Coronavirus UK: Marshals will be armed with body cameras to catch rule breakers

A snooper army of Covid marshals armed with body cameras will film evidence of breaches of coronavirus restrictions at weddings, parties, pubs and restaurants under new Government guidelines published this week. 

Boris Johnson‘s derided marshals, dubbed ‘Covid Wombles’, will be expected to call police or council inspectors to enforce any breaches at premises they visit.

They will be given a checklist of coronavirus measures to ensure compliance in hospitality venues including pubs, bars, restaurants, takeaways and shops, as well as tourist attractions, ‘close contact services’ including hairdressers and nail bars, and ‘wedding receptions and celebrations’.

The guidance, published by Robert Jenrick‘s Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, suggests the marshals should receive security training and could operate a yellow card system — where they issue two warnings before businesses face fines or closure.

In a move suggesting that there will be confrontations with unhappy members of the public, the guidance also suggests the marshals should be trained in ‘deescalation techniques’.

A snooper army of Covid marshals armed with body cameras will film evidence of breaches of coronavirus restrictions at weddings, parties, pubs and restaurants under new Government guidelines published this week (pictured, a marshal in Cornwall)

Boris Johnson's derided marshals, dubbed 'Covid Wombles', will be expected to call police or council inspectors to enforce any breaches at premises they visit. They will be given a checklist of coronavirus measures to ensure compliance in hospitality venues including pubs, bars, restaurants, takeaways and shops, as well as tourist attractions, 'close contact services' including hairdressers and nail bars, and 'wedding receptions and celebrations'

Boris Johnson’s derided marshals, dubbed ‘Covid Wombles’, will be expected to call police or council inspectors to enforce any breaches at premises they visit. They will be given a checklist of coronavirus measures to ensure compliance in hospitality venues including pubs, bars, restaurants, takeaways and shops, as well as tourist attractions, ‘close contact services’ including hairdressers and nail bars, and ‘wedding receptions and celebrations’

They will encourage social distancing and order members of the public to wear face masks. However, the guidance states their role is ‘not to enforce Covid-19 regulations’, but to ‘engage, explain and encourage best practice and national Covid-19-secure guidance’.

The Covid marshals, who were called ‘busybodies’ by lockdown sceptics when the Government announced the new position, will be expected to prevent mingling between groups in pubs and clubs, and on the streets after the 10pm curfew.

The guidance also states there will be two grades of Covid marshals — Type 2 marshals, which will have a ‘policing’-style role, and Type 1 marshals responsible for the more mundane tasks of directing pedestrians through one-way systems and handing out face coverings.

The Government has given councils £30million to recruit and train the Covid marshals, who should be issued with PPE, high-vis jackets and radio systems, the guidance adds.

Marshals are already a presence on Cornwall’s streets, ensuring people are ‘respecting social distancing.’ They work alongside Cornwall Council’s public protection officers who have been giving support and advice to businesses on reopening safely in towns and villages across Cornwall.

One marshal called Dan said he has been enjoying providing reassurance to some of Camborne’s older residents and getting to know local businesses in the process.

‘So far, most visitors have been really co-operative and do their best to follow the guidelines and respect social distancing,’ he said.

The guidance, published by Robert Jenrick's Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, suggests the marshals should receive security training and could operate a yellow card system ¿ where they issue two warnings before businesses face fines or closure. In a move suggesting that there will be confrontations with unhappy members of the public, the guidance also suggests the marshals should be trained in 'deescalation techniques'

The guidance, published by Robert Jenrick’s Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, suggests the marshals should receive security training and could operate a yellow card system — where they issue two warnings before businesses face fines or closure. In a move suggesting that there will be confrontations with unhappy members of the public, the guidance also suggests the marshals should be trained in ‘deescalation techniques’

‘I especially like helping reassure some of our older residents. I’ve got to know the local businesses and it’s great to know they’re all really keen to do what they can to make their customers and staff feel comfortable.’

Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for the economy, said: ‘The presence of these marshals and our public protection officers play a hugely valuable role in giving a bit of extra help where needed.

‘You can be assured that your safety is top-of-mind at all times, so do say a friendly ‘hi’ (dydh da) when you see them.’ 

It comes amid reports that Boris Johnson will make a Commons statement on Monday setting out new coronavirus outbreak restrictions as reports claim true figure of infections doubled in a week to 45,000 a day. 

The Prime Minister will use the occasion to outline a new ‘tiered’ approach to how local Covid situations will be treated.

His chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister has written to MPs following a meeting with northern leaders on Friday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) will make a Commons statement on Monday setting out new coronavirus outbreak restrictions, it has emerged

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) will make a Commons statement on Monday setting out new coronavirus outbreak restrictions, it has emerged

In a letter shared online, Sir Edward stated that ‘rising incidence’ of Covid in parts of the country mean it is ‘very likely’ that certain local areas will face ‘further restrictions’.

CORONAVIRUS CASES DOUBLE IN A WEEK IN ENGLAND, ONS SHOWS 

The number of people catching coronavirus every day in England more than doubled in the last week of September to a staggering 17,400, according to the ONS.

Weekly data from the Office for National Statistics warns 224,400 people had the virus on October 1, up from 116,000 a week earlier.

It comes as MPs have warned the virus is ‘out of control’ now in the UK and the Government has not made any new announcements on what it is doing this week.

Today’s report warns ‘the number of infections has increased rapidly in recent weeks’.

There is a ‘clear variation’ across different regions of the country, the ONS said, with the highest rates of infection in the North West, North East and Yorkshire. More than one per cent of the population in those regions – one in every 100 people – were likely infected at the start of this month.

Teenagers and young adults, between the ages of 11 and 25, continue to drive up the disturbing rates of infection.

If the estimate is accurate it suggests the Department of Health’s testing programme is now picking up most of the true number of cases, with it managing to diagnose 11,000 people on October 1.

And it follows a week of increasingly worrying data showing that hospital admissions are surging in the North, where they could surpass levels seen in April by the end of the month, and daily deaths are creeping back up again.

The letter added that the Prime Minister believed local leaders should ‘help shape the package of measures in the most concerning areas’.

The Government will discuss ‘difficult choices’ with local leaders, the letter stated.

Britain’s daily coronavirus case count dropped today to 13,864 from more than 17,000 yesterday and official estimates of the R rate suggest the outbreak may be slowing in a ray of hope for the UK’s second wave.

But a hat-trick of reports warn the country is still on a precipice with up to 45,000 people catching it every day and fears the outbreak is ‘getting out of control’. 

It comes as new coronavirus restrictions are being introduced in Bangor following a sharp rise in cases, the Welsh Government has announced.  

The Prime Minister will spend the weekend finalising local measures to be announced on Monday that could see pubs and restaurants ordered to shut in large parts of the North of England.

The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) met on Thursday afternoon, when several members made the case for going further with strict national interventions, including a ban on household mixing.

They claimed the UK is in the same position as it was in early March – and a tougher lockdown is the only option.

But it is understood that Mr Johnson has ruled out bringing in any national changes on Monday, when he will unveil his new approach for dealing with Covid-19 flare-ups.

The Prime Minister is expected to introduce a three-tier system of lockdown measures in an attempt to make the existing patchwork of restrictions easier to understand.

Areas with relatively low infection levels will be placed in ‘tier one’, where only national restrictions such as the ‘rule of six’ and the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants will apply.

Tier two will also include bans on home visits and indoor socialising with other households. Options for tier three include total closure of the hospitality sector, a ban on overnight stays outside the home and the closure of venues such as cinemas.

Swathes of the North of England, including Manchester and Liverpool, could be placed immediately into the tier with the most severe restrictions, so pubs and restaurants would have to shut their doors. 

Nottingham has the highest rate in England, with 760.6 cases per 100,000 people – a huge jump from 158.3 per 100,000 in the seven days to September 29.

Knowsley has the second highest rate, which has leapt from 391.1 to 657.6 per 100,000, while Liverpool is in third place, where the rate has also increased sharply, from 419.0 to 599.9. 

Coronavirus UK: Marshals will be armed with body cameras to catch rule breakers 1

Coronavirus UK: Marshals will be armed with body cameras to catch rule breakers 3

Separate figures suggested coronavirus cases are doubling about twice as fast in the North West, Yorkshire and the West Midlands as for the whole of England.

But regional leaders have criticised the Government for failing to properly consult them on changes. Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said he would ‘use whatever means’ to challenge any closures. ‘The Government has lost the dressing room and they have to work very hard now to get it back,’ he told the BBC’s Question Time.

Downing Street insisted the Government had been ‘working closely with local leaders and local authorities throughout the pandemic’. In a bid to soothe tensions, Sir Edward Lister, one of Mr Johnson’s most senior aides, last night held calls with regional mayors including Mr Burnham.

In a letter to MPs across the North West, Sir Edward wrote: ‘The rising incidence in parts of the country means it is very likely that certain local areas will face further local restrictions.

‘The Prime Minister is clear that local leaders should be able to help shape the package of measures in the most concerning areas.’

It is understood that meetings will be held through the weekend with local leaders to discuss the different measures in the tier system and which ones the Government believes are appropriate for their areas. This week, Sage member Professor John Edmunds, a leading epidemiologist, urged ministers to immediately introduce a ‘severe’ national lockdown.

Two-thirds of public would back Scottish-style ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown

An exclusive poll for MailOnline has found strong support for a nationwide 'short sharp shock' of tough restrictions

An exclusive poll for MailOnline has found strong support for a nationwide ‘short sharp shock’ of tough restrictions

Nearly two-thirds of the public would back a Scottish-style ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown as Boris Johnson prepares to shut pubs and restaurants in the North.

An exclusive poll for MailOnline has found strong support for a ‘short sharp shock’ of tough restrictions across the country in a bid to break transmission chains.

The research by Redfield &Wilton Strategies also uncovered widespread confusion and disaffection with the current complex local curbs. 

Around a third of Birtons are not confident they know the rules in their area, while half admit they have not been following them fully.

He said: ‘I don’t think it’s us holding the gun to the Prime Minister’s head. The virus is holding a gun to his head.’

Leading Sage member Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said yesterday: ‘To avoid spiralling out of control [there] needs to be action now. 

‘We are close to or at the events and choices faced in early March.

‘The longer the decisions are delayed, the harder and more draconian are the interventions needed to change the trajectory of the epidemic curve.’  

Britain’s daily coronavirus case count dropped today to 13,864 from more than 17,000 yesterday and official estimates of the R rate suggest the outbreak may be slowing in a ray of hope for the UK’s second wave.

But a hat-trick of reports warn the country is still on a precipice with up to 45,000 people catching it every day and fears the outbreak is ‘getting out of control’. 

Today’s count of new positive tests is the second lowest of the week, higher only than the 12,594 on Monday, and marks a 21 per cent drop from yesterday’s 17,540. 

SAGE estimates the latest R rate for the UK to be between 1.2 and 1.5, which is down from a predicted 1.3 to 1.6 last week.

Reports from the Office for National Statistics and Imperial College London, and Public Health England data from yesterday, however, show that cases were continuing to spiral out of control in England at the start of October.

As many as 45,000 people caught the virus on October 5, according to the results of one major government-run surveillance study which also pointed out that cases are growing twice as fast in the North of the country as they are in the South. 

Another report by the ONS estimated 17,400 contracted the disease each day in England alone in the week ending October 1, which was double the number-crunching agency’s prediction last week. 

This is the highest estimate the ONS has given and puts the outbreak larger than it was in late April when data began.

And statistics published yesterday by PHE show that all but three areas of the country have had infection rates rise since last week. 

Of a total 149 local authorities, only Luton, Wolverhampton and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly had a lower number of cases per person than last week. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected on Monday to formally unveil plans to split the country into three tiers, with the worst-hit areas facing the harshest restrictions which may include closing pubs and restaurants to slow the spread of the disease. 

But experts on the Government’s SAGE group fear the tier system will not be strong enough to get the virus under control and avoid a second wave. 

Some believe ministers should have pulled the trigger on a nationwide ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown in England two or three weeks ago when it was first discussed. 

It comes as a Tory ‘trade union’ of Northern MPs is being launched to put pressure on Downing Street to deliver on its promises to the region, organisers said.

Some 27 Conservative MPs are involved in the Northern Research Group, which is led by Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry.

The former northern powerhouse minister told BBC Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster: ‘It’s almost like a sort of trade union for northern MPs, where we can use our collective muscle and bargaining power together, to make sure that we get the best possible deal on a pan-northern basis. 

People leave Carnaby Street, London, after the 10pm curfew that pubs and restaurants are subject to in order to combat the rise in coronavirus cases as it emerges the Prime Minister will introduce new restrictions on Monday

People leave Carnaby Street, London, after the 10pm curfew that pubs and restaurants are subject to in order to combat the rise in coronavirus cases as it emerges the Prime Minister will introduce new restrictions on Monday

The Prime Minister will spend the weekend finalising local measures to be announced on Monday that could see pubs and restaurants ordered to shut in large parts of the North of England. Pictured: Revellers in Liverpool this evening

The Prime Minister will spend the weekend finalising local measures to be announced on Monday that could see pubs and restaurants ordered to shut in large parts of the North of England. Pictured: Revellers in Liverpool this evening

Meanwhile, a Public Health England surveillance report published yesterday showed only three places across England have not recorded a rises in their per-person Covid-19 infection rates in the past week - Luton, Wolverhampton and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Meanwhile, a Public Health England surveillance report published yesterday showed only three places across England have not recorded a rises in their per-person Covid-19 infection rates in the past week – Luton, Wolverhampton and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Coronavirus UK: Marshals will be armed with body cameras to catch rule breakers 5

Coronavirus UK: Marshals will be armed with body cameras to catch rule breakers 7

 

Britain's coronavirus reproduction rate has fallen slightly, according to the Government's scientific advisers. They say the current R value - the number of people each Covid-19 patient infects - is between 1.2 and 1.5. This is down slightly on last week's range of 1.3 and 1.

Britain’s coronavirus reproduction rate has fallen slightly, according to the Government’s scientific advisers. They say the current R value – the number of people each Covid-19 patient infects – is between 1.2 and 1.5. This is down slightly on last week’s range of 1.3 and 1.

HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS RISE 50% IN A WEEK WITH TWO THIRDS IN NORTH OF ENGLAND

Covid-19 hospital admissions continue to rise, with 491 newly-infected patients requiring NHS care on Wednesday – the most recent day figures are available for in England. 

This is up 50 per cent in a week (328 on Wednesday September 30) but down slightly on Tuesday this week (524). Almost three-quarters of all admissions are occurring in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Midlands, the data shows. 

On Wednesday 286 of 491 hospitalisations in the North East, North West and Yorkshire alone (58 per cent).

That means nearly six in 10 admissions occurred in northern parts of the country whereas in the South East, South West and London, there were 168 people hospitalised with the virus (34 per cent of the total).

The Midlands recorded 81 more coronavirus cases and the East of England posted 17. London was the UK’s first epicentre of the disease, which researchers think allowed many Londoners to build some immunity to it.

They suggest that is why the capital is still reporting fewer cases, deaths and hospital admissions than most of the north, despite it being Britain’s most densely populated city.

The South East and South West have also enjoyed lower transmission because Covid-19 finds it difficult to spread in rural areas – a trend seen around the world.

Higher levels of poverty, cramped living conditions, colder weather and more people working people-facing jobs in the North may be explaining its higher rate, scientists say. 

‘This isn’t about giving Government a bad time, but there are arguments that we collectively as northern MPs make together, to create a compelling case for the Government to invest in the north, making sure that this Government delivers on its promise to ‘level up’ the north, deliver that northern powerhouse and create wealth across the north of England.’

Mr Berry added: ‘We don’t form a government unless we win the north.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson achieved the commanding 80-seat Tory majority in the December general election by taking a swathe of seats from Labour’s traditional ‘red wall’ across the north of England. 

Meanwhile, Covid-19 hospital admissions are also still rising, with 491 newly-infected patients requiring NHS care on Wednesday – the most recent day figures are available for in England.

This is up 50 per cent in a week (328) but down slightly on the day before (524). 

Almost three-quarters of all admissions are occurring in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Midlands, the data shows. 

The ONS estimate suggests the Department of Health’s testing programme is now picking up most of the true number of cases, with it managing to diagnose 11,000 people on October 1 – 63 per cent of the ONS’s new cases prediction. 

But the Imperial College London research suggests it is only spotting 29 per cent of all infections. 

But the estimates are still a far cry from what Britain was recording the darkest days of the pandemic in March and April, when scientists believe the true figure was at least 100,000 each day. 

Some academics have even estimated that as many as 350,000 people caught the disease on March 23 – when the lockdown was imposed.     

Meanwhile the Imperial REACT study also shows that cases are doubling twice as fast in England’s Northern regions as they are in the rest of the nation.

It estimated the national doubling time is 29 days but said it was more like 13 days in Yorkshire, 14 in the West Midlands and 17 days in the North West.

It may even be shrinking in London, the researchers added, in part because of immunity developed in the first wave. 

And they claimed the R rate in the capital could be below the dreaded number of one. 

It comes as new coronavirus restrictions are being introduced in Bangor following a sharp rise in cases, the Welsh Government has announced.

From 6pm on Saturday, people will not be allowed to enter or leave the area without a ‘reasonable excuse’ and can only meet people they do not live with outdoors, it said.

The new restrictions will apply to everyone living in the eight wards that make up the city of Bangor.

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