Hertfordshire farm locks down after 73 workers test positive for Coronavirus

“The entire workforce of a farm in Herefordshire has been quarantined after 73 employees tested positive for coronavirus, leading to concern that a resurgence of cases is imminent. Local authorities told all 200 vegetable pickers and packers at the family-run farm AS Green and Co that they could not leave while widespread testing for staff is arranged. Herefordshire is said to be the first place in the UK to experience an outbreak of this kind, but health officials claim it was “not unexpected” given the close quarters working conditions and “global trend” of large food producers experiencing outbreaks.” – The Times

  • Police guard the exits of vegetable farm – Daily Mail
  • Local lockdowns are being dealt with “swiftly and silently”, says Hancock – Daily Telegraph
  • Over 100 flare-ups are being handled per week – Daily Mail

Hancock: By acting collectively to test and trace, we will keep Covid cornered

“It has been a real thrill to see so many of the experiences that brighten our lives returning to the UK over the past few weeks. First shops, then pubs, haircuts and restaurants, and now we’ve been able to announce that gyms, swimming pools, sports facilities and outdoor theatres will soon be able to open. This careful restoration of our national life has only been possible due to our shared success in slowing the spread of this virus. We protected the NHS in the peak. And now we can take more targeted local action and less national lockdown, to restore the freedom of the majority while controlling the virus wherever we can find it.” – Daily Telegraph


Gove: Wearing a face mask shouldn’t be compulsory

“Michael Gove has spoken out against rules that would make wearing facemasks in shops mandatory, apparently putting himself at odds with government policy. Ministers are considering changes in England within weeks but Mr Gove said “it’s always better to trust people’s common sense”. When asked if face coverings should be compulsory to help to slow the spread of Covid-19, the Cabinet Office minister told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One: “I don’t think mandatory, no.” But he did say that wearing them in enclosed public spaces was “basic good manners, courtesy, consideration” and urged people to do so.” – The Times

  • State-owned factories have capacity to deliver five million face coverings a week – Daily Mail
  • Immunity to Covid-19 may be lost in just a few months – Daily Mail
  • UK has “second-worst record” for healthcare worker deaths – FT
  • Theatres must embrace tech, warns Government cultural commissioner – The Times
  • “Sexist” beauty salon rules mean reopening might not be worth it – Daily Telegraph

Increase in end-of-life cases at care homes

“Almost 8,000 more people than usual have died at home since the start of May, amid warnings that patients are too scared to go to hospital and struggling to get the support they need. Between May 2 and June 26, 18,263 deaths were recorded in private homes, 42 per cent higher than the average over the past five years. Of these deaths, 690 were due to Covid-19. Deaths in hospitals were 2,192 lower than the five-year average, despite almost 9,000 hospital Covid deaths. GPs have written more than double the usual amount of prescriptions for some drugs used in end-of-life care, according to analysis by The Times“. – The Times

  • Coronavirus antibody treatment could protect elderly – The Times
  • Coronavirus survives in the air for more than an hour, says SAGE expert – Daily Telegraph

Government to launch £93 million information campaign today for post-Brexit travel

“Millions of Britons whose passports are due to expire in the next year are being urged to apply for a new one now, as part of a stepping up of efforts to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period. Holidaymakers travelling to popular European destinations from Jan 1 will be required to have six months validity on their travel documents, which is likely to cause a stampede of renewals at UK passport offices. It’s estimated that some five million UK citizens have passports which are valid for less than a year, meaning they should act now in order to travel in the new year. Those who do not renew in time will “not be able to travel to most EU countries” as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Britain risks losing over £731 million of state aid, caution councils – FT

Patel 1) Thugs who assault police or emergency service workers should face longer jail time

“Thugs who assault police or other emergency service workers should face longer in jail, Priti Patel says today. Writing exclusively for the Daily Mail, the Home Secretary reveals details of plans to double the maximum sentence for criminals convicted of attacking 999 staff. She will today launch a review that recommends increasing the maximum jail term to two years, fulfilling a commitment in last year’s Conservative election manifesto. Miss Patel highlights recent shocking cases of disorder in which anarchists hijacked a Black Lives Matter protest in Westminster last month and far-Right thugs went on the rampage. ‘A minority of despicable individuals still seem to think they can treat emergency services workers as punchbags,’ the Home Secretary writes.” – Daily Mail

Patel 2) Home Secretary to detail post-Brexit immigration plans today

“The home secretary is to unveil further detail on the future of immigration in the UK on Monday in an attempt to prepare businesses and organisations for the biggest overhaul of the system in decades. The Home Office has previously revealed the core principles behind the forthcoming points-based system, which is meant to be introduced when the transition period from leaving the European Union ends on 1 January. Under the system, UK borders will be closed to so-called non-skilled workers and applicants will be have to show a greater understanding of English. Applicants must also have a job offer with a minimum salary of £25,600 a year, with a few exceptions. But the most significant change is the end of freedom of movement for EU nationals, who will be treated equally to arrivals from outside the bloc.” – The Guardian

Patel 3) Britain and France join forces to stop Channel illegal migrant crossings

“Priti Patel and her French counterpart have signed an agreement to create a “joint intelligence cell” to tackle migrants crossing the Channel. The home secretary met Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, to discuss intelligence sharing. Yesterday the authorities in France prevented about 200 migrants from crossing the Dover Strait and the Home Office said that Britain intercepted almost as many. A search and rescue operation was launched as Border Force and agencies including the Coastguard and Kent police responded to several incidents off the British coast.” – The Times

  • Foreign crime gang boss wins deportation battle with Home Secretary – Daily Telegraph
  • Closed borders leave 200,000 merchant sailors stuck at sea – The Times

Hunt: We Tories must keep our word – and fix the social care crisis now

“Ending the crisis in social care has been a long-held ambition of those who enter Downing Street from whichever party – and was certainly one of mine as health secretary. But coronavirus has removed any possible excuse for the delay, as it has brutally exposed the fragility of the sector – alongside the bravery and service of those who work in it. As we grasp the nettle of social care reform and prepare for a second wave, we must learn the lessons of recent months. When the peak of the pandemic approached and NHS beds were desperately needed, vulnerable people were discharged from hospitals into care homes without proper testing.” – The Guardian

Johnson “sets up clash with Scotland and Wales over control of state aid”

“Boris Johnson’s government is planning to withhold power to control state aid from the UK’s devolved nations when the Brexit transition ends, in a move that will outrage Scotland and Wales. The state aid proposal, which would give Westminster statutory powers to control policies for the entire UK, is expected to appear in a bill this autumn laying the legal foundations of a new internal market, according to two people familiar with the plans. The legislation would further fuel accusations in Edinburgh and Cardiff — which insist that industrial subsidies are a local matter — of a post-Brexit “power grab” by London.” – FT

Trump aide flies to Europe for Huawei crisis talks

“President Trump’s national security adviser flies into Paris today for talks on China, heaping more pressure on Boris Johnson to strip Huawei from Britain’s 5G network. Robert O’Brien will be in France for three days, during which Sir Mark Sedwill, Britain’s most senior security official, will travel to meet him. The visit comes as the prime minister prepares to chair the National Security Council (NSC) tomorrow where he is expected to finalise a U-turn on Huawei’s participation in the network.” – The Times 

  • UK turns to “Five Eyes” to find Huawei alternative – FT

Karl McCartney, the Tory MP, threatens legal action against Clive Betts of Labour

“It’s a chance for a kickabout to fundraise and let off some steam for those in the Westminster pressure cooker. But now an extraordinary row has erupted over the parliamentary football team after a Tory MP threatened to take legal action against a Labour MP. It comes after Conservative Karl McCartney seized the chairmanship – and with it became captain of the team – when he took over from veteran boss Labour’s Clive Betts in February. He launched a surprise bid for the job and brought several colleagues along and Mr Betts chose not to challenge him. But Labour politicians have cried foul. They are now withholding their support from the team – which needs one Labour MP to survive.” – Daily Mail

Students at British universities should not expect automatic tuition fee refunds

“Students at British universities should not expect automatic tuition fee refunds for disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to MPs, despite complaints from thousands of those affected. The MPs on parliament’s petitions committee said while many students had lost out as a result of campus closures and the switch to remote learning, at least some universities had made “enormous efforts” to provide effective teaching. In a report, the committee concluded: “While students do have a right to seek a refund or to repeat part of their course if the service provided by their university is substandard, we do not believe that there should be a universal refund or reimbursement of tuition fees to all university students.”” – The Guardian