On Sunday, France made the decision to close its borders with the UK for 48 hours – which put a stop to the movement of all lorries, flights and ferries – with a significant number of vehicles experiencing prolonged hold-ups at the Kent border.
France has since said it will aim “to ensure movement from the UK can resume”.
Beginning the conference by offering an update, Mr Johnson said: “These delays are only occurring at Dover, only affect human-handled freight and that is only 20% of the total arriving from or departing to the European continent,”
He assured people that vast majority of food and medical supplies are unaffected, and says the government has been preparing for such a situation for a while.
Mr Johnson said the government continues to have talks with French officials.
He stated that he understands worries over COVID transmission by EU countries, but says the “risks of transmission by a solitary driver sitting alone in the cab are very low”.
He also added that UK supermarkets’ supply chains “are strong and robust”, and because of this, “everyone can continue to shop normally”, as he says he understands concerns of international partners about new strain, but the UK took “prompt and decisive action” to curb its spread.
The press conference comes amid an increasing number of countries having chosen to ban all flights from the UK, including Belgium, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Denmark, Poland, Bulgaria, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Hong Kong, India, Canada, Romania and more, with others expected as likely to follow.
The Czech Republic has imposed stricter quarantine measures for people arriving from Britain, and Turkey and Morocco have announced they will be suspending air travel from the UK, while Saudi Arabia is also believed to be looking into suspending international flights for one week.
El Salvador is also barring entry to anyone who has visited the UK in the preceding 30 days.
Offering further reassurance, Mr Johnson also announced that more than 500,000 people in the UK have now received their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
He says: “We want to work with our colleagues, with our friends around the world, as we have from the beginning, to develop new treatments, to develop new vaccines, as we have [and] I can today announce that over half a million people, more than 500,000 people in the UK, have now received their first dose.”
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Manchester music store Forsyth is giving away free music lessons
Manchester music store Forsyth is giving away a host of free music lessons next month in a bid to inspire people to learn a new instrument, or pick up an old one.
The store is giving new and returning musicians a chance to receive a 10–15-minute free music taster session as part of its Music for All Learn to Play ’22 event.
Taking place across 8 and 9 October between 10am-5pm (8 October) and 1130am-30pm (9 October),short taster music lessons will allow all ages and abilities to have a musical experience that could turn into a lifetime of enjoyment, or even a new career.
Speaking on the free music lesson initiative, Emma from Forsyths said: “The past two years have shown how important music is to all our lives and how it can bring people together even in the most difficult of circumstances.
“We aim to help as many people as possible understand the unique joys and benefits of learning an instrument (or taking part in a choir).
“Anyone interested in learning to play an instrument or looking to pick it up again, should come and join us for this two-day celebration of music making.
“We’re delighted to be part of Music for All’s Learn to Play ’22 event, and we can’t wait to get started.”
OBE Jools Holland, Patron of Music for All, said: “Making music is very important to me. It’s my work, my pleasure, my friend, companion and therapist.
The charity Music for All believes passionately in the unique power of music to change lives and that is why it runs Learn to Play.
Music for All believes everyone should have equal access to music making.
The charity supports disadvantaged music makers by providing cash grants for tuition and instruments and by donating instruments directly.
Celebrated author Dame Hilary Mantel has died ‘suddenly yet peacefully’ aged 70
Dame Hilary Mantel has died aged 70.
The unexpected passing of the critically-acclaimed author whose celebrated career spans nearly five decades has just been announced by her agents 4th Estate Books and her publishing team at HarperCollins in two separate statements released this morning – who confirmed that she died “suddenly yet peacefully”.
The Glossop-born writer was famed for historical fiction work, and was most-known for being the author of the beloved Wolf Hall trilogy.
The statement by her agents confirming her passing reads: “We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald.
“This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work.”
Mantel’s publishers HarperCollins called her “one of the greatest English novelists of this century”.
The company’s statement reads: “It is with great sadness that AM Heath and HarperCollins announce that bestselling author Dame Hilary Mantel DBE died suddenly yet peacefully yesterday, surrounded by close family and friends, aged 70.
“Hilary Mantel was one of the greatest English novelists of this century and her beloved works are considered modern classics.
Mantel has twice been awarded the Booker Prize, the first time for the 2009 novel Wolf Hall, a fictional account of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII, and secondly for the 2012 novel Bring Up the Bodies, the second instalment of the Cromwell trilogy.
She was the first woman, and fourth person, to receive the award twice.