  • Schools could open on Saturdays to help kids catch up as coronavirus cases rise

But Mia's distressed mum fears the stress of it all could hamper her daughter's education.

She said she has GCSE exams coming up, with her first exam this December.

The worried parent said: "As you can imagine, it's quite icy cold most days and the children are being left absolutely freezing. They're allowed to keep their blazers on.”

"The schools do offer black jumpers, but they're sleeveless."

She continued: ”We provided my daughter with a long-sleeved, plain black, knitted v-neck school jumper which the school have banned her from wearing, as it's not one of their own.

"She's been told if she doesn't remove the jumper and comply, she'll have to be put into isolation which could then lead to her being excluded.”

Stressing that the sweater is completely plain, she added: "She's going to lose valuable learning time, she's in Year 11 and has her exams in six months' time so I don't want that to happen. "

She said that Mia's having trouble concentrating on her lessons because she's "absolutely freezing".

"She's very petite, she's the size of a 12-year-old really, and she does feel the cold," Mia added.

"I understand the Covid-19 measures have to be in place for everyone's safety, but really they should be more concerned with the welfare of the children over their policies."

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Brits could spend Christmas abroad as govt considers cutting Covid quarantine

Hopes have been raised for Brits wishing to spend Christmas abroad as the government plans to relax the current 14-day coronavirus quarantine.

Millions of families may be able to pack their bags for the festive season, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirming the government is due to shortly announce a new regime of Covid-19 testing to allow airport and airlines to get Britain flying again.

It would shorten the quarantine time, possibly to as little as five days.

Mr Shapps said: "It's true that we think now with the capacity on testing, and in particular the ability of the private sector to provide tests for people who have travelled, on the basis that people would pay them, would open up the way to help to get air travel going again once we are out of this lockdown…and safely.

"If we can shorten the quarantine, or the self-isolation, in return for a test after a number of days, then absolutely that is what we want to do and I will be saying more about this very shortly."

When asked by LBC presenter Nick Ferrari whether this meant people would be able to go on foreign holidays this Christmas, Mr Shapps replied: "Yes, of course, I do hope that is the case.

"We set up a global travel taskforce, we have been working on this with the industry, with the scientific advisers, and we are very close to conclusions on that which we will be able to announce very, very quickly."

England's second national lockdown is due to end on Wednesday, December 2.

  • Dying mum-of-six denied final goodbye from half her kids but pet dog allowed

There is currently a mandatory 14-day quarantine in place for anyone entering England, except if they are coming from a country on the official travel corridor list.

Countries can be added to and removed from the list at short notice.

The travel taskforce is believed to have examined whether the quarantine time can be slashed to seven days, or possibly even five.

Mr Shapps made it clear the move depended on the state of the pandemic in the UK, with "very worrying" figures showing a record number of daily cases and a growing number of daily deaths.

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Packed football stadiums and gigs could return with 90-day Covid ‘freedom pass’

A freedom pass lasting three months could get Covid survivors back to football matches and gigs.

Downing Street adviser Sir John Bell has suggested that after self-isolating for 14 days, recovered patients would be covered for a proposed 90-day window to do whatever they want.

The University of Oxford professor urged the Commons Science Committee to bring in the policy to "reopen society" and get key sectors back on their feet.

Football stadiums could open their turnstiles to fans for the first time since March, as could concert venues to allow the ailing events industry to get on the road to recovery.

The expert who is part of the UK Vaccine Taskforce but not SAGE, said the scheme would encourage people to get tested than avoiding them.

It would also mean people within a patient's bubble could avoid quarantining altogether.

Sir John said the current two-week isolation system for people who come into contact with someone who's been infected is "massively ineffective".

Instead, only those who are positive should have to quarantine, he argues.

The only to ensure its works safely though is to implement a rapid pregnancy-style testing every couple of days.

The freedom pass also assumes that those who test positive have antibodies for three months.

He said: "We are living in a world where we need to reopen society back up again and we need a structure to do that.

"And at the moment we don’t have that structure because the whole philosophy has ‘let’s beat them up with a stick’ rather than 'let’s give them a carrot’."

This week, US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced trials showed its vaccine – developed alongside German partner BioNTech – was 90 percent effective, with Britain having bought enough doses to vaccinate 20 million people.

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